Forward Migration: Apple technologies help Web sites

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(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs -- or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)

Sites that take advantage of Apple technology, such as Power Macs and QuickTime, are thriving, as witnessed by developments at Creative Forces and Orphmedia.

Creative Forces, an Internet-based motion picture production company that is a strong proponent of QuickTime, has just released its first cinematic offering, a computer-animated short called "Paper Clips." Paper Clips profiles the adventures of a little paper clip who soon discovers the importance of teamwork and sticking together in the real world.

"A phenomenal amount of work went into making this piece, and there's a lot of vindication for everyone involved," said Lee McCaulla, company president and the film's director. "We couldn't be happier with the end result."

A trailer has also been released to support the movie. And a behind-the-scenes documentary, detailing the company's efforts, is also available for download.

"Paper Clips" is available for download for US$3.99 from the Creative Forces Web site. The price includes 24 hours of access for repeated viewings. QuickTime 5.0.2 software is required, and a high-speed Internet connection is strongly recommended. The film takes advantage of the all-new Sorenson 3 codec, which significantly lowers movie file size, yet preserves the fidelity of the original image, McCaulla said. Creative Forces has also partnered with Akamai Technologies, the media delivery company that Apple and other companies use to speed delivery of content on their Web sites.

"We think people with fast connections will be pleased -- with both the quality of content from Creative Forces, and with the speed at which it downloads," said Akamai's Tony Tramontana. "We're very excited about this relationship."

Meanwhile, Orphmedia, a Mac-based multimedia production house located in New York, has launched a "Lord Of The Rings" news show called, "TOR.n Digital."

Orphmedia, a multimedia production company, was founded by Orphanos in April 2000. One of their first efforts was TFN Digital, a biweekly show that looks at the latest news regarding the Star Wars universe. It was launched using nothing but Power Macs and QuickTime.

The series was edited and composited entirely on the Mac platform using three desktop G4s and a G3 PowerBook. Graphics were created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Editing is done in Apple's Final Cut Pro, with compositing handled in Adobe After Effects.

"We've come a long way from the first TFN Digital episode and now we have once again redefined the look, feel and content that should be delivered on the Internet," Orphanos told MacCentral. "It also shows that Orphmedia can go into other Web sites and deliver the content that fans are looking for in an original refreshing way."

The streaming video on the Orphmedia site is currently available in Quick Time, Real Video and Microsoft Windows Media Player format and is available in different sizes. If you want to take a look at what they do and how they go about it, check out their online video.

Finally, Award-winning Web site KiaOrana.com, developed by Verge On Screen Presentations, is entirely built with Apple and Adobe technology. The site recently won a Site Excellence Award, one of the Aloha Awards bestowed by Hawaii City.

"I am using Adobe GoLive 5.0 and Photoshop 6.0.1," Benjamin DeClue, owner/creator/Webmaster of Kiaorana.com and force behind Verge On told MacCentral. "I currently use an iMac Special edition 400MHz system with 128MB of RAM and Mac OS 9.2. "I am a long time professional user of Photoshop and multimedia tools and a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals."

KiaOrana.com is devoted to the Cook Islands. DeClue said he created the site due to his "insatiable curiosity."

"I moved to Central Florida from Boston in mid August of 1999 after being out of work (Web and graphic contract work can be that way) for several months," he said. "I almost immediately got contractually employed to develop commercial Web sites working for the Winter Haven News' chief newspaper. At this time, I was also active in some chat rooms that use 2D avatars and have sound and animation -- and The Palace software. There I met a woman who is a factual island princess from the Cook Islands and who now lives in Australia. She and I had (and still have) many talks about the Cook Islands and she showed me pictures of them, as well as teaching me a few Maori words. Of course, one of the phrases I learned early on was 'Kia Orana' [which means hello]."

As DeClue began building Web sites for customers, he discovered that no one owned the rights to the "KiaOrana.com" domain. No one did so he bought it and went online in September 1999. Shortly after he got Kiaorana.com going, he was told about a newspaper, "The Cook Island Star," that didn't have a Web site about the Cook Islands. DeClue contacted the publisher and suggested to him that he gave DeClue his content and let him publish it at KiaOrana.com. The publisher agreed. For nearly nine months, this was used for content at KiaOrana.com. Then the newspaper folded, and DeClue kept the site growing and evolving.

"I first built part of KiaOrana.com with Clarisworks 3," he said. "Then I moved over to Adobe GoLive 4 and upgraded to version 5. I am a long time user (and beta tester) of Adobe Photoshop and having used it since inception. I moved from versions 2.5 to 3.05 to 4 to 5.5 and now use version 6.01 on my iMac for developing and creating all original artwork, and banners, graphics and for optimizing the scans (from my Epson scanner) or from digital camera photo images. (I taught and used ATT owned Truevision prior to that)."

DeClue uses Image Ready exclusively for image optimizing and graphic intensive HTML creation, such as the splash page. Sometimes he uses Adobe Streamline for line art or conversions such as for the KiaOrana.com K outline graphic (with the five-second blinking green palm fronds) on some of his pages.

"Over the years I have been involved continuously with the Apple product line," DeClue said. "During the time I was with Adams Russell and ARVIS I was directly involved or responsible for the purchase of literally hundreds of Apple computers. While contracting at Digital Equipment Corporation, I developed an extensive intranet based image library for corporate and Marcom use and was involved with the development of the DEC StorageWorks Web site and the graphics used therein. To do this, Digital empowered me to procure a high end Mac PPC system with a calibrated hooded Radius monitor for image colorimetry, complete with scanner, Apple QuickTake camera, and SCSI 80 MB storage devices."

And he's been a Mac fan since. He's done Web site and multimedia work for large corporate Boston area intranet sites such as at Fidelity and AT&T, Digital Equipment Corporation, Liberty Mutual, and Safety Insurance.

Requests for help

Now it's time for our weekly requests for help from folks who need your advice and/or assistance in forward migrating -- or at least being able to keep the Mac platform alive and thriving in their businesses. Contact the requesters directly at their e-mail addresses.

Eric J. Behrenfeld ( eric@slugdrums.com ): "I am desperate and need help with my MacAuthorize software. My batch number won't match my merchant's batch number when I process orders. I have been trying for five days to find help. Cybercash won't help, I have called my merchant, I have called the people who sold me the software, and I have searched the internet for information without success. My specific question is, "How do you change a batch's number when it reads '???' and won't settle with the host because of the non-matching batch number?"

This story, "Forward Migration: Apple technologies help Web sites" was originally published by PCWorld.

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