Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Web of the Week: Google Doodles

Web address:

Have you ever noticed the clever logos Google has from time to time. Well, there's a reason behind all that, and a couple of ways to find your favorites. Thie first is the official Google Holiday Logos page (listed above) Google has a basic archive of their holiday logos and some of the fan logos.

But wait there's more: has both the images and an explanation of what prompted them.  So if you were wondering what happened to the 'l' in the crop circles logo a couple of weeks ago.  Check them out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Watch your PC on a TV

When I need advice for some particlularly tricky tech tip, I often check out The tech tips are really useful and I can subscribe to them as an RSS feed in my email in box or other feed reader.  Recently I came across this post which they give permission on their site to repost as long as you give them credit.  So, Credit duly given.  Kudos as well and check it out.  Watching your PC on a TV

How to Watch Your PC on a TV

By Bryan Lambert - September 6, 2009

Pull Quote 233Many people have purchased large screen flat panel televisions over the last few years and one of the cool by-products of having an HDTV is many will have a plethora of inputs that will allow you to view your desktop computer quickly and easily right on your television. Some of the geeky pleasures of having the ability to output your computer to a TV are showing off videos or photos on the big screen, and using it as a very large work or gaming screen. In this Tech Tip, we are going to look at some quick and easy methods for viewing your computer's output on your television (these tips work great for projectors as well).

What you will need:

The quick, cheap and basic way to get a computer to show up on a TV is to plug it in. If you have a desktop pc, you may be able to use the cable that you have right now going to your monitor. If you have a notebook computer, you’ll need to buy an additional cable(s).

Here’s the common inputs you’ll see:

This is the tried and true connector that we have seen on computers, well almost forever. This is the connector that nearly every HDTV will have. Sure you may not get the resolution you need, and it can’t play back protected content (think Blu-Ray movies), but it is quick and simple to use.

Some computers have it, some don’t – but S-Video is also a quick and easy way to get the computer screen working on the TV. The nice thing about S-Video is that it will many times work on standard resolution TVs if you still have one hanging around (the resolution is not that good, but it's a nice way to show off pictures).

DVI Cable
DVI is a terrific format to use, not only because it can support very high resolutions, but also because it can support full resolution HDCP protected content (High Definition movies such as found with Blu-Ray). Because the signal is digital (VGA isn’t), you also tend to get a much better looking picture than you would than with VGA. The cable can cost more, and it doesn’t carry audio (you’d need a separate audio patch cable for that), however the next cable on our list does.

HDMI Cable
For hooking a computer to an HDTV, this is definitely the way to go for many people because it's one cable that carries both video and audio, it supports HDCP protected content and high resolutions, and is relatively inexpensive. One drawback is that while many laptops have an HDMI connector, many desktops do not – so you’d need to add that port yourself (usually through a video card upgrade).

Some companies, such as IOGear also offer wireless solutions for both video and audio. Wireless tends not to support the higher resolutions, but can be alot of fun to use.


Some common caveats to look out for:

  1. You need to go into your video card “control panel”, use a function key or go into the video card properties to set up the computer for “dual monitor use” if you have a laptop or are leaving your main monitor connected if using a desktop. For TV display, most people just choose to “mirror” the display (same image appears on both monitors).

  2. Unless you are using HDMI, you’ll need to run a separate audio cable for audio through the TV.

  3. The highest resolution you can display is what can be supported by both the TV and the video card (it is just like a big monitor after all).

  4. For Blu-Ray protected content, you’d need to set your output to the HDTV only – it will not usually display on both TV and monitor (you may also need to set the audio out to SPDIF for Blu-Ray movies to get the audio on the TV as well).

  5. Some laptop computers tend to “lose” the audio capabilities of HDMI when using drivers not designed for the unit (even if it is a “recommended” update from your computer automatic updates).

  6. You may need to “play” with the TV’s aspect ratio to make the computers output “fit” properly to the TV screen.

  7. Be sure that you set the source on your TV to match the input you are using on the computer.

  8. Make sure that the cables are plugged in all the way – it’s really easy for a cable to slip out “just a little”.

In Conclusion

roomWhether you want to show off some photos in a slide show or use your Entertainment PC for use as a Blu-Ray player, hooking up your computer to a HDTV is a great way to use your HDTV to its full capability. So fire up the PC, plug it in and let the fun begin!

