FIS Comp Tech Blog 2012-13

by  ,  Frankfurt International School  ,  Germany

Fun and Games - 19 June 2013

You should do one of the following:

- make funny pictures and hang them on the bulletin boards
- practice typing (probably better to do the typing games)
- exercise your brain with
- make a video game on

Brain Games - 17-18 June 2013

We are going to play games today - but NOT video games.

We are going to play games that exercise your brain.

You can try out the games at this site: 

or you can try something else from some other web-site,
but it must be a thinking game - not a video game.

Typing Practice - 14 June 2013

Despite many rumors and claims to the contrary,
keyboards are still a major source of data input.
If you are   t   y    p    i    n    g        s    l     o   w    l      y
with 2 fingers, you are going to be disadvantaged
throughout your high school and college career -
even worse if you are doing your typing on a
flat screen like a smart phone or a tablet.

You should do your best to improve your typing speed,
preferably learning to type with all your fingers
without looking at the keyboard.  The time you spend
learning to "touch type" will be rewarded over and over
again throughout your life - or at least until we invent
a direct link between your brain and the computer.

Today we will practice typing - typing as fast as possible.
Here is a web-site with typing practice games: 

You can also take a test (or lessons) here:

Or try competing against other human beings at:

Yes - 45 minutes of typing practice.

Be sure to take a test at least once.

Business Cards - 13 June 2013

Finish your business cards today.  Be sure to give one copy to the teacher.
Use the others to label your pictures on the bulletin boards in 276.

Business Cards - 12 June 2013

Your task today is to make your own business cards.

You should make one page with 6 or 8 copies of the same card.
Then print the page and cut it up into separate cards.
Give one card to the teacher, and then pin one of the cards
on one of the pictures that you posted on the bulletin board in 276.
Do this on Linux or on a Mac, whichever one you DON'T normally use.
Choose an appropriate piece of software for the task.

Here are some design ideas :

Comparing Mac, Linux and Windows Platforms - 10 June 2013

We will meet in room 322 during period 3.

Operating Systems

There are lots of Operating Systems (OS) on various computing devices, including:


Appications are PROGRAMS that are written for a specific computer platform.
For example, Microsoft Office was created for Windows PCs (but also runs on Macs now),
iLife is a set of applications that run on Mac OS, Evolution is an eMail program for Linux.

Many applications are cross-platform, meaning they run on several different OS's.
Some popular cross-platform applications include:

Open Source Software

Linux started as a small personal project by Linus Torwalds.  He released his code
for other programmers to use, and many hundreds of programmers quickly
expanded this into a full-fledged OS.  This started a huge movement of collaborative
work, leading to an enormous collection of Open Source Software, developed by
collaborative volunteers and released FREE OF CHARGE for anyone to use.


Around the same time as Linux started, Sun Microsystems created a new programming
language called Java.  This had two major goals: (1) Java programs should run on
all platforms without any changes; (2) Java could create programs that run in a web-browser.
Java APPLETS run as part of a web-page, so they run on any machine that has a browser,
as long as Java is installed on the machine.  Java is popular for writing cross-platform applications,
and is also the programming language for developing APPS for Android devices.

Portable Software

Software is considered portable if it will run on different machines, or even different platforms,
without requiring any installation.  Examples of portable software include:

Searching for Re-usable and Multi-platform Software

Considering the rapid and ever growing expansion of various computing platforms,
it's a good idea to search for good software that runs on multiple platforms,
or at least multiple machines, without requiring repeated installation or suffering
compatibility problems. 

One way to improve or guarantee flexibility is to find applications (or apps)
that run on many platforms.  Another possibility is to use different applications
on different platforms, but use them to do the same work.

Data-centric Computing

While applications are an important part of computing, the actual WORK we do
is stored in data files, such as documents, images, videos, and spreadsheets.
If you have a document, say an essay, you can probably open it in a variety
of word-processors on a variety of applications.  As long as you can open the same
document on various platforms, it shouldn't matter too much what application is
running.  BUT, you might not notice that opening a document in a different
word-processor, you might lose some of the details.  For example, if you open
an MS Word document in Libre Office, it might ruin some of the formatting details.

Flexibility Hunt

We will spend a few days experimenting with various tasks on various platforms.
You might not be able to try all of these experiments.  In any case, don't break
the machines by performing wild and crazy experiments.  If you have Linux and
Mac and Windows available, try tasks on all three OS's. 

  1. Docs - Get a copy of an MS-Word document - one with text and pictures.
     For example, use the biography that you wrote earlier this year.
    Try opening the doc in MS Word in Windows, in MS Word on a Mac,
    and in Libre Office in Linux, and also in Google Docs. 
    Is it identical on all machines?  Can you change it on all machines?
    After making changes, can you save it again in the same file-format?
    Keep notes about things you tried, especially things that didn't work.
  2. Vector Graphics - Find the comics that you drew in Inkscape. 
    Is Inkscape available on a Macbook?  Is it available in Linux?  If so,
    does the cartoon look the same on each platform?  Can you find any
    differences in Inkscape on the various platforms?
  3. Photos - GIMP is an Open Source application that permits editing
    and changing photo images.  Is it available in Windows, Mac and Linux?
    Does it work the same on all 3 platforms?  Try loading a photo image
    into GIMP on various platforms, as well as using another application
    like Google's Picasa.  Are there significant differences between Picasa and GIMP?
  4. Music - find a music (sound) editing program that works on several platforms.
    Also, look for an on-line (web-based) music editing application.  Find out
    which file-format is most flexible and cross-platform compatible.
  5. Video Editing - Video editing is a complex task for a computer.  So it really
    needs a dedicated application that is designed to get the most out of the
    hardware.  Hence, you are unlikely to find a video editor that works on more
    than a single platform.  So we need to look for compatibility in the file-formats.
    Find out which video format(s) can be edited on several different platforms,
    using different software.
  6. Math - Most computers include some sort of calculator, but mathematics
    is a lot more than just doing calculations.  We also draw graphs, draw
    geometric figures, do algebra, etc.  Find some software for DOING math
    that works on various platforms. 

