Tag Archives: Vitale Digital Media Lab

Got Audio?

So you want to work with audio?  Well, we’ve probably got what you need. This post contains a rundown of useful audio equipment you can borrow from the Vitale Digital Media Lab.

Also, here are a couple tips to keep in mind while you’re using the equipment:
1. Record the best sound you can.  It’s a lot harder to fix sound after it’s already been recorded.
2. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and practice recording with it before using it on a critical project. Continue reading Got Audio?

Meet the eBeam

ebeam_kitOne of the most exciting  additions to our equipment lending program is the eBeam capture system, which you can use to capture, record and play back your whiteboard lessons to engage your students, near or far. As you teach, your notes on any dry-erase whiteboard can be recorded with audio, creating a complete digital file of your lesson that students can access for learning at their own pace. It works with both Mac and PC computers. (Direct video recording is possible on PC only. The eBeam can be combined with screen video software on Macs.)

We’ve created a webpage to bring together the information we have about the eBeam system on our website at http://wic.library.upenn.edu/wicfacilities/ebeam.html

If you’re interested in finding out more about the eBeam or in getting a hands-on look, we’ve scheduled an introductory sessions this Wednesday, June 11 at 1:00pm.  Sign up online at http://wic.library.upenn.edu/wicshops/

Study Break: Ridiculous Fishing

image_4Now that Fling has flung, it’s time to get down to business and start studying. Of course, you learn best when you take a short break every hour, so you’re going to need something to do during those breaks. My latest time waster way to pass the time during a few down moments here and there during the day is the game Ridiculous Fishing.  It’s a simple but strangely addicting game, and a fun way to spend your time while you take a short break from studying.  It’s challenging but not difficult, and you’ll find yourself playing again and again. The controls and mechanics of the game are simple to master, and there’s lots of replay value as you go fishing again and again to catch every species of fish, purchase every upgrade, and try to beat your old high score.

There are three stages to playing the game:

image_31. Drop your line: You drop your line into the sea by tapping on the screen.  As your hook sinks, tilt your phone left and right to steer AROUND the fish (seems counter intuitive, but it’ll make sense in the next step) being sure not to touch them and trying to go as deep as you can.

2. Reel ‘em in: When your hook eventually does touch a fish, or if you run out of fishing line, or if you get all the way to the bottom of the sea, you’ll automatically start reeling your line in.   On the way up, tilt left and right to catch as many fish as possible—the same fish you avoided on the way down.  One nice little touch is the music that was playing on the way down plays in reverse on the way back up.

image_53. Shoot ‘em up: this stage seems the least traditional from a fishing purist’s point of view (and is possibly the main reason for the word ‘ridiculous’ in the name of the game).  When your line finally reaches the surface of the water, you fling the fish into the air (that part happens automatically), and you start shooting them by tapping on the fish.  You get money for each fish you shoot.  The ones that fall back into the water escape and you get no money from them.  Some fish (particularly those of the jellyfish variety) you’ll want to avoid, as they will actually subtract money from your wallet.

There are several different fishing locations on the map.  You’ll start in “Home Waters”–the shallowest area.  It’s filled with a variety of very cool fish, and many species are only located at particular depths, so you’ve got to get your line down pretty far to catch them all. When you’ve finally caught all the species of fish in Home Waters, you’ll unlock the next location on the map where you’ll encounter all new types of fish and plummet to deeper spots in the ocean as you listen to a different track of music.

image_1As you play more games, you’ll end up with quite a bit of money from all those fish you’ve caught.  The Shack Shoppe lets you purchase upgrades with that money to improve your fishing experience: Longer fishing lines to let you get to those fish even farther beneath the waves, better guns to let you shoot the fish faster before they fall back into the sea, items to fling the fish farther into the air so that you have more time to shoot them, a Fish-o-pedia which help you identify all those different fish you’ll encounter along with how much each is worth and whether it has any special abilities, and of course different outfits for your fisherman, most of which have no effect on game play as far as I can tell other than to turn your character into a snappy dresser.

The pixel art is colorful and beautiful (as you can tell from these screenshots), and the 8-bit music (by composer Eirik Suhrke) is whimsical and quite catchy (I’ve caught myself humming one of the tunes as I walk through Van Pelt Library on more than one occasion)

It’s $2.99 in the iTunes App store for iPhone and iPad, and $2.99 in the Google Play store for Android, but I’m glad to report there are no in-app purchases.  Once you’ve got the game, it’s just fun from here on out. 

Tripod for your Phone

I’ve added an item to our equipment lending program that I’ve been wanting for a long time. We’ve gotten many requests over the years for a tripod that can hold an iPhone, and I finally found one I like that does a great job and is versatile enough to work for everyone.  I actually liked it enough that I also bought one for myself at home.

The JOBY GripTight unfolds to hold a smartphone and attaches to any standard tripod. It should work with just about tripod and any phone. We lend it with a mini table-top tripod that stands only a few inches high, but you can also borrow one of our full-sized tripods and use it with that as well. Here’s a nice little review of it from Gear Diary:

You can reserve it in our equipment lending system under Tripods / Smartphone Tripods. If you try it out, be sure to let us know what you think. If it proves to be popular, i’ll be sure to get some more.

Welcome to William Hodgson

William HodgsonPlease welcome our newest lab consultant in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, William Hodgson. William has filled the position left vacant by Lindsey Martin. William comes to us from the Philadelphia Free Library, where he was a digital resource specialist, doing a similar job to what he’ll be doing here. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and a recent graduate of Penn, receiving his BFA in 2013.

Please stop by to say hi and introduce yourself!