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Add sizzle to your PowerPoint presentation with shapes and special effects

Unless you?re presenting a cure for insomnia, you want your PowerPoint slides to engage your audience without distracting them from the presenter (you). Too much text invites people to read rather than listen?if they don?tjust tune out completely.

Fortunately, PowerPoint 2013 has some amazing new graphics features, as well as updates on older ones, that let you add customized eye candy to your slides. Here, we?ll show you how to create and format basic shapes and add some special effects.

Create and format shapes

Start by opening PowerPoint and choosing the Blank Presentation slide. One slide with two text boxes appears. Hold down the Ctrl key and click the top, then bottom text box, and press Delete. Now you have a blank canvas/slide.

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Facebook?s vision for Oculus Rift realized: YouVisit takes VR beyond gaming

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg boldly claimed that Oculus Rift ?has the potential to be the most social platform ever? after acquiring the virtual reality company back in March. But Rift is still under development, and so far developers have been focused on making games for the headset, so it?s difficult to imagine what those social applications would look like.

When YouVisit, a 6-year-old company that builds virtual college campus tours, invited me to their New York office to check out Rift?s non-gaming potential, I had to see what they were working on.

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Google has to face US privacy suit over new user data policy

A California court has allowed a privacy class action suit against Google to continue, though only in part.

After evaluating each claim of each sub-class in the suit, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has allowed two claims of the ?Android Application Disclosure Subclass,? which includes all persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between Aug. 19, 2004 and the present, and downloaded at least one Android application through the Android Market or Google Play.

On March 1, 2012, Google introduced a single, unified policy that allows the company to comingle user data across accounts and disclose it to third-parties for advertising purposes.

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Apple hit with class action lawsuit for alleged labor rule violations

Apple faces in a state court in California a class action suit that its employees were not provided timely meal breaks, rest breaks and final paychecks, according to the lawyer for the employees.

The Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego certified the case as a class action in a suit filed by Apple?s retail and corporate employees, said Tyler J. Belong, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, on Tuesday.

Judge Ronald S. Prager appointed the plaintiffs and their counsel Hogue & Belong as class representatives and counsel on behalf of close to 21,000 employees.

Apple now faces claims of meal period, rest period and final pay violations affecting the current and former Apple employees, as a result of the ruling, Belong wrote in an email explaining the court decision.

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Seafaring robot shrugs off monster Typhoon Rammasun

It was a storm that would terrify the bravest of mariners, but a California robot swam through it without blinking.

The Wave Glider robot has weathered a direct onslaught by Typhoon Rammasun, battling 9-meter waves and gusts up to 216 kilometers per hour while gathering data on sea surface conditions, maker Liquid Robotics said Tuesday.

The surface robot, which slowly bobs through ocean waves at about walking speed, was remotely piloted through the storm on the South China Sea. The robot has a propulsion system that uses the motion of waves to move it forward.

Rammasun, the strongest typhoon to batter the region in decades, has left over 150 people dead in the Philippines, Vietnam and China, as well as hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in damage. Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones refer to the same kind of ocean storm depending on its location in the Pacific, Atlantic or Indian oceans.

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Zero-day flaws in Tails aren't for sale, vulnerability broker says

A company that specializes in selling information on software vulnerabilities has reignited a debate over the handling of such information, especially when it pertains to privacy-focused tools.

Exodus Intelligence, based in Austin, Texas, tweeted on Monday it had found several vulnerabilities in Tails, an operating system and suite of applications designed to make it harder to track a user?s activity online.

Exodus researches and sells information on software vulnerabilities, a legal business but one that attracts criticism for its opaque nature and worries over how governments or other entities might use the information.

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How Nokia both helped and hindered Microsoft's earnings

Microsoft paid more than $7 billion for Nokia?s handset and services business, and the jury is still out as to what it means for its future. In the past quarter it boosted Microsoft?s revenue but also ate into its profit.

Microsoft?s revenue for the quarter ended June 30 grew 18 percent from last year to US$23.4 billion, boosted by an additional $2 billion from Nokia. That helped Microsoft beat the consensus analyst forecast of $23 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

But the Nokia deal, which closed April 25, almost a month into the quarter, also stung Microsoft?s profits to the tune of $0.08 a share, causing Microsoft to miss by a nickel Wall Street?s target of $0.60 a share. In the end, its per-share earnings were down 7 percent year over year.

