Archive for the ‘Presentation Technology’ Category

PowerPoint for iPad – The Übergeek Review

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by Matt<

A wise man (I think he was wise anyway) once said the problem with the iPad is that Apple made a big iPhone rather than a small Mac. Unfortunately I think he was right.

Now I’m a PC man, I don’t own a MAC and quite frankly if you put me in front of one I’d have trouble finding the on button. But I am Apple gadget mad, I have an iPod Touch, iPhone 5 and an iPad 4 – so I know my around these devices pretty damn well. I like to explore new quirky useful apps, for example I recently turned my iPad into a touchpad remote control mouse and keyboard for my Laptop which was connected to my home TV. So I think I qualify as something of a geek.

When I heard PowerPoint for iPad was going to be released, I should have been jumping for joy and chomping at the bit to get my hands on it and have a play.

But – I’ve been here before. With this app or that app claiming to be the one to truly put an Eyeful designed PowerPoint in all its glory on the iPad only to fail time after time. The closest we’ve got is through some software called iSpring. And by close I mean 96% (my official guesstimate!) to the user experience being truly replicated on the iPad to the level it is on a PC.

Then a couple of days ago, I finally got my hands on the official Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad app and, well, it’s not all bad, but it’s not all great either!

Let’s start at the beginning.

You have just received your lovingly created PowerPoint Presentation from Eyeful, it’s all there, the message is strong, design is sleek and the animation artfully carries your story through to its conclusion…

And there you are, with a piece of collateral ready for a formal one-to-many presentation. But as we’ve preached many times, that same collateral can be reutilised and used on mobile devices. Cue the calls to put the deck on the iPads ready for next week’s marketing event.

And why not? An interactive presentation on a booth at an event, is a great way for interested people to have a play and find out what your business is all about.

An iPad is a also a powerful informal sales tool for when you step into that 1-2-1 pitch meeting and really need to get across why you are the BEST!

So, surely whacking the PowerPoint file onto the iPad is easy right? WRONG!

It’s a right palaver, but it’s getting better. And due credit to Microsoft for finally getting this app released. Well as much credit as you can give someone for turning up to the party 4 years after it started!!

You have three options to get the file onto the iPad. Firstly, the easiest and simplest method is OneDrive – Microsoft’s free cloud based hard drive. Simply drop the file onto your OneDrive account on your PC and a few minutes later it will be available to download onto your iPad, assuming you have the OneDrive app installed on your iPad. Filesize and internet speed will determine how long this process takes.

Second up and also pretty simple is via email, simply email the file to yourself. The usual file size restrictions apply. So this would rule out a lot of the presentations we create.

And finally, the most convoluted, but possibly quickest solution if your file is pretty beefy is via USB cable and some third party software called File App, which is a bit fiddly at first, but is a really useful piece of software for exploring the inner workings of your iPad.

So, one way or another you now have your Eyeful presentation on your iPad. So far so good, but how does it playback?

This is usually where the apps have fallen down over the years. In the past there have been text spilling everywhere, shapes and images suddenly in the wrong place and a lack of animation that simply put, you may as well have just converted it to PDF and not bothered.

Well, I put the app through its paces with a lovely presentation we designed that features a host of features including great design and use of images, demanding slick animation, custom shows, hyperlinks to external websites and embedded video.

And I was pleasantly surprised on hitting play, as the presentation sprang into life in a smooth and sophisticated way, the animation played smoothly, no glitches were obvious and it all felt pretty solid. A simple swipe took me through the first slides and it was like viewing a PowerPoint on a PC – it was working!!!

But then, the first fail, an embedded video sat static and no amount of tapping, pressing and holding or shaking of the iPad would get it to play. GUTTED. It was all going so well.

Then onto a slide with custom show hyperlinks which gave me the option to view some hidden slides – which failed. The custom show links were deader than VHS technology…

I skipped on through the rest of the presentation and to the apps credit the only problems I saw were the two noted above, they were pretty big problems though.

But if, like the majority of Eyefuls presentations, yours doesn’t contain custom shows or videos then this is a pretty robust solution for playing presentations on iPads. And there is some further good news, the app does support hyperlinking from slide to slide and hyperlinking to external websites…

So the custom show route can be worked around. And so long as you don’t mind requiring a live internet connection, then the videos could be hosted online and streamed outside of the presentation. Get stuck in slow internet area though and expect the video to buffer.

