Animations (using SWF) inside latest Prezi Classic

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The biggest bugbear of using Prezi at the moment is, besides the rubbish Prezi Next which they seem keen to push at the expense of an otherwise excellent Classic is the lack of animated loops. When they dropped the flash player, they dropped support for .swf files and they absolutely refuse, despite repeated user requests from users (and especially me) to implement Animated Gifs. For some users, it’s starting to be a show-stopper and I am losing patience with them.

However, there is a solution, but it’s a) not pretty and b) needs pre-planning, so you can’t just make it up on the fly, you have to work out what you need because there is no going back

It involves creating either a Virtual Machine, or you could just have an old machine to dedicate to the task. I chose the former because my main PC is powerful and I didn’t have a spare.

1. Install VirtualBox

Other Virtual Machine systems are available, but I chose the Free Oracle VirtualBox because… it’s free. You will need a Windows CD or an ISO file of a Windows Install which you obtained from bittorrent or elsewhere. Stay legal is my advice and use what you are licensed to use.

Create a Windows Virtual Machine. I chose Windows 7 because it is fast and stable and I had the appropriate license for it.

2. Install an Old Version of Prezi Desktop inside your Virtual Machine

I managed to find a copy of Prezi 4.4.0 on the web which you can download from here.

This is a very early version, and is straight in the editor, but it works. When you log in, the system will offer to upgrade you to the latest version DO NOT DO THIS EVER.

3. Plan what swfs you want to use

This is the hard part, because once you have created an old Prezi document, it can’t be read back if a newer version has touched it. So… you either need to do it ALL inside the old version and only export it when you are completely finished or you need to plan in advance exactly what you need and load them all in to the system. It doesn’t matter where they go, because you can move them around, frame them, reveal them and manipulate them in the latest version, but ONLY if they have been loaded in by the old editor.

Save the Prezi as a .pez file. Make sure it’s what you need because there is no going back.

4. Edit the Saved Prezi in the Latest Version

You can then edit the Prezi on your non-Virtual Machine to your heart’s content and manipulate them swfs as before. The reason you need another real machine or Virtual Machine is that the old and the new editors will not reside on the same copy of Windows, otherwise this would be very easy!

HOWEVER

If you find that there is an essential swf that you have forgotten, there is another way of getting an animation into a new Prezi: Create a Prezi in the old version, save it and then open it in the new version THEN cut and paste the object from your old-version-Prezi into your new-version-Prezi. So, despite what I said earlier, you can add if you forget something earlier.

What I expect to do, however is to take ALL of the swfs I want to use and put them in one big old-school-Prezi so that I can cut-and-paste them at leisure into my new Prezis.

Still, enjoy!

Missed the Windows 10 Free upgrade? – Fret Not.

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Like many, I took advantage of the free upgrade from the awful Windows 8.x to Windows 10, but the time of that free upgrade has passed.

If like me, you sometimes have to “powerwash” (to use a Chromebook phrase) a machine, but it was originally Windows 7 or 8 you might feel stuck without an upgrade.

Do you go down the route of an unofficial upgrade, which can be dodgy, or… do you want to use an official Microsoft update?

The only think you have to do is cross your fingers (unless you actually do use them, of course) and go to this link:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade?ranMID=24542&ranEAID=je6NUbpObpQ&ranSiteID=je6NUbpObpQ-9s1EYTGNy.vIW38_D3RH_Q&tduid=(dcd562eb0ae647a9c39eea2677fb3ebb)(256380)(2459594)(je6NUbpObpQ-9s1EYTGNy.vIW38_D3RH_Q)()

where you will affirm (with no proof that you do, or do not) use “assistance technologies” (ie on-screen narration, magnification (which I actually do these days given my sight issues) or sticky keys etc etc).

I personally have a clear conscience on this. It’s up to you, but Microsoft and their policy towards people with needs are awesome.


Webpage Screenshots to Animated GIFs

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I love an animated GIF… whether it’s a currently hot meme, or a classic quote or just an illustration which is better animated, then the moving, repeated image is king.

