Sunday, August 30, 2009

Father's Day is on the Way


"Father's Day" is coming up in a few days time, and I am looking forward to a nice present from my young son A.J. Anything will do, even a cordless hammer !

I will be showing my current group of students the following classic Father's Day video at the end of the week, just to let them know what all good fathers should be doing for their children.

(Unfortunately the video is extremely slow to load in, so please be patient).
Perhaps just push play to get it started, and then pause it for a while and go off and do something else while it loads in.





And just one more item out of left field that is keeping with our theme:




Enjoy,
Big Daddy Passy Wasabi

Flash Frame by Frame Animation



Wouldn't it be great to see the next few frames for the above action event.
Who actually ends up in the water ?

The following Frame by Frame Animations were done in Flash CS3 using images from the web. I made a couple of them, but mostly they were made by my students.

This blog post may take a few minutes to complete loading in.

Some of the animations have small glitches where the background jumps out of position during the movie. I should have told the students to check the x and y coordinate values of the background image on every frame of their animation. As long as these x and y coordinates remain constant, the background should not move.

A bit of a strange cricketing sequence of events in this one:





Is this Alien lost, or just getting dizzy ?






One of those classic Plane vs Bird Movies:






Beauty and the Beast busy practicing for the latest dance competition:






A classic "Dukes of Hazard" car jump that one of my students made.








Here is Bart Simpson Skating it up, just as he always does.




Here are some Instructions on how to do Frame by Frame animations in Flash, including using Onion-skinning. These instructions will enable you to make a basic Bart Simpson skateboarding flash movie.



If you would like to have your own full size copy of this PDF, then simply click the save disk icon button on the PDF viewer, and you should be able to save it to your own hard disk.

Alternatively, you can view or save the full size PDF by clicking the link below:




Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Learn Blues Guitar Online Here


The magnificent Jimi Hendrix, a bit before my time, but undoubtedly one of the best guitarists to ever lay down blues derived music on an electric guitar.

Okay, so this blog post is not directly ICT related; however it does review some excellent learning material that is available on the internet for guitarists.

So if you don’t like Guitar, then perhaps totally skip reading this post.

The sample videos shown here, are all by a guy called “Marty”, who is a great practitioner and teacher of blues guitar. He even looks a bit like he is Billy Joel’s younger brother !

Part of the purpose of making these You Tube videos seems to be to advertise what is available at the “Next Level Guitar” website. (More on that a bit later on).

Here is an 8 minute video that explains how Jimi Hendrix added inversions of common chords to his guitar playing to create a new and distinctive style of guitar songs.



The next video is really good for beginner guitarists, as it shows very clearly blue improvisation methods on the guitar. Marty takes things nice and slow so we can all easily understand what is going on.




The following is an 11 minute video all about how to play BB King style. Marty shows how to mix in major scales to create the classic signature "sweet" sound of the legendary BB King.



There are a few more videos on You Tube by Marty, but as his final one for this post, here is a 10 minute video about Blues Acoustic Guitar that shows some great forms of the A7 chord all the way up past the 12th fret.





The “Next Level Guitar” website is a comprehensive online learning resource for guitarists. It is a bit like a “Lynda.com” of guitar lessons. (Lynda.com provide a comprehensive range of computer software tutorials for Microsoft, Adobe, and many other applications).

The “Next Level Guitar” website is at: http://www.nextlevelguitar.com

On the top of page Index tab, we can click on “Free Videos”, and there are around 40 videos that can be viewed. Some of these videos, are merely previews of parts of DVD’s that they have available for sale elsewhere on their website. These DVD’s look to be quite good. Typically they cover just one classic guitar song like Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” or Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. The DVD then spends two hours showing every single part of the song, and how to play it. These DVD's seem to retail for around $25 US each, which is not a bad price, considering it is going to be at least a full day’s entertainment working through the DVD learning the song.

Note that while viewing the free videos: If we double click on any video while it is playing we get taken to Metacafe, and can see and find even more videos that we can watch about playing guitar that have been made by the folks at “Next Level Guitar”.

You can also become a premium member of their website for less than $30 US per month. This membership obtain access to a range of beginner, intermediate and advanced guitar playing courses. These courses have their videos for viewing online, and include downloadable resources, such as music backing tracks.

