How to create a PowerPoint presentation for a kiosk or trade show booth

Can I format or compile my PowerPoint presentations to run automatically in a show booth or kiosk and, if so, how? Yes, you can and the how is much easier than you’d imagine.

First, create your slideshow as you would any other presentation. Add your graphics, text, animations, and transitions (between slides). If you have animations that play over multiple slides, then the timing must also be set before you compile the presentation for a kiosk.

Also consider the audio. Do you want music, verbal narration, or both? Most professional presentations use both (but necessarily simultaneously); however, some do play music softly in the background while the narrator speaks over the music. Either way, this is another area where timing is essential. Obviously, you want the narrator’s voice to follow the text on the slide. It is OK if the narrator’s speech is more detailed than the slide headers and bullet points, but it’s not OK if the narrator is talking about the Team while the Financials slide is viewed.

Add background music to the entire presentation

This is the easiest step of all.

1. Select Insert > Audio> Audio on My PC

y01 set the timing to match the narration JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Set the timing to match the narration.

2. The Insert Audio dialog window opens and displays a list of audio files in your Music Library.

3. Click the music file you want to play in the background of your slideshow, then click the Insert button.

4. PowerPoint places the Audio icon (looks like a speaker) in the middle of the slide. Click and drag it anywhere on the slide that’s unobtrusive.

Is your Switch controller drifting? Nintendo faced with lawsuit over Joy-Con issues

The Nintendo Switch is a true haven for fun gaming, able to shift with ease between portable and home play. But recent reports of issues with the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers could be putting that at risk.

Multiple Nintendo Switch owners have spoken out on their Joy-Cons ‘drifting’: when a joystick incorrectly tracks user input in a certain direction, steadily dragging the camera angle or causing the avatar onscreen to run off where they shouldn’t be. 

It’s something that can technically happen to any joystick controller, Nintendo or otherwise, though it seems like Joy-Cons are more widely affected than the standard DualShock 4 controller.

The furore started in mid-July in the r/NintendoSwitch Reddit thread, with a long post over the drifting issues having over 27,000 upvotes at the time of writing.

User u/LocusAintBad wrote that “before someone says ‘Contact Nintendo and have them repair it’ I shouldn’t have to spend $40 and two weeks without my Joycons for them to just come back and break again in 4 months.”

Others have joined the outcry, with US law firm CSK&D even filing a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo “on behalf of purchasers of Switches and Joy-Con controllers,” given the “alleged defects”.

The drifting issues will only be affecting a minority of users, but given the millions of Switch consoles in use worldwide, even a small fraction of that install base could make up a considerable number of players who aren’t having the experience they expected when purchasing their Nintendo Switch.

My controllers are drifting! Help!

If you’re affected by this issue, the first thing to try is recalibrating the Joy-Cons through the Switch console settings. Head to the HOME menu and select System Settings, then select Controllers and Sensors to finish the job.

If issues persist, you’ll likely want to contact Nintendo customer support, though the cost for fixing a controller outside of the 90-day warranty (as referenced in the Reddit post above) won’t be much less money or hassle than simply buying a new Joy-Con controller.

Nintendo has spoken

Nintendo can be famously tight-lipped around internal hardware development or fixes, but the company did offer the following response to The Verge:

“At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com so we can help.”

Official responses don’t quite constitute action, of course, but with the Switch Lite on the way – which won’t have the luxury of detachable controllers you can easily replace, and may well use some cheaper hardware parts – we’re hoping the issue gets handled more thoroughly than a link to a customer support page.

Via The Verge

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What is Amazon Music Unlimited?

If you’re looking for unlimited, ad-free music across devices and you’re already an Amazon customer, it could be time to check out the online shopping giant’s Music Unlimited service, which challenges Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music head-on with aggressively priced subscription packages.

Available as an app on-the-go, or on all your smart home Alexa-enabled devices like the excellent Echo-series, the monthly or annual subscription service delivers tunes straight to your device, gives you plenty of scope for playlist making and suggested artist discovering, and it simultaneously undercuts much of the competition too.

