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Published 26-Apr-2001
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All this week's Wiz!

  Web Services  

By now, businesses, web site developers and programmers should be conversant with the .NET framework technology. One consequence for us, the end users, of this developing technology will be the area of web services.

Taking the airline industry as an example, currently we go to a site and enter a flight number to find out when we can book a seat. What happens after we press the submit button is that the airline's computer gets the information, builds a new web page and sends that page back to our browser with the information.

But why not just send back the information? That's the new model of working that the .NET framework will provide. This, of course, has important ramifications for business-to-business transactions, too, because the biggest hindrance at the moment is no definitive standard for exchanging information.

  Vinyl to CD  

The sparkling new computer you've bought in the last couple of years has been pumping out plenty of music from your CD collection but what about all those LPs, 78s and tapes hidden in cupboards or out in the back shed? There's some great music on them and you can't find it on CD, so what to do? Well, why not transfer it to CD?

To get you started on such a project, visit CNET's music site for a tutorial where you'll get plenty of practical information. There are a few points worth emphasising here, though. Firstly, you may have to join up with your some friends to get all the equipment together. In particular, you'll need the best quality turntable, cassette tape player and amplifier you can find. The reason is to eliminate as early as possible in the recording process all possible sources of noise, such as mains hum from the turntable motor or background hiss from the cassette player.

Naturally, if your LPs are in good condition, another source of noise (pops and clicks) is eliminated. However, audio restoration software such as Goldwave or Wave Purity (both shareware) can take out these annoying distortions.

Another requirement is disk space - you'll need at least a gigabyte free on your hard drive. Of course, your computer needs a CD/RW drive. It would be worth checking out, too, the specifications of your sound card. A poorly specified model will introduce it's own noise if it's not properly isolated from all the spurious signals floating around inside your computer case.

As an aside, anybody aspiring to become a sound engineer can get plenty of practical experience in this recording process. Well, webWiz if off to the back shed to find his LP of Vanilla Fudge - they recorded the best version of Eleanor Rigby.

Thumbnail of Olympic Park photographed by IKONOS satellite

  Images from Above  

Curiousity got the better of webWiz when a water-marked image of the US Navy's EP3 spyplane sitting on a Chinese runway appeared on TV News. The water-mark said "SpaceImaging.com", so it was off for a visit.

Well, Space Imaging have a number of satellites orbiting the Earth, one in particular named IKONOS. This satellite orbits at a height of 680km with a period of 98 minutes and can capture images to a resolution of 1 metre. The IKONOS gallery of images, particuarly image of the week, lets you see what this type of satellite is capable of. For example, an image of the Sydney Olympic Park was taken in September 2000. You can download a larger sized image you might want to use as your desktop wallpaper.

As a follow up, visit Imaging Notes for a browse through their magazine to get an idea of the whole commerical nature of satellite imaging. When webWiz visited, there were reports of studies about bushfires, water use and cropping.

  Themed Graphics  

While there are thousands upon thousands of free graphics sites, it can be frustrating to say the least to pick and choose a suitable graphic here and another there. You may find it better to choose a set of graphics for your project, whether it be ink-on-paper or a web site.

The Groan Zone has sets for your web site that include a background image, welcome banner, buttons, bullets and dividers. Okteria features web site templates according to different themes. Finally, for clipart collections you can use in your printed documents, look through what's available at Clip Gallery Live.

  Airlines  

If you've got an interest in planes and their history, you might start at Fly the 'Net to catch up with the latest news and download plenty of photos for your collection. Brooklands in England was the home to Avro and the Wellington, so a visit to the museum is worthwhile for aircraft historians.

  webSnippets  

Sports fans can keep up with the latest news for the Goodwill Games to be held in Brisbane from Aug 29 to Sep 9.

A reminder to MS Office 97/2000 users that there are a whole variety of templates for free download from the template gallery. This is the type of resource that's invaluable for saving time and yet giving your finished documents that extra sparkle. A recent addition for Publisher 2000 users is a resume wizard for three different types of resume and each having three distinct styles.

Two of Australia's monthly computer magazines for May 2001 have a couple of free, useful utilities on their cover CDs. Australian Personal Computing has HomeSite 4.0 (free) and PC User has a free version of Paint Shop Pro. HomeSite has a good pedigree and includes a range of features to help you build your web site. The version of Paint Shop Pro is a little old but it's still a well-recongised graphics app. There is a downside - you can't save in GIF format (essential for the web) but download Polyview and export your graphics to GIF format that way.

 
 
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