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PowerPoint 2010 has a lot of improvements, but there are two that I think are absolutely game-changing features: Video embedding and PowerPoint broadcasting. These are the kinds of "if only" features that make you slap your forehead and go, "Dang, if only I'd had that X years ago." Like, if I'd only had this laptop in college. And Red Bull. Oh yeah, and the Internet. But I digress.
Case in point: I do some volunteering with a non-profit journalism organization, the Asian American Journalists Association. Last year I joined a committee to produce a high-technology training event in Chicago for journalists from the ethnic press. Now, of our committee members, two of us live in Seattle, two in Chicago, one in California. Nobody uses the same computers or software, and we had documents to share, timelines to go over, deadlines to meet and proposals to make. The night before a crucial presentation in New York City, there was still stuff to coordinate with folks who weren't there in person. We figured it out, but I could have used PowerPoint broadcast.
It would have been a snap to put together a presentation draft and show it to my committee members. They could have seen it just by clicking on the url that PowerPoint generates automatically. No other software needed, just a browser. And, come to think of it, I could have stayed home myself and used broadcast to make the final presentation to the execs. I would have missed out on some great meals, but I would have saved a lot of money, played with my kids, you get the idea.
And here's the second killer feature I could have used: placing video straight from the web. One committee member talked to a lot of Chicago-area ethnic journalists about their training needs. If he had videotaped them and posted them to YouTube, I could have dropped the embed code straight into my deck. No gnarly video file transfers necessary with PowerPoint 2010. Having direct testimonials would have been so much more powerful than just saying, "they want this training, trust us." The presentation was a success anyway, but I could have saved everyone a lot of time and money with PowerPoint 2010.
No use getting hung up on the past, though. Non-profits are kinda like "Godfather III": every time you try to get out, they pull you back in. I'm sure I'll have more chances, and next time I'm definitely using PowerPoint broadcast.
-- Doug Kim
HOLY COW with the economy the way it is i guess microsoft only wants a select few to use their products. why the high prices? i may purchase them someday when i can afford them
Hi Michael, we'd really like everyone to try Office, so there are a couple of things you can do. You can download a free trial here: office.microsoft.com/.../try or you can use Office Web Apps by signing up for a free account at www.live.com. When you sign up for SkyDrive at live.com, you get free storage plus use of the Web Apps. They're not as robust as the full suite, but they're free, and they're fantastic for collaboration.