Total Failure Points Out Where There’s Work To Do!

_MG_0631Hello again, it’s time for a status update.

Well, Godaddy’s Quick Blogcast feature has finally gone to the grave, so all the linked images that were dependent on that hosting are coming up as broken links.

That’s actually kind of good news as it makes it easy for me to see where things need to be cleaned up.

I’ve done two of the legacy posts and it’s made two things apparent to me.

I don’t know enough about how tables work in WordPress or at least how they’re different from HTML tables. Fixing some of the prior formatting will require playing around a bit.  It’s easy enough to restore pictures, but getting them to line up the way they did before… not obvious.

The second issue, and more to the point, are the links to the podcasts.  These will be easy to restore but I need to look into widgets for playing them right on the page, which is the way the site used to work.

Of course, you can still go to and download or play them in iTunes or your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.  That’s actually what I would do if I were you.  I’ve always thought that what with browser crashes, needing to reboot, and other annoyances that listening to podcasts in a browser was a bit tedious.

Your choice of course.  I’ll get those buttons up in a few days, starting with the more recent podcasts and working back from there.

Soon as I figure out which widget to use…

August 31, 2014

Part Three: What Comes Next…

So today I put off “part three.”  Part three is going to be a lot of work, and I’ve been working hard on other “real world” things today so I wanted to play a little.  I added a banner photo, an update on the old banner. Let me explain it to you.


The first picture is what you see when you’re on the roundtable.  A mic through a “pop” filter.  The next picture is me.  Howard Cooperstein is the third picture. Howard was my partner in crime during many years at Microsoft on the PowerPoint team, his office was next to mine. I knew when Howard was on a design roll because I could hear his whiteboard bouncing on our shared wall.

The next picture is Garr Reynolds. I’m proud to call this Zen Master of presenting a friend. If you don’t know him already, you should get to know him. Find out more at Presentation Zen.

Finally, we have Nancy Duarte. Nancy is to Presentations as Diana Ross is to… well you get it.  The founder and CEO of Duarte design group, she’s a rock star of presenting.

These were the four people who first sat down at the roundtable, and I felt they deserved to always be at the head of that table. We have had and hopefully will continue to have great voices here, but they will always have been the first.

So, what comes next?  Why actually hooking up the individual podcasts to the pages so you can listen to them!  It’s a bunch of by-hand work that will take a while.  I’ve learned a lot about audio production since the early days of these podcasts, and I may give in to my vanity and remaster them.  That will make things slower, but I’m not in a rush.  These are all old friends and I’m happy to hang out with them again.

Ric Bretschneider
June 24th 2014 10:33PM

Well, part two worked…

Thanks to Godaddy cancelling the tool previously used to host Presentations Roundtable Podcasts and Blog I’ve had to scramble a bit to keep things working.

Part one was the manipulation of the actual Podcasts so that iTunes subscribers could continue to have seamless access to the existing shows. That was finished a couple of weeks ago, seamlessly of course, so nobody noticed.

Part  two was to rehost the actual blog entries that went around the production and introduction of each podcast. That’s just got done today. Kind of. The text is there, and the pictures show up, but there are no links to play the podcasts.

And as soon as the original Godaddy tool shuts down the pictures will temporarily disappear. I’ll have a bit of work to re-introduce those images into the original articles when that happens. I’m putting it off until actually needed.

Finally I’ll edit the podcast announcement pages to reintroduce a podcast player right there on the page, for those who won’t or can’t use iTunes to sync to your iDevices. But for now, I’ve got a mild headache and am thinking of calling it a day.



By the way, if you want to get to the archive of podcasts you can either go to the iTunes store for access and sync’ing, or use the RSS feed if you know how to handle that geeky stuff.

Please! Don’t Lose Touch!

Just want to put up a quick note to let you know that this blog and podcast will likely be going away very soon.

