The Linux Operating System

Whether you have heard of Linux or not, you have more than likely used it. Linux is everywhere, and though you may not realize it, you probably use it more than you think. Linux can be on your cellphone (Android for example, is based on Linux), your home wireless router, ATM Machines, most websites (including Google) use Linux on their servers, …etc. It’s hard to do anything nowadays without using Linux in some form or another.

Linux is an operating system, just like Windows and Mac, but it is open source. Open source means that it is free to use, redistribute, and change at your will. This comes with a lot of benefits. First is obviously the free part, and it comes with an open source program for almost anything (and still more) that you can think of. Linux is more secure than other operating systems because of the amount of people that collaborate from all around the world to make it that way.

There are many different distributions of Linux out there, one being Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a great choice for Linux beginners because of its similarities to Windows and Mac. I used Ubuntu for all four of my college years without a problem. Some people are scared to try Linux because they think it’s only for tech and hardcore computer geeks. This may have been true 10 years ago, but things are changing and becoming a lot easier for people to make the switch. Not only can you find a drop in replacement for almost anyprogram you are used to for free, but you have the ability to completely customize almost anything to your liking. It’s nice not being locked down by a company telling you what you can and can’t do with “your” computer.

Linux is not going anywhere, and will continue to become more and more popular on home computers. I would recommend it to anyone, and you won’t ever have to worry about viruses. Give it a try, you won’t look back!

Kieran Nichols
Web Developer

Free Online Tutorials & Software Training

Do you wish we offered free courses to teach you the basics-to-advanced features of software such as Microsoft Office (Word, EXCEL, Powerpoint…), Adobe (Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Photoshop…), Google (Docs, Earth, Sites…) and other popular software? Or maybe it is 1am and you find yourself in need of a brush-up on APA or MLA research paper basics? The University of Maine at Farmington has partnered with Atomic Learning, a web-based service which allows UMF students/staff/faculty access to hundreds of step-by-step video tutorials. The University has purchased this service which provides 24/7 on-demand training and to further support the academic needs and interests of our community.

Does this interest you? If so, this service is available from the LaunchPad of our myCampus Portal: https://mycampus.umf.maine.edu

When you first log into the portal, you will notice a section in the left-hand navigation named “LaunchPad” under the UMF Logo. Find the funny-looking blue “A” (has a red dot in the middle) and hover your mouse over the icon – you’ll notice a message “UMF Atomic Learning” pops up. Click on this link and the myCampus Portal will automatically login to Atomic Learning where you will be presented with an easy-to-use interface to videos and tutorials. Don’t know where to start? Try the “Getting started tips” for a better understanding of the Atomic Learning potential.

Tiffany Maiuri
Director of Application Development and Support

When Good Cookies Go Bad

Having trouble signing into MaineStreet? Are you getting a “Your Log in and Password are invalid” message? It may be that you have too many cookies! Follow the steps below, based on on your web browser, and it should clear up your problems.  Remember to close out of your web-browser after you do the cleanup and start a new session.

Every time you visit a web page, the web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) stores information from the websites you visit. This is called the browser’s cache. The cache contains a record of the items you have seen, heard, or downloaded from web, including images, sounds, web pages and cookies. Typically, these items are stored in what is called the “Temporary Internet Files” folder. You should periodically clear the browser cache to help your web browser function more efficiently. It is also important to clear browser cache when upgrading to new software systems. Information is provided below about how to clear cache from various browsers and browser versions.

If you are not certain which version of a browser you are using, select the Help menu option located at the top of the browser window and then, depending on the browser, click on “About Mozilla Firefox” or “About Internet Explorer” or “About Safari.”


Internet Explorer 8

1. Close all open browser windows except one.

2. From the Tools menu located near the top of the open browser window, click Delete

Browsing History.

3. Deselect Preserve Favorites website data, and select Temporary Internet files, Cookies,

and History.

4. Click Delete.

5. Close browser window and re-launch.

6. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Internet Explorer 7

1. From the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Internet Options.

2. Under “Browsing history”, click Delete.

3. At the bottom of the Delete Browsing History screen, click Delete All. A warning will display

that asks “Are you sure you want to delete all Internet Explorer browsing History?” Check the

Also delete files and settings stored by add-ons box and click Yes.

4. Click OK on the Internet Options screen.

5. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.

Internet Explorer 6

1. From the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Internet Options.

2. On the General tab, in the Temporary Internet Files section, click the Delete Cookies

button.

3. When that is finished, click the Delete Files button.

4. Click OK and then OK again.

5. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Firefox 3.5 and above for Windows

1. From the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Clear Recent

History.

2. From the Time range to clear: drop-down menu, select Everything.

3. Click the down arrow next to “Details” to choose what history elements to clear. You should

check Browsing & Download History and Cache. Click Clear Now.

