Some of you may have heard that I have been using Adobe Flash for creating court exhibits. I started using Flash a couple of years ago after taking a course at a local community college. I use Flash as an alternative to PowerPoint, but it clearly has features that reach beyond the best features of PowerPoint. If I have simple graphics, text, or audio clips, most likely I’ll stick with PowerPoint. It’s easier by far. But if I have video, I will never again use PowerPoint.

PowerPoint may work for CSI clips, but the biggest problem with PowerPoint and video is that 1) the video must be linked. 2) When the video is playing, all resources are dedicated to the playing of that video. I cannot annotate over the video or control the stopping or starting. But as I said, PowerPoint is great for simple linear exhibits.

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The Media-Geek.com Wiki is officially launched! Oh Wiki you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind hey Wiki! Hey Wiki! Yep, I've officially lost my mind, but at least you didn't have to hear me actually sing that.

The Media-Geek Wiki is now available for our registered members, adding yet another way for members to share information, documentation, files, etc... One might think that a forensic community content management solution/system (CMS) with a multitude of additional content submission, categorization, and search abilities would be enough...but then, one would be wrong wouldn't they?

Using a Wiki was one of the original concepts for this site discussed over three years ago while I was attending LEVA's Advanced Forensic Video Analysis & The Law course. Since then there have been various tests and even a BETA launch in the summer of last year that was based on Microsoft's CMS product SharePoint. What it boiled down to was CMS or Wiki, knowing that both have advantages and disadvantages regardless of what product(s) or platforms you use. Then it hit me - why not both?

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From teaching classes over the years I frequently hear that many agencies are using Photoshop 6 and 7, Paint, Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Picture It and other applications due to the lack of funds to purchase upgrades. There is nothing wrong using some of the older versions but there are several functions that the older versions do not support, like high bit depth processing, limited color space/model options and the lack of more sophisticated image processing algorithms (de-convolution, pattern removal using FFT).  I also understand that many agencies who would love to have PS CS3 Extended with all of the great plugins that have been developed will never get the funds to make these purchases.

One solution to the funding issue is Image J (http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/index.html) Image J is a free, open source application provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  I not only have used this application for case work but to learn more about digital image processing algorithms. Image J is a very robust image processing and analysis tool set that has been referred to on the FVA list serve and recently in the book written by George Reis. This write-up is not a tutorial about Image J, it is meant to provide information about the application that may assist some readers.

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The browser war rages on and new versions are being released at a break-neck pace. Unfortunately, for Web developers at least, each new version seems to introduce multiple changes that not only affect how pages are displayed, but how and if various features in a site will even function. It's madness I tell 'ya.

Anyway, since I started using Safari as my primary browser I've been looking for another WYSIWYG editor for our members, because in Safari with TinyMCE set as your editor members couldn't use the Submit or Cancel buttons when attempting to submit articles, news, or events. Long story short I've found one, I'm using it right now, and I'm diggin' it so far.

 

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For the last few weeks I have been absolutely innundated and just haven't been able to spend as much time as I'd like to further developing Media-Geek.com features and services.  The great thing about this community concept, however, is that its success does not rely on any one individual...and many others have stepped up to the plate.  At some point today I suspect we will exceed 200 active professional forensic media related members!

Recently one of our members pointed out that the Member Forum RSS Feed wasn't working, so just in case you experienced this issue I wanted to let you know it was resolved moments ago.  RSS aggregators provide a great way to stay abreast of our site content, with seperate feeds available for various content areas throughout the site. 

Thanks everybody for keeping things moving forward lately, and don't forget to tell your peers and colleagues to Sign-up, Sign-in, and Contribute!

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