More Ubuntu – 7 June 2013

Answer as many of these questions as you can. Take notes – either on a piece of paper or in a word-processing document. We will discuss your answers next week, so bring your answers to class next week.

(1) Is there a simple “text editor” in Ubuntu (hint: try typing “text” into [Home])

(2) There is a calculator in Ubuntu. How do you change it so that it has [sin] and [cos] buttons? After changing the format, does it stay that way the next time that you start the calculator?

(3) Open Libre Office.
   (a) Make a new Word Processing document.
   (b) Type some short text into your document.
   (c) Connect to a printer (ask the teacher how to do this) and print your document.
   (d) Make a new Spreadsheet document in Libre Office.
   (e) Add up some numbers, like 1+3+5+7+...+99 .
         Is there an easy way to type all those numbers? 
   (f) Open the LibreOffice Draw program.
   (g) Copy an image (any image) from Google Images into Libre Draw.
   (h) Find out how to do normal things in Libre Draw, like:
        --- highlight, cut and paste
        --- draw lines and circles
        --- change colors
   (i) Save your picture and then UPLOAD it to DropBox or Google Docs
       or some other “cloud” service.

(4) In the Software Center, find the “Educational” software.
Find a program that you understand and that seems useful or entertaining.

Ubuntu Linux - 5-6 June 2013

We will investigate Ubuntu Linux, by using it on the PCs in our classroom.

Watch this video about why Linux is important:

Then watch this video about the Ubuntu Phone :

especially from 5:20 to 13:20.

One More Day - 4 June 2013

Spend one more day either making fun pictures for the bulletin board or making video games.

Making Video Games : 

Making Fun Pictures :

Try Sploder - 29 May - 3 June 2013

Try this : 

Make a game - make several games.

If it's not fun, you're doing something wrong.

If you prefer, you can make some more funny pictures.

Funny Posters - 27-28 May 2013

Here is a web-site with lots of programs/services that make funny pictures:

You can start with a picture of yourself. If you prefer, use a picture from Google images.

Use one of these services, or a different service if you wish, to make a funny photo.
It doesn't need to be a face photo - do any image you wish. But it should be interesting
and must NOT be offensive.

Make something interesting that we can PRINT and post on the BULLETIN BOARD in 276.
Use the 277-Color printer. Write your name on the printed picture before posting it.
The goal is not to make as many pictures as possible, but rather to make one or
two really interesting pictures.

Instructions Assignments - 8 May 2013

Due Date : Friday 24 May 2013

Tools, Systems and Instructions - 6 May 2013

Investigate some of these tools.  Find a tool (preferably an online tool) that is easy to use and accomplishes something interesting.  Try several tools until you find something useful.

Computer Systems


Here is a sample set of instructions:

Adding Up a Number Series in a Spreadsheet

Turn in your Scratch Game - 2-3 May 2013

Finish your Scratch game and turn it in BEFORE MONDAY 6 MAY.
- Find the Scratch (.sb) project file.
- ATTACH the file to an email and send it to the teacher.

Creating a Multi-Level Game - 19 Apr - 3 May 2013

Read these notes about creating a multi-level game in Scratch.
This game is due on 2 May or 3 May (depending on when class meets).

Using Variables to Keep Score - 17 Apr 2013

Read these notes.

The teacher will demonstrate how VARIABLES can be used to keep score
in a game.  For example, getting extra points when you touch a "good guy"
and losing points when you touch a "bad guy". 

Simple Game - 15-16 Apr 2013

We will make a very simple game, using the following techniques:
- using the keyboard to move the cat
- detecting when the cat touches another Sprite
- sending messages from one Sprite to another

Here is an example simple game : SimpleGame

Here are the commands for this game:

Practice :  Make your own simple game, as follows -

Adding Sound Effects - 12 Apr 2013

Adding Sound-Effects

Using CONTROL Commands - 11 Apr 2013

The teacher will demonstrate the use of CONTROL commands for Repeat, When Clicked, etc. - like this example

Here is a video tutorial about the same thing:  

Practice : Use Repeat or Forever commands to make several sprites
     that all repeat the same actions over and over again.

Here are some more Scratch links you might find useful:

 Scratch Video Tutorials
 Scratch Tutorials
 Scratch Reference Manual

More Scratch Practice - 9-10 Apr 2013

Continue trying to do the practice tasks at the bottom of this page:

Simple Scratch Programs
You'll probably find it helpful to read the notes as well. 

You might find the following helpful:

Your goal is to make an animation that has several different
"sprites" moving around in various ways.

Scratch Programming - 8 Apr 2013

Starting Scratch
We will be writing programs in Scratch, a programming language for young students
created by MIT. Scratch provides hosting for student projects on their site at

Today, do the following:
- go to, download the software and install it
- read these notes Simple Scratch Programs

You might want to make an account at
Then you can download other people's projects and change them.

Turn in Your Game - 22 March 2013

You need to turn in your game today.  Do the following:

  1. Right-click on the FOLDER containing your game and COMPRESS
    the folder into a .ZIP archive

  2. Write an email to the teacher containing CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS
    how to successfully win the game - step by step instructions
    for proceeding from the beginning to the end

  3. Attach your .ZIP archive to the email and send it to the teacher

Continue Your Adventure Game - 13-18 March 2013

Continue creating your adventure game.
Remember that it is due on Friday 22 March.
It should have at least 20 pages, but the actual
goal is to make an interesting and understandable game,
so 20 pages might actually not be enough.

Try to create some pages with interesting interactions
like the JavaScript below.  Also, most pages should
have a picture, and embedded videos on some pages
will make it more interesting.

