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Flip Video Facts

Flip Video

Flip Video

If you’ve gotten yourself a Flip Video Camcorder from TheFlip.com, congratulations! You now hold in your hand an excellent and inexpensive video recording device. The quality of the video remains excellent without becoming blocky or grainy even on a large display. If your camcorder came with a TV Out cable then you’ll even be able to watch your videos directly on the big screen.

On the Flip Side, it doesn’t exactly come with great instructions and there are a few quirks of the software, so here are a few facts and advice on troubleshooting:

How do I install my Flip Video camera?

Simply plug in your Flip Video on the computer you wish to use. It will automatically install the software stored on it. This will most likely have to be done using an administrative login. The installation took about 10 minutes or so (on my slower machine), but only has to be done once per computer used. When complete, your computer will have both the 3ivx Codec and a program called Muvee Maker installed. If these aren’t in your Add/Remove Programs list in the Control Panel, or only one is, then uninstall the one, switch to an administrative login and plug it in again to see if it will fix the problem itself. If everything goes as planned, Muvee Maker will eventually load with your videos in its inventory.

The next time you plug in your Flip Video it will only take a moment to get access.

What software is included and gets installed automatically?

The 3ivx Codec and a program called Muvee Maker are automatically installed on any computer you plug your Flip Video into.

Honestly, close Muvee Maker and don’t use it. Excluding possibly elementary students, it’s a terrible video editor! Use Windows Movie Maker instead. To access your videos, go through My Computer and get to the files that way. Your Flip Video will show up like a regular flash drive with its own drive letter. Your videos are in one of the strangely-named folders. Look around and you’ll find them.

(Thank you, Chris Goodson!)

Where are my Flip Videos?! I saved them to my computer using Muvee Maker.

First, don’t flip out! Muvee Maker automatically makes a Flip Videos folder in your My Documents. Any videos you choose to save to your computer will be stored there. The version I have does not give you any other options on where to save.

No sound?!

There is one quirk. If you try to preview movies directly in Windows Media Player, the movie will show without sound even though the sound is included in the file. However, if you open the video clips in Windows Movie Maker (which uses an embedded Windows Media Player) it sounds normal. Weird, huh?

(Thank you, Chris Goodson!)

How do I save Flip Videos directly to my Flash Drive? Or access both simultaneously?

Since they both show up as Flash Drives, accessing both at the same time can be difficult. They might both be assigned the same drive letter. This grants access only to the first one plugged in. Additionally, certain computer network configurations might assign drive letters that are already in use. This also prevents access. Here are two potential ways around this for you:

  1. The less-technical way is to first plug in your flash drive and then restart the computer. The flash drive gets precedence over any assigned drive letters and grants you access. Now plug in the Flip Video and you should have access. If not, restart a second time with the camcorder plugged in. This takes longer than option 2 below, but it’s much easier to do.
  2. [For Windows XP] Plug in both devices. Now, right-click on My Computer and select Manage. This opens the Computer Management window. Choose Disk Management under Storage. In the pane to the right, you should see a list of connected disk drives. In this list, you should find both your Flash and Flip Video drives. For each one: Right-click on the listing and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths… Choose a new, unused drive letter. Click Yes when you are asked if you are sure. Repeat for the other drive letter. You should now have access to both at the same time. These steps must be repeated on any computer you wish to use to access both simultaneously, but only the first time. The computer will remember the assigned drive letters in the future.

(Thank you, David Gartner!)

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Name Tags in Picasa

Alvin Trusty posted about Picasa Name Tags on his blog called Alvin’s Educational Technology Blog. Well, I was in a position to take a look having just gotten some photos of my daughter uploaded and organized in Picasa as a Web Album.

Now, you have to turn this feature on in your Settings. After this, a button will appear on the right-hand side of the page. Click it to start processing your photos for faces. It took about 3-4 minutes to process about 175 photos I had uploaded. I’ve got to say my results were mixed. Different lighting situations that the photos were taken under seems to throw off the face matching. But that’s OK! It did match most of the faces correctly and I found that the first suggestion of a face it wasn’t sure about was always correct.

My biggest complaint had to do with the face of my daughter. She’s about 2 months old and the program didn’t match her face that well, but what can you expect from a brand new technology and photos of a newborn going back to her birth? It also matched a pacifier she happened to have in her mouth as a face!

Clearly the technology isn’t perfected, but it’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and it worked well enough for me to identify the faces it couldn’t very quickly. (A quick word of advice: when adding people to pictures remember to position the frame over the person’s face BEFORE selecting the person’s name. If you need to delete the outline click the X in the People section on the right-hand side of the screen. You have to click X once to remove the name and a second time to remove the frame.) Google continues to push the limits of what’s possible. I am quite impressed with this new feat. It’s definitely a feature I plan to leave on.

[Update!] The Picasa 3 Beta is out! They’ve probably included this new technology in the new version!