Speaking of internet connections, further good news… when you initially add the presentation file to the iPad it stays on the hard drive of the device, meaning you don’t need to be connected to the internet for playback. An absolutely critical box ticked.

So, all in all, it’s not a perfect iPad  solution – but there is enough capability there to make the PowerPoint for iPad app a viable presentation playback solution.

In terms of editing and creation, the word fiddly doesn’t come close. Whilst a lot of functionality is there, a lot isn’t. Making it pretty pointless in an age where your sole piece of hardware isn’t going to be an iPad.  It’s far easier to create and edit on a proper PC or Mac.

The most I would be comfortable doing would be tweaking textboxes and changing colours of objects. Changing images without breaking animation sequences isn’t an option. In fact adding or amending animation in the app isn’t supported. Strangely enough though, if animation is already present (having been added during creation on PC) then this displays perfectly. Good, but strange!

And there you go the PowerPoint for iPad app is finally here. Right now it’s not perfect and it did turn up 4 years late. So all in all, depending on the project it could be the perfect iPad solution. But without video, custom shows and animation it just feels like it’s only part of the PowerPoint package. So, all things considered, this Übergeek scores it 6/10, Microsoft must try harder.

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Google Glass – For One Day Only

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Justine<

Todays the day that techies in the US get a chance to find out whether wearable tech has a future in the real world as Google release some of their super specs to paying customers.

Google Glass is officially still in development but for one day only, over 18’s in the US with a healthy bank balance, a little bit of luck (and the ability to fill in a form) can get their hands on a pair to find out for themselves what all the fuss is about.

Google have been really clever in creating a buzz about the giving people chance to pay handsomely to become part of what is basically a market research exercise, but aside from that, what can wearable tech bring to business and will it be changing the presentation landscape?

Technology journalist have had their hands on it for a little while now and the results of their endeavours range from enthusiastic to bemused and if nothing else it’s given us a great insight into their daily lives.

Currently concerns seem to centre less around functionality and more around looking a bit of an idiot when you wear them and the social reaction that they can provoke.

google glass

Socially the potential of the technology is controversial, anyone wearing them will (eventually) be able to record and/or live stream everything they see and use functionality such as face recognition to summon up all the web information that’s available on anyone they see. Google have not been shy in acknowledging that their glasses need to be worn responsibly for people to avoid becoming ‘Glassholes’.

At the moment it’s quite easy to spot wearers (unless they’re socialising with Star Trek extras in full make up) but we all know that Moore’s Law holds true throughout technology and it won’t be long before we can’t even tell who’s connected and who isn’t, especially if they swop the voice activation for optical tracking.

There’s no question that the functionality they will eventually provide can enhance the wearers experience it’s going to be in identifying when it is, and isn’t, appropriate to wear them that will provide the real challenges.

So what about business?

As we’ve discussed before the way people do business is changing, formal meetings have given way to informal conversations and deals are done without people ever meeting, but the one thing that remains the same is the trust needed to build business relationships. People do business with people, and the way those people interact makes a difference to the outcome.

We’ll all admit that the first thing we do when we hear from a potential customer is type their name and the name of their company into a search engine to find out more. Where are they based? What do they do? How big are they? What kind of culture do they have? These are all questions that will help us work more efficiently with them. But that search will occasionally throw up something else, a derogatory blog, disparaging review or a facebook image of them after one too many cocktails for example. And it might just be me, but sitting across the room from them while they do this through their glasses feels a bit raw, like a root canal without the anaesthetic. And if I’m doing the same there may well be an air of internet jousting that doesn’t feel like the basis for a great working relationship.

So far the whole thing feels a little alien and it should, because having access to vast swathes of information about everyone you meet and everything you see in real time is, if we’re honest, a little weird, we’re human beings and we rely on intangibles like instincts and experience to help us decide what and who we like.

But it’s not all big brother doom and gloom.

The ability to share your presentation (or more probably parts of it) with people as part of an organic conversation is important in modern business communication and with Google Glass you can do that, and although passing your specs to them reeks a little of primary school tomfoolery it’s certainly going to be something they remember.