Tech Tips Article -

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lessons from Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This summer at the final NECC Conference I got the opportunity to hear Malcom Gladwell speak. I had heard of him and heard of his books but mostly parenthetically. It was sort of assumed that if you were intelligent then you had read his books or understood what was meant by tipping point. It's interesting to actually be reading them and see how his ideas are becoming, to use his own words, sticky.

I have really gotten a kick out of his book. I have learned at least a few things.

First, I love reading books by journalists. I have also read Radical Evolution The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human by Joel Garreau Who did a phenomenal job of distilling all the disparate information and creating a sense of it.

Malcolm Gladwell has done the same. He has analyzed and translated the jargonese of the psychology so I can understand it. He puts multiple ideas into a language I can easily and rapidly assimilate. I read the jargonese myself too, but His skill as a journalist is fully realized in this format, a book, explaining what the news of the past has lead us to understand.

Second, language is important. He had a sort of side note about a toddler and her advanced use of language. This description really resonated with me because of the ESL class I teach and because my wife is working on a degree in Spanish Education. Very interesting stuff about how much more complex our abilities can be than we sometimes let on.

Third, and certainly not last, was the idea of Transactive Memory. Gladwell, described something that I understood, but couldn't define. As a husband, I notice that there are things that I do and know that my wife simply doesn't have to. I often ask her where my keys are. Not because I can't look for them myself, but because she probably knows and remembers better than I do. My kids ask me where their shoes are. Why? Because it is much more likely that I moved them back into their room than they are wherever they left them. The idea is this. We share memory with our family members. We don't remember things that we don't have too. The book I referred to before Radical Evolution The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human talked about this issue to but not in relationship to people but computers. Both books refer to this sharing of memory and the loss when that shared memory is gone. People who go through a divorce feel a loss partly at least, because some of their cognitive abilities resided in their spouse. People who have a computer fail and lose all of their data feel a loss and sometimes have to have grief counseling to manage it. Why? Not because they are weak or overly attached to material items, but because they in a very real sense have lost their mind, their soul.

I think this has some unique implications in the education world. First, how much of our memory do we share with others? How do we share memory and even personality with the community. Gladwell discussed this transactive memory as having an influence on the success of small groups. People not only know each other but the know each other. They value each other. This I think has a serious implicatioin for schools. Where interdependence is fostered there is a much higher investment in the success of each individual and the whole group.

Secondly, if we truly do share memory with our devices, we depend on them as we depend on other people, should we deny student their devices at school? We see their cell-phones and iPods, and MP3 players as nuisance items and distractions, but are we in a sense asking students to function with only part of their brain? What would it be like for us to function without the books we depend on? These students depend on their phones not just as a way to flirt but as a connection to their world.

This connection also creates another implication. What about our World Wide Web of memory? In some way as each of us shares, creates, comments and adds to what is available we are creating in a sense a Hive Mind (blatant Star Trek/BORG reference or Ender's Game take your pick) But we are creating a world in which what one knows all can know. Access then to this mind becomes essential to be a part of the same memory as our global culture.

Great book!

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Web of the Week: Google Lit Trips

Web address:

Google Earth has influenced how we teach a lot of things.  It allows us to explore far away islands, distant mountains, and view undersea features.  It also allows you to explore books in a whole new way.  Any book that takes place on our world can be mapped as a Google Earth Tour.  Many have already been done.  Check out Googlel Lit Trips to see grade level examples of books that navigate through our world.

This week in the Faculty Lounge, UEN's Professional Development will be showing how to use Google Earth to create your own Literature Trip.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Excel at Analyzing Data

One of the things we love about computers is that they are exceptional about analyzing data.  One of the first practical and marketable uses of computers was for Spreadsheets.  Originally, running the numbers meant writing a large paper worksheet or blackboard full of sales figures and expenses to determine profit margins.  These big worksheets could then be changed and re-calculated to see what would happen to profits if something changed.

You can learn more about Visicalc:

Now, many different companies offer spreadsheets. They can be hugely useful for calculating all kinds of stuff.

The big tips for today!
CSV Files - CSV Files are Comma Separated Values. So why do you care? Many sites will allow you to download data as CSV files which can be opened by most Spreadsheet programs

The other big tip: Check out Microsoft's Help Page regarding 3 calculations you really want to be able to do. Mean, Median and Mode.

