Add Movie Magic to Your PowerPoint Presentations

Anybody who has used – or sat through – a PowerPoint presentation knows how easy it is to get carried away with the program’s many bells and whistles. Nobody wants to look at a presentation that’s packed to the gills with extraneous whooshing sounds, animated stick figures, and garishly colored charts. However, PowerPoint offers one capability you might want to take advantage of: video.

Let’s say you’re doing a presentation for a prospective client. Along with your slides about the services you offer, you might want to include a collection of video testimonials from satisfied customers.

Here’s how you do it:
1. Make the video and save it in a commonly used video format such as AVI, MPEG, or WMV. This will ensure that the presentation will play successfully regardless of what kind of computer you’re using to access it.

2. Save the video in the same folder as your PowerPoint presentation.

3. In the PowerPoint presentation, go to the slide where you want the video to play. If you’re on PowerPoint 2003, go to the Insert menu, select Movies and Sounds, select From File, and choose the movie you want. If you’re using PowerPoint 2007, you have two options. If the slide layout includes a content placeholder, click the Insert Movie button in the placeholder. Or you can also click the Movie button in the Media Clips group on the Insert tab, pictured here:

4. Whether you’re using the 2003 or the 2007 version, you’ll be prompted to specify whether you want the video the play automatically or only when you’ve manually clicked it.
And that’s it!

One important thing to remember: unlike pictures or drawings, videos are not actually embedded in presentations. They’re linked files. The presentation has to know where to “look” when you ask it to play the video, and if you move the video after you set up the link in the presentation, PowerPoint won’t know where to find the original video. So make sure the video is stored in a logical place before you link it. The most logical place, of course, is in the same folder as the presentation itself – thus Step #2 above. Keeping all the relevant files in the same place also makes for easy copying if you need to save the presentation to CD or other media.

The fact that videos are linked, not embedded, also presents some challenges if you want to send somebody a presentation by email. The easiest thing to do is use the Package for CD feature, which can bundle up all linked files and your presentation into a single ZIP file. You can then email the ZIP file.


Think You Can Ignore Social Media? Bill Gates and The Pope Disagree.

Twitter was a buzz last week when news broke that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was joining the ranks of the micro-blogging community.  Some were surprised it had taken this long, others sent him welcome wishes and everyone was anxious to hear what the wealthiest man in the world had to say (mostly Thank You’s and information on Haiti relief efforts, thus far).  So what value does Gates see in being part of this community?  He says he’s using twitter to listen.  He wants to hear what people have to say about the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  And with nearly 350,000 followers in less than a week, he should get an earful.

Gates isn’t the only surprising new resident in our social media neighborhood.  Say hello to the Catholic Church.   Pope Benedict XVI has been a driving force behind the creation of a Vatican YouTube channel, applications for Facebook and iPhone and has recently encouraged priests to take up blogging.  So why is an institution often accused of being inflexible and outdated so anxious to hop on the social media bandwagon?  Simple.  The Pope knows where the people are.  They’re online.

Now maybe you’re thinking that the Pope and Bill Gates are in a bit of a different position than you, the small business owner.  While I don’t want you to sell yourself short, you’re probably right.  But there’s still a lesson to be learned here:  you have to listen to your community and reach out to them on their turf.

Listen by setting up social searches and taking to heart the feedback and information you get.   Take your message to your audience by being an an online resource for your community.  As a small business owner, you don’t need to set goals like having a wikipedia-grade resource center.  Stick with what you know.  Do you frequently get asked the same question by a bunch of different people? Write a blog post explaining the answer.  Keep it simple, but quit ignoring it.  The world is talking online and if you’re not listening, you’re putting your business at a disadvantage.

Using Headers and Footers in Word 2007

Many people have finally made the switch to the Vista or Windows 7 operating system, and the accompanying Office 2007 suite of popular programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For those who have upgraded, one of the most frustrating things about going to Office 2007 is figuring out where all those tools that used to live under menus now live on the new toolbar named the “Office Ribbon.”

Take, for example, the insertion of headers and footers. You used to be able to simply go to the View menu, select Header and Footer, and instantly start working with the header and footer text.

With Word 2007, header and footer editing now falls under the Insert tab, under the Header and Footer group (see image below).

You can either select from a series of pre-designed headers and footers, or you can custom design your own. To use the pre-designed ones, just click the header or footer design you want and it will be inserted on every page of your document.

To customize a header or footer, click Edit Header or Edit Footer. Go to the Insert group on the Design tab, under the Header & Footer Tools tab, in order to insert text or graphics.

To make a unique header or footer for your first page, go to the first page of your document and double click the header or footer. Then, under Header & Footer Tools on the Design tab, in the Options group, select the Different First Page check box.

If you don’t want any header or footer on your first page, go to the first page of your document and double click the header or footer. Then, under Header & Footer Tools on the Design tab, in the Options group, select the Different First Page check box. Delete the contents of the header or footer from the First Page Header or First Page Footer area.

What The Google Case in China Means For Your Small Business

One week ago, Google announced that its company and at least 20 others were victims of a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” originating in China in mid-December, evidently to gain access to the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Until now, Google has run a “censored version” of its search engine in China to comply with local laws and government stipulations. As a result of the attack, Google stated its plans to operate a completely uncensored version of its search engine in China “within the law, if at all”, and acknowledged that if this is not possible it may leave China and close its Chinese offices.

