COMPUTER NEWS (January/February, 1994, No. 54)


General Enquiries                   8592495
Computer Operation                  8592496
(Hardware and operational problems)
'Help Desk'                         8592480
(Software and general problems)
Fax                                 5597904
Hardware Maintenance                8592774         
Dial-up Services
24-hr service line :                8592595
Night service line :                8597992/
(30-minute session)                 8597997

Operation Schedule for March to April, 1994

Computer Centre Opening Hours

Normal Schedule

From September 13, 1993 to June 13, 1994
From Monday (8:00 a.m.) to Saturday (9:00 p.m.)
Sunday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.
Closed on Holidays

IBM 9076 SP1 (HKUSP1)

VAX 6420 (HKUCC)           

IBM9375 (HKUVMI)

IBM4361 (HKUVM)

DECsystem 5500s (hkuxa/hkuxb)                                  

SUN SPARCserver 670MP (hkusub)                                           
                                                  
Service hours

24 hours Daily.
Running unattended on all Sundays and Holidays
Maintenance Schedule

VAX 6420 (HKUCC)        
March 2, 1994 (Wednesday)                        

VAX 6510 (HKULBR)
April 6, 1994

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Terminal Room Opening Hours

Microcomputer Laboratories
Rm 218, Knowles Building
Rm LG-108, KK Leung Bldg.

SunOS & Ultrix Workstation Room
Rm 113, Run Run Shaw Bldg.
Rm 210, Run Run Shaw Bldg.

Normal Schedule

Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.                                    
Saturday:         8:30 a.m. -  3:30 p.m.                                    

Closed on Sundays & Holidays                                                
Microcomputer Laboratories

Rm 101, 103, 104, Run Run Shaw Building

Normal Schedule

Monday (8:30 a.m.) - Saturday (8:30 p.m.)
Sunday from 12:30 noon to 6:30 p.m.    
Closed on Holidays                
Holiday Schedule for December 1993 to February 1994

Foundation Day (March 16, 1994)

Computer Centre will be closed on Wednesday, March 16, 1994 at 8:00 a.m. and will re-opened on Thurday, March 17, 1994 at 8:00 a.m.

Easter Holiday (April 1-4, 1994) and Ching Ming Festival (April 5, 1994)

Computer Centre will be closed on Friday, April 1, 1994 at 8:00 a.m. and will be opened from 12:00 noon - 7:00 p.m. daily during the holiday period.

Normal service will resume on Wednesday, April 6, 1994 at 8:00 a.m.

Notes:

  1. The IBM 9076 SP1, VAX 6420, IBM 9375, DECsystem 5500s and SUN SPARCser 670MP will be running unattended on all holidays
  2. All terminal rooms are closed 30 minutes before Computer Centre is closed for a holiday.
  3. All Computer systems & terminal rooms will resume normal service 30 minutes after Computer Centre is opened after a holiday.
Help Desk Consultation Hours

Rm 109, Run Run Shaw Building (8592480)

Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
                 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday:        9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Closed on Sundays & Holidays

General News


Sun SPARCcenter 2000 system available

We are happy to announce that a SUN SPARCcenter 2000 system with 5 processors is now ready for service after some delay. This newly available system has been assigned the nodename HKUSUA. The SPARCcenter 2000 is a symmetrical multi-processor system running the Solaris operating system, the new version of SunOS. Our 5-processor system has an aggregated performance of 86 MFLOPS (LINPACK100) (i.e. 17.2 MFLOPS per processors). This system is configured with 128 MB of memory and 6 GB of disk storage. The language compilers FORTRAN, Pascal, C and C++ are now available.

This system is primarily intended for teaching and research. Network services, such as finger, talk, Usenet, Hytelnet, etc. are not supported. The HKUSUA and HKUSUB system now share the same user authorization file. This means that anyone who has an account on HKUSUB can have access to HKUSUA also with the same username and password.

If more information about the HKUSUA system is required, please contact the undersigned.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk

Alpha OpenVMS System Ready for Trail Service

Computer Centre has recently set up two DEC Alpha systems: a DEC 3000 model 400S AXP server running OpenVMS and a DEC 3000 model 400 AXP workstation running OSF/1. The DEC Alpha processor is a high-performance 64-bit RISC architecture processor which is the latest development of Digital. OpenVMS is an extension of the DEC VMS operating system with Open Standard extensions while OSF/1 can be considered as another variant of Unix.

