Microsoft Producer 2003 beta now downloadable

Responding to growing use of PowerPoint for presentations and in-house training with video and audio, Microsoft Corp. has posted a downloadable beta version of Microsoft Producer 2003 as a free PowerPoint add-on.

Microsoft claims Producer 2003 makes it easier to synchronize slides and images with video and audio clips and that it boosts Windows Media Player 9 video and audio quality. Producer 2003 works under Windows XP, Mac OS, and Netscape Navigator as well as Internet Explorer. It complies with electronic-learning standards such as the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM.

Producer 2003 can compress video by 50 percent and audio by 20 percent. It performs variable-speed playback and fast streaming. It can automatically add timeline snap points based on user-defined markers in imported text or Extensible Markup Language files. Download it from www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint/producer.

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