Saturday, February 05, 2005

Stress relief

Stress relief

Can you resist this?

Feeling stressed? See if you can resist coming back to this more than once in the next week ...

Friday, February 04, 2005

Controlling Flash sound

Control the sound in Flash files embedded in Authorware

Someone was asking recently on teh Macromedia forums ...

... about controlling the sound in a Flash file embedded in Authorware. I noticed that Joshua Burkholder has a sample posted on his website that controls the Flash sound volume:-

You should check his examples out for some other cool code snippets too.

Opening a running Authorware file

Have you ever saved your Authorware file running?

Isn't it annoying trying to troubleshoot a file that automatically launches itself?

There are two ways to prevent your Authorware file from automatically launching when you open it in the Authorware editor.

The first, and best known, is to locate the .rec file for the Authorware file and delete it. Before Authorware 7 you would find this in


Where n is the Authorware version number,3, 4, 5 or 6.

Authorware 7 uses the current user's profile directory, so on Windows XP you should find it here

C:\Documents and Settings\{UserName}\Application Data\Macromedia\Authorware 7\A7W_DATA

where {UserName} is the current logged-on user's logon ID.

But there is a simpler way. When you launch the file hold down the left mouse button. Thanks to Jamil Zainasheff from Macromedia for sharing that gem on the Aware List.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

LMS testing

Local testing of LMS features with Authorware 7

Did you know Authorware 7 comes with an LMS emulator?

Use the LMS Emulator in conjunction with the LMS KOs, and access it through the Commands menu

Commands > LMS > Emulator

You see this dialogue:-

LMS Emulator Introduction screen

The opening screen points out, the emulator is a simulation of an LMS, not a full LMS. It uses the AICC-LAN protocol, and stores data in a local text file. Note that you can save time with the next step by loading values from a pre-defined default text file.

LMS Emulator - Set LMS Values screen

You can simulate your users' details and Lesson Location, Lesson Status, Score, Time and Lesson Data. These are the most fundamental fields utilised when tracking in an LMS.

LMS Emulator - Finish screen

When you are done setting up you can save your current settings to a default file, which can later be loaded back in via the Introduction screen shown above.

For full details on how to use this, see the technote Creating AICC and SCORM-Compliant Content with Authorware 7 on Macromedia's web site. The technote is written by Andrew Chemey who created the LMS KOs and the LMS Emulator.

Incidentally, if you like the free LMS KOs that come with Authorware 7, but find that they do not give you everything you need, you should consider purchasing the professional version of the KOs from AEC Consulting.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Memphis = rain

Memphis = rain

I went to Memphis today and all I saw was ...

rain, the inside of Burger King and the inside of the INS office.

As part of my goal of permanent residence and citizenship - make that duel British/US citizenship - I had to go to Memphis to get my fingerprints taken. 12 hours of driving for 10 minutes in the fingerprint lab .

So I can add Memphis to my list of US cities visited, but I don;t think it counts since I didn't get to visit Graceland or even Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Incidentally, apparently Elvis just racked up his 21st number 1 hit in the UK. And his third this year!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Controlling Captivate Movies

Controlling Captivate Movies

Jim Leichliter just posted the information we have all been waiting for ...

... on the Macromedia Authorware forum. I must confess that if I had taken the time to explore a Captivate movie I could have discivered this already, but ... well Jim is obviously a better man than I.

Here's what he had to say:-

In Authorware using the syntax:

CallSprite(@gotMovie, #GetVariable, "_root.rdinfoCurrentSlide")

Where "_root." can be prefixed to these listed variables:



The rdcmnd can control the Captivate movie by using the SetVariable syntax and providing a 1 (true) or 0 (false). For Example:-

CallSprite(@gotMovie, #SetVariable, "_root.rdcmdResume", 1)

will resume the Captivate movie after it has been paused.

Nice one Jim!!

Cognitive Impairment

Cognitive Impairment

We often talk about accessability for the disabled, like section 508 requirements, but what about cognitive impairment

I found a link to this article on cognitive impairment while poking around looking for something else - as you do.

It gives clear descriptions of the sorts of learning and comprehension difficulties you might encounter, and ways to make it easier for your users to absorb and understand your content. The methods described, and the code samples given, apply purely to web pages, as they are all HTML, CSS or JavaScript solutions, but we can easily apply the ideas and suggestions to our work in any tool.

This is one instance where I would like to reiterate my desire for the ability to control the look and feel of text in Authorware at runtime. Whilst we could fake the text changes suggested, it would be a lot of work. It would be great to be able to use code to dynamically highlight and/or underline text. In fact, if we were able to do this we might be able to modify some of the JavaScrip code tips supplied in the article above.

More on Authorware and XP SP2

More on Authorware and XP SP2

Get rid of the block on running local Authorware and other ActiveX controls

By now you should have read my other tips about running Authorware 7 web-packaged files locally. This one shouild help get rid of any lingering blocks on running files locally.

By default Internet Explorer in XP SP2 blocks all locally stored ActiveX controls and maybe some other stuff I don;t know about. This effects developers because we often need to test our work locally, and it kills things like Flash and Authorware. Actually it does not block them, but you do have to mess about with the little drop-down panel that appears at the top of the Explorer window as shown here.

Picture of IE security dialogue

If you don't want to see this any more, go to Tools > Internet Options and select the Advanced tab. Scroll down the dialogue until you see the option "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer". Make sure it is checked.

Picture of IE Advanced options

Oh I am in heaven!

Oh I am in heaven!

Finally, a decent Indian restaurant!!!!!

I have lived here in Mississippi since May 31st last year. 8 months. There are NO Indian restaurants here in Gulfport, or anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast so far as we have been able to discover. I am British. I am addicted to Vindaloo. I love Mexican food, but the Mexican restaurants here do not understand about HOT food, so it does not fill my craving. Can you imagine? 8 months without a decent curry.

OK OK I admit it, we found a great Indian restaurant in Pheonix when we were there on honeymoon, but still, it's been 5 months since then.

By the way, when I say HOT I mean that first mouthful causes your heart to jump in fear! Gimme a good Indian Vindaloo and I am a happy (if slightly sweaty) man :-).

So on Saturday Amy and I went to New Orleans (N'orl'ns to the locals) with friends to see HOTEL RWANDA, a very moving film in my humble opinion. It is terrible the way the world ignored the plight of so many innocents in Rwanda until it was too late. But enough of that, go elsewhere if you want political discussion or an in-depth film critique ...

After the movie we went for dinner. We had pre-planned to locate either Cuban or Indian food, having decided to find something 'foreign' that most of us had not eaten before. You can imagine (if you are British) how heartbroken I was (n't) to discover that the decision was for us to seek out Indian food.

We found a restaurant reasonably close to the theater (cinema to us Brits) called, with outcredible originality, The Taj Mahal. Anyway, the important bit was that it was a small restaurant (by local standards) with great food, great atmosphere, and 4 very happy customers.

Next time we go there I'll have to have a word with them about their "very hot" vindaloo though. I didn't even break sweat, let alone endure even a single moment of fear! Soon .... !!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Running Authorware locally

More on running an Authorware file locally

Authorware Web Player files prompt a message when played back locally

According to Macromedia Technote number 19503 Windows XP SP2 can cause local playback of Authorware web-packaged content to give this error message

"Enable active content

Enabling active content on your Local Machine may harm your computer. Do you want to continue?"

The technote explains how best to avoid the error message and allow your content to run. I'll add some more tips to help you run local content later.