Complex JavaScript - 11 March 2013

This page demonstrates how more complex JavaScript can
make a game page more complicated. Here is the HTML
and JavaScript code for the page.

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <img src="">
    What is the last name of this German goal keeper?<br>
    <button onclick="voller()">Voller</button>
    <button onclick="alter()" >Alter</button>
    <button onclick="gruner()">Gruner</button>
    <button onclick="someone()">Someone Else</button>
     function voller()
       alert('No, that is wrong')
     function alter()
       alert('Stupid answer - now you must be punished')
       location = '' 
     function gruner()
       alert('Try again')
     function someone()
       guess = prompt('Type the last name')
       if( guess == 'Neuer')
          location = 'nextpage.html'
          alert('try again')

Continue your Adventure Game - 7 March 2013

Test on H-Day ?  
Tuesday is H-Day, but we will NOT have a test, due to various
disruptions this week.


Continue making your Adventure game.  Try to put a picture on
most pages, as that makes the game more fun and interesting.
Keep adding pages.

Next week, the teacher will give you some ideas how to make
more interesting interactions, using more complex JavaScript commands.
For today, just add more pages - you can always improve them later.
Concentrate on the overall LOGIC of the game.

Starting your Adventure Game - 6 Mar 2013


You should get at least 3 pages created for your game today.
They don't need to be perfect - you can always change them later.

Your finished story will be due on Friday 22 March.  That's an H day.  The "test" that day
will be turning in your adventure game and answering a few questions about it.

BlueGriffon Problems?

If you are having problems with BlueGriffon, get help from the teacher.
If you have too many problems, you can use Kompozer or SeaMonkey instead.

Using BlueGriffon - 4-5 Mar 2013

We will try using BlueGriffon this week.  If you don't like it,
you can always go back to using Kompozer or SeaMonkey -
or some other editor that you prefer.  The same HTML
and JavaScript commands will work in any editor.

If you are using a Windows PC attached to our cabled network,
you need to set the Proxy Server before writing your page.
Go to [Tools][Preferences][Advanced][Network][Parameters]
and type in [] [8080]

Here is another Sample Adventure Game .  This one has
a video on each page (each location).  It uses simple
JavaScript commands - alert and prompt - to respond
to the user's choices.  The teacher will show a BETTER
way to write JavaScript commands that respond to onclick.

Make a starting page for your game, similar to the
starting page in Sample Adventure Game , but this should
be a page for YOUR game.  And you should just use an
image in your page - no need to use a video.  Make appropriate
choices, like "Do you wish to play the game" - "YES" - "no",
and make it change to a second page after they click "YES". 

Adventure Game - 1 Mar 2013

Download - you need to download a copy of BlueGriffon
       You can copy it from V:\Mulkey Dave\blueGriffon - that's faster

Making a Story
You are probably familiar with the idea of showing a STORY in a computer -
but you probably don't call it a "story".  You would think of:

We are going to make an Adventure Game.  This is a "branching" story,
where you make decisions and move on to the next "place" in the story.
Here is several examples you can try out.

We will use JavaScript for this project.  It's certainly possible to create
computerized stories with other tools, but JavaScript is an excellent
programming language to learn, as it is the most common language
used in the World-Wide-Web.

Here are some suggestions for getting started:

Before you start creating web-pages, you should make a plan - perhaps sketch out the design of your story ON PAPER.

== Getting Started ==

  1. Think of a scenario - that is, where will the adventure take place and what sorts of things will happen.  Here are some suggestions:
    - shopping center
    - airport
    - a city

  2. Think of a general story that is connected to Winter or Winter Holidays.

  3. Think of 3 locations - the beginning, the middle, and the end.

  4. Get a picture for each of the 3 locations above.

  5. Write these 3 pages.

Once you have started, spend a little time to think about the story, and sketch out some ideas on paper.  Collect some pictures and then start making pages. 

**** VERY IMPORTANT!  *************************************



Otherwise you will never be able to put the story in your ePortfolio - the links won't work.

== Goals for the Assignment ==

  1. The story is NOT about school - almost any other scenario is acceptable.

  2. Pages use a consistent format and there are MANY pages (aim for 15 or more) - so it will be substantially longer than the Escape FIS story.

  3. Most pages have a picture on them.

  4. At least 2 pages contain a short video

  5. Some of the pages use JavaScript for pop-up messages.

  6. Some of the pages contain "secrets" that are needed for later pages - like a password or a secret number to unlock something.

  7. Make it interesting and fun, and graphics should be approriate and meaningful.

  8. ...  more info coming soon ...


Test and Coding - 28 Feb 2013

Test - Create a web-page as described on your test paper.
      Then show the working web-page to the teacher.

Homework -

Hiding and Changing Colors - 26 Feb 2013

REMINDER - Test on H-day, Thursday 28 Feb

During your test on Thursday, 28 Feb, you will need to create
and/or fix a web-page contianing JavaScript, Buttons and Images.

Today -
Learn to HIDE Buttons and Pictures, as well as changing colors.
Click to see
what color
is best

(1) Color Change
     to make a button that changes colors
      -  insert a button
      -  go to [Button Properties][Advanced Edit][JavaScript Events]
      -  create an [onclick] event ==> = 'green'

(2) Disappear
to make a button disappear
     -  insert a button
     -  go to [Button Properties][Advanced Edit][JavaScript Events]
     -  create an [onclick] event ==> = 'hidden'

Embedding Objects - 15 Feb 2013

Find out how to

Quiz Page - 14 Feb 2013

Read these notes and make your own quiz/review page using Buttons and Alert commands.

Continue Buttons Page - 12-13 Feb 2013

Continue creating your Button+Picture page.
Add as many Buttons and Pictures as you can today.
In the next class we will learn to make more complex interactions.

Make sure you are using Firefox - and that this is a recent version, say #18.0 or later.
If you do not have that on your computer, get help from the teacher.
If your Buttons are not working, get help from the teacher.

