Absolute PowerPoint - Can a software package edit our thoughts?

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Before there were presentations, there were conversations, which were a little like presentations but used fewer bullet points, and no one had to dim the lights. PowerPoint, which can be found on two hundred and fifty million computers around the world, is software you impose on other people. It allows you to arrange text and graphics in a series of pages, which you can project, slide by slide, from a laptop computer onto a screen, or print as a booklet. It helps you make a case, but it also makes its own case.

The usual metaphor for everyday software is the tool,
but that doesn’t seem to be right here. PowerPoint is
more like a suit of clothes, or a car, or plastic surgery.
You take it out with you. You are judged by it—you
insist on being judged by it. It is by definition a social
instrument, turning middle managers into bullet-point
dandies. But PowerPoint also has a private, interior influence.
It edits ideas. It is, almost surreptitiously, a business
manual as well as a business suit, with an opinion—an
oddly pedantic, prescriptive opinion—about the way
we should think. It helps you make a case, but it also
makes its own case: on presentations, insisting on something
it calls the “Rule of Seven”: “Seven (7) bullets or lines per page,
seven (7) words per line.”

Read Ian Parkers essay ABSOLUTE POWERPOINT from The
New Yorker, May 28, 2001 in pdf

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