Week 9

 

Review the following websites:

 

FLASH:

 

FlashVista http://www.flashvista.com/

 

FlashVista provides a search engine to find some of the best flash sites and it also has a directory for flash links. This combination allows one to find some very neat websites that are using Flash well, and also find Flash resources such as tutorials and templates.

 

Flash Tutorials http://www.lukamaras.com/tutorials/cool-design/hitech-floating-menu.html

 

Lukamaras is designed for folks who are just learning flash. It provides tutorials that are quite detailed so anyone can follow the steps, but it also provides detailed explanations for those who already use Flash and know ActionScript. Best of all the tutorials are free. This particular URL is to a tutorial for creating a “cool hi-tech draggable floating menu”.

 

SitePal – Flash Avatars http://www.sitepal.com/

 

SitePal is a fee based service that will help you create a “fully customizable speaking avatar” which you can add to your website. There is a 15 day free trial and after that the lowest price is $9.95 per month. I am not sure if once you create an avatar using this you need to keep paying every month for it to keep working or not. That could get to be expensive.

 

FLASH SOFTWARE:

 

Adobe Flash http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/

 

Adobe Flash CS3 is a standard Flash tool, but like other Adobe/ Macromedia software it can be expensive ($699).  There is a free trial available which could help someone decide if they really want to spend the money.

 

Swift http://www.erain.com/Products/swift3d/

 

Swift 3D is a vector tool that allows designers to create 3D animated images to use in Flash or other projects. It supposedly integrates with Adobe Flash and the files compress well. The full version is $299.  If you have Adobe Flash, there is a plug-in/ extension called Swift 3D Xpress.

 

Swish http://www.swishzone.com/index.php

 

Swish offers a variety of software for Flash. They have SWISH Pix which allows one to create Flash photo albums; SWISH Studio2 -allows one to convert Flash movies to screensavers, EXEs, etc.; SWISH Video3 -allows one to convert videos to Flash and put it on the web; SWISH Jukebox -lets you convert MP3 files to Flash sound players; SWISH Max2 – has many tools to help you create interactive Flash animations; and Templates for SWISH Max which are designed by professionals and are royalty free. SWiSH Max2 is about $150.

 

SCRIPTS:

 

HotScripts http://www.hotscripts.com/

 

HotScripts is a directory service that collects and organizes web programming and related resources. It is aimed at webmasters and programmers who are seeking “dynamic development tools”.  Some of the directory categories include: Ajax, C and C++. Flash, PHP, Ruby on Rails, XML, etc. The Flash category has over 2000 entries. One of the software items listed under Flash is for “Drop down, tab & vertical menus for Dreamweaver”.  It uses DHTML and Flash to make really nifty website menus. There is a free trial and the price after that is $49.99 ($50) which seems reasonable if you create lots of websites or are constantly changing styles. The author of this product is listed as http://www.extendstudio.com.

 

MP3S:

Basic info about MP3s http://www.soundstageav.com/mastersonaudio/20050201.htm

 

SoundStage AV is a very helpful site created as a resource for AV enthusiasts. This “masters on audio” article from Feb. 2005 called “So what is MP3, Anyway?” does a great job of explaining what MP3 is. Basically it is just a technique used to compress audio files so they can be stored and shared and transferred more easily.

 

How to create .M3U files and streaming audio http://www.selfseo.com/story-13698.php

 

This article posted by David Grant (5/01/2006), entitled “How to Stream Audio from your Website for Free” is quite useful. Streaming allows one to listen to the audio file before it has completely downloaded. This lets a visitor to a website begin to enjoy the music right away. Without the streaming the visitor must wait while the whole file downloads and then they have a copy on their computer (this can be against copyright laws). With a streaming file the visitor’s audio player (windows media, Real Audio player, etc.) will open and start playing the music but the file will not be saved to their computer. To set up streaming audio one simply creates a text file with a link to the MP3 file and then save that text file with the extension .m3u.  The text file link has to be for the full URL so if the audio file was in a folder called mp3 and the file name was mymusic.mp3 then the link to put in the text file is http://mywebsitename.net/mp3/mymusic.mp3 then you save the text file as mywebsitemp3mymusic.m3u and make sure that both the actual music file and the text file are uploaded to the server.

 

Audacity – Free audio editor http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

 

Audacity is open source software which is free to use and allows one to record and edit audio. It even lets you create soundscapes yourself. There are special effects, a sound mixer, etc. One user review from the PC World article on Audacity (http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,22513-order,1-page,1/description.html) mentioned this as a tool to fix bad audio on old cassette tapes.  This is a great tool to use to convert those old tapes that you can no longer play in the car (or almost anywhere now). They can now become CDs or exist as digital files.

 

Musicovery Internet Radio http://musicovery.com/

 

Musicovery is a very “hip” styled internet radio.  You can select a mood, genre, time period, etc. and listen to random music. If you register you can save favorites and have play lists. There are two versions, the free registration, which has Lo-Fi quality allows you to ban songs you don’t like and mark your favorites but does not give you direct access to the favorites. The premium membership provides the same but gives you direct access to your favorites, eliminates the ads, and provides Hi-Fi quality. The Premium membership starts at $4 per month. The interactive quality of the site makes me think that it is using JavaScript or perhaps Flash.

 

Pandora Internet Radio http://www.pandora.com/

 

Pandora is another free internet radio site which is sponsored by the Music Genome project. Their goal was to capture the “essence of music” and analyze thousands of songs and analyzed each musical attribute and then compiled all that data into this program to serve as a guide to the “music universe”. You register for free and then have stations listed by genre and can find out about the music you are listening to. Pandora also acts as a social networking site slightly by listing people who are listening to a song and what else they are listening to and allowing them to comment on a song.

 

FREE WEB EDITORS

 

Amaya http://www.w3.org/Amaya/Amaya.html

 

Amaya is one of several complete web browsing and authoring tools. It allows the user to both create web pages and browse the internet for needed information and copy and paste it into their web pages. One can work on multiple documents at the same time and it helps with creating hypertext links.

 

Trellian http://www.trellian.com/webpage/

 

Trellian webpage is also a freeware application for composing websites. It has a drag and drop style interface and has the standard color highlighted HTML editor. It also has a build in spellchecker which is very handy. Another nice feature is the online “manual” which has all sorts of guide on how to use Trellian WebPage. This is fantastic, especially in a free product.

 

SeaMonkey http://www.seamonkey-project.org/

 

SeaMonkey offers a complete internet application suite which includes a web browser, advanced email / newsgroup, chat, and HTML editing. For the browser part it compares itself to Firefox. In addition to what SeaMonkey starts with, there are also other add-ons for more stuff.

 

FREE TEXT EDITORS:

 

http://www.thefreecountry.com/webmaster/htmleditors.shtml#htmleditors

 

This link is to a list of free text editors. Of the ones listed, I have used PSPad (http://www.pspad.com). It is free and allows one to edit HTML, PHP, Perl, JavaScript, etc.  The color coding of HTML code and CSS makes it so much easier than regular Notepad.  I designed my first website using this editor and it worked well. There are also many other HTML editors out there so you can play around and see which you like best.

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