Amazon Music Unlimited in a nutshell

Amazon Music Unlimited is a music streaming service that offers on-demand access to tens of millions of songs. Through the service, you can also access thousands of playlists, create your own or discover music with personalised Amazon Music stations and recommendations.

If you have an internet connection, you can access Amazon Music Unlimited anywhere, either through the app or the website, and even if you don’t, supported devices can save your music offline, so your long-haul flights and underground commutes can be lifted by a soundtrack of your choice.

What devices are supported?

If you have a smartphone or tablet, odds are, it can run Amazon Music unlimited. Just dive into the Apple App Store on your iOS device, Google Play Store on your Android Device or the Fire Store on your Kindle Fire tablet. Next, search for Amazon Music, download the app, and you’re good to go.

(Image credit: Amazon)

The music doesn’t stop there, however. Amazon Music is also accessible on Alexa devices throughout your smart home, whether it’s an Alexa enabled smart speaker, like the Sonos One, a Fire TV, or one of Amazon’s speakers or screens like the Echo Plus or the Echo Show. If you already have an excellent – but disconnected – sound system, you could even smarten it up and enable Amazon Music Unlimited on it with an Amazon Echo Input – one of our favourite, affordable gadgets of 2019.

Even if you don’t have a phone or smart speaker to hand, fire up a web browser window, and you can also access the service by heading to music.amazon.com, where you can access all your recommendations, playlists and saved albums at the office or a party in a pinch.

How do I find music on it?

Accessing tracks through the app or a browser couldn’t be easier, and with tens of millions of songs to choose from, it’ll probably have the one you’re looking for. There’s a familiar search bar in which to type in the artist, album or title you want to find. The results also display what you searched for, as well as some recommendations and playlists to help you find related tunes and broaden your musical repertoire. 

You can also find tracks by talking too, if you’ve got an Alexa enabled device. A quick “Alexa, play Abba, The Winner Takes It All”, will fire the song up, or if you want more of a mood setting playlist, “Alexa, play some dinner jazz” will have your party ambience on-point in moments 

Pushing your musical taste boat out and discovering new tracks is also a doddle, with curated Amazon’s Prime Playlists comprehensively spanning genres and decades. You can follow lists, which get updated so you’re always on top of new music, and you can even see what other Amazon Music Unlimited customers who listened to your favorite tracks listen to as well. 

How much does it cost?

A standard subscription price for a single user signing up to Amazon Music Unlimited is $9.99/£9.99 per month, but you can get your first four months for just 99¢/99p, working out to less than 25¢/25p per month. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

After the trial period is over, the monthly subscription bumps up to $9.99/£9.99 for standard users, $7.99/£7.99 if you’re an Amazon Prime member and $4.99/£4.99 for students. These subscriptions can be used across multiple devices, but offer only one user profile. 

If you just want an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for your smart speaker, but not on the go, that costs $3.99/£3.99 per month, per device, or you can get a family plan for $14.99/£14.99 per month for up to six users. Prime users can also benefit from some hefty discounts if they pay annually.

You can sign-up through your Android device, PC or Mac, Fire TV or Fire tablet – look for a “Go Unlimited” button to get started, go with a free plan or access the promotional four-month trial. Once subscribed, you can manage your subscription settings from your Amazon account through a browser – and you can cancel your subscription or free trial at any time.

But I already have Prime Music, aren’t they the same?

No, as great as Prime Music is as part of your Amazon Prime subscription, it isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive when it comes to the number of tracks available, when compared to Amazon Music Unlimited. 

A simple example is Elton John’s back catalogue, with tracks like I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues only available as part of Music Unlimited. In our search, 6/10 tracks we looked for were available on Prime Music, and 9/10 were available on Music Unlimited. 

So, it’s basically Spotify?

Yes, and no. The streaming music aspect of Spotify is very much covered by Amazon Music Unlimited. That said, it doesn’t officially support podcasts just yet, and Karaoke tracks, in particular, seem to be a bit thin on the ground, unlike on Spotify. When it comes to price, it does undercut the other services if you’re a Prime Member, especially if you have a six-person family. 