Although the Google/China case has blown to such proportions because of external factors and difficult international relations, the vulnerability of some of the most leading-edge technology companies has definite implications for business owners around the world.  New, more targeted spying and malware attacks are making the computer-security game one that is no longer safe to play alone.

First, the purpose of the malware is different.  The goals are no longer to simply disable a computer or network or to steal single files of information.  The goals of malware now are to sit, undetected on a server and spy on a network for long periods of time, giving cyber criminals access to large parts (if not all) of a business’ most important information.

Second, the method of gaining access to networks is more targeted and constantly evolving.  From individually sent e-mails from a “friend” or “colleague,” to notifications from a person’s bank or the IRS, to USB drives left in parking lots or work spaces, the roads to accessing a network are numerous and growing each day.  Other techniques for getting inside company’s infrastructure involve exploiting weaknesses in Web-site or network-routing software and using those openings as gateways for malware.  Think your cellphone is safe from malware?  Think again.  New viruses can turn on a phone’s camera, microphone, GPS and more.

While large companies are definitely at risk for attacks, its the small business owner with the real target on his back.  Why? According to a Yankee Group study, 40% of small businesses rank computer security breaches as an important issue, but nearly half defer security upgrades due to cost concerns.  Why would a criminal spend months or years trying to infiltrate Google’s network, when there are probably five businesses within walking distance of his home with unsecured networks?

While most medium and large organizations have Information Technology departments many small businesses don’t even have one person dedicated to IT tasks. In these situations there are often vulnerabilities related to un-patched systems or improperly configured equipment. Since these companies don’t have IT staff it is highly probably they don’t have anyone thinking about information security. These companies probably don’t have defined policies relating to system use or configuration.  They’re the low-hanging fruit cyber criminals are looking for and they may not even know it.

Unfortunately, many of those unsuspecting small business owners will be affected by an incident directly related to their network security.  Many small business owners, having never experienced the impact of a security breach, are complacent and have a passive response to the technological threat to their computer infrastructure. They have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude and aren’t stirred to action until it is too late. They don’t plan or budget for solutions to the possibility of trouble and, have nowhere to turn when it happens.  Does your business have a disaster recovery plan?

The attack on Google was just a hiccup in operations for the massive company, but the stakes are much higher for a small business. The US Department of Labor estimates that over 40% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.

Password-protecting your small business network  just isn’t enough anymore.  As technology rapidly advances, so do the threats to that technology and ultimately your business.  Fortunately, keeping your business safe doesn’t have to break the bank.  CMIT Solutions is an industry-leader in small business technology who understands the needs of the sbusiness owner.  Let us keep your technology running so you can run your business.

Thanks to Armando D’Accordo, owner of CMIT Solutions of South Nassau for collaborating on this article.  You can visit Armando’s blog here for other great articles.  You can also and find him on Linkedin and Facebook.

Great Use of Tech Innovations: Haiti Text Campaign

In the past few years, as texting has become more and more prevalent, different companies have emerged to try to capitalize on the trend.  Outside of phone companies charging a user for SMS, other businesses have designed systems for users to text a specific code to a number and receive something in return, most popularly, music/ringtones and pictures.

This week, as the world watched in horror as images of a poverty-stricken country suffering from one of the most violent natural disasters in recorded history, technology played a new role: humanitarian.

Donations to Haiti via text messages have surpassed $5 million in a matter of days.  Donations are coming in at a rate of about $200,000 each hour, so the total is likely to be closer to $6 million soon.

Ten years ago, this type of campaign would have been nearly impossible.  Today, it’s taken less than a week.  As we go through our daily lives struggling to make technology work better, faster and cheaper, it’s important to remember that we can use it to help others around the world as well.

You can donate $10 to Haiti relief by texting “Haiti” to 90999.

Email Archiving 101

In the past few years, we’ve seen tremendous advances that allow people to communicate more effectively — from smartphones to collaborative workspaces to content management systems, it’s easier than ever for people to record and share ideas. And yet still, if you ask someone what communication technology is absolutely essential to their business, chances are they’ll say email.

Email not only serves as many companies’ preferred communication tool, but also as an informal repository of institutional knowledge. And that in turn makes it vital not only to the regular flow of business, but also as a component in the legal discovery process.

Email serves as evidence in many business-related legal proceedings nowadays and can be subject to subpoena just like paper files. If your business ended up in a legal dispute, would you be able to easily access and search several years’ worth of archives in order to produce evidence requested by a lawyer or judge?

That’s the idea behind email archiving — making sure that all the content contained in email communications is readily accessible and searchable. You don’t need to be involved in a lawsuit to recognize what a benefit that can be. An email archive can help you track down years-old communications and documents. It can also help you start operating again, quickly, in the event of a disaster.

CMIT Solutions is holding a webinar on email archiving — what it is, why it’s important, and how it works — Friday, January 22, at noon Central Time. Learn how your business can structure its email services so that you can locate, recover, and ensure continuous access to email from anywhere. Go to to sign up.

Playing God in Windows 7

Hate clicking around through the Control Panel in Windows as much as I do?

Enter Windows 7 God Mode.

Windows 7 God Mode

You’re just a couple of clicks away from having access to all Control Panel options in a single folder.  Read the quick (less than 5 minutes, literally) CNET tutorial and go work your magic.