Complete newsletter at: http://www.gecdsb.on.ca/d&g/Mar08/
I had a panic call from a school this week. There was a Ministry of Education person there to do a presentation and the presentation file had a .pptx extension. The file had been brought on CD or memory key or something.
I was pleased with the sophistication of the school to recognize the problem and they knew exactly what to do when I asked them to email the file to me so that I could convert it to a different format and then return it. It only took a few minutes, wasn’t a big deal, and the day went on as planned.
There was nobody to blame. After all, the participants were using the best tools that they felt that they had at their disposal. I’m sure that they were convinced that they were using the current standard. But, who creates these standards anyway?
Earlier this month, I blogged about my concern that the word “PowerPoint” was starting to be adopted and used as a proper noun instead of being used as “PowerPoint Presentation”.
The solution, of course, is to go back to the original document and do a “Save As” and save it in a format that can be recognized. Look at the options though. Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 offers the following options:
How’s a person supposed to make the best decision? Doesn’t it make sense that the default “PowerPoint Presentation” would be the best and universal choice?
As long as there are desktop applications and a desire to strive for the product with the newest and latest features, the computing using public will always have this dilemma. Today, it’s Microsoft PowerPoint but tomorrow it could easily be Corel Presentations or Appleworks or Keynote or …
Solutions? There are a couple.
First, you could settle on a piece of Ministry of Education licensed software. Of that, there are three options. Appleworks, Corel Presentations, or StarOffice. They all offer the sort of functionality that is required and, by default, store in their own native file format.
But, let’s look at the area where we don’t have to concern ourselves with respect to yet another set of file standards, and that’s the Internet. using a standard of HTML An internet browser and internet connection just works. It’s evolved to the point where we just use it. If you get to the point where an updated plug-in is needed, you’re told so and you typically just click to install the plug-in and away you go.
There are a number of internet services that will allow you to create and post your documents for ready access. Google Docs is one that comes immediately to mind but that’s not the only option. ThinkFree, and Zoho both provide a powerful suite of applications as well.
The file format issue doesn’t matter. It’s all driven from the website. So, if there are changes to be made for compatiblity issues, you rely on your provider to keep things current.
Doing work without an internet connection? Not a problem; most services allow a download to your typical desktop productivity suite where you can use the document for your purpose and then upload it later should you need to.
As long as we allow a desktop productivity suite to determine our “standard”, we will be forever on the update treadmill. There is a better way.