Monday, September 22, 2003


I had the distinct pleasure of needing to prepare yet another presentation in powerpoint today. In addition to all of the entirely accurate points in Edward R. Tufte's book, "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint" ( a summary can be found on Aaron Swartz's Weblog), there are a number of other things that bother me about powerpoint.

Microsoft continues to ignore every sensible precept of interface design. Their 'personalized menus' particularly annoy me. How is one supposed to remember where things are in a menu when the bloody things keep re-arranging themselves in a futile attempt to be helpful?

I'll never be happy with the way Microsoft handles including other sources in a document. I want something like C's #include. I want to be able to change the source document and have Word or Powerpoint or whatever else actually notice the change. Sadly this ancient concept seems beyond the grasp of MS software engineers.

Why is there no sane way to enter a formula?! I don't want to have to draw the bloody thing in MS Equation (which is the saddest attempt at an equation editor I've ever encountered). I don't want to have to pretend it's a picture, I want to be able to put the entire thing, symbols and all, inline with my text. I want to be able to change its size with font size buttons. In short, I want what lyx does out of the box.

  Sadly, powerpoint is the standard. So I and everyone else must suffer with it. But that doesn't mean I won't complain.