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Creating a Slideshow using Flash CS3

March 18, 2009

We were required to create a slideshow of our images using Flash CS3, which we were to include on our webpage. The flash slideshow had to include working buttons which linked to the next image.

I found Flash easy to navigate and had a good layout to work on. However I did encounter some problems which meant starting from scratch. The first problem I encountered was importing the images. After doing this, I had trouble getting the images to fit onto the space required, and could not size them all down without losing valuable information on the images. This meant I had to edit the images and crop them as much as I could so that I wouldn’t lose any of the writing or key images on it, yet would still be able to shrink it down and read the writing.

After I sorted this problem out, I them had trouble getting the buttons to go with all the images. They only seemed to appear alongside the first image. I figured out that I needed to drag the ‘buttons’ timeline to the same length as the images timeline.

I then had trouble coding the buttons to make them link to the images. The code I was taught did not work and the images just flicked through really quickly without stopping and the buttons didn’t work. This is when I discovered a new code to link to the buttons. I still had a problem with getting the images to stop and was told that I needed to add an ‘actions’ time line (the same length as the ‘buttons’ and ‘images’ timeline). Then I had to click on the timeline and add a stop code to the actions option. This seemed to work and my slideshow functioned perfectly well.

After fixing all the major problems, I then went on to making it look a bit more presentatble by adding a background colour and making the images fade in and out. After some initial confusion as to what symbol I needed to change it to in order to create the fades, I found it really simple and was able to apply this to all the images.

The only problem I found about using the fades is that the images go a little bit to quickly off screen. I tried my best to lengthen the time the image stays on screen and it works quite well. It could be a little longer but that’s would interrupt the flow of the slideshow.

After the slideshow was complete, I then exported the file and inserted it onto my webpage. This was suprisingly easy to do and works as it should.

Now I know how to use Flash and Dreamweaver, I would feel confident using it for further projects.

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…as an after thought

March 18, 2009

After talking about surveillance, I began to think about speed camera’s and whether or not they are useful. I myself have quite strong opinions on the use of them, and often think they are completely and utterly pointless in almost all circumstances. I can picture a lot of people being outraged by my opinion on this – after all they are there to save lives – but I feel I do have some valid points to make.

If this technology is used to save lives, then why can I give examples of them causing more damage good?

I am going to use one particular speed camera as an example, as it is near my house in Birmingham so I hear a lot about it. This speed camera also happens to be situated right outside my old college, so I have actually witnessed several near collisions myself.

This camera seemed particularly pointless from the start as there are several bus stops and a set of traffic lights only yards from it, all of which are used regularly, making it silly for cars to go above the speed limit. Most cars go only 20mph through it because the college kids easily get pushed into the roads an no driver wants to risk an accident. This part of the road is so accident prone I have witnessed a bus pulling up and hitting 2 of my friends who were shoved into the road. Basically, when this road is busy, no one risks it.

Then there is the fact that when people see it, it makes them automatically slam on the breaks, thinking it is a 20mph zone because of the college kids, and this causes cars to go into the back of them.

It also doesn’t work, as I have witnesses people going way above the limit through it (at night when the road is clear) and it doesn’t go off.

This camera is completely pointless an does more harm than good.

As a driver, I also find motorways a particular nuisance as there seems to be a camera monitoring you or your speed every 10 seconds or so. Is this really necessary? I understand that speed kills and accidents do happen on a regular basis, so maybe some speed camera’s in danger zones are needed. But do we need so many?

On one 5 minute drive along the Coventry/Birmingham road (which I regularly travel on), there are 4 speed cameras just on the one side. This to me seems ridiculous as there are various turnoffs which slow traffic down anyway, and there are some more severe curves in the road in which you would have to be insane to go more than 60mph on. There is also a fake set of speed camera lines which slows down traffic as well as traffic build up for most of the daytime and evening. The only time it does seem possible to go over the speed limit is at night, when there are barely any other road users and you are not an immediate danger. Then again it is pitch black and you have to go slow in order to see the road properly.

