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Jan 8, 2007 10:55 PM by Discussion: CES 2007

Formatting tools in Office PowerPoint 2007

I'm here at CES, and even though I'm suffering from a severe case of sensory overload I have managed to stuff a few facts into my brain.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Jared Anderson, Microsoft's PowerPoint Project Manager, who gave us a run down on the new stuff in PowerPoint 2007.

I'm not going to focus on the changes in the user interface as that has been discussed in other forums, but rather on the new functionality that PowerPoint 2007 offers. I am not a graphic designer, and PowerPoint has always helped people like me with pretty templates you can use to enhance your presentations. Over time these templates become a little...stale.

In the new version of PowerPoint they have greatly extended and enhanced the ability to make your presentation slick and professional. One of the stand-out features that I saw was the ability to make dynamic 3D text boxes that can be manipulated in a variety of ways so that even non-designers such as myself can add a great deal of visual interest. Not only can these text boxes be made into a variety of shapes and angled in any way you like, but they offer a range of new fill colors and styles (including a cool new gloss that's very much 'in fashion' now).

Other features include:

  • New default theme Layouts - very dynamic, new and updated.

  • Over a dozen different effects (fill styles change based on effect)

  • Six new fonts optimized for on-screen reading

  • Text and text box effects - new abilities. I no longer have to go to our graphics team for elements. I can do it myself!

  • MUCH easier to import Excel or Word tables because they have the same controls now.

Sadly, all of this leaves room for a whole new style of horrendous PowerPoint presentations. As with all things less is more. Don't go hog wild with every new feature!


For More information be sure to visit the Microsoft website:

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Dec 20, 2006 1:31 AM by Discussion: Humor

Found this on The Onion. Struck me as HILARIOUS, so I thought I'd share.

How Did I End Up On The Cover Of This Romance Novel?

By Duncan Larksthrush
December 13, 2006 | Issue 42•50

Last week at the supermarket, while shopping for my weekly supply of three dozen eggs and 12 pounds of mutton, I spotted a rack near the checkout lane containing several romance paperbacks. Normally, such trash wouldn't get a second glance from my coal-black eyes, but the sight of one book practically made my chiseled jaw drop. There, on the cover of Dark Passions was yours truly, Duncan Larksthrush, in the flesh.

Read the whole thing here:
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Dec 14, 2006 6:06 PM by Discussion: Humor

I don't know who wrote this. My father forwarded it to me, and undoubtedly it's been making the rounds.

To My Liberal Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. This is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere

These wishes are sent without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference or orientation of the recipient. By accepting these greetings you are agreeing to the following terms:  

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting without the express written permission of the issuer. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. All warranties, either written or implied, are limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."


For My Conservative Friends:


        Merry Christmas

                and a

     Happy New Year !!!!!!


On a personal note, this blog is not intended to insult my liberal friends. :D

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When Shopping Goes Bad

Oct 8, 2006 7:45 PM by Discussion: Humor

I hate everyone. I just want to clear that up right now. I hate everyone and I’m not apologizing for it. I include myself in this group, so don’t assume I’m playing high and mighty. I hate everyone and they all deserve it, including me. 

I went shopping today, and therefore I’m pissed off. 

I get pissed off every time I go shopping. In truth I probably just didn’t eat a big enough breakfast to deal with the stress and chaos of shopping, but there is something about shopping that leads to fear, anger, and inevitably to despair. 

Question: when did they stop making clothing for women and begin making clothing for men that they then slap some embroidery on and call “for women”? I thought real women had curves. And it’s not just because of the movie of that name. I am a woman. I have curves. That means that when I try on a pair of jeans they should go IN at the waist, not OUT. Not STRAIGHT UP. IN. Admittedly, there are probably some women who don’t curve in at the waist, but can I possibly be the only one whose ass is bigger than her waist? Seriously? 

I recently lost some weight and am now in the position of having to replace my entire wardrobe. This is much more difficult than I thought it would be. Expense aside, it takes effort to put together a wardrobe that doesn’t look like it was picked randomly out of the neighborhood garbage and since I can never find more than one or two pieces at a time, I am required to go out most weekends to shop. And I. despise. it. 

I always have such high hopes when I set out. Admittedly, I keep hoping I’ll find everything I need in one local store and then I’ll never have to go shopping again, but at the very least I can hope to find one or two things that seem to be pressing needs that week. Like pants that don’t fall down when I stand up. Seems like a good career move to have that in my wardrobe.  

So I go out. I try clothing on. And then I begin to realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with our culture. 

Seems like a big leap, doesn’t it? But follow me: I go shopping. I see a bunch of dead-eyed people endlessly milling around shops, and letting their souls get sucked out by mother culture. As I progress through my shopping trip I feel myself becoming like them – or rather, the illusion that I’m not like them gets stripped away. 