Also, if you are interested in seeing what a CSV files looks like, download these files:

  • Scores as a CSV File (Should open in your Spreadsheet program)

  • Scores as a TXT File (to see the Comma Separated Values)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Web of the Week:

Web address:

Geocaching is a great way to get out and find stuff.  But if hunting under bricks, logs and rocks at the back of the park isn't your thing, you may want to try out  This site was also developed by GroundSpeak, the same folks that brought us  The main difference here is that waymarks unlike geocaches have no physical item you have to locate.  It is based on the idea that information is tied to location.  When you locate a waymark, all you have to do is go back to the website and log your visit.  You are encouraged to upload a photo of yourself at the location, but it usually isn't required.

Tools like Google Earth, and Google Maps will also let you track places you have visited but after yesterday's blog post, I thought this was worth a mention.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More conversations about Extended Adolescence

I found out I am not the only one you know. I was at a meeting of MESA on Saturday. I was there to teach about Podcasting. I got there, did my first session, went to lunch, then went back to the room and got absorbed into a conversation on one of my pet topics.

I was trying to get a network connection to make showing podcasts in iTunes a little easier (read: possible. I've got to get a mifi) Well, as I sat there a couple of ladies, came in and sat down. After 5 or 10 minutes they asked "Why aren't you starting?" "Cause the keynote is going on right now and I start in about 30 minutes" "Oh, oops"

The ladies were obviously from the same district and I continued working while they launched in to a discussion regarding scheduling in a middle school. There had been an attempt made to create groups of kids with a "school within a school" model. I sat and listened for a while, then of course piped up and stuck my nose in where it didn't really belong. I asked, "So, to summarize, you are frustrated because a couple of electives that are only offered once a day are driving your entire schedule" "YES, you get it"

This led into a "why" and then a discussion about what really should drive scheduling at a middl school. One of the problems that was pointed out was an advanced mathematics and a unique approach to CTE I am not one to find fault or criticize, so I don't really find fault with attempts to create solutions that work locally. There unique situation was fine, but one part of the conversation was that it was found that students who had taken Algebra 2 in High School were more likely to be in College, this has prompted a change in requirements in some states to require Algebra 2 in High School. I think someone has cause and effect mixed up. I think a more effective interpretation of that data would be. Students who are going to go on to college are likely going to decide early and prepare by taking advanced mathematics. I mentioned to these ladies that I think we wait too long to let kids take a responsible role. They both mentioned that yeah, we keep kids in school longer and longer. More and more training before we allow them to step into responsible productive work environments. I don't think this is going to stay viable for ever. We can't continue an educating our kids as if everyone on of them will follow a route through a 4 year high school and a 4 year college or university with a General Education program. We are extending adolescence too long.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Learn to Geocache

Information is tied to location.  Thinks we want to learn are related to the place they happened, were discovered, were written.

Geocaching helps you become the Search Engine.  At least that's the motto of  What do you do though, if you aren't sure about this whole thing?  Can't you try it out?  Before you spend $100.00 or more on a GPS device?  Well, yes you can.  You have a couple of options.

First, Take a class.  UEN Professional development offers a course called: The GPS Classroom.  In the class you learn a lot of the basics of using a GPS unit and how to find geocaches.  This course isn't designed for the GPS Navigation units for the car, but rather the devices that hunters, search and rescue, and other outdoorsman use for navigating off road.

Second, Try Geocaching with your phone it does everything else, Why not Geocaching?.  You have four options.

  • Geocaching with an iPhone. offers an iPhone App for $9.99.  This app does it all.

  • Trimble offers a $5.99 per month service and software that works on several Phones and plans.

  • A Windows Mobile fan?  BASICgps is a free download that works fairly well.  It doesn't have convenient features for downloading a cache location directly to the phone( you sync them onto the phone from your computer), but does allow you to log caches from the phone as well as get hints....if you have a data plan.

  • Blackberry features Blackstar.  A Clean and simple solution that again doesn't work well for downloading cache locations, but will let you find and log them all with the phone.  You will have to add the locations from a computer before you head into the wilds.

So there you have it folks, several ways you can try out location based information.  So grab your phone and go outside.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Everything is a nail.

Earlier I wrote about how we as educator's have a hard time with perspective. We tend to see all instructional opportunities from the perspective we are most comfortable or most capable with. I mentioned my tendency toward PowerPoint. I don't think in terms of "What tool should I use for this" I think "How can I do this in PowerPoint"

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Even our standards and testing are based around this same problem of everything looking like a nail. Contents and Standards are driven by the "how do we measure it" model. We have to prove we taught. We have to prove it mathematically and preferably with a norm-referenced or criterion referenced test.