And as the technology progresses there will be new ways to allow them access to your presentation, wifi transfer from your glasses to theirs for example. Or maybe one day your glasses will be able to project a 3D presentation onto a table top in the ubiquitous departure lounge and maybe (if you’re really lucky) no one will say Help me Obi-Wan Kanobi, you’re my only hope……

No one really knows where this technology will go and whether it will become the equivalent of a laserdisc or a smartphone, but here at Eyeful we’re always on the lookout for ways to help our customers present, and communicate, more effectively so you can be sure that we’ll be among the first to tap into its potential.

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The Presentation Lab Launch – The Video

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by Justine<

Monday 31st March saw The Presentation Lab book released in the US and never ones to miss an opportunity for cake we had a little shindig to celebrate.

Lots of our friends and presentation enthusiasts from around the globe tuned in live to find out what all the fuss was about and industry experts shared their thoughts on the future of presentations.

The event proved much more popular than we expected and we’re still receiving registrations, so what about all those people who missed the event?

Fortunately for you, we’re all about keeping our customers happy so we’ve decided to share a recording of the event for those who missed out on the live feed.

After the main event we hosted a live twitter Q&A where one of our guests perfectly summed up initial reactions to the book….

tweet shadow

The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula Behind Powerful Presentations is available from all good booksellers ISBN-13: 978-1118687000

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Office for iPad est arrivé

Friday, March 28th, 2014 by Justine<

You may like to sit down for this one.

After four years of turmoil and less than ten days after our last hopeful speculation about rumour becoming reality, it’s actually happened…. Take a deep breath everyone – Office for iPad exists!

PowerPoint and iPad have finally said “I do” and we couldn’t be more excited.

For those of us who are passionate about presentations and get a little giddy about gadgets the world just became a better place.

Tempting as it is to wax lyrical about how much of an impact this will have on business presentations and what it means for effective communications in the ever changing presentation landscape, I’m going to cut this one short.

You could spend the next few minutes sharing my excitement or reading what the tech experts have to say, but the best thing you can do right now is get downloading.

PS Now the hardware/software challenge has been sorted, it might well be time to give a little thought to the presentations themselves and we’re just the people who can help!

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The Presentation Lab – Your Questions Answered

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 by Justine<

With just four days to go until it hits the shelves The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula Behind Powerful Presentations is already causing quite a stir.

Friends, customers and presentation enthusiasts from around the globe are eagerly signing up for our launch event (and already enjoying the first chapter of the book).

But what about the cynics, naysayers and those who have simply given up on ever seeing (or delivering) a presentations that is anything more than tedious, why should they be interested? After all how can a book make that much difference to someone who presents only because they have to?

Here, Theo Van Dort from Inclusive Video interviews author and Eyeful MD Simon Morton to try and find out…..

 

Signing up to find out more is really easy simply click through this link for access to download the first chapter of the book.

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Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s the Presentation Lab Book Launch

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by Justine<

The Presentation Lab: The Formula Behind Powerful Presentations is about to be released unaccompanied to an eagerly awaiting audience and we’d love you all to join us as we help it set sail.

We’ve pondered long and hard on just how to help it on its way. Smashing a bottle of fizz on it is obviously out of the question (no-one likes a damp sticky book) and while rolling out the red carpet is tempting, we’d have to roll it a long way to welcome all our friends from around the globe.

Fortunately, this is Eyeful and we’ve got a reputation to uphold, so we’ve hatched a cunning plan that will allow everyone to get a little taste of the book and find out what all the fuss is about.

On Monday 31st March at 16.00 UK time (11.00 EDT / 08.00 PDT) we’ll be welcoming anyone with an internet connection to join us at our virtual launch party. We’ve kept the good bits of the party experience (chatting with friends, catching up on gossip, meeting new people) and ditched the crabby bits (deciding what to wear, getting stuck with the weirdo and trying to get a cab) so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

Everyone who registers to attend will also get free access to read the first chapter of the book without ever having to find a quiet corner of a bookshop.

To get your name on the guest list simply click through this link and give us your details.