I am thinking on perhaps trying out the online membership for a month later on this year. If I do, rest assured I will do a comprehensive blog post review about it.

Hoping your blues is only of the guitar playing kind.

Enjoy,
Big BB Passy Wasabi

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Adjustments for Guitarists


So what is this blog post all about ? After all, electric guitars were around well before personal computers. So what has all this got to do with ICT ?

Well the point I am trying to make here, is that no matter what your passion,
or whatever the task you need to perform, then You Tube probably has the answers.

So for anyone out there who loves the Fender Stratocaster style of guitar; here are some useful ways to ensure your guitar is setup for optimal playing performance.


String Height (“Action”) Adjustment:





Stratocaster "Truss Rod" Adjustment:


On a Strat, it is a solid bar that goes through the whole neck. It controls the arc that the neck has. Often necks have a little bit of curvature along them.




Setting the Intonation (12th fret tuning):




Hope you find this information to be "finger picking good" !

Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

Flashing Your Message Out There


The above flashing message was made by using some basic frame by frame animation in Flash.

A good message to make is to simply make your own name flashing.
Or perhaps you might get a picture of your favourite sports team, exotic car, music group, or celebrity, and add a flashing message over the top of the image.


If we change the colour of the text in each frame, then we can get rapid bursts of colour as the message unrolls across the screen. This creates a bright rapid flashing light effect: like those bogus "You're today's Winner" advertisements, that are often found on commercial internet web sites.

Students love writing their name in flashing letters like this, although I must admit that I find all of it a bit too bright and demanding on the eyes.
(Must be a GenX versus GenY thing I guess).

If a student doesn't want to make the flashing colours part of the animation, then do not force them to do it. They can make uni-colour rolling text, and that would be fine for practicing frame by frame animation.

The PDF document below gives detailed step by step instructions on how to make a flashing message using Adobe Flash CS3.




If you would like to open or download a full size copy of these instructions,then click the link below.



So why not make your own very flashy message to the world.

Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pivot Stick Figure Animations

I was sitting here wondering what to Blog about next:


Then I remembered about this free download animation program.
It's called "Pivot", and is used for making stick figures animate on either picture backgrounds, or in plain white space.


Pivot is sometimes a bit difficult to get started in:



But it is fine once you get the hang of it:



Just take small beginner steps to start off with:



And from there on it's all down hill:



If you would like to open a great word document about how to get started in Pivot, by the guys who made the Pivot images contained in this blog post, then click the link below:

Click here to Open or Download How to Pivot doc

So have a go and stick together your own little adventure.

Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

O
-|-
/\

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Graffiti Creator - Online Text Art

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Don't worry folks, Passy hasn't gone ferral and started tagging public property with damaging graffiti. It was all done in Adobe Photoshop, with a little bit of help from a neat online tool called "Graffitti Creator" to make the spray on text.

Graffitti Creator is a great free program, built in Flash, that enables users to make fabulous artistic text images like these:


Simply type in a word and out comes a designed font of your text.
This can then be modified using all kinds of artistic effects, and RBG (red blue green) color mixing. We can thereby enhance our logotype and make it really special and unique.



The site is located at: http://www.graffiticreator.net and the PDF document below gives a full set of instructions on how to use the application.



If you would like to have your own full size copy of this PDF, then simply click the save disk icon button on the PDF viewer, and you should be able to save it to your own hard disk.


Alternatively, you can view or save the full size PDF by clicking the link below:



Note that the text length of a Graffiti item is limited to a maximum of 14 characters.

Unfortunately, there is no way to save our finished image, or its settings, on the Graffiti Creator website.

What we have to do is “PrintScreen” the image into Paint or Adobe Fireworks or Photoshop, and then save it there.

We can also get very "Flashy" with our text image, as shown below.

Eg. Import the image into a new blank ActionSript 3.0 file. Make the image very small using the scale tool. Then use F6 key to copy this first keyframe 9 more times. In each frame make the image get gradually larger, (using the "Free Transform" tool), and have it full size in the last 3 frames.



Here are the terms and Conditions of Use from the website.
(As we would expect, it is for private non-profit personal use only).

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Now kids, this is one that you should try at home! (But no going out and painting the town for real, because that's low-mentality, illegal, and mindless vandalism).

