A Science Odyssey Technical Notes and Help

Frequently Asked Questions / Troubleshooting
Access Instructions

JPEG Images
Shockwave Activities
Downloading Feature Packages
JavaScript Roll-Overs


Some pages within A Science Odyssey have light text on a dark background. They look great on the screen, but they will not print well on color or grayscale printers. To avoid this problem, we have provided a link at the bottom of every page labelled "printable version." Click on the link and then print as you normally would from your browser.

JPEG Images

Many of the images on A Science Odyssey are compressed in the JPEG format. If you are using AOL, these images may appear blurry and discolored. If you have AOL 3.0 or higher, you can correct this by following these steps:

  1. Open the AOL browser
  2. Click on the Prefs button in the browser tool bar
  3. Click on the Web Graphics Tab in the window that appears
  4. Click on "Use compressed graphics" so that the box is not checked
    Note: It may take several hours (or even days) for the images to change on the AOL proxy servers

Shockwave Activities

download Shockwave Shockwave for Director is a free plug-in (for Netscape Navigator users) and an ActiveX Control (for Microsoft Internet Explorer and AOL browser users) from Macromedia that allows you to experience interactive multimedia through your Web browser. All of the activities in the You Try It section of A Science Odyssey use Shockwave for Director to bring you a truly interactive experience.

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher or the AOL 3.0 browser or higher, you will not need to install Shockwave for Director yourself. Instead, when you go to one of the Science Odyssey activity pages, the ActiveX Control will download automatically. If you have not changed the default security preferences, a window will appear asking you whether you trust downloads from Macromedia. If you click on yes, everything will be handled for you by your browser and you should be able to enjoy the activity as soon as the download is complete.

If you are using Netscape Navigator 2.02 or higher you will have to download and install the plug-in yourself. When you go to the Macromedia download site, you will be requested to type in your name and e-mail address. If you do not wish to receive electronic mail from Macromedia, be sure to uncheck "Send me information about Shockwave news and cool sites." Then click on the button labeled "Download Now." If your browser asks you where to save the downloaded file, be sure to remember where you save it. After you have downloaded the software, install it by double-clicking on the file. The installation software will guide you through the remaining steps. When you are ready to download Shockwave, go to the Macromedia Shockwave download site, but be sure to come back to A Science Odyssey when you are done.

To find out more about Shockwave for Director, take a look at the Macromedia Shockwave site. Shockwave is available only on the Windows and Macintosh platforms, for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and higher and Netscape Navigator 2.02 and higher. If your computer does not have a floating-point unit, or a math coprocessor, you will not be able to hear audio in the Science Odyssey activities.

Downloading Feature Packages

In order to facilitate the use of the Science Odyssey web site in situations where users may have a slow connections to the Internet -- or none at all -- WGBH has provided downloadable "packages" of A Science Odyssey's most popular features.

These packages are collections of all the files necessary to use one of the Science Odyssey features. (You will still require a web browser and the necessary plug-ins) You can use the packages to distribute the features to students in a class or friends who do not have Internet access.

The following features are now available in Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Macintosh formats. Be sure to read the installation instructions before you download the package. If you can't find the feature you are looking for, send us feedback.

Windows 95/Windows NT 4.0 Instructions:
Click on the link to the package you want to download. Your browser should begin downloading the file and then ask you where you would like to save it. (Don't forget where you put it!) When the download is done, de-compress the file by double-clicking on it. A folder will be created. Double-click on the index.html file in the folder or use your browser to open the file.
Macintosh Instructions: (requires StuffIt expander)
Click on the link to the package you want to download. When the download is done, the file should automatically decompress, creating a folder on your desktop. Open the folder and double click on the file index.html or use your browser to open the file.
Windows 3.1/DOS Instructions:
Click on the link to the package you want to download. Your broswer should begin downloading the file and then ask you where you would like to save it. (Don't forget where you put it!) When the download is done, de-compress the file by double-clicking on it, or by typing the name of the file at the command prompt. Use your browser to open the file index.htm and you are ready to go.

JavaScript Roll-Overs

If you are surfing with Netscape Navigator 3.0 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher you will see JavaScript roll-overs on the Science Odyssey home page. Roll-overs are images that change when your mouse is over them. If you are using a browser that does not support JavaScript (or JScript), you will not see the roll-overs images.

A Science Odyssey also uses JavaScript in the activity pages in order to control the windows that contain Shockwave. If your browser supports shockwave, it should support JavaScript.

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