webDotWiz talks Windows Live

A daily list of links to interesting sites

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sites Wed 30-Sep-2009 – Microsoft Security Essentials now available, Microsoft Theme Builder, Ninemsn toolbar, Windows Home Server & small business, Libraries in Windows 7, Clip art, PowerPoint templates

Microsoft Security Essentials - Virus, Spyware, Malware protection Today’s sites:

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Sites Tue 29-Sep-2009 – Microsoft Security Essentials, 77 Windows 7 tips, Top PowerPoint designs, OneNote, Hard Rock Cafe interactives

Microsoft Security Essentials Today’s sites:

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Sites Mon 28-Sep-2009 – Cadel Evans wins World Roadrace Championship, Live Skydrive saves the day, GVFL grandfinal, Robot to mark English exams, Windows 7 & Media, Writing or just practicing, Kraft iSnack, LOL Photo blogs

Cadel Evans wins the World Championship for Australia Today’s sites:

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Sites Sat 26-Sep-2009 – AFL Grand Final, Help for Microsoft Office, OneNote tips, Twitter links for educators, Visual Basic resources for teachers, Windows Live Calendar, Live Messenger web toolkit, Word Web App, Windows 7 tips

image Today’s sites:

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Sites Fri 25-Sep-2009 – Bing Search, Games programming, Climate change, Access & Excel, Water on Mars, Live Messenger Web Toolkit, Databases for student projects, Tips for Word, Business cards in Publisher

Today’s sites:

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Sites Thu 24-Sep-2009 – CARFAX on Bing Maps, Kar2ouche for creative writing, Live Skydrive and Windows Live, WorldWide Telescope, Photosynth competition winners, Windows 7 meetup, Windows Home Server, Astronomy

Today’s sites:

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Sites Wed 23-Sep-2009 – Dust storm satellite photo, Bing search, Xbox Halo 3 ODST, Microsoft Security Essentials, Sharing with Live Movie Maker, Teaching ideas, Line space in Word, PowerPoint tip, Expression Encoder, WorldWide Telescope

Satellite photo of dust storm over Eastern Australia Sep 23 2009 Today’s sites:

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Journey to the centre of the universe with WorldWide Telescope – webDotWiz Online Sep 24 2009

To begin your journey to the centre of the universe, you need to download and install the Windows desktop version of WorldWide Telescope from www.worldwidetelescope.org.

If you find your computer is a bit old and the graphics aren’t up to running WWT (we’ll use this abbreviation for WorldWide Telescope to save screen space) or if you have a Mac, you can still get most of the features of the desktop version by viewing the heavens through the online web client at www.worldwidetelescope.org/webclient/ (note you may be prompted to install Silverlight so do that).

Get your motor running 

When WWT loads, you’ll see a 3D view of the solar system set against the Milky Way. Across the top of the screen are a set of menu items with the Explore mode set. On the next line are the first group of collections (to get to the next group, click the arrow on the far right).

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These collections are imagery captured from various telescopes, some ground-based, and others such as the Hubble Telescope, are carried by satellites. The second group of collections include a 3D view of the Solar System, Earth view and panoramas of views taken by Apollo and the Mars Pathfinder for example.

Each of the main menu items has a small white arrow which gives you access to a submenu of options.

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So to read WWT’s Getting Started help guide, choose the white arrow under Explore.

 

 

 

 

Set up WWT for your location

You’ll want to view the sky from where you live so click on View from the top menu.

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Now click the Setup button which gives you a list of cities around the world from which to choose. Note that you can be more precise by entering the latitude, longitude and height above sea level of your location. You can find your latitude and longitude in Bing Maps.

Notice to the right of Observing location is Observing time – yes, that means you can time travel (check WWT’s help as to how you might use this feature).

Let’s explore

Click Explore and then choose Hubble Studies. Imagery from the Hubble Telescope is often featured in the media so it’s worth exploring for that reason. If you look at the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll notice that there are fourteen different groups of imagery so there’s plenty here to explore.

