Wednesday, December 10

ArcGIS and Macs

Have an Apple computer and are upset you can't run ArcGIS products like ArcMap?  Don't rush so quickly to trade up for a Windows machine because all is not lost!

There are a few options to consider.  One, you can use Boot Camp on your Leopard or later Mac OS.  Boot Camp is free and allows you to partition a Windows operating system on your Mac! Keep in mind though that Boot Camp will create a distinction between both systems and allow you to only access one at a time.  That said, you would not be able to work on your Windows side and simultaneously switch back and forth to the Mac side without completely rebooting either partition.

Prefer seamless travel back and forth from Windows to Mac? (might be useful to go from recording 3D mapping on your Windows side to a Mac exclusive software like FinalCut to edit the video on the Mac side) Well there are other options like Parallels and VMware that allow such simultaneous use.  The down side of these?  Well for one, they are not free like Boot Camp and will run you about $40 each.  Another downside, is that because both systems are running, they will naturally run slower using more memory than usual.  You should not experience any kind of slowing with Boot Camp.

After you decide HOW to use Windows on your Mac, you will of course need to install the Windows software.  Unlike ArcGIS products that are free to download for University of Delaware students at UDeploy, Windows software cannot be downloaded for free onto your personal computer from the school and you will have to purchase it.

Hopefully this is useful to any of those who would like to utilize ArcGIS software, or any other Windows exclusive software, on their Apple computers.

Here is a helpful PDF outlining the previously mentioned software and Boot Camp when using ArcGIS on Macs as well as other specs and requirements that might be useful.

Tuesday, December 2

What happens when WMS crashes

Recently at the SMDC desk, we experienced an expansive technical breakdown. WMS crashed, making it impossible for us to check in or check out kits (or so I thought). The cause of the crash was completely outside of our control, it likely occurred in the server department (which may or may not be its actual name) though many leading defense analysts have reported that the crash was actually the result of a Electro Magnetic Pulse weapon (or EMP) detonated in the upper stratosphere. As Nadine described it, when WMS goes down "You cry, you scream." She then collapsed unto the floor sobbing. The ensuing chaos was breathtaking in scope and apocalyptic in nature; unchecked kits strewn all over the desk, screams of frustration, panic stricken SMDC patrons stampeding for the was horrible. 

Times of disorder turn law abiding citizens into marauding rock artists, practitioners of what is popularly known as "apocalypse" metal as opposed to grunge or thrash. Here we see members of the  punk rock band "Jason Walsh and the Cannibals" enjoying a night on the town.

The work day began like any other, but several hours into my afternoon shift, we humble student workers started getting errors in WMS whenever we tried to check in or check out items. We would scan an item, WMS would say loading for awhile, and then it would pop up a little error message saying "Unknown error occurred" or an error saying that there was something wrong with the connection. After showing this to our supervisors, we were informed that WMS seemed to have crashed. We feared the worst; could this seemingly mundane incident be the first indication that America had suffered a crippling attack? 

Manual charge was the result of a secret DARPA research performed at the height of the Cold War, in an effort to protect American communication networks from Soviet electronic warfare. Diana, a former DARPA Analyst, was able to implement this system at the UD after the Department of Homeland Security identified the Morris Library as the 13413th most likely target for an electronic warfare attack. 

However, thanks to good planning on the part of Diana, we have infrastructure in place which is made specifically to deal with this event. This back up system was referred to by Diana as "Manual Charge." Manual charge is a system accessible on the desk computers that allows us to manually print out a receipt for items that users want to check out. These receipts are printed out twice; one copy is given to the user (AKA renter in layman's terms) , and another is kept at the desk. The receipt has all the information that one of our normal receipts would have, its just a whole lot bigger; these receipts are stored in the manual checklist drawer along with the other manual checklists. When WMS comes back online, we go back through all the receipts acquired through manual charge and enter them into WMS.

Experts predict that in the aftermath of an EMP attack, libraries would become shelter for refugee families and stray dogs, such as Little Jenny and her dog Richie (pictured above) at the Morris Libraries' annual EMP Awareness Day celebration.

This is because Manual charge does not make any actual changes to our internal databases, it simply allows us to keep checking out equipment so that the work desk does not completely shut down. Users looking to return items can still do so; items returned during the duration of the crash must be stored in a separate box and checked in when WMS comes back online. This allows the desk to still maintain a semblance of order amid the storm. 

It must be added that using Manual Charge is an unusual emergency measure and thus must be handled carefully. For this reason, student workers require permission from one of their supervisors to use it. Also, very importantly, the checklist system is not the same as WMS, so it will not crash just because WMS is down. Anyone using Manual Charge is reminded to still check the items in and out through the checklist. 

The US Department of Defense has not yet announced the results of its investigation into the incident, but insiders at the Pentagon believe that the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) is likely responsible for the attack, judging from the fliers which were dropped pre-detonation that read "Xi Jingping was here". According to leading defense analyst Dillon McLaughlin, the Electro-Magnetic pulse capabilities of the Chinese Military represent an "existential and growing threat to American national security"

What You Meant To Say Was...