What about the stuff that can't be measured. My students are kinder because I slowed down and taught etiquette, empathy and politeness in my class. My students regularly read articles and the newspaper to keep up on current events because they reported on them weekly in class. My students took an art class because I mentioned I was reading "Drawing on the Right side of the brain" How do we measure this. How do we give teachers merit pay for being the one person a student remembers 12 years later as believing in them and deciding not to rob that store? How do you measure incremental impacts of dozens and dozens of teachers on a student. Their influence isn't like a seed that will one day bear fruit. It is the fertilizer that kept the soil good so the seed of goodness in that student could sprout and grow. How do you measure that? How do you provide merit pay for that?

Well, one suggestion is offering merit pay for more than the results that students had on a test. (Which by the way caused a decrease in test scores in Portugal) I have mentioned this before, but I believe it bears repeating. Let teachers demonstrate the value added. We ask students to demonstrate multiple modes of competency why not teachers? If a teacher is blogging and getting hits showing that parents are visiting her site? Why not pay her for the value added to the school. If a teacher creates a web site and tracks the hits. Why not pay him for the value added to the school? If a teacher is willing to run a before or after school program. Value Added! Part of this could be test scores, but if instead of paying teacher more to try to get them to do a better job of a bad business why don't we pay them more for doing better business?


I don't know what to call it exactly. I have seen it. It doesn't just happen in teachers. It happens in many people. Maybe in most.

When I was young, I remember going to the doctor's office and seeing the Highlights Magazine. It was a staple of waiting areas everywhere. Still is. Often on the back cover or on an inside page you would find a collection of 4 or 5 pictures. Pictures that were taken at such close range that it was hard impossible to tell exactly what you were looking at. Sometimes it was a fly's leg, the edge of a quarter, or once the bottom end of an apple where there is just a remnant left of the flower it starts out as.

This happens to teachers. It happens to many people. Maybe most.

We become so involved and so close up to what we are doing that we no longer recognize what we are looking at. But this doesn't really tell the whole story. I saw a man who could play the saw. You know one of those old timey cowboy grub places. He was great. He could play that saw in ways that were simply amazing. He had picked an instrument and could make it do things that I would not have ever imagined. But the reality is: He was still playing the saw. We can become amazing at getting our chosen tool to play amazing tunes, but sometimes it is time to change the instrument. For example: I am a PowerPoint power user. I can get PowerPoint to do some amazing things. I use it as a photo editor, I create interactive stand-alone activities and quizzes, I even know how to get a video to play over multiple slides so different questions show up at different points along the video. The reality is though, that just like the old saying goes. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. I am guilty of this. To me the tool that I use has so influenced how I teach that when I sit down to consider what I need to do I always ask myself…What PowerPoints will I need? I think it's perspective....maybe? I am so close to the subject that I fail to recognize one concept.

What if I don't need PowerPoint?

This is a challenge for education. We have a lot of teachers who have become virtuoso's in the chosen method of teaching. Cooperative learning, literature circles, lecture, even worksheets. But the challenge with that is teaching like this would be as dangerous as a doctor who prescribed varying amounts and types of antibiotics for all diseases. It simply wouldn't cure everything.

I worry that many of us as educators and especially as tech educators see tech as the solution. The solution is education. Tech is just a tool.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Web of the Week: FlowingData

Web address:

This site is devoted to making numerical data more visual. It has some very tongue in cheek stuff. It's a blog so it's not always as formal as other sites, but some of the images can be great discussion starters or writing prompts.


BTW it's 09 09 09 9:00

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: RSS What's in a feed?

Something happened a while back. You probably didn't even notice. A revolution occurred. There was a coup. HTML was supplanted by XML. Big deal right? The internet is still on your computer. You don't care. Well, if you want to learn a little bit of the history of XML and why it was a big deal you can always read more on Wikipedia.

But why does this matter to us?  Well for educators there is a constant impetus to stay current.  Staying up on what is going on can be a real challenge. It is often time-consuming and challenging to find the latest and greatest.  What if the latest and greatest came to find you?  That is what an RSS Feed is all about.  RSS stands for Really Sinple Syndication and it allows a website to easily 'push' updates out.  Or in reverse it allows any individual to pull updates from a site to them.  You can find the RSS link an many web pages, but what do you do with it?  Currently many email programs have an option to add RSS Feeds to your inbox.  Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook both have a feed reader built into their mail system.  Feeds are also at the heart of Podcast subscriptions. So what does the XML coup have to do with this.  XML powers RSS feeds.  These feeds allow you to subscribe to a whole shopping cart of things, from blogs, to news headlines. Even search results on some of your favorite sites. This blog and the other UEN Blogs all have their own RSS feeds. You can learn more about RSS feeeds on our UEN page devoted to them as well as links to some feeds to follow.