You wouldn't want someone painting all over your stuff, so don't go doing it to other people's property.


Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

P.S. Looks like I have a problem spelling Graffiti with an extra "T" now and then, must be because I am thinking about the cup of tea I am off to have right now :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Algebra Part 2 - Factors to Consider



Here is a Wall Wisher for the second half of Algebra, which is all about Factorisation of Polynomials. As usual the wall has plenty of videos, and website links that were found by quite a bit of searching Google and YouTube.

If you would like to view the wall full size, then click the link below.

Click to view the Factorisation wall full size in a new window.

One of the interesting things while building this wall, was finding the following collection of guitars from the John Richardson Band. (From the photos on their website, these guys look like they have been around for a while). http://www.johnrichardsonband.com They sure know how to choose great guitars. The photo of their axes below (along with the amps) is probably the ultimate dream collection for any guitarist.


The classic smooth parabolic curves of the Fender Stratocaster, are a sight that this mathematician always finds aesthetically pleasing.

I have not made any PowerPoints for Factorisation yet, as I plan on using the "Cross Method" to do most of the trinomial work by hand on a whiteboard. We also need to do Greatest Common Factor, which I plan to do using Factor Trees.

It will be a challenging unit, as Algebra is always difficult for most students.

Enjoy,
(Big+ Passy)(Wasabi)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Expanding Your Algebra Knowledge



Welcome to the wonderful expanding world of Algebra.

Yep, we're talking Distributive Law, Binomials, Polynomials, Perfect Squares, and all that sort of fun stuff.

If you would like to see the above "wall" full size, then click the link below:

Click to open the Wall full size in a new window.

This wall has been set up for the maths students at my school to have 24x7 online help for the current Algebra Unit we are doing. If you would like to know how to set up one of these colossal and colorful walls, then click the following link:

Click here to view a PDF on how to use Wall Wisher.

Here is a PowerPoint presentation that has been converted into a Flash slideshow using Open Office Org. Click on the current slide to advance forward.



I plan on printing some of the slides in color, and then doubling their size from A4 up to A3 with a color photocopier.

From previous efforts I have found that PowerPoint leaves a lot of empty white space around the edges of the slides.

So what has to be done is to color print them onto A4 paper, then cut off the wasted white space around the edges of each sheet. We then color photocopy enlarge them by a factor of 175%, onto A3 paper.

I then laminate these A3 printouts, and use them as wall posters in my Maths classroom.

I call them "stick ups" because they are summary notes that can be stuck up onto the wall in any room I am teaching in. Plus I get to crack the repeated dumb joke to the class of "Hey guess what, it's a stick up!"

If you would like to download a copy of the unanimated PowerPoint, (In MS-2003 format) then click the link below:

View "Distributive Law" Presentation as an MS 2003 PPT

Here is another PowerPoint of "stick ups" I made for Binomial Expansions.
Click on the current slide to advance forward.



If you would like to download a copy of the unanimated PowerPoint, (In MS-2003 format) then click the link below:

View "Binomials" Presentation as an MS 2003 PPT

Finally, here is a really good video made by "Yaymath.org" about expanding Binomials using the distributive law as the "FOIL" rule.

The presenter does a really great job. I have shown the video in my Algebra classes and it has been well received. A number of my students are now regular users of "Yay Math".




The Yaymath website is 100% free and is an awesome effort by a guy called Robert Ahdoot who is a high school Math teacher in the USA.

I highly recommend you visit his site at: http://yaymath.org because it has lots of really great material on it for Algebra.

And to finish up, here is the most bizarre maths video I have seen on YouTube to date. It is so different, it is kind of good. :) See what you think.



Well that's about all I need to distribute to you for this post.

Enjoy,
Big (Passy Wasabi)

World Wide Web Revealed

From examining the following photographs, I can only conclude that giant mutant spiders must have spun these endless cobwebs of telephone lines.

That must be why they call it the "World Wide Web" !

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Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

P.S. I have not blogged much lately, because I have been very busy with some guitar things. More details on this in an upcoming blog post.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

World's Number One Radio



Click on the 128K windows media symbol to listen to any of the online radio stations on the above menu. But if you want to open the 1.FM website full size in a new window, then click on the 1.FM logo below.