We have set up the DEC 3000 model 400S AXP server running OpenVMS for trial service. The performance rating of this system is 70.8 DP MFLOPS (LINPACK1000) which is 20 times faster than the VAX6420 system (3.0 DP MFLOPS). The system is configured with 64 MB of memory and 3 GB of disk storage. As an initial release, the language compilers Fortran 77 and C together with the VEST software are installed. The VEST is a utility program which will translate most VAX/VMS executable programs (irrespective of the programming languages used) into OpenVMS AXP codes and run them without modification (note: for more information about the VEST utility, type "HELP VEST" at the OpenVMS AXP prompt after login). A program translated by VEST will run slower than a re-compiled program. Most programs written in Fortran and C can be re-compiled on the OpenVMS AXP system with little modification. Whenever possible, users are recommended to re-compile their source program on the AXP system for better performance. The command set and syntax of the OpenVMS AXP DCL (Digital Command Language) are the same as those on the VAX 6420.

DECNET is the only communication software now installed on this system and hence access to this can only be made via HKUCC with the "set host" command or via HKUXA or HKUXB by using the "dlogin" command. The nodename for this system is HKUCC1. In the mean time, we are working on enhancement of the system capabilities by setting up the TCP/IP and other network services.

Interested users can apply for accounts on this new Alpha OpenVMS system by completing the application forms, CF-101a.1 for staff and CF-101b.1 for students which are obtainable from Centre's General Office.

The OSF/1 system is still being tested by our staff. Details of this system will be announced later. For further information about two systems, please contact the undersigned.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk

Laser Printing from VAX and UNIX Systems

We are pleased to announce that laser-printing service is now available on the VAX 6420/VMS (HKUCC) and all UNIX (HKUSUB, HKUXA and HKUXB) systems. Like users of the Network-PC facilities, VAX and UNIX users can submit Postscript files from the VAX or UNIX systems for printing on the HP LaserJet 4M printer of Laser Printing Counter located at the entrance of Room RR-104.

For users of the mentioned UNIX systems, they can invoke the printing function by simple menu selection from the "Printing" menu of the HKUMENU. If the use of command is preferred, the following full path names for the different systems have to be specified :

HKUSUA or HKUSUB :

      hkusub> /usr/local/bin/hpprint

HKUXA and HKUXB :

      hkuxa> /usr/local/bin/hpprint
Once the laser printing function is invoked, the computer will first check the time to see if the Laser Printing Counter is opened for service, and then ask the user to specify the name of the file to be printed. After the file is accepted for printing, a message which contains the user's login ID, print job number and the print-job submission time will be displayed on the user's terminal screen. The file is then queued up for printing and the printout can be collected at the Laser Printing Counter. For user identification, a banner page containing the "Print-Job no.", "Print-Job Submission Time" and "Staff/Student Number" will be generated for each print-job submitted.

For users of the VAX 6420/VMS (HKUCC) system, they can also invoke the printing function from HKUMENU in a similar fashion described above or by entering @HKU:HPPRINT command at the command prompt $, as follows:

$HKU:HPPRINT

The user procedures required after the printing function is invoked are similar to those described above for UNIX systems.

The Opening Hours of the Laser Printing Counter are:

    Mon - Fri  : 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
    Sat        : 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
At present, a limit of 350K bytes on the maximum file-size is imposed with the service. To obtain the laser printing output from the Laser Printing Counter, the user has to present a Laser Printout Coupon to the staff in-charge for cancellation of the equivalent number of printout pages to be collected. Laser Printout Coupons can be purchased from the counter or from the General Office of Computer Centre , Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building.

 
Ronald H. Y. Leung 
Tel: 8597975 
E-mail: hyleung@hkucc.hku.hk 

New User Guides Available

We are pleased to announced that the new editions (1994) of the Network Services Guide for VMS User and the UNIX User Guide are now available.

The Network Services Guide for VMS User is a companion version of the Network Services Guide for UNIX User which has been available since late December 1993. In comparison with the old Network Services Guide which was a combined version for both UNIX and VMS users, the new Network Services Guides have better presentation flow, and users should find them easier to read.

For the new UNIX User Guide, amongst other revisions, a new appendix on mail has been included to make the Guide a self-contained one.

The Network Services Guide for VMS User and the UNIX User Guide can be obtained at the costs of $8 and $10 respectively from the General Office of Computer Centre , Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk

SP1 News


More software available on HKUSP1

In the last issue of Computer News (Nov/Dec 1993), we have announced the release of the IBM 9076 SP1 system for general use. A series of introductory seminars on the software facilities, particularly the parallel operating and programming environment, of this system has been conducted. Since then, more applications and additional services have been added to the system to further enhance its capabilities and usefulness.

