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June 05, 2004

Powerpoint Paradox

One of the ideas I'm kicking around at the moment is to put a copy of my presentation online for download just as tomorrow's talk starts. It would have the 'notes' section cleared out so that people can make their own notes on what I've said and keep the annotated PPT on their machines (or posted on their blogs) so that the 'formal version' and their annotation will stay in sync.

Aside: Bizarrely this would be kind of like a streaming-media chat application I'd envisaged a few years back (1999 - a *few*?), where user comments were stored on the server tagged with the timestamp of the relevant point in the media stream. So when someone else replayed the streaming media, the comments of others would appear in sync with when they had started typing. (We took the view that the time the thought was *had* was more relevant than the time the enter key was pressed after a message of arbitrary length had been entered.) Had forgotten about that - can't remember if the wierd combination of synchronised and asynchronous failed to capture the imagination in an ahead-of-its-time sort of way, or if people decided it was just a fundamentally stupid idea that nobody would use.

Anyway, there are two problems with this.

1) It involves writing a public-key style presentation, where it doesn't make sense if you peek ahead - which then ruins the point of allowing it to be downloaded to roam free.

2) It means that some people will be distracted by trying to get a feature of Powerpoint going they may have not used before, when they should be concentrating on listening rather than technology.

Still undecided.

Posted by Tom Dolan at June 5, 2004 09:00 AM

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