1. PPS Files

Got a question from a subscriber recently on what the difference is between a PPT (normal PowerPoint) file and a PPS (PowerPoint Show) file and if the PPS file was secure from any changes. You will likely encounter PPS files if you get a presentation via e- mail or download it from a web site. The value of a PPS file is that when you double-click on the file to open it (or open it on a web site), it automatically goes into the Slide Show mode of PowerPoint and appears to only use that mode, since when the show is over, it exits PowerPoint. While it appears secure and is indeed the best way to distribute a PowerPoint slide show to others, it is not as secure as it first appears. A PPS file can be opened from PowerPoint by clicking on the File menu item and then clicking on the Open menu option. If you select the PPS file to open in the file dialog box, it will open the file in the normal editing mode and allow changes to be made. The only way to secure your file is if you have PowerPoint 2003 and you assign a password to the file. I do recommend using the PPS file format for presentation distribution, but just be aware that it is not the same as securing your presentation from any changes.

2. Gift Ideas

This week is Christmas for many of us, and in that spirit, here are a few ideas for the computer lovers on your gift list. I personally use these products and rely on them. A) Targus ultra mini retractable cord optical travel mouse - I am using this right now as I write this newsletter while my son is taking ice hockey lessons. It is an optical mouse (no ball to worry about), is very compact and has a cord that retracts for easy storage when in my laptop case. It is a little small if you have large hands and want to use it for a long time, but overall, one of my best purchases this year. You can get it at http://www.targus.com or at computer, electronic or office supply stores for about $20. B) Roadwired retractable Ethernet/Phone cord - I replaced a retractable phone cord and six foot Ethernet cable with this handy little device and saved space and weight in my laptop case. When you travel as much as I do, every ounce of weight is a gift to your shoulder and back. I profiled this device in a previous newsletter and it is available at Laptop Lane stores in major U.S. airports or on the web at http://www.roadwired.com. They have a new version of this called the Cordz multi-connection survival tool which is priced at $25. C) A subscription to my newsletter - I couldn't resist this one, but hear me out. It is a cheap gift - actually it's free - but delivers great value. In fact, the subscriber base has grown over 300% this year due mostly to many of you passing it on to others. Here is what one new subscriber wrote recently about the 5+1 day e-course all new subscribers get to start with: "Your stuff was simply superb. The collateral learning was phenomenal. Spreading the good word amongst pals & bus associates." The easiest way to encourage friends and associates to sign up is to forward this newsletter with a personal note letting them know how much you enjoy it. You can't sign them up yourself because we don't want to be accused of sending unwanted e-mails. But a quick personal recommendation works wonders.

3. Useful Resource - www.webshots.com

One thing I am doing more and more is including photos in my PowerPoint presentations. While I try to rely on my own digital photos, I am always looking for sources of stock photos for times when I don't have just the right picture. One site that comes highly recommended is http://www.webshots.com. As you integrate photos into your presentations, keep it in mind.