Tag Archives: flash

Microsoft targets the mobile web

Microsoft targets the mobile web

BBC reports on how Microsoft has signed a deal with Nokia to put Silverlight on Nokia phones.

Microsoft has launched a bid to capture a segment of the growing market for rich web content on mobile phones.
The software firm has signed a deal with handset manufacturer Nokia to bring its Silverlight platform to millions of mobile phones.

Silverlight is seen as a competitor to Adobe’s Flash, which is already used by popular websites such as YouTube.

The software will first be available on Nokia’s high end smart phones running a Symbian operating system.

Read more.

New Mobile Browser

There’s a new browser for mobile devices providing a desktop experience on your windows mobile smartphone or PDA. Symbian and other platform editions are on their way.New Mobile Browser

The makers claim that it is the first mobile browser fully compatible with technologies such as asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX), Java, and embedded Flash.

Currently it’s a free download for US users only. Update now active in the UK too.

More info at:
http://www.skyfire.com/

From Handheld Learning

My Top Ten Applications for e-Learning

My top ten applications which I use to create and support the use of e-learning are…

Keynote – a superb presentation package, not matter how many times I start creating a presentation in PowerPoint, I virtually always end up in Keynote. The latest version (iWork ’08) is a real improvement on the previous version and I will admit I do like the audience going “ooh” when I use the cube transition.

Toast – not only a superb disk burning piece of software, but extremely capable of converting a range of video file formats and doing it well. Another useful video conversion tool I have started using is VisualHub.

EyeTV – though Windows Media Centre (and now Vista) has a much better interface, the versatility, the editing and exporting functionality make EyeTV the only real choice when it comes to recording and editing television. Combined with Toast and VisualHub you suddenly can record, edit and watch that video wherever, whenever and on whatever you want.

Dreamweaver – steep learning curve, but if you need to get your hands dirty with HTML and websites then this package is perfect. Though I do like Dreamweaver, I know with web tools such as WordPress and Drupal tools such as Dreamweaver are becoming less essential than they were in the past.

Fireworks – For manipulating images for the web then I go with Fireworks every time. Can also be used to create simple animated gifs. I do use PhotoShop, but for web image editing I always start Fireworks first.

Firefox (with Safari a close second and Flock in third place) – I can’t work with non-tabbed browsers, so on the PC it’s Firefox all the time, on the Mac I mainly use Safari. Safari with it’s .mac integration allows me to share my bookmarks over multiple computers and over the web. Now Safari (in beta) is available for Window and I like how Safari for Windows looks almost exactly like Safari for the Mac. Flock is for me relatively new and I do like the integration with online tools such as Flickr, del.icio.us and WordPress.

Continue reading My Top Ten Applications for e-Learning

Video on the VLE

I have over the years looked at how we can store and use digital video to support and enhance learning. Generally small video clips seem to work better online (just look at the success of YouTube) rather than whole programmes.

Though having said that I am currently enjoying the BBC Archive trial and the BBC iPlayer beta and on both of those I am watching full length programmes. However I am watching it for entertainment rather than educational – raises another question, is there a such a stark difference between entertainment and learning these days?

We are storing video clips we use on the VLE (we use Moodle) using the Flash Video format. Though some staff are using YouTube or TeacherTube.

Our Flash video generally streams “okay” both inside and outside the college.

I have found that using Quicktime H.264 encoded files results in a similar file size, but much better quality. This was particularly evident with the Italian Language programme I used as my example, where the audio was out of sync with the video when using Flash video which would have proved difficult for language students to follow the foreign language.

h.264 video

However it does require that the client have Quicktime installed and though this is a free download for users outside the college, the Quicktime player we have installed on college machines is not capable of playing H.264 content.

The main advantage of encoding H.264 was the time it took to encode the files. Though quality and final file size were also advantageous.

To encode a 15 minute MPEG2 Freeview recording took around 15 minutes on my iMac.

To encode the same 15 minute MPEG2 recording as a FLV file took about five to six hours… and then I needed to create a Flash object which contained the FLV video file.

We now have a 15 minute limit on files just because anything longer will take too long to download. For those video recordings/files we put them on DVD and allow the students to view them via a DVD player.

Longer term for larger videos we are aiming to have a media/video server, but this will be mainly aimed at streaming internally.