The 8-processors IBM 9076 SP1 system is now partitioned into two functional groups. Two processors are supporting interactive sessions while the remaining six processors are assigned for batch jobs which have to be submitted through the LoadLeveler software. When you want to login the IBM 9076 SP1 system, the hostname HKUSP1 should be used. When you want to execute any parallel batch job, your should invoke the LoadLeveler by using the "llsubmit" command. For the benefits of other users, any processes that are initiated without following the above mentioned arrangements will be deleted without advance notice.

More application software are now provided on the IBM 9076 SP1 system. In addition to SPSS which has been mentioned in the last issue of Computer News, other data analysis software now available include SAS (BASE, STAT, IML, FSP, AF, GRAPH) and S-PLUS. The IMSL Libraries which include mathematical, statistical and graphical subroutines/functions is also available. To facilitate parallel program development, the Forge Magic/DM and xHPF software are also acquired. Please refer to the following articles for more information on each of these software.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk

Forge Magic/DM and xHPF software Coming Soon

Converting a serial program into a parallel program is not an easy task and is, in fact, often far more difficult than re-writing the program from the very beginning. Furthermore, many serial programs that are being used by our researchers are products of the development effort of many man-years. It is therefore understandable that quite a few of our users may find it difficult to enjoy the immediate benefits of parallel computing offered by the IBM 9076 SP1 system.

To facilitate our users in converting their serial programs into the parallel versions as well as in developing new parallel programs on the IBM 9076 SP1 system, Computer Centre has ordered the Forge Magic/DM and xHPF software from Applied Parallel Research Inc.

The Forge Magic/DM software is a Fortran parallelizer which can automatically decompose arrays and re-structure program loops for serial FORTRAN programs developed using the traditional serial computing methods. The Forge xHPF software is a pre-compiler which allows our user to develop new parallel programs based on the Fortran 90 syntax.

At the time of writing this article, we have just received the distribution material of the software. We expect these useful program development tools will be available to our users very soon.

C.M. Mak
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk

Mathematica for HKUSP1 users

Mathematica is now available on Centre's IBM RS/6000 360 (HKURSA) workstation, which is now installed in Room RR-108. The software installed has a 2-user licence limit. The HKURSA workstation and its software, including Mathematica, are intended to provide users of the IBM 9076 SP1 (HKUSP1) system the facilities for visualisation of the huge volume of output data that could be generated from the HKUSP1 computer.

Mathematica is a software package for numerical, symbolic and graphical calculations. Its capabilities include matrix manipulation, arbitrary precision arithmetic, solving problems directly in algebraic forms (e.g. integration, differential and power series etc.), generation of two- and three-dimensional graphics, contours plots and density plots. Mathematica is an interactive system which executes each statement as it is entered. It is also a high-level programming language which allows users to build programs in symbolic expressions using the Mathematica built-in functions.

A user document "Use of Mathematica on the HKURSA workstation", UD 198, has been prepared and is obtainable from the General Office of the Centre, Room RR-223. Should you have further queries on the use of the Mathematica software, please contact our Help Desk at Room RR-109.

C.M. Mak 
Tel: 8592491
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk 

SAS Version 6.07 Available on HKUSP1

We are pleased to announce that SAS Version 6.07 has been installed on the IBM 9076 SP1 (HKUSP1) system. The SAS modules that are available on HKUSP1 include:

     SAS/BASE 
     SAS/AF 
     SAS/FSP 
     SAS/GRAPH 
     SAS/IML 
     SAS/STAT
Please refer to the article 'SAS 6.07', given in the Computer News (July/August 1992) issued for a brief description on how to execute SAS on UNIX platform.

SAS/GRAPH can be used to generate high resolution graphics on X-terminals, please refer to the article 'Displaying High Resolution Graphics on IBM RS6000/M20 Workstation' of this issue for an illustration.

Should any problems in using SAS on the systems be encountered, please report them to the undersigned.

S.L. Lee 
Tel.: 8598936 
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk

SPSS Available on HKUSP1

SPSS Release 4.0 is now available on the HKUSP1 system. The installed SPSS software modules include the base system, SPSS Tables, SPSS Categories and SPSS Graphics. It is worth noting that the base system of SPSS Release 4.0 is also available on VAX 6420 (HKUCC) while the other modules mentioned are only provided on HKUSP1 at the moment. The features of the SPSS modules available on HKUSP1 are highlighted in the following:

- The SPSS base system for UNIX contains all the commands and utilities for data management as well as those for statistical analysis.

- SPSS Tables provides the features of producing quality presentation tables.

- SPSS Categories provides the program procedures for conjoint analysis and optimal scaling which includes correspondence analysis.

