Nov 20, 2017

PowerPoint was an acquisition, though Microsoft had considered building a competitor in house like Word and Excel.

I found Robert Gaskin's fascinating book on the history of PowerPoint and its acquisition by Microsoft in an HN comment a few weeks back and it's a fascinating read of that fascinating paradigm shift in productivity apps that happened in the mid-to-late 1980s (that Microsoft was able to play a hot hand in):

Nov 05, 2017

When the IEEE article was posted last week, I followed a link to a book written by one of the developers of the original PowerPoint. I got very little work done that Friday, but it was very interesting, particularly thinking about the difference between OHPs and 35mm slides.

I'd like to hear Robert Gaskins give a TED talk. I emailed him to ask if he also wants to, and if he's willing then I think we can nominate him through the TED website. It's quite meta, because I think TED would never really exist without PowerPoint.

Nov 02, 2017

The original is much longer but also interesting to read:

One of the most powerful features of Presenter-became-PowerPoint was to change the font. Ironically, these days there are still problems when trying to share slides between computers if you used a custom font (or even a default font for another language e.g. Chinese).

I get around that problem by exporting my slides to JPG, then creating a new slideshow with the photos. The file size is larger, but the layout is guaranteed to work.

I used the same trick to put a slideshow on my old digital camera, and connected it using composite video to give a presentation in school (about 2006). I didn't want to carry a heavy laptop just to show slides.

I wish a simple WiFi-VGA gadget could be built to let smartphones show presentations too. There are some HDMI dongles (Chromecast) but not all projector stations have HDMI available.

Nov 02, 2017

The PDF of that book is linked to in the article's sixth paragraph: