The title links to the Slashdot story disclosing the thundering revelation that Powerpoint presentations are bad for learning. And, anybody who has done their time in the corporate cubicle camps, as I have, will nod enthusiastically. In fact, if I told you right now that Powerpoint causes brain tumors, you'd probably not be surprised. That would explain the throbbing headaches.
Of course, presentation software by itself isn't at fault. The problem with it is the same problem with Front-Page Express and Photoshop and even Flash: it makes it too easy for incompetent morons to torture innocent people with bad content.
Every Powerpoint presentation I've ever been unlucky enough not to worm my way out of sitting through has followed the same basic formula:
- Start with absolutely no valuable purpose, except to waste time.
- Dump in lots of buzzwords, abbreviations, and numbers, not necessarily having to mean anything. What really matters is that it's presented in a bullet list.
- Include *every* dancing animated .gif, gritty clip-art image, Screen Bean, and annoying sound effect that you can find. The aesthetic you should go for is a paste made from the pureed history of Warner Brothers cartoons.
- Use every color but black and white. Try to have at least 20 clashing colors on the screen at one time, preferably all gradients.
- Bring this mess in to the lecture room one minute before your show starts, then scurry around for twenty minutes hooking everything up.
- It is absolutely necessary that you run the presentation from a laptop with half the power you need, so that animations load slow, sound effects go off ten minutes after their time so that they drown out what you're saying, and so you have to stop twice to reboot after getting a dialog box error and a screen freeze.
If this sounds familiar, and you still find yourself trapped in a corporate environment, you might think to print out the article from Slashdot and circulate it around the office. Or use duct tape to affix it to your marketing guy's forehead.
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