What makes the speed cameras seem even more useless on this particular road is that they are on a stretch of really long, straight road, so can be seen in plenty of time to adjust you speed. I have seen, on many many occasions, traffic whizzing past at 80/90mph, then seeing the cameras, have time to reduce there speed by as much as a third so they don’t get caught. This is not the point of a speed camera. They are used to help keep traffic within the law and prevent possible dangers. But how can they do this when they are giving a chance for people to go to crazy speeds, slow down, then speed right back up again? The accident will still happen with this kind of behaviour, maybe even increasing the chances of an accident.

I have also heard of a few general incidents where people have misunderstood what speed they were supposed to do when seeing the camera, slowing down to a dangerous speed, and have other cars hit them.

A final story I have heard is of a driver going well over the speed limit and causing an accident. They had gone through a speed camera but were aware it didn’t work and it wasn’t going to catch them so risked it. How more pointless can you get when a camera installed to help prevent accidents and catch dangers, didn’t prevent an accident and didn’t catch that particular dangerous driver?

In conclusion, this particular technology is proving to be a bit more trouble than what its worth.

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Just a quick one…

March 18, 2009

‘Facebook Killed the Private Life’ made some strong points. I myself use Facebook regularly to keep in touch with friends and post photos for friends. What really hit me the most was that fact that anyone can see what your doing. I haven’t changed my setting’s to private as I meet new people all the time and they will have trouble finding me on the site if I kept my profile private. I’ve found it hard to find people set to private, and I have needed to speak to them urgently in some cases.

I wouldn’t have minded the possible intrusions so much (from strangers), if it wasn’t for the fact that I have posted some of my own work up on there, so others could easily save the files to their computer. This means that my photos can be easily taken by anyone, and that’s quite upsetting and shocking.

After watching that, I will now be more careful with what I post on Facebook, and only share important and valuable information when absolutely necessary.

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Sousveillance vs. Surveillance

March 18, 2009

Are they watching us or are we controlling what they watch?

As an art lover, I quite like the idea of ‘sousveillance’. I have seen different applications of this in the art world and generally it is quite interesting to see.

Media by Banksy

For example, Bansky often makes political and social statements through his graffiti art, based on his own views of the world.

This particular piece is aimed at the media and their intrusion into the real world. You can see that he clearly thinks that concerning a world crisis, all the media want is a good sob story, and are preventing the sufferers from actually getting help. From Banksy’s perspective, the media is only watching through a lens (surveillance), rather than seeing it from the sufferers point of view (sousveillance).

This leads nicely onto surveillance and whether or not is holds the same view.

People are forever going on about living in a ‘big brother’ nation where we can’t walk around a corner without being recorded and monitored. I so find this true, and don’t go a day without seeing at least 5 variously placed camera’s on my travels.

They are ultimately there for good intentions, such as crime prevention, traffic monitoring etc. but how much is to much? Sometimes, particularly in busy areas, we can feel almost stalked by them. I have actually felt unsafe seeing so many before. Once it made me think ‘Is it that dangerous round here they need that many?’ and I’ve feared that I will actually be attacked, resulting in my walking away form the area to a more probably dangerous area with less camera’s. I have also felt like I am being watched.

I always see camera’s have been vandalised and wouldn’t be able to see anything due to the spray paint or chewing gum covering the lens. It’s silly. Even when they haven’t been vandalised, usually the picture quality is so bad you can’t see who the criminal is in the first place. Cameras are not always preventing crime and catching the criminals, so why have so many?

Overall, I feel sousveillance is more powerful than surveillance. It gives the viewer a closer connection, and they can start to really see and feel the same as the person who’s perspective it is. Surveillance is just an overview with no real angle or grip on the situation. This is probably why it works so well in the world of work, keeping things organised and structured. The person on the other side can’t connect so they will make an objective discision and no mistakes are made.

