Any method allowed for presentations at ASM meeting, as long as you use Powerpoint on a PC.

Just got this email from ASM linking to a message about my presentation at the upcoming ASM meeting in San Francisco.

Here is the message.


I highlight some parts that I find disappointing at best.  Basically- they say “You can do your presentation is any way.  As long as you convert it to PowerPoint for a PC.”  Never mind other tools to do presentations.  Like Keynote.  Or Prezi.  Or, well, anything else.  Never mind people who use Macs.  Or Linux computers.  Or iPads.

I have NEVER had a problem doing a presentation off of my Mac or iPad.  I have had MANY problems when I have converted my Keynote or PDF files or other material to Powerpoint for a PC.

Oh, and forget about modifying your presentation in response to anything going on in the session (which I do frequently).  I try to tune my slides to the actual crowd.  No longer possible.

Maybe I should use no slides, like I did at TEDMED.  Or maybe I should do a Ross Perot and have charts.  Maybe I will bring my own projector and set it up just before my talk …  who knows … but I hate it when meetings say “Trust us – you won’t have any problems with our system”.

May 9, 2012

Dear Jonathan Eisen;
Thank you for participating as a speaker at asm2012, ASM’s 112th General Meeting in San Francisco, June 16-19, 2012. As a speaker, we kindly request that you consider the following guidelines as you finalize your PowerPoint presentation in the session listed below and also take note of some of the new requirements and changes for asm2012.

Session Details
Session Date/Time: 6/17/2012 3:00:00 PM – 6/17/2012 5:30:00 PM
Session Title: The Great Indoors: Recent Advances in the Ecology of Built Environments
Presentation Title: microBEnet: The Microbiology of the Built Environment Network (If your presentation title is not listed or incorrect, please provide this information to xxxxx immediately.
Length of your Personal Presentation: You are allotted 30 minutes for your presentation or lecture unless otherwise notified by the convener of this session.

New this Year
In order to provide the highest quality experience for our attendees, ASM now requires that all speakers upload their presentations at least four hours before their session begins (if you have a morning session, we recommend you upload your slides at 2:00 p.m. the afternoon before).

Speakers will no longer be permitted to use personal laptops during their presentations. The General Meeting began experiencing a greater number of technical issues as more and more speakers relied on using personal laptops from which to present. This contributed to unique technical situations during individual presentations as well as awkward transitions between speakers. The General Meeting will be utilizing the Presentation Management System for all speakers and our talented and dedicated set of technicians will be well-prepared and equipped to ensure all presentations are presented in the way they are intended and there are smooth transitions between speakers.

asm2012 will feature a networked presentation submission system, called our Presentation Management System. The tips below will help ensure that little, if any, editing will need to be done on-site, allowing you to quickly review your presentation and then attend other sessions in progress. However, ASM strongly recommends that you visit the Speaker Ready Room in Room 120 to test your slides before your session begins to ensure that they run properly on the Presentation Management System. The Presentation Management System can accommodate both Mac and PC based presentations.

The tips below are for both Windows and Mac users. As all the provided computers will be PCs, Mac users should additionally review Considerations for Mac Users at the bottom of this document.

· Building Your Presentation

Please take steps to compress your videos. Uncompressed videos will take longer to upload and load within your presentation, and will not be better quality than a modern MPEG-4 codec. We can only accept movies created as MPGs, WMVs, or with the following AVI codecs: MPEG-4 (Divx, Xvid, or WMVs), Cinepack, Techsmith. Flash content (SWF) is fully supported.

Note: It is important your movies do not completely fill the screen. In the meeting room you will only have a mouse to advance your slides. You can only advance your PowerPoint with a mouse by clicking on the slide, not the movie itself.

If you plan to play a DVD as part of your presentation, please notify a technician in the Speaker Ready Room so arrangements can be made for assistance in your meeting room.