YouTube Video: Picasa Web Albums: Introducing name tags

Mr. Smith’s Game 2.0

Gee, that was fast wasn’t it? A whole new version complete with a new, huge level in what, minutes? Well, no it didn’t really happen that fast. I’ve had version 2 done for a while but this is its big Internet debut! In fact, some of my students found a few programming errors here and there so I’ve actually had to update it three times to version 2.03.

Without revealing too much, if you still have a save file from version 1.0 just copy that file into the 2.0 folder and you should be good to go. A few things have changed from 1.0 (like the bats have been replaced by owls), but nothing major (the bats are still included in the game…). Anyway, for those of you who don’t remember where you left off here’s a clue: go to the Trapper’s hut in the center of the forest. The next level starts there. Oh, and I’d stock up on some Bread and especially Antidotes while I was there…

Anyway, have fun! I certainly did in making it. This new area that’s now open to you is pretty big. You might want to make a map to help you navigate around. It can be a bit tricky. Oh, and there are a total of three ways “out” besides the exit. You’ll know what I mean.

Version 3 is already in the works. I already have my maps sketched out and plans made for what it will be like. So far, I’m pleased, but you’ll have to wait a while for it as it contains probably 12-15 maps and only one is close to complete. There’s never enough time to do all the things you want!

Enjoy and leave me comments here about your conquests! Be sure to check back periodically for updated versions. Oh, at a minimum to play it you’ll need to install the Runtime Package (RTP) on your computer. You only need to install this once, so if you already have it, you’re good to go!

Mr. Smith’s Game 1.0

In my spare time I have dabbled with the RPG Maker series from EnterBrain. My favorite iteration was RPG Maker XP which I liked so much that I purchased it.

Well, I made a game of sorts several years back. Now, it has basically no story and no true ending, but the first two levels are more or less complete. And I’m proud of it. I had a lot of fun making it and my students have had a lot of fun playing their way through it too. I guess it would take about 45 minutes to work your way through the entire story getting all the items if you don’t escape from very many battles. And you shouldn’t, anyway. The boss in the forest really requires a certain amount of leveling up (and a certain equipped item doesn’t hurt) to beat.

So, without further adieu I present Mr. Smith’s Game 1.0! (I’ve got to come up with a better title later.) Oh, at a minimum to play it you’ll need to install the Runtime Package (RTP) on your computer.

Enjoy and leave me comments here about your conquests! Also, be on the lookout for updated versions in the future.

The Document Object Model (DOM)

This is a simplified view of the Document Object Model (DOM). Each box represents an object in the DOM tree structure. There are additional objects in the DOM that are not listed here. I hope to add them to an expanded image later.

The Document Object Model (DOM)

The Document Object Model (DOM)

HTML Event Handlers

This is a brief listing of HTML Event Handlers which are used to trigger JavaScript code in web pages:

onAbort The loading of an image has been canceled
onBlur A page element loses focus
onChange The user changes the content of a form field
onClick The user uses the mouse to click on a page element
onDblClick The user uses the mouse to double-click on a page element
onError An error occurs when loading a page or an image
onFocus A page element gets focus (selected)
onKeyDown The user presses a keyboard key
onKeyPress The user presses or holds down a keyboard key
onKeyUp The user releases a previously pressed keyboard key
onLoad A page or an image finishes loading
onMouseDown The user presses a mouse button
onMouseMove The mouse cursor moves
onMouseOut The mouse cursor moves off of a page element
onMouseOver The mouse cursor moves over a page element
onMouseUp The user releases a previously pressed mouse button
onReset The form is reset; the reset button is clicked
onResize A window or frame is resized
onSelect The user selects some text on the page
onSubmit The form is submitted; the submit button is clicked or the enter key is pressed
onUnload The user leaves the current page

Note: Event Handlers that are device-non-specific are preferred to those that are device-specific. So, for example, use onFocus and onBlur instead of onMouseUp and onMouseDown since the latter are triggered specifically by using the mouse. Keyboard presses will not trigger such an event. Using onFocus and onBlur will make the event device neutral and will be triggered by both the keyboard and the mouse.

Remember, the above event handlers are actually part of XHTML (since HTML 4) not JavaScript. JavaScript now boasts an extended list of event handlers. See http://www.java2s.com/Code/JavaScript/Event-onMethod/CatalogEvent-onMethod.htm for details.

Partner Evaluation Worksheet

Partner Evaluation

Partner Evaluation Worksheet

A few years ago I became aware of the need for group members to evaluate each other. When students work in groups, it’s very easy for one person to do the vast majority of the work while another simply goes along for the ride contributing essentially nothing to the group project.

I find this practice unacceptable and difficult to diagnose properly. So, I created this partner evaluation form to help me weed out the lazy students and give them the grade that they earn. It’s gone through a few versions now and I’m quite proud of it. Use it to your benefit and the benefit of your hard-working students.

Downloads