1FM Logo Link

1.FM at http://www.1.fm is in my opinion the world's best internet radio station. As shown below, there is a wonderfully diverse range of radio stations in the 1.FM family.

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as well as these stations:
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Listening is available in streamed Windows Media Player 128K format, and others, as shown above. WMP 128K gives great quality sound when put through some decent PC speakers like Creative T-20's or T40's. There is also mobile phone access, as described in the "Mobile" section of the site.

Here is a quick review of some of the stations available.

Otto's Baroque Classical Music
This station has wonderful violin and chamber orchestra music, as shown in the screen capture below.

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Bay Smooth Jazz

Great laid back Jazz Fusion music.
Pleasant for background music while working away
on other things.

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Power Rock
As the name suggests modern heavy guitar music, for lifting your energy levels in an active kind of way.

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There are plenty of stations for all tastes and musical genres.

1.FM's main role is to broadcast a full range of music styles.
However, their website also has a photo gallery, as well as a nice Videos section which has good comedy videos.

Take some time out to explore 1.FM and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Image Creativity and Star Wars



Part 2 of this tutorial is here:



The two 6 minute videos above, are all about using "GIMP" image editor to create a Star Wars light saber effect. Adobe Photoshop can do the same thing, but "GIMP" is a really nice software package for editing still images because it is 100% free.

For moving pictures, Adobe "After Effects" is often used to make Star Wars light sabers, as well as Star Trek phaser guns. There are lots videos on the web about "Rotoscoping" and using Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and After Effects to make fabulous Light Saber frame by frame magic.


Here is a rather humorous one minute Japanese video using Light Sabres:



There are lots of videos on You Tube, but the masters of light saber duals must be these two guys: Ryan and Dorkman. This is their first movie (I think they have about four or five) and I have given them 10 out of 10.



So what brought all this on... well 40th Lunar-Landing anniversaries bring out a bit of the Lunatic in everyone I guess.

Enjoy,
Darth Passy Wasabi

Using TinyURL for Blog Post Emails



The above screen capture shows how I used the "tinyurl" online utility, to make a second version of this really long blog post URL address:
http://passyworldofict.blogspot.com/2009/07/making-web-pages-at-google-sites.html
as the much shorter alternate address of:
http://tinyurl.com/PwGoogleSites .

It was necessary to do this, because every time that I emailed the original long address link to anyone, the email process split up the link text into separate words. This meant that the link failed when the mail recipient clicked on it.

According to Wikipedia:

The TinyURL homepage at http://tinyurl.com/ has a submission form box that is used to submit a long URL for shortening. For each URL entered, the server adds a new alias in its hashed database and returns a short URL as http://tinyurl.com/xxxxxx in the following page.

If the URL has already been requested, TinyURL will return the existing alias rather than create a duplicate entry. The short URL forwards users to the long URL, without any noticeable time delay.

Short URL aliases are seen as useful because they are easier to write down, remember or pass around, are less error-prone to write, and also fit where space is limited such as IRC channel topics, email signatures, microblogs, certain printed newspapers and magazines, and email clients that impose line breaks on messages at a certain length.

People posting on Twitter make extensive use of shortened URLs to keep their tweets within the service-imposed 140 character limit.

Starting in 2008, TinyURL allowed users to create custom, more meaningful aliases. This means that a user can create descriptive URLs rather than a randomly generated address. For example, http://tinyurl.com/wp-tinyurl.

On the tinyurl homepage, they even supply HTML embed code, that we have modified slightly, so that we can put the tinyurl'er directly onto our web page like this:

Enter a long URL to make tiny:

So if we have a long URL from one of our blog posts to email to people, it is best to make a tinyurl version to send as well. This means that if the email process breaks up the long link, our contacts can always use the short link.
The tinyurl link also looks a lot neater and professional than the big "gangly" blog address.

Enjoy,
Big Passy Wasabi

Online Jukebox at PLAYLIST.COM



The above set of songs was made at Playlist.com.

If I was teaching Guitar, then these would definitely be a great set of "classics" for my students to study.

The playlist in this blog is set to start automatically on this screen (so turn your speakers on to hear the sound). If you want to stop listening, simply click on the twin vertical lines "Pause button" at the top left corner of the player.

