It took me a few days after the holiday to get back into my own code again (scary how fast you forget things). But I am on a roll again. A major achievement for a 1990s computer scientist is that I got the SlideMagic server running: you can log in as a user to activate the pro features (probably spotless and instant PDF and PowerPoint conversion) and equally important, access to a much broader searchable layout database. The latter works now as well, the server responds with dynamically generated slide suggestions based on search keywords.
The next challenge will be to 1) expand the slide layout database, and make the search suggestions smarter, and 2) to make the user signup/login robust. For most developers, 2) is easy (this is coding 101) and 1) is hard (this requires 25 years of slide design experience). For me it is the other way around.