Back-ups and the Trouble You Can Get Into with Drives and
multimedia project files such as Web pages, PowerPoint, Director,
and HyperStudio rely on resource files. Resource files like graphics,
sounds, and movies are "linked" rather than "placed" in
many multimedia files; therefore, GREAT CARE must be taken when
such resource files are linked to ensure that they are not lost
after the project is completed.
you have ever seen this image on a Web page, then you know
of a lost resource file. When you "link" a resource file
in a multimedia file, you tell the computer where the file resides
on the hard drive. Computer code is then automatically written
tells the computer where to find the resource file each time it
is displayed during the presentation. If that resource file is
moved to a different directory (folder) in relation to the
multimedia file, it will not be located by the computer. Here's
an analogy: suppose I draw you an accurate map of my high school
for the purpose of directing you to my classroom--room 3--for a
visit. Now suppose that I decide to teach in a different classroom
on the day you intend to visit. You won't find me! I'm sure you
would be smart enough to ask the principal where to find me and
we would eventually meet! Unfortunately, computers aren't that smart.
WHEN YOU back-up COPIES OF YOUR WORK, ALL FILENAMES AND THE DIRECTORIES
THAT CONTAIN RESOURCE FILES MUST BE DUPLICATED EXACTLY!
you have backed up your files and directories properly, your
created files and directories should "mirror" the originals--with
the exception that they are now on a different drive such as a Zip
or the hard drive of a server. Here's where the trouble really starts:
imagine that you have an image named "photo.jpg" inside
a folder named "graphics" inside a folder named "project"
inside a folder named "multimedia" that is inside the
root directory of your hard drive that is named "HardDrive"
(THE ROOT DIRECTORY IS THE FIRST OR TOP LEVEL FOLDER ON A DRIVE).
If you wish to link the image named "photo.jpg" in a
multimedia file, the path--OR MAP--to the image would be HardDrive/multimedia/project/graphics/photo.jpg.
If your back-up is on a Zip drive named "Zip," then the
path to "photo.jpg" on the Zip will be Zip/multimedia/project/graphics/photo.jpg.
Unless you remove your back-up drive (unmount it from your computer),
it is very easy to confuse one location with the other. You intend
to link to an image on your hard drive but actually link to the
back-up on the Zip. Here are screenshots of the two paths when linking.
Note the similarities.
Image on Hard Drive
of Image on Zip
Now if you hold
down the mouse over the drop-down menu, the mistake is revealed!
with Mouse Down
with Mouse Down
you physically check (by clicking and holding the mouse over the
path drop-down menu) to see which drive you are linking to, you
will not notice the error. You would be well advised to unmount
all back-up drives before creating or modifying multimedia files!
files take up an extraordinary amount of memory unless it is
(encoded) into a smaller file. "MP3," MPEG-1 (Moving
Picture Experts Group) Audio Layer III is a method of compression
made popular the transferring of music files over the Internet.
MP3 is not the best method of compression, but its success can
compared to the success of VHS over the superior Beta format. A
typical MP3 is 4 MB and will become approximately 50 MB when uncompressed!
MP3s must be uncompressed (decoded) and converted to CDA in order
to play on an audio CD player.
can find lots of info and software for music at MP3.com
You need a
Usenet account and Netscape or IE to read the articles. MT
Newswatcher is a better alternative than the browsers.
will be primarily concerned with four formats of sound files when
working on multimedia projects. You will use MP3 formatted sound
over the Internet, AIFF formatted sound on the MAC, WAV formatted
sound on Windows platforms, and CDA formatted sound for audio CD-ROMs
intended for audio CD players. You can find more at Adobe's
Sound Technical Guide.
and bitmaps are both types of picture graphics. Vector graphics
use mathematical formulas to instruct the computer how to "draw"
the graphic. Consequently, vector graphics are small in file size
and can be enlarged (resized) without a file size increase because
the computer simply redraws the graphic based on calculations. Bitmaps
(raster graphics) contain information on the color of each "painted"
pixel and, as a result, are relatively large in file size. Generally,
bitmaps cannot be enlarged without loss of detail because the computer
cannot calculate the colors of all the new pixels that are created
when a graphic is enlarged or "stretched out." Vector
programs are used for drawing (including animations) and bitmaps
are used for photographs. Luckily, bitmaps can be compressed into
smaller files that will be discussed later.
multimedia, you will be primarily using JPEG (Joint Photographic
Experts Group) and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). Widows' BMP
and MAC's PICT must be converted to GIF or JPEG before used in most
multimedia applications. However, there are a few applications that
run native on Windows or MAC that require the BMP and PICT format.