Hey ladies and gents,

This is just a reminder but when you are checking out anything and the due date time says "11:29" or "7:29," do not say that it is due back at "11:30" or "7:30". At that time it is late and then we'll have an angry customer on our hand if it is late and it is actually our fault. This also works for whatever time. Tell the person who is checking out the equipment the specific time; not a rounded time.

Have a great week!

Garageband in the Studios

Hi everyone!
Hannah brought this up to me after she helped someone in Studio 4 and I thought I would share her wisdom in case any one else encounters this problem with the mad rush of students completing projects before the semester ends. Anyways, if a student wants to use the old version of Garageband, the old version is available in Studio 6. You can make a reservation for them in that studio. Otherwise, the newer versions of Garageband are available in Studio 3 and 4. However, there is a catch... The computers will be uploaded to all new versions of Garageband in January, so this literally applies just for the next few weeks. Anyways, just let anyone know if they're really looking to use the old version to go into Studio 6.
Happy finals!

Monday, December 1

iMovie Music (with a CD)

Hello Everyone!

    I hope you all enjoyed your Turkey Break! Now that its almost the end of the semester, we will have a influx of students trying to finish their video projects. Some of them will try to add music to their video and dont worry, I am here to save the day!

Following are the simple steps to how to import and edit audio on iMovie:
Step 1:
Open your iMovie project and click on the Audio button below the clips pane.

Step 2:
Insert your audio CD into the computer. (The eject button is the up arrow on the top right of the keyboard.) Or you can also get it from your itunes library.

Step 3:
The drop-down menu above the audio pane may default to "iTunes Library." Select from this drop-down menu the title of the CD you've inserted. You should then see the tracks listed in the audio pane below the drop-down menu.

Step 4:
To the far left of the play button are two box-shaped buttons, one with an icon of a film strip for adding and arranging video clips in the clip viewer, and the other with an icon of a clock for adjusting audio and video timing in the timeline viewer. Select the clock for the timeline viewer. Now you can see the three audio tracks, the top being the audio embedded in the video and the other two for adding audio tracks.

Step 5:
To extract the audio embedded in the imported video (represented on the top layer of the three audio layers in the timeline), select the clip you wish to extract from, and select "Extract audio" from the edit menu along the top. When it's finished extracting, you should see the extracted audio track below the clip in the second layer of the timeline.

Step 6:
To adjust the volume of a track, click the "Edit volume" checkbox at the bottom. You will now see a vertical line drawn through the audio clips on the timeline. This represents the volume level. You can adjust the entire volume level of a clip by selecting it and sliding the volume fader at the bottom. If you wish to make volume adjustments within a clip, click on the clip at the point you wish to adjust. This will create an in and out point for the volume, each of which you can bring up or down by dragging it with the mouse.

Step 7:
To import a track from the CD you've inserted, select the track you wish to add from the audio pane. Place the cursor, or playhead, at the spot in the movie where you want to add audio, and click on the "Place at Playhead" button beneath the audio pane. Wait while the track imports and is placed beneath the clips in the timeline viewer.

Step 8:
To crop the audio clip, adjust the start and end points by dragging the triangles at the beginning and end of the clip and selecting "Crop" from the edit menu, just as you would a video clip. 

Poster Printing from PowerPoint

Hi Everyone,

It's that time of year when poster printing is in high demand and we will be handling many orders.  It is common that users will come to the desk with PowerPoint files needed to print.  We must receive the file as a PDF and with at least one side 35.5 inches or smaller.  We will often be given files in either .ppt format, or with the smaller side 36 inches, or both.  If a user does not know how to perform the necessary changes, we can give them the handout at the desk but will not do it for them.  Basically, what's different from before (now that we have PowerPoint 2013) is that changing the slide size is under the Design Tab, rather than File>Page Setup.  Then they can ensure that at least one side is now 35.5 inches or smaller (I believe the default slide size is unfortunately 48x36 inches).  Then, save as PDF and they are ready to bring to the desk.

Just remember, whatever condition the PDF is in when given us to print, is how the poster will be printed, so ensure that users make the necessary correct size changes.

Sunday, November 30

Microsoft OneDrive and Cloud Storage

With the popularity of cloud storage applications like Dropbox and Google Drive at an all time high, Microsoft's cloud storage app, Microsoft OneDrive, often gets overlooked. Last month Microsoft announced that all Office 365 subscribers would now be able to utilize unlimited cloud storage. This is especially interesting considering the free Microsoft Office subscription offered for UD students.

I recently ran out of storage room on Dropbox, so this news came at a perfect time. This, and cloud storage in general, may seem kind of confusing but if you find yourself looking for more cloud storage, this may be something to look into.

Something else I found interesting was the new partnership between Microsoft and one of their competitors, Dropbox, announced earlier this month.