Mac Pictures are a no-show November 6, 2007Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
I’ve got a new breakdown of operating systems on ATLAS member’s portables: Old people (like me) use Mac’s. Young people use Linux. And all the CERN presentation computers use Windows. Needless to say, this causes some problems! Need an easy joke? Just mention Windows in your talk.
I’m attending the ATLAS Trigger & Physics week here at CERN. All of yesterday was plenary talks. One thing that happened repeatedly was a slide would show up “Quicktime TIFF required to display” and an empty image. I’ve never seen this happen as often as it did. The consensus, of course, was that Microsoft was at fault. 🙂
The weird thing is — it doesn’t happen on every single file. I don’t have a mac handy, so I can’t do any testing, but I did find several postings around the web – this one was the best one. The comments are particularly informative.
Basically, the problem happens because PowerPoint stores the images in the format it was handed. If it was handed a TIFF file, it will store a TIFF file in the PowerPoint file. If it was handed a jpeg, it will store a jpeg. Unfortunately, when it stores a TIFF some weird compression is written out that requires QuickTime to be installed to undo the compression. If your Windows computer doesn’t have QT, then it can’t be uncompressed. Comments to the effect that “windows can’t open TIFF files” are not correct (and that I could test before writing this ;-)).
But it gets weirder, at least, a little. If you have a file on your disk and you use PowerPoint to insert it with the “insert -> File” command then it will work. But if you cut/paste from Safari or something similar, then it won’t work. This turns out to be because you are crossing the Cocca/Carbon boundary and funny things happen to images when that happens. There is one hint: after you do the copy, use something image editing tool to modify the picture. This will force PowerPoint to convert it into a format that can be used on both platforms.
The flip side of this is PowerPoint should convert the image into a cross-platform compatible format. Perhaps the next version of PowerPoint for the Mac??
Of course, the other solution is to just use the PDF to do the presentation. But people do love their animations… 😉
Sorry for the computer support nature of this post, but it was just so common I figured there had to be someone out there that understood this issue better than a room of several hundred physicists!