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Re: [ARSCLIST] Feedback: Multimedia Stations
At 02:38 PM 6/29/2005 -0400, andy kolovos wrote:
First, I apologize for cross-posting.
We're working on developing a multimedia station that will include audio
excerpts and image slide shows for those who visit the The Vermont
Folklife Center and wish to get their feet wet in a kiddie pool version
of our holdings, but don't want to dive head long in to the deep end of
Our plan right now involves making selections of audio and images in
thematic bundles (e.g. ethnicity, occupation, biographical, etc.) and
making the digital files available to users via an HTML interface that
is served off of either DVD/CD or HDD. The hardware would involve a
computer, monitor and a manual interface of some sort (right now I'm
thinking about a track ball) and either speakers or a headphone amp and
I am curious to know what approaches others have employed to do such
things. To me a PC, digital files and HTML make a lot of sense for this
application (especially since the content provided on the multimedia
station can be easily derived from or spun out to our website), but then
again, I don't always make a lot of sense to other people.
Specific questions outside of the general approach are--what have/would
others used/use as the manual interface? I want to avoid a keyboard for
several reasons--1) for security, I'd rather not give people the ability
to muck about too much in the PC and 2) we want it to seem as
"non-computerish" as possible.
In the case of speakers, does anyone have a recommendation for decent,
low-cost powered monitors? For headphones, are there any headphone amps
one would suggest for this application?
Hardware-wise I'm leaning toward the Mac Mini, based on cost and size.
However, are the audio outs any good? Do others have any recommendations?
I've been publishing such CD-ROMs for several years; please see the page on
"A 650-MB WWW site" in the primer on the CD-R side of my site. I have
verified that they work fine as DVD-ROMs as well, though so far I've not
distributed DVD versions. I'll be glad to provide what advice I can
off-list if we are wandering from the list's topics.
First, I suggest you look into the kiosk approach with its integrated touch
screen rather than the PC. It is designed for just such an application and
the high traffic you hope to experience. Second, I'd recommend speakers at
a fixed, moderate volume with headphones as an option. You have an issue of
sanitation to deal with on headphones that you probably want to research
before committing. Third, recognize that you may want to publish a CD-ROM
summary of your effort both to generate income and to stimulate return visits.
If you do go for the PC rather than the kiosk, I cannot offer a
recommendation but do suggest that audio quality on any platform will be
sufficient for the environment and application. If you were considering a
carrel for research, fidelity would be important, but here your focus
should be on sufficiency, durability and economy, not on accuracy per se.
If you or any other subscriber would like to see what such a disc may look
like, send me a note off-list with a postal address and a suggestion of the
field of interest (your address may be enough) and I'll try to drop
something into the mail. With a few exceptions, all are oriented to opera,
but one of those exceptions may be a better fit. And before someone asks: I
have no financial interest in the distribution of the discs which are in print.