Interactive Web Pages with JavaScript - 11 Feb 2013

We have made web-pages containing information and pictures.
We can also make interactive web-pages that respond to user actions
like clicking buttons.  Read these notes. 

Practice Typing / Drawing Math - 6-7 Feb 2013

Practice Word-Processing mathematical documents.
Here are some sample problems.  Choose on of them
and draw it exactly the same (except ignore the blue background),
including using the equation editor to write the math formulae.
PRACTICE!  The goal is to become fast, to learn where everything
is located so it's easy to find.  The test on Friday will require you
to work quickly and productively and correctly.

Math Diagrams and Equations - 5 Feb 2013

Test tubes and beaker diagram from the Equation Editor.

Finish Drawing the Classroom - 4 Feb 2013

Finish drawing the classroom. 
Print the result on the ATRIUM COLOR printer.
Be sure to include your name, a title and the date in the HEADER.
Show the result to the teacher, then make any necessary improvements.

If you finish early, you can start doing the HOMEWORK below.

1.  When drawing shapes, the program shows the MEASUREMENTS of the shape.
      Find out how to change these UNITS from INCHES to CENTIMETERS and back again
2.  Find out how to draw an REGULAR OCTAGON (8 sided STOP SIGN, equal sides)
Look at these big patterns - called TESSELATIONS. 
     Figure out how to draw these patterns QUICKLY and EXACTLY.

Drawing the Classroom - 1-2 Feb 2013

Use MS Word to draw a diagram of the desks, PCs, chairs and doors of our classroom.
Use the DRAWING TOOLS to draw a box for desk, another box for each chair.
Show where the walls, windows and doors are located.  Use colors to make it attractive.
Don't forget the bookshelves, cupboards, and the BIG BOX.
Be sure to include your name, a title and the date in the HEADER.
Make sure it all fits on 1 page and PRINT IT on the ATRIUM COLOR printer.
Show the teacher your diagram when it is finished.

You have 2 class periods to complete this.  Make the BEST diagram you can
in 2 class periods - that is 1.5 hours.

Printing and PDF - 30 Jan 2013

There are 3 tasks to do today to complete your Biography Report:

  1. Print on paper, staple the pages together, submit to the teacher

  2. Create a PDF version of your Report
    - in MS Word [File][Save and Send][Create PDF]

  3. Upload your PDF file to DropBox
    and add a Link in your WIX ePortfolio

H-day Test - 29 Jan 2013

Test today

WP FAQ - 23-28 Jan 2013

Your Biography Report must be NO LONGER THAN 5 PAGES (printed).
Throw out all the uninteresting stuff.  Cover the life from birth
to death, but concentrate on the most INTERESTING information.

Here are some hints that make it easier to format your document:
  WP FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Remember we will have a written test on Tuesday 29 Jan.
This will contain lots of TRUE/FALSE questions about good practice
for word-processing and research, as presented in the notes and instructions.

We will be doing the printing on Wednesday 30 Jan.
So make sure your report is finished and formatted before Wednesday.

Citations - 22 Jan 2013

TEST REMINDER - If you did not take the test last Thursday,
you must take it DURING CLASS this week.  You can
choose the day that suits you.

Instructions for Citations

Continue doing research.  Be sure to COPY THE URL ADDRESS first,
before copying text.

Biography Report - 18-21 Jan 2013

*** Monday 21 Jan - SNOW DAY ******************

Continue doing RESEARCH for your Biography Report.

Use some time today to make BACKUPS - extra copies
of anything that is important to you.


Example : Malcolm X

Your biography report will be similar to the one above,
but not identical.  When finished, you will print your
biography on paper and turn it in.

Instructions for Biography Paper

Plan for Semester 2 - 17 Jan 2013

There is a test scheduled for today.
It was announced on Jan 9/10.
Apparently some students did not carefully
keep track of this date, and realized very
recently that they have "too many tests today".

Presumably most students have prepared for the test
and wish to take it at the scheduled time.
However, if this is inconvenient, anybody who
wishes to postpone the test can take it later.

During semester 2, Computer Technology will
have a WRITTEN TEST on each H day.  The dates are:

29 Jan, 8 Feb, 28 Feb, 12 Mar, 22 Mar, 17 Apr,
29 Apr, 4 May, 27 May, 7 Jun, 19 Jun

If any of these dates are conflicts, you need to
inform the teacher by Monday 22 January.
Otherwise, there will be a scheduled test on each day
as written above.


For those who are choosing not to take a test today,
here is a brief description of the first assignment
that we will do in semester 2.


Research Essay

FIS students are expected to do research essays.
They normally use a computer to access the Internet
to do their research (in addition to reading books).
Then they use a computer to word-process their essay.
This includes copying text, copying images, typing text,
typing citations, and printing the result.

We will investigate the best tools and best techniques
for this kind of work. 

Biography Example

As a practice exercise, we will be writing a biography
paper.  A biography is the story of a REAL PERSON'S
life.  It is not fictional - it is factual.  For this exercise,
you need to:

We will also be learning how to use a word-processor
more productively, but for today it is sufficient if you
begin doing the research.

Further details about this assignment will be available tomorrow.

Review Questions - 15-16 Jan 2013

Remember - you will have a test on Thursday 17 Jan.

Prepare by answering these questions.

Here are some possible answers (probably correct).

Slide-shows - 11-14 Jan 2013

We are going to make slide-shows using the photos we took.
Here is an example of a slide-show.

There are many web-sites with slide-show tools. 
There are many web-based tools for making slide-shows:
- flickr
- Picassa (Google)
- lots more available on the web - search for "slide show free"

You should do the following:
- get at least 30 photos of the school (FIS)
- decide on a sensible ORDER for the pictures - which one first, which one last
- upload all the photos (make sure they are all under 100 KB first or you will
   be waiting a long time
- build your slide-show
- each student must create their OWN slide-show

Further Discussion of Photo Storage and Transmission - 9-10 Jan 2013

Test Announcement - We will have a written test next week on Thursday 17 Jan
about memory, bandwidth, data transmission and images.

