Apparently our military is now fighting a Powerpoint insurgency, according to an article today in the NY times entitled “We have Met the Enemy and He is Powerpoint”.
Here I was thinking this would be an article about the perils of large Powerpoint files, and it was, sorta. Except this article didn’t focus so much on the size of Powerpoint files but on the content. It seems that no military meeting, report or presentation is now considered complete without a Powerpoint slide deck, consuming numerous hours in the preparation. While several high profile military commanders are fighting back against the “death by Powerpoint” there is no end in sight.
General McChrystal the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan was shown a Powerpoint slide in Kabul last summer that is now bouncing around the Internet as an example of Powerpoint gone out of control. This slide is truly frightening and as General McChrystal dryly remarked ““When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”
Rampant “powerpointing” can be a real nuisance for IT departments. I did a quick check on my computer and many of my powerpoint slide decks are greater than 5MB. Sending around powerpoint slides to even a modest distribution list can really push the limits on email storage and performance. With email attachments typically taking up more than 70% of email storage – Powerpoint slide decks are one of the major contributors.
Given the realization that Powerpoints are not going away any time soon – what can be done to fight back? As a minimum, consider sending Powerpoint slides via Accellion file transfer instead of email attachments so that at least you make your IT department happy. Also T.X. Hammes Essay entitled “Dumb Dumb Bullets” published in the Armed Forces Journal should be required reading for all military personnel.
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