I spent some time working on a presentation yesterday (the slides for which were due an alarming number of days ago, but let’s not go there). The salient point for this essay is that I had to author the thing in Impress or PowerPoint (which is the same as saying Impress since I haven’t any access to PowerPoint, but I want to make it reasonably clear up front that I’m not actually criticizing Impress in any fair sense).
Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever done such a thing. Really: ever. I never give presentations this way. I write all of my presentations in my own Slides schema. (And before that existed, in a series of other less-well-defined XML and before that SGML schemas.) For presentations that have to be delivered in the Sun corporate style, I wrote stylesheets to produce that style either in HTML or in PDF.
But this conference insists that the slides be provided in one of the formats understood by these GUI tools. Under the covers, Impress is XML. I probably should have reverse-engineered the template and written stylesheets to produce that format, but I didn’t.
Instead I point, click, drag, type, point, click, drag, type, pull-down, click, pull-down, click, type, pull-down click, pull-down, point, click, type, point, click, type, return, tab, type, return, type, return, untab, type, point, click, point, lash around clicking wildly with the mouse because I can’t figure out how the %*&#@!? to get a hold of the object I want to delete, click, delete, point, click, delete, pull-down, click. click. Scream! That’s the first few lines of the first slide written.
People get work done this way!? Madness!
There. I’m glad that’s off my chest.