4. Close browser window and re-launch.

5. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Firefox 3 for Windows

1. From the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Clear Recent

History, and then select the items you want to delete: Browsing & Download History,

Cache, Cookies.

2. Click Clear Recent History.

3. Close browser window and re-launch.

4. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Firefox 3.5 and above for Mac OS X

1. From the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Clear Recent

History.

2. From the Time range to clear: drop-down menu, select Everything.

3. Click the down arrow next to “Details” to choose which elements to clear. Click Clear Now.

4. Exit and re-launch the browser.

5. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Firefox 2.0 – 3.0 for Mac OS X

1. In Firefox, from the Tools menu located near the top of the browser window, select Clear

Private Data.

2. Select the elements you want to clear: Browsing & Download History, Cache, Cookies, and

then click Clear Private Data Now.

3. Exit and re-launch the browser.


Safari for Mac OS X

1. From the Safari menu, select Reset Safari.

2. From the menu, select the items you want to reset, and then click Reset.

3. Please be aware it might be necessary to reboot your computer to completely clear the

browser cache.


Angie LeClair
Administrative Assistant

Tim’s Ten Tips for Terrific Taping

It’s that time of year when it’s time to think about thinking about that video project that’s due at the end of the semester.  Let’s take a minute and go over a few things that will save a lot of pain and anguish.

1. If your camera or recording device records to an internal hard drive or removable media (such as an SD card) check the record settings.  Typically the default settings are a compromise of image quality and recording time.   If the final result is a DVD that will be shown to your professor and classmates you don’t want to end up with a bunch of fuzzy Lego people running around on the screen.  If possible I recommend using the highest quality settings – you want it to look good.

2. Make sure the camera you will be using records the video in a file type that is supported by your editing software.  If you’re not sure, do a quick recording and then copy / download the clip onto your computer’s desktop.  Open your editing software and see if it will allow you to import the clip.  If it does it quickly and directly, the video quality looks good, and there’s audio, you’re ready to move on.  If not, there are usually ways to work around this, but it involves more time and effort.

3. Turn off the date / time display on the camera.  If this is left on during recording it will be there on your video.  Not only is this annoying, it makes it easier for viewers to tell where you did the edits and it also shows your professor that although you’ve been working hard on your project all semester somehow all the video was shot over the last two days.  Ouch!

4.  Turn off any video effects or transitions.  Most cameras can do an amazing assortment of tricks – recording in black and white, strobing, making freeze frames, etc.  While these are nice, you can create all of these later with your editing software.  Unfortunately the software can’t undo them if that’s the way the original video was recorded.  Save yourself a headache and concentrate on recording good, clean video.

5. Use a tripod.  If your subject is stationary your camera should be too.

6.  If you’re not going to use a tripod at least turn on the image stabilization.  It’s not perfect, but it helps (especially if you’re coming down from that sugar high or working on your 5th cup of coffee).

7.  Keep it on the level.  Camcorders and other devices are light weight and easy to handle.  Sometimes there’s the temptation to rotate the camera 90 degrees to make the picture fill the viewfinder better (just like my digital camera!).  The problem is most software programs won’t let you correct for this, and if they do it takes a long while to crunch all those pixels to the correct orientation.  Laying the LCD on its side while you playback your video is not an option.  If it helps think of it in printer terms:  Video recording – landscape OK, portrait Nay. (Sorry, my kids had a unit on Patch the Pony).

8. Always start recording a little early and leave it on for a few extra seconds at the end.  When I’m recording people I always start the camera about 5 seconds before I ask them to begin.  You can always edit out unwanted stuff, but if you start late or the end gets taped over by the next segment its more challenges you’ll have to work around.

9.  Keep the sun, windows, or strong light sources behind you or off to the side.  Most cameras automatically adjust the aperture based on the amount of available light.  If there is a lot of light coming from behind or near your subject the camera is going to compensate by making the person appear very dark or as a silhouette.  Unless your topic involves people in the witness protection program make sure you position the camera properly so their smiling faces are clearly visible.

10.  Take some extra shots.  Before you head out shooting it’s a good idea to jot down a list of the types of shots and scenes you need.  While you’re on location do at least a couple of takes and get some additional shots using different angles and zooms.  With editing it’s always better to have too many good choices than scrambling to find something that will have to do.

11.  BONUS!  Keep the original video until the project is finished.  You’ve heard it many times before (and you’ll hear it many times again) keep a complete copy (and / or the original) of all your video.  If someone records over your tape, the laptop crashes, the SD card gets reused / reformatted /damaged / lost you don’t want to have to pick up the pieces and start all over.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you have any questions or require additional information you can contract me at hupp@maine.edu, (207)778-7445, or stop by my office – Room 002 in the Computer Center.  Good luck with your award winning video!

Tim Hupp
Academic Multimedia Specialist/Video