Today we will collect all the photos taken last class,
and discuss how to make this data transfer easier and faster.

Cameras and Photos - 8 Jan 2013

Big Question - How can we SHARE photos effectively?

Experimental Tasks -

Using the camera you brought (or working with another student)
go outside and take 4 interesting photos of our school.
Spend no more than 10 minutes then return to class.
Choose INTERESTING objects or scenes to photograph.
We will create slide-shows about FIS, using all the photos
that the class collects.  Each student will make their
own slide-show, but we can all share all our photos -
you may use other students' photos in your slide-show.

Now do as many of the following as you can:

- Find out how much memory your camera has -
   probably in GigaBytes.
- Find out how many megapixels your camera has -
   that is the resolution.
*** Find out how can you upload (copy) a photo from your camera into a computer.
- After copying your 4 pictures into a computer (if possible),
   find the amount of memory required to store each photo
   (that will be in MegaBytes or KiloBytes).
- Open a photo editing program like GIMP or XNview or iPhoto.
  Open one of your photos.  Decrease the size to 1/2 as big -
   half the width and half the height.  Save the new photo.
  Compare the new storage size to the old storage size.
- Open (or keep open) your new smaller photo.
   Now do "Save As" and choose a different image format.
   If you already used JPEG (.jpg), then try .PNG or .GIF.
   Find out how to make a very small, highly compressed file.
-  Find out how to save-as .JPG and choose a very high
    amount of compression, to produce a very small file.
   Now view the resulting photo in a browser.
   Does it look good?
-  In Google images, find a VERY LARGE photo.
   Try to find a photo that is larger than 3500x2500 pixels.
   Copy the photo (or download it) and open it in GIMP.
   Now UPLOAD the same photo to DropBox.
   Keep track of how long this takes. 
   Make an estimate of the BANDWIDTH demonstrated.

You will need to KEEP your photos of the school, as we will
use them tomorrow in class. If you have time, or if you want
to continue outside class time, take some more photos
of the school.

Memory, Bandwidth and File Sizes - 7 Jan 2013

Class Discussion
What are issues connected to memory, bandwidth and file sizes
in popular digital devices like cell phones, cameras and computers?

Homework -
Go home and find a device that contains a MEMORY CARD -
     probably SD or MicroSD.  Look at the card to see
     how BIG it is (in GigaBytes)

#2  If possible (if your parents permit it) bring a CAMERA to
     class tomorrow - that could be a SmartPhone or
     Cell Phone, or even the camera in a MacBook.
      If you can't bring one, you can share with someone else.

#3 Read these notes and bring questions to class.

Technical Vocabulary - 13 Dec 2012

We will continue our discussion of technical vocabulary.

Today (and during the break)

Find advertisements and specifications for digital devices.
These include:

- digital cameras
- video cameras
- digital TVs
- computers (laptops)
- tablet computers
- smart phones
- media players (MP3 players)
- any other digital electronic devices

Write notes about vocabulary words the you do not understand completely.  You can look for interesting devices at Amazon, and look at the Technical Details sheet - for example:

Technische Details  or  technical details  or  See more product details

Bring notes and questions with you to class after the break.

Discussing Video Quality - 12 Dec 2012

1. We will discuss observations about the quality of the various videos.

2. Spend the rest of the period as follows:
    - upload your video to Dropbox (everyone uploads their own copy)
    - add a link to your ePortfolio linking to your video
    - make any further additions and improvements to your ePortfolio

Assessing Video Quality - 11 Dec 2012

You will find many student videos at:  file://hamlet/labs/ComputerTechnology/

Hamlet is a server in our school's LAN(local area network).
To access this server, you need to do the following:

Networked PCs (cables)


Wireless Windows PCs

Open [Start][Computer]
Scroll down and open Network
Search for Hamlet
Open Hamlet / Labs / Computer Tech
Open the NewsVideos folder
Open one of the student folders
Find the video file (.m4v, .wmv, .mov...)
COPY the video file to your disk drive
Open the video and watch it

Press Cmd K
Type: smb:/Hamlet
Log in with your normal FIS account
Open Hamlet / Labs / Computer Tech
Open the NewsVideos folder
Open one of the student folders
Find the video file (.m4v, .wmv, .mov...)
COPY the video file to your disk drive
Open the video and watch it


We will discuss some of the technical issues. 

Then do the following:

  1. Watch several of the other students' videos, preferably with sound

  2. For each video, rate it in the following categories:
    Were the video clips exciting/entertaining?
    Was it informational - did you understand/learn something?
    Did the music/sound fit well with the video?
    Did it seem complete or incomplete?

  3. Decide which of the following attributes were important for a good video:
    picture quality
    interesting music
    fantastic scenery
    size of the video file
    clear, informative text
    interesting video effects and transitions

  4. Suggest other factors that might be important for creating good videos.

  5. Take notes and prepare for a class discussion tomorrow.

Turn in Your Video - 10 Dec 2012

To turn in your video you can:
- copy it onto a USB Stick
- copy it onto an external hard-disk
- copy it directly to the teacher's PC at
     11D-010 ... into the NewsVideos folder

Make sure your folder (or .zip archive) has the names of ALL
the authors, e.g.  "FredFlintstone-BarneyRubble-BamBam".

TOMORROW we will spend a day watching all the videos
and making suggestions about what is good and what is not so good.
Be sure to bring headphones with you - otherwise you can't hear the sound.

TODAY - Try out some ofthese free eCard services.
Your investigation should include sending a card
to your own email account and viewing the result.