- SPSS Graphics provides the features for generating high quality charts, maps and text graphics on a wide variety of graphics terminals and plotters.

The commands for running SPSS for UNIX are somewhat different from those required in the VAX/VMS environment, and are summarised below:

SPSS Execution Mode        Command 

1.   SPSS Manager          spss -m

2.   Prompted session      spss -m

3.   Command file          (Assuming the SPSS program is spss_file.sps)

  a)  Interactively     spss -m  spss_file.sps
  b)  Output to         spss -m < spss_file.sps > out.lst                
      listing file      (Output will be directed to the listing file out.lst) 
  c)  Background        spss -m < spss_file.sps > out.lst&            
  d)  Nohup             nohup spss -m   out.lst&                  
      (The session will not terminate when you logout) 
To run SPSS Graphics, users have to enter the "spssg" command at the system prompt. For best performance, users have to run SPSS Graphics in the X-Window environment, for example, by using the IBM RS6000/M20 workstation. Please refer to the article 'Displaying High Resolution Graphics on IBM RS6000/M20 Workstation' which also appears in this issue of Computer News for more information.

The following commonly used SPSS manuals are kept in the trolleys in Room 103, Run Run Shaw Building for users' reference.

1. SPSS Reference 
2. SPSS Base System User's Guide 
3. SPSS Advanced Statistics User's Guide
The following manuals can be borrowed from Centre's General Office, Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building.

1. SPSS Categories 
2. SPSS Graphics for RS/6000 
3. SPSS Graphics 
4. SPSS Tables
Should any problems in using SPSS on HKUSP1 be encountered, please report them to the undersigned.

S.L. Lee 
Tel.: 8598936 
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk

IMSL Available on IBM 9076 SP1

The IMSL FORTRAN Numerical Libraries, which consists of a rich collection of mathematical and statistical subroutines for FORTRAN program development, has been installed on the IBM 9076 SP1 (HKUSP1) system. The IMSL Libraries on the HKUSP1 is of the same version that is provided on our VAX 6420/VMS (HKUCC) system which includes the following two products :-

   - IMSL MATH/LIBRARY Version 2.0
   - IMSL STAT/LIBRARY Version 2.0
In addition to the above products, the IMSL Exponent Graphics is also installed on HKUSP1. IMSL Exponent Graphics is a library of FORTRAN subroutines for providing powerful and versatile graphics functions. The steps for compiling, linking, and executing a FORTRAN program which makes use of the IMSL Libraries and Exponent Graphics are summarized below :

1) To compile and link a program called main.f which calls the library subroutines in MATH/LIBRARY and STAT/LIBRARY

     xlf  -o  main  main.f  $IMSL
2) To execute the compiled and linked program,

    ./main
If you have developed a program which makes use of the Exponent Graphics subroutines, you have to run the program in X-Window environment, e.g. run it on an IBM RS6000/M20 workstation (please refer to the article 'Displaying High Resolution Graphics on IBM RS6000/M20 Workstation' which appears also in this issue of Computer News for more detailed information).

The following IMSL manuals can be borrowed from Centre's General Office, Room 223, Run Run Shaw Building.

      1. IMSL MATH/LIBRARY
      2. IMSL STAT/LIBRARY
      3. IMSL Exponent Graphics
If you encounter any problems in using the IMSL libraries on HKUSP1, please report them to the undersigned.

S.L. Lee 
Tel.: 8598936 
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk

S-PLUS Available on HKUSP1

S-PLUS Version 3.1 Release 1 is a powerful statistical package with great graphical abilities. In comparison to SAS and SPSS which are strong in classical linear models, such as ANOVA, regression analysis and factor analysis, S-PLUS has its strength in robust techniques, such as bounded influence regression and scatterplot smoothing. The S-PLUS together with SAS and SPSS packages on HKUSP1 should form a set of well matched software tools for supporting our users' research projects based on statistical methods.

The most commonly used commands for S-PLUS are :

   1) Splus     - starting S-PLUS 
   2) q ( )     - quitting from S-PLUS 
   3) help ( )  - getting online help information 
   4) demo ( )  - running the demonstration program 
   5) motif ( ) - starting up the motif user interface
Since one of the strong points of S-PLUS is its graphical features running in the X-Window environment, please refer to the article 'Displaying High Resolution Graphics on IBM RS6000/M20 Workstation' of this issue of Computer News for the related information.

Should any problems in using the S-PLUS software be encountered, please report them to the undersigned.