The wonderful Fr Eddie Green uses them extensively in his Worshpr toolkit.

Creating them from scratch (as opposed to just simply downloading them) used to be complex, but now I have worked out how to put two simple steps together to make this magic happen.

How to create Animated GIFs from something on a Web Page

1 Install Nimbus Screenshot into your Chrome Browser 

 

 

2 This enables you to grab all of a web page, or just a tiny part or… record the screen as a video

3 The Menu gives you all these wonderful options:

4. When you have recorded what you want in Nimbus, you can save it. The video format is the rather useless .webm format which even Adobe Media Convertor cannot read, so this is where the next site comes in…

5. Visit https://www.online-convert.com/ and more specifically https://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-gif

6 For an embedded GIF (I still despite knowing different still call them Gg-if with the hard G rather than the soft J-if, sorry it’s too embedded) in a tweet, I reduce the size to 320×240 for square (4:3) images or 320×180 for widescreen images

7 In a few moments, the GIF will be downloaded. Note you can do all kinds of conversions as well, so you can convert anything into anything. This is good if you want the .webm in .mp4 format so you can put it in another video.

These are some quick examples:

Enjoy!

Some of my favourite films

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A few years ago (2013) I listed the Albums which I felt had shaped me as a person: not necessarily the best albums but the ones which shaped me see http://www.frsimon.uk/my-favourite-albums-of-all-time/
My son, Liam, mentioned that he had been compiling his own list of movies, and so it set me thinking. Here is my list (in no particular order) of films that have helped make me what I am today, and for that I apologise. It is definitely not a list of the super-cool, hip or esoteric, but these are films I treasure.
Human Traffic
The Matrix
I did not really know what the Matrix was all about when I went to see it, and so the ascension of Neo back into the real world was a genuine shock – an experience that I’ll never get back, because once you know… That feeling was just amazing, a lightbulb moment. Beyond that the depth, the theology, the philosophy behind the Matrix has enough material to keep me engaged for decades: questions of reality and perception, of creation and ontology are all expressed in this wonderful movie. Pity the other two were absolute shite, but you have to milk the cash cow for all it’s worth these days.
City of God
Brazilian film of such style, grace and brilliant story-telling. Yes, it’s in Portuguese, but reading subtitles never heart anyone. It’s a wonderful, challenging film about one of the worst places in the world. People are ace, they really are.
Pulp Fiction
Tarrantino’s masterpiece of non-linear storytelling is just perfect: the characters are all comic-book, the timeline is all messed up to keep the whole thing boiling and the soundtrack is one of the most carefully curated parts of the film: not just an add-on, but an intrinsic piece of the story-telling. Each little episode is so disjoint and yet so connected. Does the suitcase really contain the soul of Marcus Wallace?
Napolean
Silent. 7 and a half hours long. Incomplete, because bits of it still hasn’t been found. This is simply a masterpiece. I have been fascinated by this film since a patient at Barts introduced me to it. Abel Gance tells the epic story so epically, and at the climax, across 3 screens. This was in 1927 for goodness sake! Best watched at a big screening and a live accompaniment.
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Mark Robinson and I (aged 13 or 14) went to see Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein (another excellent film, but one outside this list) as at the time we were all into Blazing Saddles and the like. On the double bill was this movie we’d never heard of. All we talked about for a year after that night was the other movie: the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So outrageous, so glam, so sexually ambiguous, it opened our eyes to diversity and camp. True to say, I’ve never been the same since.

Again, not necessarily the best films (or albums) but the films that have made a difference to me. I may well expand this list as time goes on and I am reminded of other great, important and influential movies on me. So, although I love to waste train journeys rewatching the camp classic Pitch Perfect, quote frequently and extensively from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club and won’t mention the pornography of my teenage years (formative in one way, at least), and clearly I’m not hip or savvy. This is me. I am who I am.

Rainbow Cross. Use Freely.

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I’ve been working on this graphic in photoshop, and although I got (eventually) the thing I wanted, I’m still not clear how I got there. Use freely. To save, Right-Click and select “Save As…” or “Save Image As…” depending on your browser.

