System Set-Up

Introduction

Archaeology for Amateurs: The Mysteries of Crete uses modern technology to bring ancient mysteries to life. Here we check that your computer is suitable to cope with the course, and that you have the appropriate software and best possible set of plug-ins to view the material.

Hardware issues

The Alliance Web site provides a minimum hardware specification to enable you to access the course materials. Please refer to the hardware specification, which is available from the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Alliance Web site.

Alliance Frequently Asked Questions

Software issues

Having checked the hardware side of things, let's now move on to look at the software. You may find it helpful to print this section out, using the following link. (This file is also available from the Resources section in Session 3.)

Software issues pdf

Your World Wide Web Browser

In order to read this file you will be using a Web browser. Your current Web browser will have information about itself, which you should be able to locate either when it opens or by clicking on the Help > About option in the menu bar at the top of the browser window.

The two most common Web browsers are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. We recommend Internet Explorer version 5 or later in order to be sure that all parts of our course work as they should. The minimum version of Netscape Navigator is version 4.

If you are using a very old version of either Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer you can download a newer version of the Web browser software, without charge, by following the instructions on either the Netscape or Microsoft Web sites.

Netscape Navigator
Microsoft Internet Explorer

Browser Plug-ins

Plug-ins are software programs that extend the capabilities of your Web browser so that you can view different types of media in your browser window. Listed below are the plug-ins you will need in order to handle the various types of resources used in this course. They are all "freeware" programs, which means you can download them from the Internet without charge.

1. Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to view and print documents produced in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader version 4 or later to access the PDF documents used in this course. Follow the instructions below to check if you already have the plug-in installed on your computer:

  1. Click on the link: Study skills advice pdf
  2. Observe what happens.

What happened?

  • You saw the information with no problems. Fine! You already have Acrobat Reader installed and don't need to do anything.
  • You saw some sort of complaint about the version of Acrobat Reader you have. That means you need to update to a more recent version. You can download the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site.
  • You saw a complaint about not being able to handle documents of this type. You'll need to download Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site.
Adobe Acrobat Reader

2. Macromedia Flash

To view the animations within the course, you will need Flash 6 from Macromedia. To check whether you have this plug-in, click on the link below:

Flash test

After clicking on the link to the Flash test, what happened?

  • You clicked on the 'play' button and then saw an audiographic with animation and sound. Good. You can handle our audiographics and animations and don't need to do anything else.
  • The Flash animation played, but it failed to play the sound. This means you probably have an earlier version of Flash. You'll need to download the latest version from Macromedia.
  • You saw a blank window, or your browser asked you if you wanted to download the plug-in. Download the plug-in from Macromedia.
Macromedia Web site

Once you have installed the plug-in, return to this page and try using the Flash test again. If you can see animation and can hear sound, you'll be ready to view audiographic presentations.

3. Real Player

This course makes use of video files, and you will need to have the latest version of Real Player installed on your computer so that you can access these files. To test if you have the correct version of Real Player, click on the following link:

Real Player test

If you saw a small pop-up window and were able to hear a tone, then you have already got Real Player on your computer.

If you received any error message, then you will need to download the latest version of Real Player from the Real Player Web site.

Real Player Web site

Please note that 'RealOne Player' is the free version of the software and will do everything required to play the video on this course. So avoid the links to download and purchase 'RealOne Player Plus' or 'RealOne SuperPass', unless you think you really need the extra features.

Once you have installed the plug-in, return to this page and try using the Real Player test again. If you see animation and hear sound, you'll be ready to view the video files. Please note, however, that if after clicking on a video clip link within the course, the Web page goes blank, click your browser's 'back' button to return to the page.

Printing and downloading files

For your own study purposes, it will be useful to have a printer so that you can print out sections of the course and pursue them at your leisure rather than reading everything online. One of the first things to check is whether you can print out the resources you need.

Printing from the Web Browser

If the page you want to print is in a normal Web browser window with a full set of buttons and controls at the top, you can print out the page either by selecting File > Print from the browser menu or by clicking on the print button if it is displayed.


Print button

Alternatively, you can either right-click with the mouse over the window you want to print and then select Print from the pop-up menu that appears.

The second method is to click once with the mouse in the text you want to print and use the CTRL-P key sequence to bring up the print dialogue menu. (Mac users should hold down the command key instead of the CTRL key.)

We suggest that you employ the ‘Print selected frame’ option to avoid printing the Prometheus navigation, as highlighted with a red border in the screenshot below. (It may also be under Options tab on your dialogue menu.)


Print selected frame option

Important information

Username and passwords

As you are reading this, it seems likely that you have received your username and password. Do try to remember your password. If you need to write it down, keep it somewhere safe. Please make sure that you don't give your password to anybody else. If you think that somebody has got hold of your password, contact the Alliance Helpdesk immediately so that they can issue you with a new one.

If you forget your password, contact the Alliance Helpdesk to get a new one. The contact details of the helpdesk are listed in the next lesson.

Backing up your files

We recommend that you make a separate back-up directory for any work you might do for the course and keep copies of everything you do. If you have more than one hard disk in your machine, ensure that the original and the back-up directories are on separate drives. We further recommend that you keep copies of everything you do on floppy disk, zip drive or CD R/W.

File downloads

Did you need to download Adobe Acrobat, Real Player or Macromedia Flash? If so, were there any problems? If there weren't, your machine and Internet connection are obviously functioning well for downloading.

If you did have problems downloading any of the plug-in programs, you should already have emailed the Alliance Helpdesk about the problem. If you haven't, do so now and follow their advice. The email address of the Alliance Helpdesk is:

help@allianceforlifelonglearning.org