This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Especially when they use all of the "features" of power point.
Most of those features constitute "bling". They are sort of cool once. After that you are ready to go after the author with a golf club.
I watched one presentation where the author used "Typewriter" for the entire presentation. Every letter of the presentation was delivered with a lovely tip.tip.tip.tip. I have to throw him a little slack cause he was 8.
I have to disagree with the "ease" of use though. That is one of those slippery words. It is really easy to put content into. Because of this it is not all that easy to make a good presentation because it is so tempting to include a little bling here and another little bit there. Suddenly your powerpoint looks like P Diddy (snoop dog, 2pak, whoever your favorite Rap artist is) (if it turns out one of those is not a rap artist or maybe two are the same person...) on a glitzy day.
This makes it really easy though to look really adept at PP. All you have to do is keep your screens short and you are golden. No one is overwhelmed with with having tried to read full paragraphs. No one is experiencing an epileptic attack because you used some variation of Blink. Everyone is light headed and happy because you didn't put them to sleep with your PP presentation just like all the others.
If all someone did with PP was use it as a slide show for showing pictures related to their topic, they could beat 90% of their competition.
You said it all Brad when you said it is a tool. You can make something useful or you can make sawdust... of the audience's brains.
I have used Powerpoint since the version with Windows 3.1 and made all the usual mistakes except that, fortunately, that version of PP was not features rich.
Features such as slide transitions, text animations, slide animations, sound effects and so on are all useful, sort of, if used wisely and sparingly.
I do use slide transitions but the least obtrusive and the same one throughout.
I am surprised at the US military, usually they have training courses and manuals for everything. Clearly if slides that the one shown are used they have not bothered when it comes to Microsoft.
First rule of anything:
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid
I was fortunate to be sent on some training courses many years ago. Not the sort of Technical college training courses where some tutor works through the Microsoft tutorials, usually a step or two ahead of the class and which will show you all the wonders of wizards and effects, but a training course on presentations.
By the time you have given your firsts presentation and then watched yourself played back on video you are ready to listen and learn.
last year I gave another of My power point presentations at a conference in Antwerp. The audience reaction showed mine to be the best - topic, relevance, interest and presentation.
It has been a long path.