Playlist.com has an advanced music search engine for music files. The company that runs the site uses various types of web spiders and robots to continually trace and link to legalized music files all over the web.
(Playlist.com is kind of like a "Google" of music files).


People can join up at the site for free, and search in Playlist for music that they like. This music can then be grouped into "Playlists", which can be listened to online 24x7. Links to each of these lists can also be emailed to friends.

In addition, Embed HTML code is supplied for our playlists so that we can add them to web pages or Blogs. This allows users the experience of sharing and connecting with other users musically.

Playlist also allows user submission of links which offer legal or free music on the Internet. Upcoming artists can use this as a tool to generate exposure in the competitive music market and get noticed by music fans and hopefully some industry labels as well.

The Playlist site is at : http://www.playlist.com/

The following PDF gives a full review of Playlist. It also goes through step by step on how to join Playlist and gather your sets of tunes.



If you would like to have your own full size copy of this PDF, then simply click the save disk icon button on the PDF viewer, and you should be able to save it to your own hard disk.

Alternatively, you can view or save the full size PDF by clicking the link below:

Click here to open or save the “How to Use Playlist” PDF


If we decide we want to play along on Guitar with some of the legendary greats, then a quick search in Google, or at sites like: http://www.fretplay.com/ should soon find the desired “Guitar Tab” to play the song:

Eg. Tablature for the “My Sharona” riff was easily obtained from:
http://www.fretplay.com/tabs/k/knack/my_sharona-tab.shtml :



Also at the same website are some very fancy demonstrations of how to play enhanced versions of these riffs, such as this example for “Sunshine of Your Love”:



So that’s it… we went off track a bit with the Guitar playing items, but we assume in the future that we can continue to make as many Playlists as we like, for all occasions, and we will be having lots of fun doing this.

For music teachers, Playlist is great for providing samples of songs that students need to learn to play. For the rest of us it is great to have our favourite tunes online, and share them with friends.

I think there might also be something similar to Playlist at "Blip-TV" where you can be a DJ and set up an online list of songs for other people to listen to. This will need to be investigated another time.

Enjoy,
Big Bopping Passy Wasabi

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Surf Magic at Magic-Seaweed.com


When I was a little blonde surfer boy, we used to tune into the radio at certain times of the day to hear the "Coca-Cola Surf Report". On many occasions it was not at all accurate. When we got older and smarter, we got friendly with a guy at a surf shop down the coast. If we phoned up Dave, and he told us nobody had come into the shop today, then we knew the surf was definitely pumping. Things have really progressed since then, and where surf meets internet, there is no finer website than "Magic Seaweed" at: http://magicseaweed.com

This site through the cooperative efforts of the worldwide surfing community covers the entire Globe. When I was that little blonde grommet, we had to go to the shop and flick through expensive magazines to see surf in Indonesia or Mexico. At "MSW" you can go to anywhere on the globe and see the latest surf reports, photos, videos, reviews, and anything else you could possibly desire.

They have excellent videos, of amazing surf from around the world, like this YouTube video of an insane break called "The Wedge" at Newport Beach in California. A few days ago they had some really big waves coming in along the California coast, just like these gnarly monsters at Newport:




MSW also has detailed surf reports, weather forecasts, tides, and winds, for all of the main surf breaks around the world. Here is part of today's report for "Phillip Island" which is 75 minutes drive from where I live. (There is closer surf only 20 minutes away from home, but it is often not as big or reliable as the Island).

A key item not shown below is the temperature outside, which is a wintertime cold low here in the southern hemisphere. A big thick "seal impersonator" rubber wetsuit from top to toe would be the order of the day for any water workouts today. I think I will be lazy and stay indoors surfing the Internet.




There is even a section of the MSW site called "Surf Science".
On these pages, Dr Tony Butt has posted several detailed items concerning the mathematics and science of coastlines, waves, storms, and swells:




I could easily keep writing for at least the length of this post again about all of the wonderful live webcams, the photogalleries, the videos, the reports, the featured surfers and exotic locations, but really you have to do the virtual e-travel yourself and check out: http://magicseaweed.com

Enjoy,
Big Passy Kahuna Wasabi

Image Source: http://www.arrowriver.ca/images/surf1.gif