 

This is the chunky version (641px x 802 transparent png)

and this is the slightly more textured version.

The photoshop file is here.

Enjoy!

iPlayerGUI Version 2 – a nicer way to download and keep BBC TV from iPlayer

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I love to use the get_iplayer app to record and keep my favourite Programmes, after all, my licence fee has paid for them.

Unfortunately, it’s interface is text only and that can be a little intimidating for some, so a couple of years ago, I wrote a GUI front end for it in the AutoIT scripting language, and now it was time to update that in a new language – Java.

If you don’t have Java installed, it should offer you the option to do so. Some people don’t like having Java on their PCs, muttering about security, but it is a very secure, sandboxed system.

Instructions

  1. Download get_iplayer from here and install it.
  2. Download and install my GUI front end from here
  3. When you run the app, simply go to your iPlayer window in your browser and copy the address at the top. This is one: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b086tqm4/doctor-who-the-return-of-doctor-mysterio
  4. Go back to my App and paste it into the text box.
  5. If it is a Radio program, select Radio, otherwise the default is a TV programme
  6. Hit Download and a textbox will open up and do the downloading for you. Get_iPlayer has a folder on the Desktop called “iPlayer Recordings” and you will find all your TV programmes and Radio Shows there

I didn’t create get_iplayer, there are cleverer people who have done that, I certainly didn’t make Java, but I make this front end available to the world free-of-charge under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC License. All I ask you for is your prayers for my ministry here in Plymouth, call it PRAYERWARE if you like! I accept no responsibility for it, I made it for my own use and share it with you because I’m nice like that…

Animated / looping images inside Prezi

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in geek, tech

nimbus-record-video

 

 

Prezi, thankfully, still supports animations, but not as we now know and love them. With one simple step, however, you can insert animated gifs and take other short movies and insert them into your Prezi presentation to liven them up.

 

 

Although Pregreen-right-arrow-moving-up-and-downzi does not support animated gifs (yet, hint, hint) you can easily convert these to Flash swf format files which will loop indefinitely in a Prezi.

Here is how you do it.

 

  1. Find your animated gif through Google Images
  2. Enter a search term and then select “Search Tools” and under “Type” select “Animated”
  3. screenshot-www-google-com-2016-10-19-11-52-04This will limit the search to images that are moving. Download that image (Right-Click / Save As…)
  4. Visit the excellent Convertio online converter, drag and drop the downloaded file onto the page and select as output “Video/SWF”screenshot-convertio-co-2016-10-19-11-58-54
  5. Add as many files as you like and then convert them. There is a daily limit, but I can’t imagine you would exceed this for this purpose.
  6. Now in Prezi, you can drag and drop the new SWF file, or Insert it as a File. You can also insert it as a Background image, which is particularly good as an opener.giphy_champagne_wrong_rcs
  7. I would use it sparingly, especially as some animated gifts move very fast, but a gentle animation like the one above, or a subtle illustration can be effective.
  8. Beyond that, you can convert a (very) short and small movie from your video editing package into an swf. You can do this directly in some packages (Sony Vegas) or export it from iMovies / Windows Movie Maker and convert it via Convertio. This could be, I imagine, a moving graph, or a quick clip.

nimbus-record-videoHave fun.

 

 

 

2017 Electric Ordo released FREE – all I ask for is your prayers (PRAYERWARE)

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Download

Download the Zip Files file (from my public dropbox folder)

Right click on the above link and select “SAVE AS..” or “SAVE TARGET AS…” or “SAVE LINK AS..”

screenshot-calendar-google-com-2016-09-29-19-57-162017: As the amount of data included continues to increase, the file is too large to import as a single year/file, so this year for the first time, the file has been broken down into MONTHLY files. Please follow the instructions for all 12 months.

This is my annual release of an Electronic Ordo or Church Calendar, containing daily information and readings for Mass each day according to both an Anglican or Roman lectionaries.

