Software and Technology Ramblings

December 9, 2010

How to convert a PowerPoint presentation with linked audio files into a video file with synced audio.

Filed under: Microsoft Challenges — Tags: , — Ryan Dingus @ 10:59 am

A client recently asked us to place a PowerPoint 2010 presentation with linked audio files on a website for delivery / download by visitors.  The request sounded straightforward but actually raised multiple issues such as the need to update mime types on the web server, unreliable behaviors across browsers (Firefox would play audio / IE would not, IE would launch slideshow automatically / FF would not), and the requirement that users have PowerPoint installed.  Thus, we ultimately decided to convert the powerpoint presentation to video format for more universal accessibility on the web.  But this also proved challenging.

After much research and trial and error, we used PPT2Video Pro for conversion from powerpoint to video to both mp4 and wmv file formats.  Learn more or purchase at

Here are the steps needed to convert a raw powerpoint presentation with linked audio files into video.

1) In PowerPoint:  File -> Publish -> Package to CD – this will update all links to audio files and create a new folder with audio files and pptx file.  Delete the unneeded autorun files and DLLs created by Windows.

2) In PowerPoint: File -> Save as -> Powerpoint Slideshow into same folder.  This will create a .ppsx file that will launch a slideshow automatically with linked / synced audio for each slide.

3) Use this .ppsx file for conversion to .wmv video file using PPT2Video Pro.

4) PPT2Video Pro settings in order to capture linked audio in converted video file:   under Advanced Settings -> Other check the “Use Sound Recorder…” checkbox.

Depending on the size of the presentation, video conversion may need to run for an hour or more.  The end result is a video file that plays the powerpoint slideshow with audio synced to each slide.

December 6, 2010

Error Installing Telescope Theme for Magento 1.4

Filed under: E-commerce — Tags: — Ryan Dingus @ 4:39 pm

As you probably know, or are about to learn, theme packaging has changed with the advent of Magento version 1.4. You can learn more details about those changes here:

The free, flexible, and very popular Telescope Theme can be downloaded and installed via Magento Connect with extension key ‘magento-community/TelescopeTheme-0.6′. Note that the beta version must be used.

Upon install completion, an error appears on the magento frontend:
Fatal error: Call to a member function toHtml() on a non-object in {your_path}/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Layout.php

The fix:

The issue is with page.xml in the Telescope theme files:

Locate the file app/design/frontend/TelescopeTheme/default/layout/page.xml

Edit the file and replace the following line:

<block type="core/profiler" output="toHtml"/>


<block type="core/profiler" output="toHtml" name="core_profiler"/>

Then clear your store cache via the admin or by deleting var/cache and var/session.

Activating the Telescope Theme in Magento 1.4:

Activating the newly installed Telescope Theme is also a bit different than in previous 1.3.x versions of Magento.  Here is a screenshot for reference as configured under System -> Configuration -> General -> Design.  Update values to those below, then refresh your cache again.  The Telescope Theme should now appear on the front end without error.

Activating the Telescope Theme in Magento 1.4

Activating the Telescope Theme in Magento 1.4

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