While the need to be clothed is understandable, especially to protect yourself from the elements, the need to “look your best” is a little more mysterious. If I am an enlightened, self-aware being then why do I care what other people think of how I look? Granted, I may not be an enlightened and self-aware being. Maybe I’m just horribly, horribly vain and that’s where all this stress comes from. In reality I suppose I should just buy whatever pants fit my thunder thighs and then slap a belt on. Or better yet, keep all the ill-fitting clothing I already own and safety-pin them so they don’t fall down (most of them lack belt-loops).  

The dance of destruction we know as “shopping” all comes down to what other people think, does it not? You FEEL your best when you LOOK your best. And how do most people know when they look their best? Other people tell them.  

I tend to get upset when people compliment me. At 34 years old I've learned to smile tightly and saying “thank you” when I receive a compliment because most people consider it rude to have their casual “you look nice today” thrown back in their face with a dirty look and an angry “are you mocking me”?

Compliments are an insult to me, to my intelligence, and to all mankind. You may question me and my intelligence but I’m not exaggerating when I say all mankind. Compliments are simply another means to perpetuate mother culture. Positive reinforcement is used to train dogs and children in the proper way to behave. Wear these pants with these shoes and God Forbid you should ever wear colored stockings with a sleeveless top. You look mahhhvelous, dahling!

There are rules to the way we dress, just as there are rules about the way we are supposed to eat, the way we are supposed to groom ourselves, the way we behave in certain settings and oh so very much more. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these rules are necessary and useful. How would it be if we all just drove all over the road however we wanted to? But I feel trapped by these rules, and weighted down. This is why I don’t go swimming: I’ll sink like a stone. 

Make no mistake about it; the reason I’m upset right now is not because I’m a revolutionary and I alone thwart society with my rebel ways. I’m upset for precisely the opposite reason. It’s not even so much that I see how society should be, and isn’t. I have NO answers. I can offer no alternatives. I, myself, perpetuate the rules of society and I hate myself for it. And I hate all of you, too. 

So you see here how one shopping trip can turn into a long bout of existential angst. The best I can do is come home and fix myself a nice cup of tea or a straight shot of bourbon (or gasoline, or whatever is handy) and try to calm down. This angst is always there. There is no escape. There are times when I can shove it all down into the oubliette that I laughingly call a soul, but it sits there waiting for the next shameful, humiliating “compliment” to resurrect itself and devastate me. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch America’s Next Top Model. 

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"Your Edge in Software" gets an edgy new look

Jul 13, 2006 4:09 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize News

A whole new is coming your way next week! We hope to launch it on the 18th. You won't even recognize it! Our web team and MikeB have conspired to create a great new site that we hope will be slicker and easier to navigate.

Here's a sneak peek:


So what do you think?

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Jun 9, 2006 8:25 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize News

Paul Monckton of Personal Computer World in the UK has awarded KeepSafe a five star review stating that it was "A simple utility that can rescue you from potentially disastrous situations with very little user intervention required."

Read the full article here:

Check out KeepSafe:

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Childcare Robot, Brad's Vista Update and More!

May 22, 2006 6:39 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize News

This week on the show Brad makes a triumphant return (i.e., he found his way out of the parking lot and back to our facility). We give you an update on Blue Security, discuss a robot that can take care of your children (see note below) and Apple launching the MacBook. We also talk about two lawsuite: Creative is suing Apple over a patent infringement and record labels are suing XM over a piece of hardware. We also get an update from Brad on what's going on with Vista and his thoughts on the future of OS software.

In gaming news Joel tells us about a stock scam involving an ex-Infinium executive, a planned World of Warcraft movie and a new study that reveals that gamers are getting older. Plus we hear about another game, 'Fear Effect' being made into a movie and the cool game that is kicking Joel's butt this week.

Check it out!

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PowerUser podcast, sponsored by

May 15, 2006 6:19 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize News

With E3 going on this week, we simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit the "booth babes" issue and discuss their apparel (or the lack thereof). We also discovered that people in the UK are now allowed to listen to their CDs on their iPods according to the RIAA. Let's hope North America isn't far behind! Also a spam war involving Blue Security and Russian hackers brings down several websites.

Some are saying the porn industry will decide whether or not Blu-Ray or HD-DVD becomes the new standard, while others say it will be the video game industry. We say it's all BUNK! Ok, it's not really bunk. What do you say?

In gaming news this week we discuss several things coming out of E3, including Nintendo revealing a more traditional controller for the Wii, and Sony makes the pricing structure for the PlayStation 3 public and receives a generally dismal reaction. We also argue about a new game out of Japan called "Maiden Love Revolution".

All this and less! Er...More! Check it out!

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Apple goes mano y mano with both France and the RIAA and comes out on top. Also there are rumors that Windows Vista will be delayed again, but what does that really mean for consumers? Skype plans to give us the ability to have a 100 person conference call (which is an instant headache for Kristin) and a high school hacker is caught and "punished".

In gaming news the DS Lite will come out in June, and Oblivion is getting re-rated to an M for Mature! Also gold farmers buy Allakhazam and Joel tells us about the game that's kicking his butt this week.

All of this and so much more in historic Episode 40. Check it out! w00t!

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