“There is something wrong with these files …”

The desktop technician solved the problem himself, with the comment

There is something wrong with these files …

but didn’t realise it.

Microsoft PowerPoint XP was crashing whenever the customer was trying to open a particular set of files.

Google should have been his friend here.
aka Let Me Google That For You : Powerpoint crashes when opening file

The first link, PowerPoint crashes while opening certain presentations, has the answer.

“Since you can’t tell from within PPT whether an image was RGB or CMYK, you’ll need to go back to the source image files to verify whether this is the problem. Using PPT2003’s Save Image As feature, you could save the image as PNG or JPG, re-import it and delete the original. The presentation should then open in earlier versions of PowerPoint.”

PowerPoint does not support CMYK very well.  No surprise there.

So how do we tell if a PowerPoint file has a CMYK image in it, if we can’t open it?

If it’s a PPT file, in other words a PowerPoint 97-2003 format file, to confirm the issue we can use Notepad, and search for CMYK.
cmyk in a powerpoint file

If it’s a PPTX file, in other words a PowerPoint 2007+ file, and you don’t have PowerPoint 2007, you could try the following.

  1. Rename the PPTX file extension to ZIP
    powerpoint 2007 icon –> powerpoint 2007 extenstion renamed into zip
  2. Open the file with your favourite archive program.
    pptx file contents
  3. Search for the offending image, and replace it.  Or delete it.
    (no, I don’t know an easy way to find the offending image, sorry)
  4. Rename the ZIP back to PPTX, and then that should fix your issue.

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“Live A Life That Matters”

Live A Life That Matters, first page of a powerpoint slidedeck.

A long time, and many jobs ago, I worked in Darwin in the same company as one Sue Stanway.  Now there are lots of things I could say about Sue, and none of them bad.

Going though my old email attachments, I found this Power Point slide deck from Sue.

The important thing that stuck from the slide deck is

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

(clicking on the picture, or clicking here, will download the Power Point slide show for you)

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How can you determine a bird’s sex?

“Until now I was never able to determine which was the male and which the female.

I always thought that it had to be determined surgically, while ornitholigsts spoke about the feathers, the size, the beak and other equally idiotic ways that required hours upon hours of observing them in their natural habitat and so on.

Until now…

Of two birds, which is the female?”

(continues in the attached Powerpoint slideshow)

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Some shared IT items.

The Athens Affair
By Vassilis Prevelakis and Diomidis Spinellis
How some extremely smart hackers pulled off the most audacious cell-network break-in ever

Social Engineering, the USB Way
Those thumb drives can turn external threats into internal ones in two easy steps

IT secrets for keeping users happy
It’s important to remember your users. Most of the changes you make to your systems, policies, and procedures will have at least some user impact. And happy users mean happy system administrators, right?

Top 10 Ways to Fire the Client From Hell
How to tactfully rid your business of penny-penching, unreliable and abusive clients.

Scott Hanselman’s 2009 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows
Everyone collects utilities, and most folks have a list of a few that they feel are indispensable. Here’s mine. Each has a distinct purpose, and I probably touch each at least a few times a week. For me, util means utilitarian and it means don’t clutter my tray. If it saves me time, and seamlessly integrates with my life, it’s the bomb. Many/most are free some aren’t. Those that aren’t free are very likely worth your 30-day trial, and perhaps your money.

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint
… I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

Mount an ISO image in Windows Vista
The freeware utility from Microsoft to mount ISO Images doesn’t work in Windows Vista. Thankfully there’s another utility that does.
The utility that we will use is called Virtual Clone Drive. This utility will let you mount .ISO, .CCD, .DVD, .IMG, .UDF and .BIN files. Download the utility and start the setup process.