But it’s totally against my will. Godaddy is eliminating the service I’ve used to create and store the blog entries and podcasts of Presentations Roundtable.
If you don’t want to lose touch, you can do one of a couple of things.
Follow me on Twitter: @ricbret
I’ll announce when the content finds a new hosting home.
This is my “hub” site, and everything I do is linked to this site.  It will be getting an upgrade soon, but will only grow in content going forward.
Send me your e-mail address and I’ll let you know when things settle down.  I promise that this will be a one-time mailing.  You can write to me at ricbret (at) ricbret (dot) com.  

Three More Keynotes

Just how much did the professional presentations business change in the last year?  
We recently sat down with three giants in the field of creating effective and compelling presentations; Slideology author Nancy Duarte, Distinction Services’s Jim Endicott, and Julie Terberg of Terberg design – three keynote speakers at the PowerPoint Live 2008 conference. keynotes2008
It seemed like a great time to catch up on how the presentations business has been doing.  Is “death by PowerPoint” in remission?  Is there hope at last, and what role are colleges and recent graduates playing here? How do you calculate cost of a bad presentation? What’s your pre-presentation game plan?  What’s different about web-based presentations?
We’ll cover all that, and more in this episode. 

Listen Now (click the play button below)

or Subscribe!

Show Links

Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design
Jim Endicott of Distinction Services 
Julie Terberg of Terberg Design
Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte
The Ted Conference  
The Computer History Museum
Microsoft Roundtable 
Cisco Telepresencel

Photos by Rik Flohr

What is MVP Disease?

 What is MVP disease?  And more important, how do you benefit from it?

Echo and Julie

Echo and Julie

The annual PowerPoint Live conference is a regular opportunity to catch up with some of our favorite presentations professionals, and to record a few podcasts of course.  In this first of two episodes we sit down for a session with a record SEVEN commentators.

These are the PowerPoint MVPs, an amazing group of volunteers who spend their time and energy helping you out with advice and solutions through web sites and the PowerPoint newsgroups. 

Troy and Steve

Troy and Steve

At PowerPoint Live they help keep the conference running by presenting and running an amazing help center for the duration of the conference, but they still found time to sit down for a great chat.

John and Sandy

John and Sandy



Listen Now (click the play button below)

or Subscribe!


Dramtis personæ

Echo Swinford
John Wilson
Julie Terberg
Sandra Johnson
Todd Dunn
Troy Chollar

So long Brian…
A tribute to Brian Reilly:

All photos by Troy Chollar, used with permission.

Delayed, but almost here…

Well, the next podcast is in sight, delayed slightly, but worth the wait.  A huge session with more speakers than ever, over seven guests talking about what it means to be in the PowerPoint MVP program, is in post-edit production.  (Translation: the main show audio is edited, but I’m too sleepy right now to finish the production edit.

The show will post in a day or so, so come back and listen!  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek from the show…

grouppicLeft to right, John Wilson, Sandra Johnson, Echo Swinford, Julie Terberg, Ric Bretschneider, Troy Chollar, and Steve Rindsberg at the microphones.  (Not pictured, Todd Dunn).

Photo and 3D stitching by Troy Chollar

Next up: Two New Podcasts from PowerPoint Live 2008


Jim Endicott and Nancy Duarte

OK, we’re getting back to the roots here.

The first set of Presentations Roundtable podcasts I produced were recorded at the PowerPoint Live 2007 conference in New Orleans about a year ago.  Well, September was a busy month, a lot of extra activity due to PowerPoint Live 2008. This year returning to San Diego California, we recorded two sessions which are currently in post-production.

The first is a pretty wild session with a large group of PowerPoint MVPs – these are the “Most Valuable Professionals” who, although they don’t actually work for Microsoft, spend an enormous amount of time supporting the product and it’s customers. You won’t find a more concentrated group of true PowerPoint experts anywhere.  And they’re a pretty roudy group.  We break our “number of people at the roundtable” record with this session!