Graphics for Web pages must be in GIF or JPEG format before use,
and soon the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format will be widely
acceptable. Use the JPEG format for photographs and gradients.
Use the GIF format for line art and designs that have areas of solid
more info, check out CNET.com's
Depth, Monitor Resolution and Color
depth is the number of colors that are in a graphic or that are
displayed by a monitor. 1-bit color (2 to the first power) is 1
color, 2-bit color (2 to the second power) is 4 colors, and 3-bit
color (2 to the third power) is 8 colors, etc. 8-bit color is 256
colors. When designing multimedia you must be sensitive to the fact
that not everyone in your audience will have a high-end video card.
Many computers in use at the time of this writing are limited with
an 8-bit video card, or their monitor is set to display 8-bit color.
In addition, some systems can only display higher than 8-bit depths
when their screen resolution is set to 640 x 480 pixels. With this
in mind, your designs should look as well at a resolution of 640
x 480, 8-bit color depth as it does at higher resolutions and bit
most popular browsers all share a color palette of 216 colors.
you create graphics using these colors, then your graphics will
appear the same on every browser and system. Browsers will display
an additional 40 colors (for a total of 256 colors), but these
40 colors can differ between platforms. To see the palette, visit
Lynda Weinman's Web site on Web-safe
and File Size
graphics applications have the ability to compress files (make
smaller in memory size). This is extremely important if you wish
to minimize the amount of bandwidth your multimedia presentation
uses. In order for applications to compress files, data must
thrown out. Discarded data that affects the quality of the image
is called lossy compression; if it does not, it is lossless.
saving images in the GIF format, I recommend the "web-adaptive" setting.
This shifts the colors to the nearest web-safe colors. Select the
lowest bit depth possible (if your graphic contains only
4 colors, choose 2-bit color. You should experiment with dithering
(color simulation) and anti-aliasing (smoothing of edges) to see
how your graphic looks, but try to avoid both as they increase
size. When saving in the JPEG format, choose a compression (quality)
that still looks acceptable: JPEG compression is lossy.
best book I have seen on graphics is Lynda Weinman's Designing
keep in mind that graphics for the Web are not designed to be printed--they
have been designed to decrease bandwidth. Web graphics are displayed
at 72 ppi (pixels per inch) while graphics that are intended to
be printed must have a 300 ppi minimum. To print photographs, buy
photo quality, glossy inkjet paper and print high resolution graphics
(600 ppi minimum up to 1200 ppi). You can find an EXCELLENT explanation
of resolution, scanning and printing halftones at Adobe's
Technical Guide to Printing.
an industry standard color manager that allows you to keep consistent
the colors between you computer and its periferals. First calibrate
your monitor in the monitor control panel--follow the prompts. Make
sure to select the monitor that is connected to your computer. Once
you have calibrated your monitor, open the ColorSync control panel
and choose the input profile(camera, scanner, etc.) and output profile
(printer) from the drop down menus. These profiles were installed
when you installed your drivers for your periferals.
who are responsible for perfect color should purchase color management
most common video file formats used for multimedia are MOOV (QuickTime)
by Apple (which I highly recommend), MPEG (Moving Picture Experts
Group), AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved) by Microsoft, and RM (RealMedia)
by Real.com. All can be compressed. MPEG files can be used by most
applications that work with video.
can find plenty of information on digital video at Adobe's
Digital Video Guide.
extensions (.jpeg or .jpg, .gif, .html or .htm, etc.) tell the
how the file is fomatted--and the application to use to open it!
If you use the Windows platform, make sure that you have unchecked
the option to hide file extensions when viewing folders in detail
this is in the View menu (Folder Options) and can also be set
all folders in the Settings/Control Panel. MAC displays file extensions.