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The Presentation Lab Book Launch – Get on the Guest List

Friday, March 21st, 2014 by Justine<

March 31st 2014 is going to be a big day for us here at Eyeful – it’s the day that The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula Behind Powerful Presentations officially hits the shelves in North America (the UK and Europe will have to wait a few weeks).

We’ve taken you through the trials and tribulations of writing the book and given you some sneaky peeks into what the book contains, but right now what we’d really like to do is invite you all to join us as we set it free.

With so many friends spread around the globe, a bottle of fizz and a few wilted canapés just aren’t going to be enough so we’ve decided to bypass the traditional launch party and do something much more inclusive – here’s the lowdown.

On Monday March 31st at 16.00 UK time (11.00 EDT / 08.00 PDT) we’ll be bringing everyone together for a virtual launch event. There’s no need to dress up or practice small talk all you need to take part is an internet connection and an inquiring mind. There’ll be comment from industry experts, insight into what the book is about and a live Q&A with the author.

Attendance is free and registering is easy – simply click through this link and give us your details.

Registering will give you instant access to the first chapter of the book and entry into a prize draw to receive signed copies of the book* and some other goodies too.

Presentation lab soft copy

*Eyeful Presentations accepts no responsibility regarding any increase (or decrease) in face value that signing the book may bring.

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Office for iPad – The Truth is Out There

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 by Justine<

Some rumours refuse to die. For example it is estimated that 7% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive (although there is some dissension over whether he’s flipping burgers in Illinois or working undercover for the DEA). People travel around the globe in the hope of seeing paddling plesiosaurs or huge bipedal apes and I’m pretty sure that any facility that may (or may not) exist for the storage of aliens and their spacecraft must be pretty close to bursting point by now.

But as easy as it is to dismiss, or indeed subscribe to, any of these things, there’s a similar mystery that’s been bugging the presentation world for a while now, PowerPoint for iPad.

We’ve avidly followed the – will they/won’t they – can they/can’t they – it’s coming/it’s not coming rollercoaster for longer than we care to remember.

We began our voyage into this particularly murky topic full of hope that Apple and Microsoft could come together to help business presenters get the job done. We’ve looked at this conundrum from all directions, in hopeful times we’ve prodded the professionals for answers, and sought sanctuary in cloud computing . On a more practical level we’ve joined forces with others who stopped waiting and started making it work anyway and (in some particularly churlish moments) we’ve wondered whether it would all be worth the bother anyway. It’s nearly a year since Office for iPhone was launched and the hope that generated for an iPad version has long since faded.

But, like the most ardent Elvis enthusiast or committed crytozoologist, our thirst for snippets of gossip and desperation for every whispered possibility to bring hard evidence that our dream might become a reality, never really waned.

And this week the rumblings have begun again. Yesterday’s ABC Tech Bytes stuck in a sneaky reference between discussing the new 8gb iPhone 5c and the Hubble space telescope (both of which do actually exist if that’s any sort of barometer).  The stock market also seems to think there may be something of substance on the horizon with Microsoft shares reaching their highest level since 2000, but whether that ‘thing’ is Office for iPad remains to be seen. Some commentators have even stuck their necks out and given it a birthday – March 27th.

But what do Apple and Microsoft have to say about it? – not a word (pun intended).

So, here we are again teetering on the verge, of the possibility, of something we’re very eager to find out the truth about, and hopefully by the end of this month we’ll know whether it’s the real thing or just another short order cook who can hold a tune.

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Who Should Buy The Book?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 by Justine<

We’re going to avoid the obvious temptation to suggest that everyone should reach for their wallets and invest in a copy of The Presentation Lab: The Formula Behind Powerful Presentations. This is Eyeful Presentations and we’ve got a reputation to uphold so we’re going to try and be a little more objective and a lot more helpful.

Firstly we can summarily deter some of our potential audience by clarifying the following: if you’re looking for a book that tells you how to make your existing PowerPoint slides prettier, this isn’t it. It’s also not a book that regurgitates the same old “text is bad, images are good” insight that we all kinda know anyway.  So, dear reader, if that’s what you want you can put your twenty quid away and keep browsing.