It is designed to be imported into electronic calendars which support the iCalendar format. I use it in Google Calendar but it has been proven to work within iCal on the Mac and Microsoft Outlook.

Once in Google Calendar, it will synchronise with your Smartphone or Tablet and give you a quick way to check the Colour, the Divine Office or the readings for Holy Communion.

I compile this for myself, and as such it may contain errors or omissions, but if the data is wrong, you won’t be the only one making a mistake, I’ll be making it too! This is released FREE, all I ask is your prayers for my ministry and the ministry of the Roborough Team Ministry here in Plymouth: call it prayerware if you like!

How to Import to Google

FIRSTLY, unzip the file by double-clicking on it and extracting the files.

Remember where you unzipped them because you will need to browse to pick up each file.

At the bottom left hand side of your Google Calendar

Select “Add”
Select “Import Calendar”
Browse to where you downloaded the data files. Repeat for all 12 files.
Google Calendar

You will see the file upload and import

It takes a few moments to import, and seems to be doing nothing. Worry not. It will then appear in your calendar and synchronise in the usual way. Enjoy!

Increasing internal storage on LG G3 (D855) using the SD Card

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in geek, tech

It’s a great phone, and I have no regrets about choosing it over the Samsung or the Sony at the time (I played with all three side-by-side), but that was some time ago and now 16Gb of internal storage is frankly a little light.

Of course you can add an SD Card for additional storage and this is great for movies and music files, but ultimately you start running out of app space. One of the coolest features of Android M (aka 6.0 or Marshmellow) is the ability to merge your SD Card into the internal memory. The downside is the loss of a bit of performance and you lose the ability to treat the SD card as a removable drive (it gets formatted into an internal format thus making it unreadable outside the phone without reformatting) but I never do that anyway because it means taking the back off the phone.

However, LG have disabled this feature.

BUT you can re-enable it.

1. Upgrading LG G3 to Marshmellow (Android 6.0 M)

On the Official LG Website, search for your G3 and you will find:

screenshot-www.lg.com 2016-05-24 08-14-20

Select “Software” and you get…
screenshot-www.lg.com 2016-05-24 08-14-32

Alternatively, the quick link is: http://www.lg.com/uk/support/mobile-phones?superCategoryId=CT00008355&categoryId=CT00008356&search=D855

Install the drivers and then the Mobile Support Tool.

2016-05-24

Connect your phone and select “Start Upgrade” and the system will officially and automatically upgrade you to Android 6.0. For some, that’s good enough because you have the latest official version and haven’t had to wait for an OTA (over the air) upgrade.

2. Enabling SD Card Internal Storage

Now this bit can get a little technical and scary, but bear with me. You need to make an edit to the system configuration and to do this you temporarily need to root your phone. This means basically to take control over it. It’s going to be temporary but you will need to install some programs to help you do this.

2.1 KingRoot

On your phone, go to https://kingroot.net   (note the https is important, going to http will not get you there)

screenshot-kingroot.net 2016-05-24 08-31-28

Download the Android Version onto your phone. Don’t bother with the Windows version, it is in an odd character set and makes no sense. You will need to sideload this .apk file. In SETTINGS / SECURITY  enable the  UNKNOWN SOURCES option. Then select the KingRoot app from your downloads folder and install it.

Run the App and follow the instructions here https://kingroot.net/tutorials to root your device. It will not be rooted the next time you reboot, so all will be well.

2.2 Build Prop Editor

From the Play Store go to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jrummy.apps.build.prop.editor

screenshot-play.google.com 2016-05-24 08-37-48

Running this app enables you to search for the following entry:

ro.lge.adoptable_storage 

This is set to false by default on the LG marshmallow ROM. You can set this to true, save the file and then reboot the phone.

Now, when you go into storage settings. You can press on External SD card, this will bring up the file explorer for the card. Pressing the additional options at the top right and selecting settings will reveal the all powerful option to format the SD card as storage. Woo!

WARNING: This will remove everything on the SD card, remember to backup any files.

WARNING 2: Removing the SD card from now on without reformatting the data to the internal storage properly will result in the loss of stuff. You need to be committed to keeping this SD card in situ and doing a complete factory reset when you want to move on.