Regardless of platform, make sure that you use the correct file
extension when naming files. When
working with Web presentations, a broken image icon appears if
the file's actual format and the extension used in its file name
are not in agreement. Here are some common
Internet file extensions. More file
extensions from Apple.
Files between MAC and Windows
sharing files between MAC and Windows depends on two things: use
of correct file format extensions and the ability for your PC to
read MAC disks and vice versa.
Plus vs. MacLink Plus
you use a MAC and wish to share files with a Windows user, make
sure you own MacLink Plus. A limited version used to ship with all
Apple operating systems--but no longer! MacLink Plus allows the
opening of PC formatted drives and files. If you use Windows and
wish to share files with a MAC user, make sure you own Conversions
Plus which includes MacOpener--the PC version of MacLink that allows
the opening of MAC formatted drives and files. As a teacher, you
will want to be able to share files with your students. Do not put
students who use MAC at a disadvantage. Likewise, when you are creating
multimedia presentations, you will want to make them cross-platform
(about 1/6 of students use MAC). Both of these utilities are from
applications have the ability to export to a Web page (HTML) and
more that can be displayed within a Web page with the use of a plug-in
for the user's browser. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are two common
applications that export to HTML. QuickTime, Acrobat, Flash, and
Director all make files that can be displayed through a Web page
but require a plug-in installed in the user's browser in order to
be displayed properly.
will be using Macromedia's Dreamweaver Fireworks Suite to create
Web pages for publishing multimedia. Here is the training
area for Dreamweaver
Information Technology Resources is an excellent place to find
support for technology at CSUN and includes Web Development Resources.
And you should visit the World Wide
Web Consortium to read all about the state of the art and future
World Wide Web.
order to see many Web multimedia presentations over the Internet,
you will need a plug-in installed on your browser. Specific plug-ins
for each file type (that requires a plug-in) must be downloaded
and installed before you can view the file through your browser.
Make sure that you re-open your browser after the installation of
addition, make sure you always have the most up-to-date plug-ins
for your browser as files created on the most modern versions of
software will not work with outdated plug-ins. If you use Netscape
Communicator, keep your plug-ins current by downloading and installing
them. Here are Netscape's
Browser Plug-ins. You can also go to the Web site for the specific
software you wish to view and download the plug-in from there. For
example. Macromedia has downloads for the Shockwave Player plug-in.
If anyone knows of an Internet Explorer plug-in Web site, send me
the link and I will add it here. Otherwise, you will need to download
from the individual software companies. BrowserWatch
Plug-in Plaza is a Web site that has links to all plug-in developers
for all platforms.
and the Audience
you begin any multimedia project, you must create a storyboard to
work from. Begin by determining your audience and the goals of the
presentation. You can then make rough sketches of how the presentation
will proceed. Make sure you include all the elements (graphics,
text, sound, video, animation, and navigation) so that you will
know at the onset what you will need. You should also show your
sketches to others to get feedback before you commit your time to
the project--it is easy to overlook something obvious!
designing multimedia presentations, keep in mind that the fonts
you select to use may not show up as you intended unless the user
has the same fonts installed on their computer. Until recently,
fonts were designed for print and looked ugly on a screen. Luckily,
screen fonts such as Verdana and Georgia are becoming common. This
Web page uses Verdana and should be easy on the eyes as it was designed
for Web pages. Microsoft's TrueType
core fonts for the Web has a variety of free font downloads.
You can learn more about fonts at Microsoft
One Eye Typographic Institute
is the file extension for Portable Document Format. Many people
overlook the ease at which they can present files over the World
Wide Web with the use of a PDF Writer. Available from Adobe, the
PDF Writer converts anything that can be printed into a PDF
document. This means that a Web presentation can be made with any
application that creates printable files. For example, after
you have finished making a Microsoft Word document--complete with
pictures, it can be duplicated exactly on a Web page
without any editing!
of printing to the printer, you print to the PDF Writer which creates
a PDF file for you. Then you simply place it in a Web page. The
drawback is that the user must have the Acrobat Reader and its plug-in
installed. In addition, the file will use more bandwidth than an
a HTML file.
your multimedia presentation is complete, you may wish to present
it over the World Wide Web in the form of a Web page with plug-ins.
