On Powerpoint

Powerpoint is a useless tool for useless tools. Its use should be criminalized: people who ask other people to produce Powerpoint presentations for them should have their eyes removed; and people who compel other people to watch their own Powerpoint presentations should have their hands cut off.

That is all.

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13 thoughts on “On Powerpoint

  1. I’ll tell you who needs their hands cutting off, too, is the dismal "look at me, I’m paying attention" type fuckers who, during a training course, interrupt the Powerpoint presentation (just when it seems to be gaining some momentum) to ask a question about something on the slide.

    Something which, after much rephrasing of the question, inevitably turns out to be answered on THE NEXT FUCKING SLIDE.

    As they might have known if they’d turned to the next page of the printout they were handed at the start…

    Cue groaning and muttering everyone else, who were hoping to knock off at four o’clock and go into town.

  2. I actually don’t disagree with Byrne’s core thesis, that it’s good to force people to structure what they’re writing – I just really, really hate the interface. As far as structured platforms go, I’d rather write in hand-coded XML than Powerpoint…

  3. But Byrne’s thesis isn’t just saying that writing (or rather, presentations) should be structured, but that Powerpoint’s way – hierarchical, linear and temporally-based – is how they should be structured. His assertion that if you can’t boil it down to seven bullet points it’s not worth saying takes for granted that the bullet point is the best method of organising information.

  4. You’re not often wrong, John, but you’re wrong this time. Powerpoint is a fine tool for the job and people who refuse to use it should be beaten soundly about the bollocks with a cricket bat.

  5. If you give people handouts BEFORE you start a presentation then you’re doing it very terribly horribly wrong…

    Powerpoint is a reasonable tool – – – as something you might use as a little bit of backup – say 5% – for your actual presentation.

    Otherwise, no.

  6. Yeah, let’s forget powerpoint and have TeX-generated transparent slides printed in a 12-point font! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    How about a compromise: let’s say that making handouts by dumping your PPT slides on paper should be punished by hand-crushing.

  7. "Powerpoint is a fine tool for the job…"

    Nonsense. It might be barely-adequate for laying out bullet points and whatnot, but if you want to put equations on your slides it’s completely wretched and if all you want is text and pictures, it’s massive overkill. Sure, it has all those "transitions" and clip-art and similar shite, but they’re totally without value. Use HTML for presentations which don’t need any equations and LaTeX if they do.

    "… and people who refuse to use it should be beaten soundly about the bollocks with a cricket bat."

    Naturally I disagree.

    Actually, however wretched bloody Powerpoint is, the core problem is people who insist on reading out all the bullet points on each fucking slide before moving to the next one. These are the people most in need of your proposed cricket-bat treatment.

  8. if you want to put equations on your slides

    If you’re putting equations into a presentation then either a) you are a nerd presenting on a nerd topic and you have my official Papal dispensation to go off and use whatever layout program you like, as long as you don’t tell me about it, or b) hanging’s too good for you :-).

  9. Graphs are fine in Powerpoint, as long as you create them in Excel and not in some damnable Linux whathaveyou. There’s even a template for "bulleted list on the left, graph on the right" which I use incessantly.

    I would also disagree with Mat; people who dump their slides on paper for handouts are very useful, if for no other reason than that you can use the slides to doodle and write "what a cunt", "at this point, he farted" and such like.

  10. Far greater than Powerpoint is the terror of the computer illiterate using MS Excel as a database product…

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