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HowTo: Create and Use Stomfi's Cool School Show Part 1

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Stomfi

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Posted: 23 Mar 2005

StomfiLearning to use Linux at Home and Work
Welcome to my ongoing series of HowTo articles designed to help Linux newbies get comfortable with Linux. Before trying any of these HowTos, take a few minutes to study the prerequisites so you can hit the ground running.

Cool School Show is a multimedia presentation, editing, and review system for students to include their own school work in any field of endeavour for viewing and rating by other students in friendly competition.

It uses simple shell scripts, a simple Runtime Revolution interface, and simple networking techniques, so that students can understand, learn and improve the system components under the GPL license. Improvement descriptions can be posted onto a show so that the other users can review the efforts in this field of endeavour.

It is hoped that this friendly competition will encourage students to excel in their school work, as well as learn the fundamentals of the powerful Linux system, its shell and its GUI counterpart, Runtime Revolution.

This is the primary interface:

Clicking a show choice and clicking start, gives you this screen:

This is the show window. The graphic in this show is an animated gif. The music bar turns on the music, if there is any, and the + and -- buttons, increase and decrease the sound volume. Clicking the back button, either goes to the previous page, or backs out to the start window. Clicking the next button either shows the next page or goes to the review page. Quit goes to the review page.

Here is the review page:

Clicking the radio buttons sets the rating level. Clicking done, saves the rating and returns to the start window.

The Add Show button also allows editing of an existing show. This allows students to improve upon the work of others. In this case, a reference to the original show name should be included in the header, or a modified by line included if the name hasn't been changed. The students will have to learn how to manage these aspects of fair play, adding to their life skills.

The edit buttons use existing Linux applications to edit the media. I have used the GIMP for pictures, gedit for text, and audacity for sounds.

The add buttons expect the student to have created the media before hand, and ask for a file name, which is then saved in the temporary show building directory structure, using special show file names.

Here is the screen for adding a picture:

And here is the screen for typing in and saving text:

The TEST button allows the student to see their show before saving it. All shows are saved to a library in zip format.

This is almost the same as the show window, except for the extra Save Show button.

The Next and Back buttons don't do anything if it is the last or first page. The Quit button returns to the Add Show window, so that further editing can take place or the additions or creations discarded.

On the first window the review button displays this screen:

All the reviews for each show name are totalled and displayed.

To limit the amount of network traffic, each student user has their own library from which they view shows, and their own ratings file from which the review window figures are generated.

Network operations are of the get and put variety, so that users download the shows they want to view, put them in their library where they are unzipped into the temporary directory for the showing. Or they upload their created shows into the network library for others to view and rate.

In similar fashion, the network ratings file is updated and downloaded.

These mechanisms have been purposely been kept simple and naïve so that students of the system can make them more sophisticated and share their cleverness.

This is the Network window:

The OpenSSH Authentication is asking for the user's password. The students can read the ssh man page to configure the network server to accept known users. To get this message to pop up a shell script has first checked that the network is available and the server is contactable.

Next Week: HowTo: Create and Use Stomfi's Cool School Show Part 2

Download Cool School Show.

Copyright Notice

Copyright Stomfi © 2005

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA.

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