Breaking down the maths, an annual six-person subscription is $149/£149. If you have six users, that’s around $2/£2 per month, per user. Meanwhile, Spotify’s family-subscription is $14.99/£14.99 per month, which works out to $2.50/£2.50 per user. Over the year, that’s a saving of $30.88/£30.88 for the family on Amazon Music Unlimited versus Spotify.

As a result, if you’re living in a household filled with Alexa devices and people, and are tired of Peppa Pig popping up in your suggested tracks, then Amazon Music Unlimited could be a cost-effective way to get every member of your family, or every smart speaker a music profile of their, or its, own.

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Samsung RU8000 4K UHD TV review: A good-enough smart TV, but not one that’s keeping up with the times

Samsung’s $800, 55-inch RU8000 is a good 4K UHD TV. It has a thin design, a top-notch user interface, and a classy remote. Two years ago, it would’ve ruled the lower mid-range category. In 2019, its image looks flat when compared to such lower-priced TVs as the recently reviewed Hisense H8F. Hisense’s TV delivers much higher peak brightness, better color, and a user experience that’s almost as good—for hundreds less.

Design and specs

The RU8000 is a 4K UHD LED-backlit, LCD TV. I tested the 55-inch class (54.6 inches measured diagonally), which at 42.1 pounds (43 pounds including the feet) is light enough that a strong individual can easily wrangle it (just be careful not to squeeze the screen). Employing two people for the task will lessen the chance of damage. 

The body of the RU8000 is a mere 2.3 inches at its thickest point, and the feet are about 9.3 inches deep, so the TV will stand up on a relative shallow perch. There are bolt holes for a 200mm VESA mount if you prefer your TV on the wall, though only cradle types were shown as accessories on the RU8000’s webpage when I looked.

The port selection consists of four HDMI 2.0, two USB 2.0, coax, optical audio output, and ethernet—all located in a recess on the back of the TV. Do your hookups before you mount the TV if it will reside in an inconvenient location. 

At the time of this writing, Samsung’s website offered the 49-inch version of the RU8000 for $650, the 55-inch model I tested for $800, the 65-inch for $1,100, the 75-inch for $1,800, and the 82-inch for $2,600. Those were discounted prices, though I’ve yet to see a discount on Samsung’s site retreat to the full manufacturer’s suggested retail.

Interface and remote

The RU8000 sports the same Smart Hub interface that all the better Samsung TV’s feature. It’s nicely laid out and generally efficient, though it could use some work in terms of remembering where you left off (as can many). It does automatically recognize attached components and names them appropriately if they’re Samsung branded. There’s also a nice media guide, support for Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant, popular apps such as Netflix and YouTube, and the other usual software perquisites. Screen mirroring from a smart device is also supported.

The remote is universal, and basically the same slick, minimalist design that ships with the company’s pricier TVs. The only difference is the three shortcut/advertising buttons for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu that reside directly below the volume and channel rockers. They’re handy if you use those services, I suppose, but they’re useless if you don’t. I’d have preferred dedicated transport (play, fast-forward, etc.) controls, as using the on-screen transport controls while playing movies, while not terribly difficult, is much less efficient.

remote b IDG

Except for the advertising buttons, which are great if they match your favorite services, the RU8000’s universal remote is as classy as the other One Remotes in the Samsung lineup.

Samsung’s remote and  interface form a potent combo, on par with LG’s or Roku’s, even if I’m somewhat critical about the balance of functionality between the two.

Roon Labs’ Nucleus music server review: Exquisite hardware for exceptional software

Roon Labs’ Roon music server software is is unparalleled in terms of its performance, its robust metadata support, and its flexibility. You can integrate any AirPlay, Chromecast, or native Roon RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) speakers and other audio gear for multi-room streaming. The high-end music-streaming services Tidal and Qobuz have integrated Roon so their subscribers can benefit from the Roon’s user interface and its deep well of metadata (reviews, lyrics, artist bios, genre classifications, album credits, release dates, recording dates, and even live concert dates). And that’s just scratching the surface of what Roon is capable of.

Roon is software, so you’ll need hardware to run it on. You can run it on a headless (no display needed) Mac or a PC, or you can set it up on a high-end NAS box (Roon recommends having at least an Intel Core i3 Ivy Bridge-architecture CPU, 4GB of RAM, and an SSD to run the server software). But none of those options are aesthetically pleasing (or quiet, since they’ll probably have cooling fans), and you might run into overheating problems if you hide the gear in a closet. And then there’s the whole matter of configuring Roon itself.

Roon now offers a way to get all the benefits of its software in a plug-and-play package: Check out Nucleus, Roon’s first stand-alone hardware/software solution. I’ve been evaluating Nucleus for more than five months and found it to be a stellar solution. Unfortunately, it’s also a very expensive solution, starting at $1,399 plus the cost of storage and a Roon subscription.

What is Nucleus?

Nucleus is an audio-optimized file server that you’ll almost never interact with directly. It has no mouse, no keyboard, and no display. It’s designed for passionate music lovers who don’t have the time, know-how, or inclination to build out a computer as a do-it-yourself project.

Side view of the Nucleus’ heat sink fins. Roon

Side view of the Nucleus’ heat sink fins.

Nucleus runs a stripped down, security-hardened version of Linux that’s optimized to run Roon. Its four-step setup is simple and straightforward, and you can run it from any web browser or smart device via Roon’s slick app (I’ll get into that more below).

Aesthetically speaking, the Nucleus looks like a giant heat sink. And that’s pretty much what its metal exterior is. The entire shell is designed to dissipate all processor heat efficiently. And it works. During my test period, I had the Nucleus on a shelf in my Salamander entertainment center. The Nucleus ran warm, but never hot. Ventilation was never an issue.

Roon Nucleus front quarter view Roon

A front quarter view of the Roon Nucleus.

Put an SSD inside the Nucleus and it will have no moving parts whatsoever. It will operate in dead silence. You’ll never know you have it in your room, much less your equipment rack. If you really want to geek out, check out Roon’s white paper dedicated to the design and engineering choices made during the Nucleus’ development.

Built-in inputs/outputs

The heart of the Nucleus is an Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing), a small form factor desktop computer, and it gives you several built-in input/output options: There are two USB 3.0 ports that you can use for connecting external hard drives and/or a DAC of your choice. The HDMI output supports stereo and multi-channel audio output. There’s a USB-C port on the unit’s rear that right now doesn’t serve any practical purpose. Roon might (or might not) enable that port for added functionality down the road.

How retagging at distribution helps retailers

About the author

Ken Moir is the VP of Marketing at NiceLabel.

In the apparel and garment world of today, fashion needs to be fast. As trends appear on the catwalk and are then endorsed on social media channels such as Instagram, it becomes a race for retailers to translate these fashions into affordable and wearable items at mass scale. 

Sales forecasting is crucial, as is getting the garments onto the shop floor before the next big trend hits the runway and they go out of fashion. Getting it wrong is not an option – retailers need to stay relevant at all times. It’s not enough to simply produce one winter and one summer collection if they want to appeal to the majority of the market.

And this is not the only shift in consumer expectations in recent years. Consumers also want to get their fashion fix quickly, be that picking up the latest pair of jeans in the right size in store as soon as their favorite celebrity is seen wearing them, or expecting same-day delivery for online orders.

Then there are the returns. It’s not uncommon for consumers to purchase multiple items in several sizes and colors and then to return the majority of them. And discounting also needs to be managed quickly and efficiently. As new collections hit the market, retailers need to quickly discount any remaining stock from previous collections in order to minimize surplus and maximize sales. 

Meeting the challenges

This obsession with speed has multiple implications for the retagging process. Increasing numbers of garment manufacturers are realizing that they need to adopt the same mentality to their retagging and labeling process as to their garment manufacturing. 

The legacy approach to retagging, working with external tagging agents or bureaus and sending pricing information back-and-forth between external suppliers and internal departments, does nothing for speed and agility. In fact, in using this process, retailers can wait weeks for printed tags to arrive, which impacts their ability to react quickly in a market where consumer desires are constantly shifting.

In addition, the number of garment returns for online orders has risen exponentially. It’s not unheard of for fashion retailers to experience return rates in excess of 40%  . But with these returns comes the need for retagging so the items can be sold again. And this needs to be done quickly or fashion trends will have moved on before they get back out onto the shop floor or back into stock. 