There! Sorted.

 

Online Baptism Application Form (with configuration) in WordPress

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in geek, mission, parish, sacraments, tech

Keeping my finger on the pulse of the nation, one thing I have noticed recently is the number of people who no longer own a printer… after all, why would you need to print anything out? Like a baptism application form, for example… What is the point of having the forms online if people can’t then send them to you?

The advantages of an electronic version are legion: no misreading of badly written forms, the ability to print them off and/or save them as pdfs so you have a record that can’t be lost, a copy in the mail archive (in Gmail, I never delete messages, except spam and adverts) and an easy solution for people to complete in their own homes.

So, the solution is an online form in itself…

screenshot-www.roborough.org.uk 2016-04-28 08-44-04

As our website is (like so many others) in WordPress, I have sought out a free, flexible plugin which does what I need. I am using Contact Form 7 which I found to be a doddle to configure.

Below are the two key scripts you need, one for the form itself and the other for the email you get sent:

Form:

<p>Your Name*<br />
 [text* your-name] </p>
<p>Your Email*<br />
 [email* your-email] </p>
<hr>
<p>Church*<br />
[checkbox* church exclusive "S. Mary the Virgin, Bickleigh" "S. Edward, Shaugh Prior" "S. Anne, Glenholt" "S. Cecilia, Woolwell"]</p>
<p>Preferred Date of Baptism*<br />
 [date* date-baptism]</p>
<p>Preferred Time of Baptism* (select from the following)<br />
[select* time-baptism include_blank "In the main service at Mass" "2pm" "4pm" "Other (enter in comments below)"]</p>
<hr>
<p>Child's Date of Birth*<br />
 [date* child-dob]</p>
<p>Child's Full Name*<br />
[text* child-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* child-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>Father's Name*<br />
[text* father-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* father-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>has Dad been<br />
[checkbox dad-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Father's Occupation*<br />
[text* father-occupation]</p>
<p>Mother's Name*<br />
[text* mother-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* mother-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>has Mum been<br />
[checkbox mum-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Mother's Occupation*<br />
[text* mother-occupation]</p>
<p>Your address*<br />
[textarea* address]</p>
<p>Phone number*<br />
[tel* phone]</p>
<hr>
<p>Godparent 1<br />
[text Godparent-1]</p>
<p>has Godparent 1 been<br />
[checkbox godparent1-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 2<br />
[text Godparent-2]</p>
<p>has Godparent 2 been<br />
[checkbox godparent2-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 3<br />
[text Godparent-3]</p>
<p>has Godparent 3 been<br />
[checkbox godparent3-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 4<br />
[text Godparent-4]</p>
<p>has Godparent 4 been<br />
[checkbox godparent4-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<hr>
<p>Comment / Notes<br />
[textarea comment]

<p>[recaptcha id:verify]</p>

<p>[submit "Submit Baptism Form"]</p>
The mail template:

From: [your-name] <[your-email]>
Subject: Roborough Team Ministry Baptism Application Form

Baptism Details:
Church: [church]
Date: [date-baptism]
Time: [time-baptism]

Child Name: [child-christian-name] [child-surname] 
Child DOB: [child-dob]

Father: [father-christian-name] [father-surname]
[dad-baptised-confirmed]
Occupation: [father-occupation]

Mother: [mother-christian-name] [mother-surname]
[mum-baptised-confirmed]
Occupation: [mother-occupation]

Contact Details: [address]
Phone: [phone]
eMail: [your-email]

Godparent 1: [Godparent-1] [godparent1-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-2] [godparent2-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-3] [godparent3-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-4] [godparent4-baptised-confirmed]

Additional Comments:

[comment]

--
This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Roborough Team Ministry (http://www.roborough.org.uk)

 

The email comes through like this:

screenshot-mail.google.com 2016-04-28 09-05-58

Obviously, you need to configure it for your own needs, but the design and layout is quite self-explanatory. Have fun!

Now to think about Marriage forms…