alan's multiple medium experiences

alan's web

Note... This web site is pretty dated, in both content ("that is so, like so, 20th century") and technology (awful <font> tags and such) and not even that maintained much any more. See what is more current over at the new CDB weblog...
This grab bag represents some of my major and most minor multimedia productions. Quite often, what looks like a silly or useless exercise arises out of my trying to learn a new technique. One of my conventions is to try to build things that can be used elsewhere.

In high school I took my first computer course in FORTRAN. Once a week we would load into a yellow school bus, drive 20 miles to the school that had an IBM mainframe, and we would drop in our stack of punchcards (and we did not have a keypunch machine so we would color in the cards with a black marker!). If you were lucky you would get one run and a printout and spend the next week shuffling your cards and adjusting (Hey thanks for teaching me, Mr. Pitz!).

Fortunately, it has come a long way snce then. And I am not even old enough to be talking like Grandpa Simpson.

When I first started in this job, I quickly learned HyperCard -- a wonderful learning tool for the basics of "scripting" but I found it very limiting for color and decent animation. And making something cross-platform was as simple as brain surgery. I had the fortune to grab a copy of Macromedia Director 3.x which has remained my main tool to date, and whose information site I created, Director Web, is a major web obsession.

Many of these links are nothing special, will never knock MYST off of the Multimedia Best Sellers, but hey, these might mean something to someone!

don't bet a paycheck on it!
done with Macromedia Director...
Director is King, Queen, and supreme Ruler. It is no wonder all the other wall flowers at the Authoring dance hall want to dance with the suave gentleman in the white shirt and megaphone. I love using Director. Without a doubt it is the most powerful tool, but is also not for the feint of heart. It is certainly the best for moving across platforms -- several times all we had to do was to move the files created on Mac to the Windows machine and watch as it performs almost flawlessly on the Windows side. And Director has been leading the pack in terms of integreation with the Internet.

That's why I use it and spend the time maintaining our popular Director Web site and monkeying around with shockwave.

And that too is why java is NOT 100% smooth Kona but lower than discount Folgers instant decaf!-- it is a programming tool written by programmers for programmers. No artists involved in that repeat loop.

alan's nojava shop This was my workshop while beta testing Shockwave -- a lucky break got me first doing shockwave in August of 1995. Now it contains a whole slew of various shockwave doo-dads, AND! (bonus, dude) you can get all the Director source files, for FREEEEEEEEEE.
Negative Reinforcement University (NRU)

Shockwave NRU

was developed as part of our Studio 1151 project, in which a team of four students and one psychology teacher came up with the idea and designed the storyboards for a program to teach one of the more difficult concepts in Psych 101. NRU is a CD-ROM product, for Macintosh and Windows, that blatantly borrows on the MYST navigation. It includes 3D rendered scenes, videoclips, a dungeon simulation of negative reinforcement, and other innovative features. And in August of 1997, we converted it to a web application using Shockwave-- this got us nominated for the People's Choice Awards at the 1997 Macromedia International Users Conference (okay, Disney beat us for the award... like we're going to complain!)
Learning English Electronically (LEE) is a grammar program for ESL students. It was first designed by our center and community college faculty in the late 1980s! and went through prototype development as a mainframe VAX application, Toolbook, the beta version of AuthorWare.... it was about half done in HyperCard when I inherited the project. As it stood, it had the small black and white screen, was Mac-only, and had an inconsistent interface. We started from the basic design considerations and re-vamped all of it in Director, so it is now full scree, color, cross-platform, and visually pleasing.
Ruby's Art Pad a fun coloring toy, was the result of trying to learning some programming techniques. "Ruby" is really an elephant at the Phoenix Zoo who sells more paintings than I ever could.
/ [Macintosh 500k] / [Windows 688k]
/ [Shockwave] /
Grave Mistake in Direct-L Ville As part of a collaborative effort to celebrate Halloween, members of the DIRECT-L Listserv created individual movies that were combined in a "multimedia hall of horrors". This was my contribution, a visit to a ghost town grave yard, occupied by lost souls from Direct-L.
/ [Macintosh 1576k] / [Windows 1476k] / [Shockwave/ /

done with HyperCard...
Join me in lamenting the fate of poor HyperCard. Truly a visionary tool, given away for FREE with all Macintoshes from 1987 to a few years back. Un-dress Toolbook and you will find HyperCard. In Director's scripting language, Lingo, pays homage to HyperTalk. Oracle copied the card matphor almost verbatim for its Media Objects.

And you, there browsing the web via a visual hypertext system- does "home" stack ring a familiar bell? The popularity of the web can trace an ancestor to those goofy black and white 9" small screen creations

Myst, the ground breaking, non-"kill 'em and stomp 'em" adventure gfames, sits on a HyperCard runtime engine. (You have to look very hard).

Alas, trapped in a clumsy color environment and its position as Apple's unwanted step child, perhaps HyperCard's era is closed.

But like many others, HyperCard was my learning ground for scripting techniques and is still a rich place to learn the and not be caught up in the bells, whistles, and snazzy transitions. At its core lies the buzz-word territory of object oriented programming (OOP! there I go). I can still fondly say, "I remember my first stack..."

Needless to say (perhaps not) These files are for folks with access to a Mac.

Research Methods cwas my last and most favorite HyperCard projects. It was developed for a grant project to creat a program that would teach the five research emthods used in social and natural sciences.
Research Mentor Wow! One of the first major HyperCard projects developed for an English instructor. The idea was to create a shell program for the instructor to create a series of lessons with assignments that connected to multimedia programs or called up Internet applications (this was in the pre-web days, folks.. we are talking about Gopher!). It included a student notebook and an instructors editing stack.
wordmosh constructs random phrases of profound logic. [23k]
the quoter is an editable, searchable, expandable collection of quotations with goofy animated buttons. [44k]
Birthday Story displays a birthday greeting for my twin neices, slapped together from HyperCard clip art in 20 minutes. [20k]
Car Radio Buttons recalls the days when it was mostly AM and analog. This was just as old experiment with making buttons. [28k]
Photo Catalog keeps track of a set of photographs (an attempt at trying to organize the bizillion 35mm slides I own). The stack can create a new blank template. [40k]
Private Journal is place to write your deepest thoughts (unless you have a nosy sister), all which can be protected with a password locked cover. [28k]
Hyper Presenter may be one of the simplest stacks ever. Makes it easy to create a slide show. Also comes in a color version.