General Technical Questions
Browser Plugins and Other Software
A: Every Web browser is different, and we may not have the solution to each problem, but please see the tips below if you are having difficulties with particular software such as QuickTime or Shockwave. If the tips below do not answer your question and you continue to experience problems, please let us know via the feedback form.
On the NOVA Web site, we have two goals (among others) that occasionally conflict: first, to make our resources available to as many people as possible, and second, to make those resources as informative and entertaining as possible. While we always keep the first goal in mind, the second goal means that on occasion we make use of new and exciting Internet technology that will not always be usable with all browsers at all times. This page provides a listing of some of the various technologies we're using, links to any required free software, and information as to the best way to take advantage of the technologies. Please let us know if you're having consistent problems with one of these formats.
A: Most browsers don't print page background colors or page background images, with the result that printing pages with dark background colors and light text generates unusable printed pages with light or white text on a white background.
Look for a "To Print" link in the small text links at the bottom of the page in question. Clicking on this link generates a new copy of the same page, identical in every respect, except that the background color is the default grey, and the text and link colors are set to the default black and dark colors. Print this version of the page instead.
f you don't see the "Printable Page" link at the bottom of the page in question, you can generate a printable page by doing the following:
Alternatively, you can go to the page you want to print, type or paste the above URL into the Location line at the top of your browser window, and type return.
NOVA is making the NOVA Teacher's Guide available on the Web in the Adobe Acrobat file format. Using the free Acrobat Reader software, available for Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX platforms, you can read and print the pages on your printer in a manner that accurately reproduces the printed Teacher's Guide, including fonts, pictures, and illustrations, and reproduces them much more accurately than standard HTML Web pages can.
Tell me more about getting the free QuickTime software
A: If you don't already have the QuickTime plug-in (a "plug-in" is a piece of software), you can download it, free of charge, from Apple Computer. It takes just a few minutes to download it onto your hard disk and install it. From then on, it will open automatically whenever you access QuickTime movies or QuickTime VRs (often shown as "QTVR"), wherever you are on the Web. QuickTime software is available for Windows OS and for Macintosh OS.
A: QuickTime VR (for "Virtual Reality") is one of the most striking technologies on the World Wide Web today. If you don't already have the QuickTime software on your system, it is worth every second of the few minutes it takes to download it onto your hard disk and install it. What's more, it's free.
QuickTime images give you an extraordinary sense of being there, on location where the photographs that were used to build the VR were taken. With panoramic VRs, you get the sense that you're standing in a certain spot and spinning 360° on your heels, gaining a full-round view of whatever scene is pictured. With object VRs, the object photographed is the centerpoint, and you "walk" around it, just as if you were actually doing so in reality.
A: In theory, to shoot 360° panoramic VRs, you place your camera on a tripod and turn and shoot to capture a full 360° worth of pictures; you then use special software to "stitch" the photos together into the full-round VR.
In practice, it's a bit more complicated than that. You have to make sure the camera is level and the optical center of the lens is directly over the centerpoint of the tripod. That ensures a smooth-flowing VR. You also have to make sure that there are as few moving objects, such as people, near the edges of your photos; they can complicate the stitching process. And depending on the focal length of the lens you're using, you must take a set number of pictures a set number of degrees apart from one another. With a 15 mm lens, for instance, you need only shoot 12 photos to complete the 360° with a 24 mm lens, you have to take 18 shots, and so on. Special VR tripod heads are available to ease VR shooting.
Object VRs are more time-consuming. For one thing, rather than just a single position as in standard VRs, you have multiple positions, because you have to photograph the object from multiple angles, all the way around it. And you have to keep a set distance from an imaginary vertical line down the center of the object, and keep that line perfectly vertical—all to ensure that in the final VR the object doesn't "jump" all over the place. (It's like maintaining the same pitch, roll, and yaw for every shot.)
A: Some of our more recent QuickTime additions to the site (Submarines, Secrets and Spies: See Inside a Submarine or To the Moon: Explore the Moon) make use of Quicktime's auto bandwidth detection to allow the web server to send you the QTVR file most appropriate for your internet connection speed. Check your QuickTime Settings control panel to see what connection speed your QuickTime software currently expects. If you are connecting at 28.8 or 33.6 and would like to receive the higher-resolution version of the QTVR files, open the QuickTime Settings control panel and change the connection speed to at least 56K Modem/ISDN. The files won't arrive any faster, but you will be sent the larger, higher-resolution versions.