Finishing Your Video - 5 Dec 2012

Here is a finished video - it is quite good, but downloads very slowly.
You can watch it and others (much faster) at FIS, using a LAN server, by accessing:

Your video is due on Monday 10 Dec.
If you don't have class on that day, you can turn it in early (on Friday),
or come in during lunch to turn it in.  You will not be able to send
it as an email attachment - you need to sit in room 276 and turn it in.

You must turn in all the following:

The teacher will tell you how to submit the files - via email won't work.

Capturing Video - 26 Nov 2012

Read these notes about creating a News Summary Video.

Video Capture - 21 Nov 2012

Use a video capture program to cut out pieces of YouTube videos (or other videos).
Save the pieces in a folder - we will be adding sound and pasting the pieces together
in the next few days. We will be adding sound afterward, so it does not matter
whether you record the soundtrack of the video or not.

The following programs are recommended for video capture:

Ubuntu - Desktop Recorder (install from Ubuntu Software Center)

Windows - Jing or CamStudio
     You can COPY CamStudio from the V: drive at:
       V:\Mulkey Dave\PortableApps\CamStudioPortable

Mac - Jing (or anything else that works)

You may use any other software, as long as it can
cut out pieces of a YouTube video.

Find out how to:

  1. Get better quality

  2. Produce an SWF file (with a web-page)

GIF Animations - 19-20 Nov 2012

If you still have not turned in your .ZIP archive containing
your animations web-page, GET HELP FROM THE TEACHER.

The animations shown below are actually GIF Animations.
A .GIF Animation is a single file that contains all the frames
of your animation.  It does not require any JavaScript to make
it run.  That means you can simply insert it into a web-page.
That's much easier, but less flexible because you cannot change
the timing, and you cannot change the pictures later.

Sometimes a .GIF Animation is the right thing to do, so we'll practice.

(1) Chose one of your animations that you did last week

(2) Go to this web-site : 

(3)  You must upload your pictures.

      You probably want to change the timing -
      you can make your animation slow or fast, as you wish.

      You might also want to change the size, so your animation
      is more less than 400 pixels wide.

(4) Once it is created, you can download it by right-clicking
      and choosing [Save].

(5) If time permits, make another .GIF Animation.

Wednesday we will start a new project, and you will
find the .GIF Animations are useful.  Today you can practice.

Animations - 8-16 Nov 2012

Due Friday 16 Nov at 15:10 at the latest

 How to turn it in:

  • compress your folder into a .zip archive

  • send an email to
    with the .zip archive attached

  • if you cannot succeed in doing it this way,
    you will need to show the teacher your page
    on Monday or Tuesday during class

We have been making simple slide-shows that display a sequence of photographs.

An animation is a sequence of pictures that are quite similar, with just a
small change between successive frames (images).  Here are some examples:

 Simple Movement         Stick-Man                 Cartoons                Smileys

These are relatively simple to make. 

Your animations will be displayed by JavaScript commands.

Make as many animations as you can in 1 week and collect them in one web-page -
you will turn this in for a grade at the end of next week.

When you put multiple animations in one page, remember that you must
change all the names in the JavaScript commands after making an extra
copy of the JavaScript commands.

Timing Slideshows - 6 Nov

We can make a slide-show run automatically, like this:

This requires some slightly different JavaScript:


var carname = "pic1.jpg"

carshow = function()
   if(carname == "pic1.jpg")
   { carname = "pic2.jpg" }
   else if(carname == "pic2.jpg")
   { carname = "pic3.jpg" }
   else if(carname == "pic3.jpg")
   { carname = "pic4.jpg" }
   else if(carname == "pic4.jpg")
   { carname = "pic1.jpg" }

   carpic.src = carname




Also, you must assign an ID to your picture. 
Do this in the Advanced Propery Editor / HTML Attributes

The teacher will explain what all this means -
you should take notes on the paper copy you received.

Slide Shows - 5 Nov

We will look at the Newsletters on Google Docs,
and discuss ways to improve the appearance.

Slide Shows

There are many ways to add graphics to improve publications.
A very simple method is to create a slide show to display a
sequence of photographs or images.  Here are a couple examples:

Cute Cars

Math Lesson

First Slide Show

Our first slide show will function like the math lesson above.
Each time the user clicks the picture, it changes to the next picture.
This is relatively easy to accomplish, by using JavaScript.
Here is how to do it:


var name = "pic1.jpg"

carclick = function(pic)
   if(name == "pic1.jpg")
   { name = "pic2.jpg" }
   else if(name == "pic2.jpg")
   { name = "pic3.jpg" }
   else if(name == "pic3.jpg")
   { name = "pic4.jpg" }
   else if(name == "pic4.jpg")
   { name = "pic1.jpg" }

   pic.src = name


       Type the JavaScript commands just above the </body> tag in the HTML source.

Be sure this is finished before our next class, as we will be improving
it to make it run automatically.  If you don't have a working slide show,
you won't be able to take the next step.

Making Your Newsletter Look Nice - 30 Oct

Newsletter Due Date = 4 Nov (Sunday)

Be sure to make your newsletter attractive, as well as containing interesting information:

Here are some examples of newsletters that look nice:
  Tech Crunch     Quebec Newsletter    FIS News

Here are some examples of newsletters that DON'T look very nice:
   Elementary School    MCMGA   Frankfurt Events

Google Docs Collaborative Newsletter - 29 Oct - 4 Nov

Google Docs Introduction and Group Newsletter

Reading About Computer Technology - 26 Oct 2012


  1. You should spend at least one hour reading news stories about computers.
    You will find links to news stories on the main page of
    the class web-site, at
    Click on the pictures in the right-hand column under Latest Tech Ideas.
    Or you can look for interesting news stories by using Google, but that's harder. 

  2. Homework - Write a short summary of an interesting story that you found.
    Include an explanation of WHY you found the story interesting. 
    Bring this with you on Monday and be prepared to share this during class.