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We the Media

March 18, 2009

Dan Gillmor’s article, althought based on future journalists, makes some very valid, and important points on convergence. He states that there were essentially 2 means of communication within the past 150 years – one-to-one (telelphone, letters) and one-to-many (newspapers, radio). He also states that internet now allows us to communicate few-to-few and many-to-many (thanks to convergence).

Dan Gillmor’s article tries to emphasise how quickly technology is advancing, and how much easier it it getting, hence this ‘few-to-few’ and ‘many-to-many’ approach. He says that ‘technology moves so quickly that before long it will also seem natural’, a bold statement which I touched upon in my last blog. It does pose the question, ‘what is next?’.

Dan also goes on to talk about mobile connected cameras and invasions of privacy. The convergence of these 2 different devices (the next step?) has lead to ‘The barring of mobile phones with cameras from health-club locker rooms’ showing that technological advancements are getting more intrusive and more personal, and misuse is present. This leads on to the idea of a ‘big brother’ state, constantly being watched wherever we go. Is this right? Surely this sort of thing goes against our human rights, yet is happening all the time, half the time controlled by the government (cctv, speed cameras etc.).

However the same can be said about missuse on the other side – in the form of peer-to-peer. This sort of communication leads to copyright infringement and causes a lot of problems with the entertainment side of media. They, of course, want this to stop as it means they lose out on money. Yet it is hard to track and find the route of the problem which is why it’s such a successful way of sharing things.

I am now lead on to think, who is right and wrong? Are both parties equal or both in the wrong? Is there even an answer?

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History of the WWW

March 18, 2009

To help us understand a bit more about the web an how its got to be such a huge system, we were given a brief history of it.

From the article ‘As We May Think’ by Vannevar Bush, you can see that the initial ideas behind ‘Memex’ was just for basic connection and file sharing, to make work a bit easier and allow people to look at other works and possibly expand on their ideas. Is was clearly about making things a little bit easier and quicker to do in the world of work.

Who would have thought that now, the internet and computer technology is a fundamental part of life. Not only does everybody seem to ‘need’ it to carry on with life, they are consumed by it. Most people can’t seem to go a day without going on their blogs to update their personal life to the world. If a system in which people could do this had been suggested at the time of Vannevar Bush’s article, it would have seemed laughable. Why concentrate on that when you could use the technology for much more important, life changing purposes (as innitially proposed).

This is just a clear example of how fast the technological world is moving and it’s quite scary trying to think of the ‘next step’. What other advances can be made? How much more involved can we get? This question cannot be answered simply. Some would argue we are already at a peak. We seem to be entirely consumed already, we use it in every way we could think possible and the only advancement’s we could make would be for it to live our lives for us.

Is that what is next?

This of course will not happen. Technology excites us. It’s always remained ‘new’ and ‘different’ with each advancement. It will always stay this way and we will always want (to know) more. However, we still like our independence and freedom, we still want to make our own names known and technology can only be used as a platform for us. It can not actually BE us.

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HTML & CSS

March 18, 2009

After touching on the idea of basic HTML coding, we were asked to create our own HTML controlled by CSS. We were using this as it is an easy concept to grasp when you have very limited knowledge on coding. We had to include our flickr images, or other images if we wished, and create pages that linked to each other as well as other internet sites.

I found it very simple and easy, although there were a few gliches whilst creating it. No help was given from the tutor on how to fix them or why it had happened in the first place (so I could prevent it from happening again). However I found it just about easy enough to figure out for myself and changed it.

We then progressed onto using Div tags to help structure our webpages. This made it much more simpler to organise and work with, and was less likely to create errors. It also allowed us to add our images in a simple, yet effective way.

The only problems I encountered with placing my images on the page in this way was that my images needed to be larger. Reducing them to such a small space meant that you could not see the messages written on them properly, and the overall ideas behind the images were lost as a result.