To learn more about a feed reader check out the CommonCraft video.

Feeds to follow:\x3drss2\x3drss2\x3drss2

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday Web of the Week: Smithsonian Channel

Web Address:

The Smithsonian Museums are one of the gems of the world.  They contain a collection of materials, and knowledge that is probably unrivaled anywhere in the world or history.  Now, it can travel even further.  Available on the web are segmented documentary features that can be used in class or as supplemental work outside of class.  The video also have the html code to embed into another website.  Learn about What Killed the Vampire Princess below and check the site for more videos to enhance learning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Understand Video Formats

Normally, I try to write my own stuff here or just link to or reference to someone else's blog, but since these folks gave permission and have a really great article. Here it is in it's entirety



Video Format Guide

By Scott Nesbitt - Sunday, March 15, 2009

"But like anything in the realm of computer technology, the video we watch is wrapped up in a morass of jargon and of weird extensions."Video may have killed the radio star, but it's become more than just something that we watch on our televisions. Video is definitely an essential part of the desktop and Web experiences of most computer users. And more than just a few mobile phone users, to boot.

But like anything in the realm of computer technology, the video we watch is wrapped up in a morass of jargon and of weird extensions. If you don't know your .avi from your .mov or .flv, then read on.

Formats vs. container formats

When it comes to other kinds of files, we all have a pretty good idea of what a file format is. We know that a Word file is a binary that contains all of the text that we've typed into the word processor, the style information, and graphics too. But the situation is different with video.

When people talk about video formats, they're referring to something called a container format. The container format is a detailed description of what's inside a video file. It describes the structure of the file, as well as the kind of data that the file contains.

The container format also holds information about something called a codec. The codec is information about how the file was encoded, specifically what software (called a codec, not surprisingly) was used to digitally encode the file. This is important, especially for a couple of the formats that are described in this TechTip. Why? Not every media player supports the same codecs. In many cases, you'll need to install a specific codec in order to play a file using your favorite media player.


MPEG is short for Motion Picture Experts Group. It's a standard for both a variety of video and audio formats, and for compressing those formats. In fact, the array of formats that use MPEG compression can be confusing.

There are different versions of the MPEG format (often called levels) which help contribute to this confusion. The three MPEG levels that you're likely to encounter are MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.

What's the difference between all of them? MPEG-1 is the oldest of these. It was first used in video CDs (the precursor to the DVD), where space was at a premium. MPEG-2 tackled (and still does) the transmission of digital and high definition over digital networks, satellite TV, and (later) the Internet. In fact, MPEG-2 is so efficient that it pretty much killed off MPEG-3 -- it handles high definition video just as well as its descendant. MPEG-4 does pretty much everything MPEG-2 does, but with better quality and compression. MPEG-4 adds another twist to the mix: it supports Digital Rights Management (DRM), which enables content producers to prevent copying of their content.

Note: An upcoming TechTip will look at DRM and its implications.

If you run into any video files with the extension .mpg or .mp4 you have an MPEG file on your hands. It's a popular format because it provides a good tradeoff between file size and quality. Just about every media player supports MPEG, although some players support the format better than others. I've found that it's a rare MPEG file that won't play on the various media players that I use in Linux or on Windows.


If there's a format that doesn't get a whole lot of respect it's AVI (short for Audio Video Interleave). Originally developed for Microsoft Windows, AVI has become ubiquitous across several operating system and on the Web. While it isn't as popular as it once was, it's not rare for you to run into AVI files

AVI files, which have the extension .avi, are often disparaged from a couple of reasons. First, they use little or no compression. That means the file sizes are larger than just about any other format out there. And AVI files often use a variety of codecs to encode them. This causes trouble, because you might not have the proper codec installed for your media player and the file won't play. This is especially true on operating systems other than Windows. It's not uncommon for an AVI to not play on Windows without the proper codec. Windows Media Player can sometimes automatically download that codec, but usually you'll have to search for it yourself.

Since it's an established format with a long history, you'll find that most media players for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux can handle a number of AVI files. The one player that I've found which works best is VLC.