Sharing Interesting Stories - 25 Oct 2012

Our first Wiki page just contained URL addresses for ePortfolios (WIX).
That is useful, but a simple list of names and/or URLs isn't very exciting.

The next task is to share some interesting stories. 
These stories could take many different forms, about many different topics:
- vacations and trips
- IT news (the summaries from last week)
- current events and news
- school activities
- school announcements (e.g. daily bulletin)

A WIKI is one approach to this type of information sharing.
Other approaches are possible.  We will discuss this today,
and seek out an optimal solution.

Our First Wiki Task - 24 Oct 2012

A WIKI is a good way to share information. 
It allows for many-to-many information flow.
That means that many people can enter information,
and many people can see the information.

First Task (a simple one)

All the Computer Tech students have ePortfolios
These have links each student's work (probably stored in Dropbox).
Unfortunately, only the teacher has the addresses of all these ePortfolios.
We would like a complete list of all the ePortfolio addresses.

A simple list of LINKS is not very attractive.  The WIKI needs some decoration.
images sound attractive, but that will be difficult.  Maybe we can do that later.
First, investigate the WIDGETS available in Wikispaces.  This investigation can
be done in a separate account, with each student trying things out on their own.
Then the students can share their ideas - how?

Sharing Information - 22-23 Oct 2012

How can we share information (mostly digital) with other people?
For example, how could we share the Rollover pages with lots of people,
or share the ePortfolios with lots of people?

There are many possible ways to do this:

What issues (e.g. problems) are important when sharing?
In general terms, we worry about the following :

We will discuss the technical issues associated with these USABILITY goals.

Reading About Computer Technology - 19 Oct 2012

  1. Finishing
    If you have not finished your Funny Photos rollover page,
    you may work on it today.  Be sure to finish and send the teacher
    an eMail before Monday (e.g. Sunday at the latest).

  2. Reading
    Next week we will start discussing some technical details
    of computer systems.  Before Monday, you should find
    an interesting news story about computer systems - a story
    that deals with some technical details.  You should spend
    at least one hour reading news stories about computers.
    You will find links to news stories on the main page of
    the class web-site, at
    Click on the pictures in the right-hand column under Latest Tech Ideas.
    Or you can look for interesting news stories by using Google,
    but that's harder. 

Homework - Write a short summary of an interesting story that you found.
   Include an explanation of WHY you found the story interesting. 
   Bring your summary with you on Monday and prepare to discuss it during class.

Turn in your Funny Photos Rollover Page - 18 Oct 2012

To turn in your Funny Photos Rollover page, do the following:

  1. In your DropBox account, go into the PUBLIC folder,
    and create a NEW FOLDER - it can be named "rollover"

  2. Go inside your new folder

  3. Upload ALL the files from your project folder -
    that includes the HTML file (web-page) and ALL your photos

  4. Click on the web-page and COPY THE PUBLIC LINK

  5. Paste the public link address into the address bar of the browser,
    and check that your page works correctly
    If the pictures don't show up, check to make sure that you

  6. Now send an email to the teacher (
    containing the public link that connects to your web-page

Once you've done that, you're finished.

If you cannot successfully upload your page and get it to work,
then get help from the teacher. 

Continue with your Funny Photos Page - 15-16 Oct 2012

Fix SeaMonkey

You need to change one setting in SeaMonkey, to stop it from wrecking your JavaScript Event commands.

[Edit menu] => [Preferences] => [Composer]
Put a [x] checkmark on [Preserve original source formatting]

Remember, your page with at least 12 rollover pictures
is due on Thursday 18 Oct.

Funny Fotos or Phunny Photos - 12 Oct - 18 Oct 2012


Make a page containing lots of Funny Photos - maybe 20 (??) funny photos?
Here is the idea.  You take a normal photo, maybe a famous person, and change it -
use a filter, remove the ears, whatever. Put the funny photo on a web-page,
and create a rollover effect that changes to the original photo.
Now add an onclick event that displays the person's name and a little more information,
e.g. "Rheinhold Messner, German mountaineer", like this:

onclick ==>  alert('Rheinhold Messner, German mountaineer')

Make as many photos as you can - at least 12, hopefully more.
Put your photos in a rectangle, like 3 rows of 4 photos.

If you use large photos (like 2500x2000), you need to RESIZE
the photo so that it is small enough to load quickly, like 300x200.

Don't spend vast quantities of time changing each photo -
do something that's quick and simple, maybe funny.
Do a variety of effects on the different pictures -
don't use the same effects over and over again.

If you don't want to do people, you can do other photos -
but the result MUST be amusing, or at least interesting.
For example, you could show a very tight close-up of something,
and then the rollover shows a larger view of the entire object.
Then onclick prints some sort of information about the object.

This is due on Thursday, 18 Oct. 
To turn it in, do the following:
1.  Finish the page, stored in a SINGLE FOLDER
     with all the pictures.
2.  Upload your page to DropBox, in a FOLDER
     that is stored in the PUBLIC folder so that
     other people (like the teacher) can view it.
3.  Send the teacher an email containing the
     PUBLIC LINK connecting to your web-page.
     Send this email before 16:00 on Thurs, 18 Oct.

JavaScript for Interactive Web-pages - 9-11 Oct 2012

You can make some very interesting interactive web-pages
by using .onmouseover effects by doing a bit of clever work
with a graphics editor. For example, have a look at this site:
The faded pictures are created with a graphics editor, like GIMP.

The teacher will show you how to use GIMP to add some EFFECTS
to an image, so you can create a more interesting rollover effect.
Here is a very simple example page.

Finish Animal - 8 Oct 2012

Today is the last class period to work on your fantasy animal.
You can do a bit more work at home if you wish.
You must send an email to the teacher with your fantasy animal attached.
The email is due on Friday 12 Oct 2012.

Fantasy Animals - 25 Sep 2012

Our first GIMP project is to make a fantasy animal.
Here is a very simple example - half lion and half tiger.