After you have created the Web pages, you must upload them to a
server exactly the same way they exist on your hard drive.
way to publish your presentation on the Web is to upload it to your
ISP (Internet Service Provider). Most ISP's include a service to
upload Web pages. You must contact your ISP to get instructions
on doing this.
you are a CSUN student, you have such a service that is included
with your tuition. Here are the instructions for your account from
Technology Resources at
CSUN. Here you will find detailed instructions for your account
and FTP instructions.
you wish to have a free place to publish your presentation, you
can do it easily with Yahoo!Geocities. Included with your free account
is 15 MB of server space and a Web based interface to manage your
files. If you don't mind advertisement banners, you can't beat FREE!
Here is the Free Membership
Brochure for Yahoo!Geocities.
Versions and Licensing
an educator or a student, you are untitled to educational versions
of many software titles. Educational versions are often exactly
the same as the commercial versions but cost far less. For example,
Macromedia Flash Commercial is $299 but Flash Academic is $99. They
are identical! The best distributor of educationally priced software
that I have found is Educational
Resources. You will need to fax your student or faculty ID to
receive the special pricing. Encourage all of your students to ask
for educational versions!
Current with Updates, Drivers, and Patches
many people--educators included--never update their software. Instead,
they figure the computer has become obsolete because it runs so
slow or so poorly and purchase a new machine. Often, a computer
will not perform well because of outdated software. Devices that
use drivers (software that allows your computer to work with the
device), such as external drives, may benefit in speed with a more
modern driver. You can find updated drivers on the developers Web
site for the device.
mistakes in the writing of software makes your computer run poorly.
Always check to see if there is a patch (repair) to download from
the developer. Mistakes in software are common so check for patches
if a particular application is running strangely.
purchasing a new machine, you may wish to try the following.
- Make sure
you have plenty of RAM
- Make sure
you have the most modern operating system recommended for your
- Make sure
you have the most modern versions of your favorite software
- Make sure
you have the most modern browser version available
- Keep your
browser plug-ins up-to-date
- Check periodically
for new device drivers from the manufacturer's Web site
- Check to
see if the developer has a patch (update) for any software you
suspect to be faulty
Check Microsoft or Apple for updates and patches
Tracker: an amazing site for Mac users that collects Mac software
updates on a daily, and sometimes even hourly, basis. Version Tracker
is the number two Mac site in the world, second only to Apple.com.
Fix-It: a collection of tips and tutorials that will help you
fix whatever is ailing your Mac.
Tracker: Version Tracker for Windows users
Palm Tracker: Version
Tracker for Palm Pilot and Palm OS users.
to Lauri Allen for the patch information).
developer has support. USE IT! Look on the developer's Web site
and you should find their support areas. Support for software has
two purposes: to provide solutions to improperly working applications
Computer's AppleCare Service
and Support Web site includes a "Knowledge Base,"
"Discussions," "Tech Info Library," "Downloads,"
"Manuals," "AppleSpec," and more.
Services has a "Self Support" "Searchable Knowledge
Base," "FAQs by Product," "Download Center,"
"Assisted Support," "Support Directory," "Online
Support Requests," "Phone Numbers," and more.
Customer First Support
and Macromedia's Support
are two examples of outstanding support services by developers of
software. Often you can find support by adding a /support after
typing the URL of a developer's home page.
Liability and Protecting Students' Privacy
must obey copyright laws and protect your student's privacy at all
times if you do not wish to fall victim to a lawsuit.
and your school are liable when you publish (upload) a Web page
that contains copyrighted material for which you have not received
written permission to publish.
and your school are liable when you publish (upload) a Web page
that contains identifying information about a student for whom you
have not received written permission to publish.
excellent Web site for guidelines in education is Bellingham Public
and Learning. Read the items under "Internet & Computer
Systems: MAC or Windows?
The "holy war" over MAC vs. Windows will serve only to impede
your progress toward the use of technology in the classroom. Furthermore,
arguing that one is superior over the other is immature. A good
"teacher of technology" uses both and teaches with both!
BOTH have their advantages and disadvantages and you should know
what they are in order to make intelligent decisions.
Extensions vs. Windows Registry
platforms have "extensions" that extend the capabilities
of the application software and the operating system--and also
havoc when software is poorly written. The MAC contains these files
within its Extension directory while Windows keeps similar
files in its Registry directory.