We only supply fonts that are included with Office 2010. If you need a specialized font, it should be embedded into your PowerPoint presentation. For instructions on this process, please click on the following link:

· Before you Depart

Advance Submission:
You may submit your presentation starting on Friday, May 18. You will receive a notification on May 18 that will provide you with the link to upload your presentation.

Multiple Presenters:
Please do not combine multiple presenters’ PowerPoints into one file and then submit under one name. The Presentation Management System manages presenters individually and any co-presenter will not be able to logon to edit the combined presentation.

Please bring a backup copy of your presentation along with you when you depart for your meeting. Copy your PowerPoint and all movies to a folder on a USB drive or CD. PowerPoint does NOT embed movies, and therefore, they must all be placed in the same folder as your PowerPoint.

· At the Meeting

Speaker Ready Room:

Speakers should review their presentation in the Speaker Ready Room prior to their scheduled presentation. The Speaker Ready Room will be staffed with technicians that can assist with any compatibility or formatting issues within your presentation. The computers in the Speaker Ready Room will be configured with hardware and software exactly like the computer in the meeting rooms.

Be sure to use the mouse to advance your slides, not the keyboard, as you will only have a mouse at the podium to advance your presentation. Left click advances the slides; right click goes back. Once you are comfortable that your presentation is complete, confirm the date, time, and room for your session. Be sure to click the green “save/logout” button on the top of the screen.

Speaker Ready Room: Room 120

Hours of Operation:

Friday, 6/15/12: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 6/16/12: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, 6/17/12: 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Monday, 6/18/12: 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 6/19/12: 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

· Considerations for Mac Users

If you use a version of PowerPoint prior to 2008, please be sure any embedded pictures are not TIFF format. These images will not show up in Windows PowerPoint. With PowerPoint 2010 for the Mac, this is no longer an issue, and any inserted image will be compatible.

Keynote Users:
Please export your presentation as a PowerPoint Presentation.
If you are having any issues please notify Mac support at XXXXX for additional help.

By following the guidelines above, your presentation will go smoothly. Should you have any questions not addressed in this document, please feel free to email XXXX.

If you have any questions regarding the scientific program or session details, please contact Janet Mitchell at XXXXXX.


Janet M Mitchell, M.S.
Program Manager, General Meeting

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

6 thoughts on “Any method allowed for presentations at ASM meeting, as long as you use Powerpoint on a PC.”

  1. From the perspective of a conference organizer, I agree that it is desirable to have a fixed computer setup, rather than incurring the risk of having presenters fiddle around on stage – with large audiences, this may easily result in many person months lost to watching someone restart their laptop.

    I have had sum fun around handing over USB sticks or “uploading” (as in your email) my presentation, since I normally give my talks on-wiki (example). This often causes headaches amongst meeting organizers, even though all I need (in addition to a computer and a beamer, which are usually available) is a stable internet connection and a browser. The former is sometimes still a problem, and then I am using PDF. Since PDF and wiki are not very compatible for presentation purposes, I then generate the PDF from LaTeX beamer or Open Office.

    In order to stimulate interaction with the audience, I also typically inquire whether there will be free WiFi, which allows the audience to follow the talk at their own pace and to leave comments or questions on the presentation's talk page. This rarely works, precisely because people are so attuned to Powerpoint.


  2. I had a fit at a conference that asked me to do this; NOTHING looked good converted from Keynote to PPT on PC. Now, maybe Apple should make it so that we CAN convert properly; that would help. But until then, I insist that they let me use my own computer. Otherwise, I'll be staying home. Too many headaches in life to deal with, this is not one I want to spend any energy on (again)


  3. Just got this email from ASM

    “Dear Jonathan Eisen;

    If you are a Keynote User – We have received an UPDATE from the Presentation Management System.

    For uploading your presentation in advance or onsite: The Presentation Management System will accept iWork’s 09 Keynote files.

    If you have any issues uploading in advance, please notify Mac support at for additional help.


    Meetings and Exhibits Department”

    Not sure what it means though


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