Bender

Useful software notification

I had a PowerPoint 2007 file that needed to be displayed on the church's machine, which only had PowerPoint 2003 installed. I threw on PP2007 Reader which was fine but wouldn't go on the 2nd monitor. This is a known long term issue that MS refuses to fix, probably because they want you to buy a copy of PP even for display-only machines like this one.

After some Googling, I found a program called WinWarden which sits in memory, has an INI file by which you can tell it "whenever a window is created with a name that matches this pattern, shove it over 1024 pixels to the right" which makes it go to the 2nd monitor.

WinWarden is actually capable of a ton more than just that, but it solved this problem for me. We don't use PP that often, we have dedicated software for this machine but a couple of times a year it'll be useful.
For what it may be worth to you and your situation, I'm aware of two pieces of specialty software for use with projecting in church settings: EasyWorship and MediaShout.

I have more experience with EasyWorship (like up to 2 or 3 Sundays a month from 2005 or 2006 until July 2008) so I know that it has a built-in ability to read at least older Power Point files. But I'm pretty sure that MediaShout can do so also. I would not be surprised to learn that the current versions can handle the 2007 version Power Point files. (I think Open Office may also be able to open the newer MS Office files, and then save them back to the older formats, but I'm not positive)

Partially due to more experience with it, and partially due to the way it handles song lyrics makes me prefer EasyWorship. But MediaShout seems to be more commonly used, at least in San Diego county churches.
We're using a hunk of crap called Worship Him. It crashes, it doesn't handle diverse media types very well. We have all kinds of problems pulling stuff from one machine to another unless the two machines have exactly the same fonts and everything installed. The developer was scratching his head over a bug that the person who bought and uses it was having, and when she showed me the bug, I diagnosed the problem in about 5 seconds and it turned out to be correct. This is from me having never really seen the software before. So I don't have a lot of confidence in the developer either.

Heck, we had to ASK him to add support for standard presentation remotes. Because it's not like every person in the world who does presentations doesn't do them. Sheesh. I suppose most churches have dedicated A/V people but we don't always. Sometimes I'm the only one there, and I'm in the choir and often wearing a few other hats as well. The people have gotten used to me walking all over during service to get or do things.

I guess it got bought because it was cheap and it demoed well.

We'll be replacing it soon.

FWIW, OpenOffice tried with this file but after slide #100 or so the images were all missing or broken. It was about 120 slides each with a background and a JPG, about 650 megs total.

Some of the software appears to be Mac software with an "oh yeah, I suppose" really sucky Windows port. That stuff isn't going to fly.

I'll keep your comments in mind when we start looking for new software.

Edited at 2011-11-18 04:26 pm (UTC)
Why don't you just save the thing as a PDF?

The thought of church presentations that require animation is... boggling.
Animation can be quite nice. We show videos sometimes too.

However, when someone shows up with a PPT file for a version that we don't have any software to read let alone change, and 15 minutes to go before things start, it's best to just have the ability to show it as is.

Besides, I'm not sure I believe that a PDF would respond properly to the presentation remote and snap in each page exactly to the page boundaries, and I don't know if PDF viewers have full page modes with no controls showing. PDF would seem to me to be a hell of a kludgy shoehorn; showing stuff on projectors is what powerpoint was built for, why not use it?
Animations are the main reason to *not* use PDF.

That said, PDF is pretty darn optimal when you don't really know who's going to bring what to display on what platform. There are even online services for this.

Recall the circumstances I'm likely to have experienced this in. :-)
Well, powerpoint is pretty universal and once we're set up for it, we're good. When we have people just show up to do presentations, 90% of the time, they have a PPT or PPTX file. It only makes sense to be set up for that.

The rest of the time it's just a CD or thumb drive full of JPGs, or a DVD.

I really have no idea what circumstances you'd have experienced this in.
IETF. International conference with people with all sorts of versions of powerpoint, many only partially compatible with each other. That's not even including non-PPT presentation software or various i18n'd software that didn't want to play nice.

That sounds like a situation where I'd just say "here's VGA and HDMI points. Plug your laptop in."
Great for the presentation itself when it works. Most working groups moved away from that model since laptop changeover and fussing ate too much of a timeslot.

But even then, the presentations are part of the archived material.