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As hardware kills Microsoft profits, CEO Nadella seeks comfort in software

Microsoft?s quarterly financials are out, and they paint a startlingly clear picture of why new CEO Satya Nadella is in such a hurry to scuttle away from the ?devices and services? mantra rolled out by former honcho Steve Ballmer just last year: Microsoft?s hardware efforts just aren?t making much money. In fact, they?re actually losing money hand over fist.

The company whose very name includes a nod to its software roots became one of the largest hardware empires in the world virtually overnight earlier this year, with its acquisition of Nokia?s vast phones business. That acquisition paid immediate dividends for Microsoft: Last quarter, Microkia actually sold more phones than Apple, at 36.1 million units to Apple?s 35.2.

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More mobile gadgets than people? Seven countries now qualify

Wireless broadband subscriptions now outnumber people in seven countries as consumers continue to snap up smartphones and tablets, according to a new report.

Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and the U.S. had wireless broadband penetration of more than 100 percent as of December 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday. That means there was more than one wireless broadband subscription per person, usually because consumers have more than one mobile device that can go online. The U.S. just barely crossed the bar, while Finland led the group with more than 123 percent penetration.

Across all 37 OECD countries, wireless broadband penetration rose to 72.4 percent as total subscriptions grew 14.6 percent. The group spans North America, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe, as well as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and Chile. It?s sometimes treated as a barometer of the developed world.

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Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social s...
Though Facebook is the lowest-ranked social networking site in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index ratings, its score still improved over last year.
Microsoft's quarterly revenue lifted by cloud sales to businesses, though ove...

Strong sales of cloud products to businesses helped lift Microsoft?s revenue by 18 percent last quarter, though its profits declined.

Revenue for the quarter ended June 30 was US$23.4 billion, up from $19.9 billion last year and ahead of the consensus analyst estimate of $23 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

The revenue figure includes $2 billion from the Nokia Devices and Services business that Microsoft acquired. That deal closed 25 days after the start of the quarter.

Net income was $4.6 billion, or $0.55 per share, down from $4.9 billion, or $0.59 per share, a year earlier. On a per-share basis, profit was down 7 percent year over year, including an $0.08 loss from the Nokia business.

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Investigation of missing IRS email holds lessons for your business

Congress has been pursuing an investigation into alleged misconduct at the IRS, and as a part of that investigation it requested emails from former IRS director Lois Lerner for the timeframe in question. The response Congress got was those emails?along with any archive or backups of those emails?have been erased and are no longer available. There are legal and compliance requirements organizations must abide by when it comes to retention of information, and the IRS apparently dropped the ball.

Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and founder of IAITAM (International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers), didn?t pull any punches when talking about the plausibility of the claim that the emails have been destroyed. She is quoted in an IAITAM blog post stating, ?The notion that these emails just magically vanished makes no sense whatsoever. That is not how IT asset management at major businesses and government institutions works in this country.?

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Apple reports a huge profit but sales disappoint

Apple has racked up another hugely profitable quarter on sales of iPhones and Macintosh computers, though its revenue growth was slower than expected.

Apple on Tuesday reported a profit of $7.7 billion for the April to June quarter, up 12 percent up on the same period last year and ahead of analyst estimates of $7.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue was $37.4 billion, 5 percent higher than last year but slightly below analyst expectations of $38 billion. Apple had told investors to expect revenue of between $36 billion and $38 billion for the quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the growth to ?strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem.?

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ARM develops second wave of 64-bit processors

ARM is developing its second wave of 64-bit processors as it tries to maintain its edge over Intel in smartphones and tablets.

The chips?called Maya and Artemis?are already being licensed to chip makers, said Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, during a webcast earnings press conference on Tuesday.

Segars declined to talk more about the processors, saying ARM will reserve details for the actual announcement date. But he said that the company?s future processors are being targeted at not only its existing smartphone, tablet and server markets, but also at areas like automotive and networking equipment.

?Artemis and Maya are the fruits of the investment that we?ve made in R&D over the years,? Segars said. ?The products [we] are creating will help us sustain market share.?

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Microsoft brings two open source tools to Azure

Following through on promises from new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft continues to add support for non-Microsoft technologies, allowing them to run well on the company?s Azure cloud hosting platform.

?There are a wide variety of platforms and technologies that developers and IT managers like to use. We?re just trying to assure that regardless of your choice, it will work well on Azure ? said Doug Mahugh, a technology evangelist for Microsoft Open Technologies, a subsidiary that develops software and tools for non-Microsoft platforms.

?Our decisions about where to invest are very much driven by what is popular with developers,? he said.

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