The second session brings together three of my favorite experts on presenting and design. Julie Terberg, Jim Endicott, and Nancy Duarte reprise their recording session from last year.  This is a great opportunity to reflect on the state of presentations and how it’s changed over the last twelve months.

Expect to see the PPT MVP roundtable up this weekend.


Remembering Brian

I’m repeating a blog I wrote earlier this week for the PowerPoint Team Blog. I don’t usually cross paths on content, but I hope you’ll forgive me this one, personal moment. -Ric

Pardon me for a somewhat personal departure from our usual topics, but I think it’s important to note that Brian is no longer here to help us continue developing new versions of PowerPoint for you.

Brian Reilly passed from this world last week.  Brian was a PowerPoint MVP; a Most Valued Professional.  And you really should have known Brian.

Brian Reilly

In 2002 I took on the responsibility for managing the PowerPoint team communications with our MVPs.  This was not a reward, we had a pretty rocky relationship with the MVPs at that time, mostly because no
one on the team had really spent any time figuring out what the program was about or how we might profit from the relationship.  That’s changed a lot over the years, but at the time it was a somewhat frightening

Most vocal among the PowerPoint MVPs was a guy
named Brian Reilly.  He had the reputation of being rude and annoyingly persistent, and of not taking no for an answer.  His mails, the only contact I’d had with him, were very blunt in telling us where we’d gone
wrong in developing the product.  I set up our first MVP group phone conference with more than a little concern about what Brian would say.

The meeting started and after a few minutes of listening I realized one thing about Brian. It wasn’t that he was willfully rude or abusive.  He was just a “typical New Yorker,” and there was nothing really personal in his assessment of our situation.  I realized I could deal with this,
and we went on to develop a really productive and enjoyable relationship.

Brian was loved among the MVP program, in the way you can only love a paradox.  Impish and mischievous one moment, dead serious and analytical another, and always looking to make sure everyone was taken care of, that no one was left behind, left out, or unrecognized in their achievements.

Brian and Debbie Bretschneider in NYC

Brian with Debbie Bretschneider in NYC

In the last couple of years New York city has become a personal
favorite vacation spot for my family.  Brian showed up on our first day
there teach us the city, walking us up and down the streets and
avenues, explaining how they worked, how to ride the subway, how to get
lost in Greenwich Village.  To this day my son still quotes Brian about
how “in New York, it’s dinner time when you want to eat dinner.”

I miss him already, and the thought that I will no longer get his
insights and advice, or be the subject of his jokes or pranks… will
have its effect for quite a while.

You should know Brian was a fierce advocate for you, the PowerPoint user.  Your work in
PowerPoint is made easier because he was just such a unique person. I’m
sorry that most of you never had a chance to meet him, or thank him.

Brian is survived by his brothers Joe and Bill, and his sister Mary Horton.
Those of us who knew Brian will be observing a minute of silence on
Sunday the 28th, 8am Pacific in Seattle and California, 11am Eastern
Daylight in New York and Cincinnati, 4pm British Summer Time in London
and Surrey, and 8:30pm Coordinated Universal time +5:30 hrs in Chennai,

If you have the opportunity to join us for that moment, wherever you are, please do.

Ric Bretschneider
September 26, 2008

My PowerPoint Summer: Five Intern Tales

  What’s it like to work on the world’s leading presentation software program… for three months?

  This episode is a bit of a change of pace, as we take advantage of a pretty geeky
opportunity to talk with five guys who chose to spend their summer vacation
interning on the Microsoft PowerPoint development team. 

Direct from the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus,  we sit down with (pictured left to right) Trevor Florence, Nirav Sanghani, Mike Rodgers, Jesse Harvey, and Luiz Franca Pereira Filho to learn all about their Microsoft California Summer adventure. 







It’s a fun and informative change of pace episode.  Enjoy!

Listen Now (click the play button below) or Subscribe!

Links mentioned in the podcast, and a few more:

Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus

PowerPoint Team: Introducing the 2008 Summer Interns