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Technology: Software

By THE HIDE-AWAY CANOE CLUB

We essentially stick with what we know when it comes to the software involved for the Labrador Odyssey computers, with a couple of exceptions. Our main piece of software is Adobe's world leading imaging software Photoshop 6.01. The recent upgrade to this program is superb making it even more powerful. All photos are done in Photoshop and readied for the Web. To keep track of the pictures we use a neat cataloguing program called iView MediaPro which keeps track of a wide variety of pictures, movies, sound files and animation. Our stories are all written on Microsoft Word:Mac 2001, a special version, that we Mac users think Microsoft finally got right.

Our Director of Research (and Webmaster) Sean Peake is proficient in another Adobe program call Illustrator. This pro-level tool created the beautiful maps that grace this site. It is really a program for artists and designers, allowing them incredible latitude and prowess on their designs.

Our newest piece of software is a very specialized one. Apple's Quicktime VR Authoring Studio is a bag of photographic tricks designed to produce full panorama movies of scenes and objects. Using a special tripod head by Kaidan (the Kaidan+) a circular series of photographs is taken of a scene with the camera aligned vertically to get maximum height. The panorama tripod makes sure the camera is completely level and perfectly proportional so when the 14 or so photos are stitched together by the QTVR software they will blend seamlessly into one very convincing panorama view. All we have to do is make sure the photos meet the specification of the software and the program does the rest. It rapidly grabs and stitches the pictures together, then spits out a QuickTime VR movie. This technology is much more than a trick. It offers you, the viewer, a much more comprehensive feel for the terrain we are passing through with a greater sense of breadth. And it's really cool, too!

To transfer files through our satellite phone we use a popular FTP program called Fetch. This is a very simple and useful program for transferring files. We send everything to the CANOE FTP server in Toronto.

One of our favourite programs is one we probably won't use too much on the road but it was a big part of our preparations. Adobe Acrobat is a unique piece of software enabling all types of files to be shared by all kinds of computers. Its portable Document Format (PDF) allows complex graphics with lots of fonts and photos to be melded into one simple file that any computer can read, edit and print. It is truly amazing and what computing should be all about. Can we all just get along?

One of it's most interesting features is the Web Capture ability, which lets you download an entire Web site -- links and all -- onto one (and potentially HUGE) offline document that can be browsed at will. Acrobat is an incredibly innovative program that will be the world standard for decades.

Email the paddlers with your questions and comments