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Issue 17   |   November 2000   |   Updated 12-12-00

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The world of webcams... 
After a relatively painless shakedown period of a couple of weeks, we got a webcam up and running to show the construction of a new multimedia lab at Cuyahoga Community College-Western Campus. There's something curiously interesting about checking every morning to see what's new.

(That was then, this is now: Dec. 2000) The shakedown period continued for several weeks, as the camera quit uploading pictures every few days. It may have been that it was an old, old Powermac with not enough memory, or the dusty construction environment, or maybe the computer got turned off from time to time, accidentally or deliberately. We had problems keeping the cam running for more than a couple days at a time. Then as construction moved to the area where the camera was mounted, it had to be removed. So much for that.

We're using a Connectix QuikCam the size of a tennis ball, mounted on the ceiling, to capture the photos. They are saved as JPEG files and automatically uploaded to the website (and saved to the hard drive too) every 30 minutes. The software that handles this is called Oculus, a terrific little shareware program that's well worth the $20 fee.

Oculus was recommended in a very useful article at about setting up a webcam on a Mac.

Besides their more notorious voyeuristic uses aside, webcams offer thousands of wildly different views of the world. I live near Lake Erie and find the ever-changing lake view constantly refreshing. So the LakeVision site, with links to cameras located on several of the Great Lakes, gives me a quick fix while I'm at the computer.

Keep 'em coming...
Good news for those of you who appreciate our [EDUCATION] section. After a long drought, two new articles arrived within a week of each other! This month we've added a batch of ideas for improving student participation in critiques, sent by Cindy Lowrey, a Web designer and former teacher from Cleveland, OH.

Next month we'll share the descriptions of three challenging projects from Diana Black's Interactive Graphic Design course at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Look for it in December. (If you'd like a quick email about what's new every month, sign up here.)

If you want to know why we think developing this "open source" section is so important, read our recent article. Then send us your input.

This month's banner graphic
The running man motif appeals to me in part because I'm a runner. I'm also fascinated by the hundreds of sequences of people and animals in motion captured by Eadweard Muybridge in 1884. He did 781 sequences in all, using 24 cameras triggered as the person passed by. This set is from the Dover Publications collection The Male and Female Figure in Motion.

You'll also notice elements of a musical score, and an early experiment in electrical transmission of words called "siphon writing." These graphic elements were scanned from books published in the late 1800s, found in junk stores.

The graphic, with typography added over the images, was created to cover the 40 foot glass wall of the new multimedia lab under construction on our campus (see above).

                                                              - Al Wasco 11/7/00


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Flash reviewed... Times Square... Education...

[Oct. 2000]

School's in... Smackdown scores... give it away...
[Sept. 2000]

Lust objects... Usability Nazis... Mac vs. Windows Smackdown!
[August 2000]

New magazines... Fireworks revisited... Director doomed?
[July 2000]

Cancer on the Web?... Barcelona... New CD-ROMs
[June 2000]

Kent State remembered... AIGA-Advance...
[May 2000]

myopia... Lab survey... Student web projects...
[Apr. 2000]

Flash animation: devil or angel?... Mexican graffiti...
[Mar. 2000]

Web usability... Mexican graveyards... online Valentine cards...
[Feb. 2000]

Yahoo!... CoolSTOP Award... Multimedia, the Web & CD-ROM...
[Jan. 2000]

Our new look... Goodbye, AOL... Ideas for critiques...
[Dec. 1999]

What I know about you... Teaching computer-based media... Nudes in Parma
[Nov. 1999]

Graffiti & hip-hop... Better critiques... Photoshop 5.5 vs. Fireworks 2
[Oct. 1999]

Swiss Design Quiz... Barcelona... AIGA / NASAD briefing paper...
[Sept. 1999]

Upgrade junkies,
Part 1.

[Aug. 1999]

Report from International Design Conference at Aspen
[July 1999]

"Interactive Design" or "New Media?"
[July 1999]

If no author name is show, article is written by Al Wasco, author of this website.
©1999, 2000

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