This is a book designed to be read and then actioned upon.  An unread book is an inherently sad thing and the universe mourns for its unappreciated existence and unfulfilled potential…no more so than when it’s a book written with the avowed intent of making the most out of each and every presentation.

So buying the book is really neither here nor there, the real question is – Who should READ* the book?

Well we’re confident in saying that there’ll be something of interest to anyone who ever has to formulate/write/design/deliver a presentation. And there will be much fuel for evangelism by those who suffer at the hands of poor practice in any of those areas too.

But maybe most importantly this book should be read by anyone who for one moment thinks that any of their competitors might have got their hands on a copy. We’ve often reminded our readers that a poor presentation is a gift to your competitors and a presentation that isn’t making the most of the latest presentation thinking and innovation will be the gift that just keeps giving.

For any of you still in doubt, our intrepid MD (and author of the aforementioned tome) explains all…

 

*please be aware the Eyeful Presentations in no way intends to encourage or endorse the acquisition or retention of The Presentation Lab book by any means other than the tradition ‘cash for product’ exchange system.

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Spam Strikes Again

Monday, March 10th, 2014 by Justine<

Having a successful blog brings its own rewards, but there is a downside too.

Spammers love a comments box and trawling through nonsensical comments to find the genuine ones is a daily tribulation. As I’ve mooted before spam does have its uses and recent spamming trends have highlighted another way in which it can help us all be better presenters.

To be fair some of the gobbledegook is quite amusing and I now have an encyclopaedic knowledge of where to buy a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, niche pornography and ‘replica’ designer goods. This, in turn, has given me a handy social barometer in that should I ever be called upon to access this bank of information, I’ll know it’s time to get my coat.

Most of these spam comments are high on enthusiasm and extraordinarily low on punctuation and grammar, but there is one spam message that appears again and again like a horror film villain that refuses to lie down on the off chance of a sequel.

This particular miscreant believes itself to be a master of disguise but for anyone used to filtering this sort of nonsense it’s easy to spot, here’s an excerpt for the un-initiated:

 

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more

than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|

I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|

{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch}

your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or{newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?

{Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so that|in

order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe. Thanks.|

{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve} read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}.

 

As you can see there is some scope for personalisation here but no amount of ‘delete as applicable’ can disguise its true nature and because some spammers can’t even be bothered with that, I can tell you that in its pre personalisation entirety it runs to an impressive 1858 words.

I’m sure that this format can lead to thousands of permutations, but I can state with confidence that they are all as rubbish, formulaic and soul destroying as each other.

It all amounts to a lot of effort that communicates nothing and singularly fails to achieve its goal – in this case my pressing of the ‘approve comment’ button.

This is, of course, my cue to segue gracefully into the subject at hand, presentations in general and more specifically the dangers of sticking to what you know.

Here at Eyeful we’ve seen thousands and thousands of presentations and we know that presentations of the insert name/company/product genre are still alive and kicking (until we get our hands on them that is).

A presentation that you’ve been using for years is not the same as a successful presentation. And a presentation that is almost identical to your competitors is even worse.

Audiences are savvier than ever and business is much more competitive. Your potential customers will know exactly what your competitors are offering and your presentation needs to show them exactly why they should spend their money with you.

Presentation software and hardware has moved forward in leaps and bounds and there is no excuse for relying on old formats or wasting valuable resource on the latest tech just because it looks good.

Fortunately for business everywhere we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve that can help your presentation stand out from the crowd. Presentation Optimisation is a proven way of creating presentations that have real impact and Blended Presenting can help you make connections like never before. There’s also technical PowerPoint and soft skills training and The Presentation Lab Book to get your presentation juices flowing.

Sales pitch over, this is the real world and there’s no point spending time and money fixing something that just ain’t broke. Which is why we’re always happy to provide a free* Presentation Healthcheck to anyone interested in what we do.

We know that floating in a vast sea of mediocre presentations there are a few things of real beauty and if your presentation already shines we’ll send you on your way with a gold star and a pat on the back.

So, if you’re worried that your presentation might have a certain spamminess or that your presentation delivery might not be as good as your competitors them drop us a line and we’ll help you connect with your audience in a way that insures their approval.

Presentation healthcheck

*completely and utterly free of charge and obligation – like free things used to be.

 

 

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