That one is a bit too simple.  We'd like more than just 2 animals to be combined, and more than just 2 pieces.

This one is a bit more interesting:

There are lots more animals at this site:

These show excellent work in joining the pieces together realistically.

Your picture should be a bit more interesting - it should "say something". 
For example, a mouse with lion's paws that is crushing a can, thanks to it's strong arms.
It probably helps if you have a suitable background and some "props" - like the can.
Including some sort of action is helpful - for example,
a little mouse with big legs who is stepping on a car.
Spend some time on Google images to find the right pieces for your creation.
We will spend 3 class periods on this - 2 days this week and one day after vacation.
If you make more than one picture, keep all the pictures you made, not just the best one.
It's okay if your animal's pieces to join together as perfectly as the web-site above.
But the sizes and positions should match up sensibly.

Here is a tutorial that might be helpful:

Here are some more ideas, including a video:

Photo Touch-up - 24 Sep 2012

Smudge Tool

Find a picture of a running animal - maybe a tiger.
Use the smudge tool to make it look fast by smudging behind the animal.

Removing unwanted items

Find an image on Google images, preferably with a landscape background.
Practice using the CLONE tool to remove parts of the foreground image.

Touching Up a Face

Find a face photo with bad skin and touch up the photo to make the person look better.

Combining 2 Photos

Find 2 faces and combine them into a single photo

Adding Fog / Clouds

Take a landscape picture and add fog to it.

Many Clever Ideas for Combining Images

Choose any one of the tutorials and do what it says.

GIMP Test - Writing Instructions - 21 Sep 2012

Here is the test.  You need to write your instructions on paper
and turn it in when you are finished. 

If you finish early, please look at the following web-site about phony photos:

Samples of How-To's - 20 Sep 2012

When writing a "how-to", include any extra details that must be observed.  For example:

How To make a negative image
- make sure nothing is selected (unless you only want to negate part of the image)
- open the [Colors] menu
- click [Invert]

Sometimes you need to do several things to accomplish one task.  For example:

Make someone's nose bigger
use the Lasso to select the nose, being careful to follow the shape correctly
- Copy and Edit/Paste/As a New Image
- Image/Scale Image, increase the Width - the Height increases automatically
    Click the [Scale] button when finished
- In the original image, de-select the nose
- Copy the big nose from the small image into the original image
    Slide the copied nose to the right place, then deselect the copied nose to finish 

On your test on Friday, try to write complete and correct instruction like those shown above.

Filters and Effects - 18 Sep 2012

Today we will continue investigating FILTERS and EFFECTS, using GIMP. 
   Filters and effects 

If you need a Mac or Linux version of GIMP, you can download GIMP from

Bit-Mapped Graphics - 17 Sep 2012

We used Inkscape to draw Vector Graphics pictures to make comic strips.
Vector Graphics are created from basic shapes - each shape is an Object.

In Bit-Mapped graphics (like photographs) everything is created from single pixels.
A typical photograph is 10 million pixels - like 4000 x 2500 pixels. 
Each pixel has a distinct color.  By using so many pixels we can store
realistic photographs in a computer.

Although the pixels are not connected together in distinct objects, we can do
interesting transformations to the entire image - for example changing all the
colors to be brighter, or increase contrast, or change all the colors to shades
of gray. 

You will need a copy of GIMP, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
You can copy the Windows version from V:\Mulkey Dave\PortableApps.
Copy the entire GIMPportable folder onto the D: drive.

If you need a Mac or Linux version, you can download GIMP from

Today we will investigate FILTERS and EFFECTS, using GIMP.
Filters and effects

Drawing Comics with Faces - 3-14 Sep 2012

Drawing comics with faces
List of Inkscape tutorials

Your comic strip is due on Friday 14 Sep at 15:10 (end of school).
You must do 2 things to finish and turn it in:

1. Upload your comic to Dropbox and create a LINK to it on your WIX eportfolio

2. Send an email to the teacher ( with your comic .svg file attached.
   Please include your name and the URL (address) of your WIX eportfolio in the email.

Finished early?  Spend some time making your WIX eportfolio look nice.
Add some pictures, maybe a video, change the background, etc.

Vector Graphics with Inkscape - 23 Aug 2012

Vector Graphics refers to drawing by using objects, like rectangles, circles, lines and arcs.
This is different than bitmapped graphics like photographs, where single pixels are saved.

Vector graphics are commonly used to produce attractive, professional looking advertisements.
Also comic strips (cartoon) are commonly drawn with vector graphics programs.

We will use Inkscape to draw some cartoons.  But first we must install Inkscape  -
you can copy the folder from v:\Mulkey Dave\portableApps\InkscapePortable onto drive d: -
and do a bit of practice with simple shapes.  Read these notes.
If you want to install Inkscape on your own computer, you can download it here.

The following list of tutorials is very helpful, but you
will need to bring some headphones tomorrow.

Dropbox Cloud Storage - 21-22 Aug 2012

If you have finished your 4-picture web-page and uploaded it to Dropbox,
then you should creating an ePortfolio.

Otherwise, spend another day finishing your web-page and upload it.
You can create your ePortfolio later.

Dropbox Cloud Storage - 20 Aug 2012

The teacher will show you how to add links to your web-page.

Finishing Your Web-page

Dropbox is a free cloud-storage (online storage) service.
You can upload your web-page to a free dropbox account.
Read more here.

Today you should do the following:

Finish the tasks above if you did not get finished in class.

Organizing a Web-page - 17 Aug 2012

Continue building your web-page with 4 pictures.
You must include all the following:

Next class we will learn how to upload the web-page to a Web Server,
making it availble for the entire world to see.

Making a Web-page - 15-16 Aug 2012

Things to do today:



Future Development Notes

Information Systems - the importance of FEEDBACK, as connected with SIMULTANEOUS ACCESS, look at Google Docs