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Choose SuperNova87A because it was only recently observed in 1987 and has been vigorously studied since that time.

Now the top image menu changes to show that there seven different views of SuperNova87A. Click the first one and the screen fills with a view of this supernova. At the bottom of the screen are similar links to the same images but others have been added to the list.

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In the bottom right of the screen you’ll see an indicator that shows the progress of the imagery download that takes place to build up the full screen view of the object you’re viewing. Imagery in WWT is drawn from a number of sources and it makes up terrabytes of data so what’s needed to create the image on your screen comes down and is pieced together by WWT as required.

Panning and zooming

To pan around the screen view, hold down the left mouse button and drag in the required direction. To zoom in and out, use your mouse’s scroll wheel or the page up and page down keys on your keyboard.

You’ll notice that as you navigate around and zoom that more imagery is downloaded to build your view. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it make take a bit of time for the full image to settle.

Researching

Staying with our view of SuperNova87A, right click over the image that’s at the centre of your screen to bring up the Finder Scope. Firstly you can drag the Finder around the screen and it’ll give you information about what’s in its scope. Note, too, that the altitude and azimuth values are constantly changing due to the earth spinning on its axis and our view is thus moving across the celestial sphere.

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At the bottom left of the Finder is a Research button. From the popup menu you can choose to find out more information such as following the link to Wikipedia. As well there’s lots more information, much of which is for professional astronomers who want to contribute to various research programs.

 

 

 

 

 

Other viewing options

Click your way back to Collections and choose the Solar System. Now click on Jupiter and watch with awe as WWT swings around to a different part of the sky and zooms in to the planet. Depending on when you view Jupiter will determine which of Jupiter’s moons are in view at the present zoom level. That information will be indicated in the bottom pane. For example, at the time of writing (about midday), Io was the only moon shown.

But hang on, you say, Jupiter isn’t visible at midday. So go to View on the top menu and click View from this location. Woosh and you’re looking at a blue screen representing the placement of the horizon in relation to the sky at your location.

Background information

If you’re starting out in astronomy, you might need to look up some defintions such as constellation, nebula, supernova, galaxies, dark matter and inter-stellar gas. As already noted, the Finder Scope gives you direct access to information on the web and there’s Bing Search to help out.

As well there are a number of Guided Tours built-in to WWT to help out. Once you become familiar with WWT, you can even create your own tours of the universe. Hint: click on New Tours for more which include the first imagery of extrasolar planets.

When you’re exhausted from flying around the universe, take the 3D tour of the Solar System. For homework, look through WWT’s help guide to find out how to view some of the universe in 3D for a touch of realism.

WWT quicklinks

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Live Movie Maker tips and how-to’s – webDotWiz Column Sep 10 2009

Adding photos to Live Movie Maker

We’ll be concentrating on using a number of our photos to create a movie in Live Movie Maker. So load Live Photo Gallery and select some photos. Now go to the Make menu and choose Make a movie… from the drop down list. Live Movie Maker will load with the photos you chose set out in the storyboard.

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To start your movie it’s a little easier to add groups of photos from Live Photo Gallery of a particular subject (that is, photos you’ve tagged with a particular description or containing certain people) one at a time and check you’ve got them in the order you want. Simply drag and drop photos on the storyboard to put them in order.

To add more photos you’ve organised under a different tag, select them in Live Photo Gallery and once again choose Make a movie… from the Make menu. They’ll be added to the photos you already have in Live Movie Maker.

Another option to add photos to Live Movie Maker is to use drag and drop, as mentioned in the last column.

Using Auto Movie

Once you’ve got all your photos into Live Movie Maker, the quick way to create a movie is to use the Auto Movie feature on the Home menu.