A: Your computer system is configured to try to play QuickTime files in Windows Media Player instead of in QuickTime. Windows Media Player will be unable to play most (if not all) QuickTime movies found on the NOVA Web site. Reinstall QuickTime; we recommend downloading a fresh copy of the current version using the links above.
A: Visit this iTunes support page from Apple for a solution.
A: The NOVA Player is an interactive broadband media player that offers an automatically updated menu of NOVA features, including previews of upcoming shows, podcasts, and complete episodes from the archive. The content it features is updated weekly. It's currently running as a pilot collaboration between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, eight public television stations around the country, and the producers of NOVA at WGBH Boston. Some stations will distribute it as a file to its members while others will embed it directly on their Web site.
A: You need a broadband internet connection and QuickTime version 6.1 or higher. QuickTime is available as a free download for both Windows and Macintosh computers (see "How do I get the free QuickTime software?" for more information).
A: If you've confirmed you have QuickTime version 6.1 or higher installed on your computer, please contact us via the feedback form, letting us know as much as you can about your QuickTime version, operating system type and version, and Web browser type and version (if you were trying to view the NOVA Player embedded in a Web page), as well as details of what happened when you tried to access the player.
A: The NOVA player is currently in a pilot phase and is only available from eight specially selected public television stations. We hope to expand the player to more stations in the future.
A: Yes. The NOVA Player is designed to be shared. You can share it by e-mailing the player itself, or by sending the link for the page on your local public television station Web site from which you downloaded it.
A: Content featured on the first window of the Player is usually shifted to the second and then third windows on subsequent weeks. Thereafter it is replaced by new content. If you can't find it on the Player, we recommend you visit pbs.org/nova and do a search for it.
The RealMedia streaming file format allows you to listen to sound files or see video files over the net without having to wait for the whole file to download. You have to wait only a few seconds while a little bit of audio (or video) file information is "buffered" to account for lapses in network speed, and then the file begins to play, with no more waiting, even for a file of 45 minutes or more in length. RealAudio or RealVideo requires the RealPlayer plugin, available for free download from Progressive Networks.
The Windows Media file format allows you to listen to sound files, watch video clips, and view multimedia presentations.
For Microsoft Windows users, viewing Windows Media requires Windows Media Player, available for free download from Microsoft.
For Macintosh OS X users, viewing Windows Media requires the installation of Windows Media Components for QuickTime by Flip4Mac, also available for free download from Microsoft.
The Shockwave player allows you to experience interactive multimedia, including audio, video, animations, puzzles and the like, through your Web browser. It allows us to, among other things, provide "online experiments," or to provide audio that starts to play when you arrive at a Web page, rather than after a long download wait.
Update (Sept 2016): The Shockwave player has limited support in current browsers. As of September 2016 it is still possible to install and play Shockwave content on Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or later and Firefox on Windows, and Safari on Mac OS 10.7 to 10.10.5. Please see Adobe Shockwave Requirements for the latest requirements. This document by Adobe explains how to enable the Shockwave player on various browsers. It appears to be out of date because it mentions support for Chrome, which does not work.
Java applets allow you to experience interactive multimedia, including audio, video, animations, puzzles and the like, through your Web browser. It allows us to provide "online experiments" among other things. The Java applets on the NOVA site require that your browser be able to play Java 1.1 applets.
Requirements for Macintosh OS 9:
Requirements for Mac OSX, Windows, Unix, Solaris, and most other operating systems:
The Chime plugin allows you to view molecular structures, displaying the molecules as manipulable 3D images or 3D stereo pairs, as space-filling or ball-and-stick models. For more information on the plugin and Chime, see the MDL Chime Support Site.
Click and drag the molecule to rotate it. PC users - click right button in window for options. Mac users - click and hold mouse button for options. Zoom in or out by holding down the shift key and the left mouse button (PC) or shift key and mouse button (Mac) and moving up and down.
If you are unable to view Google Map-based features, check the list of browsers supported by Google maps and make sure you're using a supported browser.
For other help with Google Maps, please see the Google Local Help Topics.
QuickTime and the QuickTime Logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Get QuickTime Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc., used with permission. Other trademarks are the properties of their respective holders.
© | Created September 2006
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