Introducing the YouTube of PowerPoint Presentations

Until now, if you wanted to share slideshow content with someone in a remote location, you needed to e-mail them an enormous file or burn them a DVD, and send it via snail mail.

Slideshare, a new beta Web application, aims to make sharing PowerPoint presentations online as easy as sharing video clips on YouTube.

Slideshare, which launched on Oct. 4, allows users to upload PowerPoint or Open Office presentation of up to 20 megabytes to the Slideshare site, then embed the presentation in their Web site or blog. Small-business owners will be able to use the tool to create an archive of sales presentations or jazz up their Web site with slideshows highlighting their products.

Slideshare offers a feature, like the one found on blogs, which allows users to post comments about uploaded slideshows. Slideshows can be tagged with keywords so they can be found easily by people searching for certain terms. In addition, the notes section of a presentation is displayed in a text box alongside the slideshow. The text transcripts will be crawled by search-engine spiders, so the slides will ultimately show up in search results.

At present, uploaded presentations are available for viewing by all site users. However, the company plans to make it possible for users to make their presentations accessible to only selected users. Once privacy options are in place, a group of authorized contributors could collaborate in the creation of a slideshow by giving feedback in the comments section.

You can request an invitation to use the beta version of Slideshare at their Web site. The service is currently available for free.

In Case of Emergency

One of the lessons of Hurricane Katrina was that emergency preparedness should not be overlooked — especially for business owners. A new online service, EvacuTrack, enables users to instantly and efficiently notify family, friends, and business associates of their whereabouts in the event of an evacuation or emergency.

If disaster strikes, EvacuTrack members can call a list of emergency contacts with a single toll-free call. EvacuTrack will automatically send a pre-set or customized notification message to friends or business colleagues the user has designated. The member can also activate the notification service online or by using a wireless PDA. The messages can be sent to the user's emergency contacts via telephone, e-mail, fax, or text message.

EvacuTrack also offers members secure, online storage to protect digital copies of important paper documents and photographs.

EvacuTrack's small business membership annual fees range from $29.95 to $99.95, depending upon the size of the storage vault and number of emergency recipients and outbound voice/fax/SMS messages required.

Software to Prevent Employee Leaks

Most network-security software focuses on the threat of outside intruders, neglecting the risks that come from within an organization. A new software program, Workshare Protect 5, enables businesses to make sure proprietary or confidential information is not inadvertently or purposefully leaked by employees.

Workshare Protect 5 monitors electronic correspondence to facilitate protection of proprietary data and compliance with regulatory standards. It scans e-mail and other forms of electronic transmission.

The software allows administrators to designate to whom different sorts of information can be forwarded. The program can be set up to notify administrators and block transmission of communications that contain identity information (such as credit-card numbers or passwords), offensive words, or financial information. In addition, the software can identify proprietary or protected data and prevent its transmission to unauthorized recipients.

Before allowing transmission of a document, Workshare Protect 5 removes its hidden meta-data. Many do not realize that information they may not want revealed, regarding corrections, document chains, and authors, is contained in the meta-data.

A one-year license for Workshare Protect 5 costs $29.95.