Ric Bretschneider

My thoughts in your brain…

Archive for the ‘PowerPoint’ Category

PowerPoint History, 25 years ago…

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This has to be quick.  Sorry for any typos or errors, but I’m packing, medicating, and generally running about today and this could not wait.

I got a very nice letter from Bob Gaskins yesterday. If you don’t recognize the name, here’s a clue: He’s the guy who “invented PowerPoint”. Quotes are there because 1) there were a couple of other guys involved in the birthing process and 2) I think the product gets reinvented with every new release. However it was Bob who built the vision for the product and made it happen.

Bob’s written a new book, called Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint. He wrote it specifically to celebrate the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint. And I’m reading it right now (along with preparing for two separate conventions and five panels I’m on this weekend, I did mention running about crazily, right?).  So I’ll do more of a review later, but wanted to get this out to you, dear reader, because you’re special to me.

I’m really excited about this. Bob left just before I joined the team, and notes that fact on page 14, saying

Ric Bretschneider (Wizard #77) joined just after I left, stayed with the group for 17 
years (twice as long as I stayed)…

And of course there’s more, but you’ve got to read it for yourself or wait for my later review.  OK, one more thing, how’s this for a blast from the past…
It's kinda like looking at cave drawings....

It’s kinda like looking at cave drawings….

What else does it say?  What’s all that Wizard 77 stuff?  Well, you’ve got a chance to find out for yourself because it’s available on Amazon right now, right here:  Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint

I can’t wait to see how it ends…


25 Gigs for Nothin’ And The Clicks for Free…

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Ok, I’ll apologize for that title first. Sounded better in my head.

Wanted to get this out fast because according to a quick poll of friends a lot of people may have missed the news.

Hope you already had a Skydrive, because if you did you just got upgraded to 25 gigabytes of storage!

All you have to do is log in to Hotmail/MSN/live and click the link to Skydrive. If you’ve ever stored a file up there you should get an option to upgrade your account to 25 Gigabytes of storage for free!

It's like some weird intelligence test. "Um, 20gb for $10, or 25gb for free? I'm so confused."

Among cloud services that’s gotta be the best deal available. There are iPad, iPhone, and Win7 phone apps available and you can always access your files via login with browser. Also PC and Mac desktop apps.

It’s noted this is for a limited time, so head right over!  And, reader from the dark and mysterious future where this is already past, wipe your tears as the new base storage is an industry leading 7 gigabytes anyway!

Way to make the Google Drive announcement sound limp Microsoft!

Microsoft SkyDrive – Skydrive.live.com

Written by ricbret

April 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

The Ultimate PowerPoint Survivor…

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Here’s a trivia question for you.  PowerPoint has been around forever. Bob Gaskins, the father of PPT puts the start date for the team as 1984.  Lots of great folks have come and gone, and a few have even come back.  But who is the one person who has been on the team, without leaving and returning, the longest?

That would be Judea Eden.

Judea Eden Back Then - Photo by Bob Gaskins

Judea Eden was the 17th person to join the ranks of The Wizards of Menlo Park, the core group of folks from the earliest days of PowerPoint – those who pretty much set the pace for the application.

If you’re curious, I joined that team in 1993, and am 77th on the list.  To put a point on this, there are only two people still at Microsoft who predated me, and Judea was the winner for having been there the longest, still on the core PowerPoint team.

We think about the brains and wills behind the development of the PowerPoint application. But if you were looking for the heart of the team, I’d say Judea is a great candidate for that recognition.  You see, Judea kept the PowerPoint team flush in supplies, equipment, and more that a little late-night food during crunch time.  She organized all our off-site and team building activities, coordinated resources for moves between sites and buildings.

And she added more than a little humanity to the group.  She’s a sweetheart, through and through.  She cares about everyone on the team, even those who might not really deserve that care.  Because, dear reader, she’s just sweetly guileless and truly wants to make people happy.

Onward to a bright future...

When I joined the team, we worked in an office on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, CA.  I’d really resisted the idea of going to work for Microsoft, even on the PowerPoint product, an application I really liked.  But it was Microsoft, the company that had always beaten the companies I’d worked for before.  I really felt like I’d stepped into enemy territory, and I doubted that I’d make any friends or actually be there very long.

At noon on my first day this girl appeared in the doorway to my office, I’ll always recall she had a shiny black plastic lunchbox-styled purse, and said “Hi, I’m Judea, wannna go grab some lunch?”  Because that’s what Judea does, she makes you feel welcome.

My first friend at Microsoft, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Judea is an amazing amalgam of interests and talents.  A few years back she started a serious study of nutrition and health. In fact that’s part of the next phase of her life, working for a company in the health and wellness.

But there’s a crazy-fun side to Judea too.  She’s the lead singer for The Judea Eden Band, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to catch one of their shows in San Francisco or around the Bay Area, I highly encourage you to do so.  You can thank me later.

So, after a quarter century (and the years don’t show at all kiddo!) Judea is moving on and up to a position in another company, leaving Microsoft diminished for her leaving.  Her last day is Friday the 13th, 2012.  I hope that’s not a bad omen for those she leaves behind.

I can only say thanks for being my friend.  The PowerPoint world would have been a much lesser place but for you.

Written by ricbret

January 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm