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#842: PPTX to .Mov, Enabling Siri on iPad (3rd Gen), Hard Drive Brands


Hello all,

As crisp, cool, and short days become the norm, leaves start to pile up, and runny noses are more and more common, the conclusion that another year has almost passed is inescapable. Aside from a couple of big holidays, 2012 is basically over. It was a big year for Apple.

Lots of new products…well, lots of the same products with welcome upgrades, but let’s not split hairs. A huge legal case which pitted an Apple (that still somehow markets itself as a small underdog) against acknowledged corporate giant Samsung. Apple won the first round, but the appeal went against them, and I’m sure the battle will go on for years.

This month actually marks the first year since the passing of the man who embodied Apple, Steve Jobs, which must have had an impact on some of the decisions they have made this past year. And even with these challenges, Apple’s mobile products continue to be the standard by which all others are measured, whether the company making the competing product admits it or not.

I’m hoping that with the rumored iPad mini and new iMacs, Apple will enter another phase of innovation and some exciting new directions in the coming years.

Thanks for reading, and best wishes.


  PPTX to .Mov  

An interesting question was posed this week in our support email box at The customer had, with previous versions of Office, been able to export PowerPoint presentations with sound track. Since moving to Office 2011, the Save as Movie option now stripped the audio from the .mov file.

So, what to do? After doing some research, I think I found a solution to their problem as explained below.

So as to not alter/damage the PowerPoint file in question, I suggest first making a copy of the file. The second step is to append the file extension on the copy to .zip. Double clicking on the new file opens it with the Archive Utility, which would show the audio package as a distinct file. Then, you can copy the audio file to the desktop from the new folder.

Once the audio is a separate file, we can use the functionality of the application that Microsoft had already built in. Under File in the menu bar, there is an option to Save as Movie. In the box that pops up, we can choose a Background soundtrack for the movie file we are creating. With that drop down we would select the extracted audio file that we saved from the Zip.

Many may suggest using Keynote instead. While this is definitely an option, I have found that Keynote also has issues with audio when exported to .mov. Your opinions are always welcome, and of course your milage may vary. Do you have a better solution? We would be happy to hear it and share with the other Tech Tails readers! (Click on the email above to let me know!)

  Enabling Siri on iPad (3rd Gen)  

iOS 6 is here and that means that those of us who are on the latest version of Apple’s iPad now have access to Siri. When you update your device, you should be prompted at setup to activate Siri. However, if not, here’s how you turn it (her?) on.

In Settings, select General. Scroll down till you find the section for Siri and move the slider from off to on. If you’re already on then you can stop reading. Alter the feedback, language and self-identification settings however you see fit. Then close out of the Settings app and you’re good to go.

To use Siri on the device, just hold your Home button down for a couple of seconds, and this will activate Siri. (This may not be a very high-tech article but probably half of the support calls we get in Service are simple things like this that can have people pulling their hair out in frustration!)

I’ve been using the new Siri and have to say it’s a pretty big improvement over Siri 1. Now Apple just needs to figure out a way to get Majel Barrett’s voice in there and I’ll be a very happy geek!

  It's What's On the Inside That Counts  

External hard drives come in many shapes and sizes. From desktop behemoths to rugged portable drives, there are as many different hard drives as there are different people.

A fact that would surprise most is that on the inside of the fancy casings, there are only three possible options. Over two hundred companies have at one point made hard drives, but that number has been boiled down over time. Now only Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba are left in the race to hold all the world’s data.

Seagate and Western Digital are neck-in-neck in sales at about 40% each with Toshiba holding the rest. This changes the probability of what you will get when you buy a external hard drive. Two out of five drives will either have a Seagate or Western Digital drive, which begs the question of which is better. If you are a faithful fan of certain companies, you might be biased towards a particular drive.

Toshiba just has the experience of Fujitsu in its belt, compared to Western Digital, who can find its roots among IBM and Hitachi. Seagate, in this regard, might look like the better choice, pulling from eight different companies from DEC and Maxtor to Seagate.

According to the market at large, Seagate is the most reliable; personally, I prefer Western Digital. Truthfully, both brands are about equal. One could measure reliability company-wide, but whether or not the hard drive you buy will last all boils down to how well that particular drive was put together. So the choice of what matters on the inside is really up to the eye of the beholder. ‘

All that said, remember to back up your data!

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