What’s needed is a system that allows tags to be printed on-demand and a system that can be deployed across distribution centers, warehouses, stores and even external suppliers. Retailers who take charge of this process so that they aren’t dependent on external bureaus will benefit from moving returns more quickly through the supply chain.

Price agility is also essential in the fast fashion world. Pricing and tagging should be moved closer to the rack, so retailers have the flexibility to alter prices to respond to changing market conditions. 

In a legacy tagging process, prices are set, and the information is forwarded to external tagging bureaus. Typically, three, four, even six weeks can go by before the printed tags arrive and are placed on garments. But, if retailers have the ability to change pricing in a matter of hours rather than weeks, then this can be the difference between selling garments at the optimal price – or having to offload them to off-price retailers.

To attain pricing agility, retailers need to be able to print tags on-demand. This means that the tagging system needs to be closer to the business and integrated with other critical business functions and systems. The system needs to be able to automate change and approval workflows, so adjustments in pricing can be implemented quickly and it needs to quality assure the labels before they are printed.

A modern retagging process

Improving a retagging process with a modern label management system can provide the agility to respond to changing market conditions and it can reduce the time needed to create and print new labels and tags into a matter of minutes. In addition, the quality of each and every label and tag can be assured as it can integrate with existing systems and it is printer agnostic. 

The retagging process should be moved where it’s needed, in the distribution center rather than with bureaus, and only best-of-breed tagging systems that can integrate with existing workflows, systems and printers should be considered.

It doesn’t look like the pace of fashion will slow down anytime soon. But, installing a modern label management system allows retailers to keep pace and ensure that garments are available to their customers, at the right time, in the right place and at the right price.

Ken Moir is the VP of Marketing at NiceLabel.

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Canon EOS 90D: new specs and possible release date stoke the rumour mill

New specs that purportedly belong to an upcoming Canon EOS 90D DSLR have emerged.

Rumors of a 32.5MP APS-C sensor inside the successor to the EOS 80D have been with us since this was registered by Canon earlier in the year, while reports of 10fps burst shooting, 4K video with no crop, dual card slots and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi emerged later on.

Now, further rumors of the camera’s sensor having phase-detect AF coverage across the whole frame, together with clean HDMI out and eye detection in both stills and videos, have emerged on Canon Watch. Eye AF during video recording was a highlight of the recent Sony A7R IV

Talk of a 31.2MP APS-C sensor, rather than the previously mentioned 32.5MP one, might be explained simply by a difference between total and effective megapixels; a camera with a 32.5MP sensor may well have an effective pixel count of 31.2MP.

Two become one?

The most curious rumor, however, is the idea that Canon will create a mirrorless body that will maintain the EF mount common to its existing EOS DSLRs, rather than opt for either the RF or EOS M mounts from its mirrorless lines. 

The idea of an enthusiast camera that somehow straddles the technologies on both systems would make some sense, although physical or technical challenges may limit the extent to which this is possible.

The EOS M5 was introduced in September 2016, and it remains at the helm of the EOS M line. Image credit: Future

The EOS M5 was introduced in September 2016, and it remains at the helm of the EOS M line. Image credit: Future

(Image credit: Future)

Quite how the company plays its DSLR hand now that it has two mirrorless lines to develop is unclear.

Canon has pledged to continue support for the EOS M line, although it hasn’t updated its EOS M range for almost a year and a half. With its almost three-year-old EOS M5 still the flagship model, and the likes of the more recent Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony A6400 raising the bar for this sector of the market, a new enthusiast option is sorely needed to maintain the system’s appeal.

It seems unlikely, however, that Canon will simply cease developing its DSLR line, as has been speculated. It recently launched the EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D, and is expected to launch a successor to the EOS-1D X Mark II in time for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

A release date for the EOS 90D has been mooted for August, which is plausible. August has traditionally been a month in which manufacturers introduce new models just ahead of the Photokina show in Germany, although this year’s event, which was scheduled for May, was cancelled earlier this year. 

None of this has been confirmed by Canon yet, but with enthusiast DSLR and EOS M mirrorless options not updated for some time now, it seems highly unlikely the year will end without at least an addition to either line.

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