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When you click Auto Movie you’ll be informed that a cross-fade transition and panning and zooming will be added to each photo. As well, you can choose to add a song to your project at this stage or leave until later; if you choose the latter, see below.

You’ll now find that each photo has two icons, one indicating a simple transition and the other to tell you a pan effect has been applied.

 

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As well Title and Credits frames have been added. You may not want white text on a black background for the title and credits but you can use the Text Tools under the Format menu to make changes. Simply click on the titles frame to bring up your editing options. Note, too, you have three options for animating your title and credit text.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Add music

Back on the Home tab you have the option to Add Music to your movie. If you click the little arrow you’ll see you have the choice to add music at the current point on the storyboard.

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When you choose to add music, you’ll be taken to your music folder. You can add common formats such as MP3s and WMA files; for other formats, check Help. After adding a song, Live Movie Maker will adjust the duration time for which each photo displays so that the length of the song coincides with a certain number of photos.

If your first piece of music won’t play for the complete movie, place the position point on the first photo where you want to add another song, click Add Music and choose the option to add music at the current point.

Add transitions

Remember to not overwhelm your audience by using a whole range of different transitions in your movie. However, each photo in a movie needs a simple transition to bring it to life. Choose the crossfade transition (applied by Auto Movie) at least. You’re able to select a range of photos in the normal way, that is, click on the first photo and then hold down the Shift key while clicking the last photo in the range, and then apply a transition to the range.

Even if you’ve used Live Movie Maker’s Auto Movie option, you can change transitions on your photos. For example, you may want to indicate a change of theme in your movie – use a different transition to achieve this effect.

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Hovering over any photo gives you information as to the transition applied (if any) and the pan and zoom effect (if any) so it’s easy to check what animations you’ve used.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Add pan and zoom

As with transitions, you can select a range of photos on which to apply a certain pan and zoom animation effect.

To help make a choice, use the ribbon feature that enables you to hover over a certain pan and zoom and see the effect take place. Once you’ve decided, click on that effect.

Output options

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You have a range of output options for your movie: standard definitiion, 720p high definition, 1080p high definition, and 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. As well you can have Live Movie Maker create your movie and upload it to YouTube (you’ll need to create a free account if you haven’t already got one). Remember YouTube’s free service limits you a ten minute maximum movie length.

After you’ve output your movie in the desired format, you’ll need to burn it to a DVD disc using Windows DVD Maker. DVD-R format discs are known to work on all DVD players that the webDotWizards have tried.

DVD Maker

On the Home tab, at the right-hand end, are various output options; click the little arrow to bring up the Burn a DVD option on the second row of options. This choice will output your movie in 720p high definition format onto a DVD and then you can view your work of art on your HD TV set.

If you want to view your movie in either standard definition or 1080p high definition format, you’ll need to get Live Movie Maker to create your movie, start Windows DVD Maker, add your movie, customise the menu if you want, and then burn your DVD.

Saving your work

At each stage, you’re able to save your work:

  • as a Live Movie Maker project which contains the list of photos and videos, transitions and pan and zooms you’ve applied, title, captions, credit and music selection so you can return to make edits after viewing your first movie output (if you want to output your movie in a different format, you’ll need to return to the Live Movie Maker project);
  • the actual movie in your chosen output format;
  • the Windows DVD Maker project (you might end up burning more than one movie onto a DVD to use up the 150 minutes available and have edited the menu and added some notes).

There’s only one way to see how your photos and videos will turn out and that’s to get started using Windows Live Movie Maker. Use the built-in Help when you want to check out a feature and you’ll find some good, short videos on how to do most things at moviemakerpreview.com.

Quicklinks

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Sites Mon 21-Sep-2009 – Paint.NET v3.5 trial, Flying Scotsman model, Sowing the Seeds Community Festival, Compuser Science, Writing or just practicing, Hubble pictures, Windows 7, MS Flight Simulator, More

Today’s sites with most in fact from yesterday (Sunday):

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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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