Windows LogoWindows Media Video (WMF) and Advanced System Format File (ASF) were created in part to deal with the shortcomings of AVI.

WMV is a compressed file format (at least, with better compression than AVI) with the extension .wmv. It was developed primarily for streaming video across the Web. Microsoft claims that WMV has better file quality than MPEG. That may or may not be true, but WMV files are generally larger than MPEG files. Often by a factor of two.

ASF, on the other hand, is a container format for WMV. It encapsulates not only the video and audio data for a WMV file but also Windows Media DRM data. All of this is wrapped in a file with the extension .asf.

The biggest criticisms of WMV and ASF are that they're specific to Windows, and that ASF supports very restrictive DRM. As for the first complaint, it is possible to play WMV files on other operating systems. On Mac OS, for example, you can get a player called Flip4Mac WMV which enables you to edit WMV files and convert them to QuickTime. This allows you to play WMV files on not only your Mac but also on your iPod. On Linux, the VLC and xine players can handle WMV files that don't have DRM applied to them. Well, at least most of the time.

And that's the main point of contention with the second complaint. DRM-protected WMV and ASF files generally won't play on other operating systems, or with anything other than Windows Media Player on Windows. An interesting aside is that Microsoft's Zune player doesn't support Microsoft's DRM scheme so you can't play WMVs with DRM applied to them. Ironic, isn't it?

Flash Video

Flash LogoOnce upon a time, Flash was used almost exclusively to create demos, tutorials, and annoying splash pages for Web sites. Now, thanks to the popularity of video sharing sites like YouTube, Flash has become an almost ubiquitous video format.

Most Flash video files have the extension .flv or .swf, although you might see the files with the extension .f4p (protected Flash video). Flash is usually used for streaming video across the Internet, and is able to do this quite efficiently because files can be compressed to make them smaller.

Flash PlayerThe compression can be a bit of a problem, though. The main codec used to encode Flash files is based on bitmap images -- each element and frame in the video is a set of pixels. When pixels are compressed, they become fuzzy and lose varying amounts of color depth. You've probably seen badly compressed Flash videos on YouTube. They're blurry and look washed out.

Flash is more or less a cross-platform format. Adobe Systems, which owns and develops the software that enables people to create and view Flash video, has Flash players for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. On top of that, a number of media players (such as RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, VLC, xine, Gnash, and QuickTime Player) support Flash. Some of these players only support older versions of the Flash format, though.


Quicktime logoWhereas Windows has AVI (and now WMV and ASF), Mac OS has QuickTime. You can tell that you have a QuickTime file if you see the extension .mov or .qt.

QuickTime is a compressed format, using a compression scheme developed (and closely guarded) by Apple. This compression scheme is very efficient, and can noticeably shrink the size of a file but without losing much of the quality. In fact, QuickTime files arguably offer some of the best quality video available.

Quicktime WindoOne interesting characteristic of the QuickTime format is that it contains multiple tracks. Each track contains different types of data. For example, one track will contain audio, the second video, and the third subtitles. This separation of content makes a QuickTime file easy to edit.

QuickTime files are usually best played using Apple's own QuickTime Player, which is only available for Mac OS and Windows. You can also download add-ons for Windows Media Player to enable it to play back QuickTime files. On Linux, the MPlayer and xine media players can handle QuickTime although you might need to install additional codecs.

3GPP Multimedia

People don't just watch videos on their televisions and computers anymore. More and more, they're watching them on their smartphones as well. Whether it's an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or one of the many phones from companies like Nokia you can get and watch high-quality video on a device that literally fits in the palm of your hand.

One format that makes it possible is 3GPP multimedia. 3GPP (which has the extension .3gp) is one of those container formats that I mentioned at the beginning of this TechTip. It was created to move audio and video to mobile phones -- either from phone to phone via email or MMS, or over the Internet.

Most modern smartphones, especially ones with built-in video capture and playback, will play and record 3GPP files. Like other formats, the quality of 3GPP files varies depending on the resolution of the camera used to capture the video and the compression options that were used when saving the file. Obviously, the higher the compression rate, the lower the quality of the video. I've received video taken with a smartphone that was fuzzy, and video that's been as clear as the best MPEG files I've seen.

While just about any smartphone will play 3GPP files, on the desktop only a handful of media players can handle these files. The best-known ones include VLC, RealPlayer, MPlayer, and Apple QuickTime Player.

Tech Tips Article -

Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

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