S.L. Lee 
Tel.: 8598936 
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk

Displaying High Resolution Graphics on IBM RS6000/M20 Workstation

The Centre has set up five IBM RS6000/M20 workstations (hkurs1 to hkurs5) in Room RR-108 for users who require high resolution graphics for their research projects, particularly for those run on the HKUSP1 system. The procedures of using these workstations for displaying graphics output, specifically generated from the HKUSP1 system, are summarised below:

1) Login an IBM RS6000/M20 workstation (assume its nodename is hkurs1). 

2) To initialize the X Window System, type 

      xinit 

3) To control which machine can access the Enhanced X-Windows, type (for the 
   case of hkusp1): 

     xhost +hkusp1

4) To make a connection to HKUSP1, type 
 
     telnet hkusp1

5) Enter username and password for HKUSP1

6) Route the generated graphics to the workstation (hkurs1 assumed):

   (i)   In the Korn shell (or Bourne shell) environment, type the command

         DISPLAY=hkurs1:0; export DISPLAY

   (ii)  In the C-shell environment, type the command

          setenv DISPLAY hkurs1:0

7) Run the application which will generate graphics output.  The followings 
   are the examples of running SAS, SPSS Graphics, S-PLUS and a program using 
   the IMSL Exponent Graphics libraries are given in the followings: 

    (i)   SAS

   If the SAS program file "gen_graphics.sas" contains SAS/GRAPH procedure, 
   the following command will generate the graphics and display on the 
   workstation.

       sas gen_graphics

  (ii)  SPSS Graphics

       - To invoke SPSS Graphics, type 

             spssg

       - When you are asked to specify the terminal type, choose 

             26 (IBM6154, the AIXTERM)

       - Create your data set: when you are asked to specify the graphics 
         display, choose 

             61 (X11C, X Window Release 11.3 Color monitor)

       - The graphical result generated will then be shown on the screen 
         of the workstation 

   (iii) S-PLUS

       - To start S-PLUS, type

              Splus

       - To invoke the motif graphics device under S-PLUS, type

              motif( )

       - Invoke the S-PLUS functions: e.g.: type

              demo( )

          for starting up the demonstration program

    (iv)  IMSL Exponent Graphics

          - Execute the program, say "main", which calls the Exponent       
            Graphics subroutines :

            ./main

          - when you are asked to specify for the plotting device, choose 1 
            for X-Windows terminal; the graphics generated will then be shown 
            on the workstation screen.
If you should encounter any problems in displaying high resolution graphics on the workstations, please report them to the undersigned.

S.L. Lee  
Tel.: 8598936 
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk

VAX News


GCG Updates

The GCG-MENU and GCG databases have recently been updated. The new GCG-MENU is version 2.2. It was derived from MENUE, a user environment for VAX computers . With MENUE, it is possible to modify the menus of GCG-menu or to create other menus and menu systems easily. GCG-menu and MENUE have been developed by Max-Planck-Institute. For more details please read the online documentation on HKUCC using the following command:

$ TYPE/PAGE HKUDOC:GCGMENU.DOC

The updated from GCG databases are :

GenBank          Release 80.0 (12/93)    SWISS-PROT      Release 27.0 (10/93)
EMBL (Modified)  Release 36.0 ( 9/93)    Vecbase         Release  3.0 ( 8/87)
PIR-Protein      Release 38.0 ( 9/93)    PROSITE         Release 11.0 (10/93)
PIR-Nucleic      Release 36.0 ( 3/90)    Restriction Enzymes (REBASE)  (12/93)
Help information for GCG is available by invoking the GenHelp command at the command prompt $ after a GCG terminal session has been initialized with the @HKU:GCG command, as follows:

    $ @HKU:GCG
    $ GENHELP

C.Y.W. Cheung
Tel.: 8592488
E-mail: cheungyw@hkucc.hku.hk

PC News


Multimedia Development Station Enhancement

In the September/October 1993 issue of Computer News, it was announced that a PC-based multimedia system has been set up in Room RR-107 as the special facilities for multimedia application development. Considering that multimedia applications which very often require huge volume storage for storing the graphics, sound and video information, it is desirable that each user of the multimedia development system can work with a very large disk storage dedicated for his use, and that the final product (multimedia application) can be stored and distributed in the form of CD-ROM.

To facilitate our users in developing applications with the PC-based multimedia development station in Room RR-107, it is further enhanced with the provision of an Optical Disk Drive and the CD-ROM Production System, as highlighted in the following two sections.

Maxoptix TMT-IIM Optical Disk Drive

This optical disk drive is directly attached to the PC-based multimedia system through an Adaptec SCSI controller. The Maxoptix drive can operate with both the 600MB or 1 GB 5.25" optical disks which cost about $1,200 and $1,800 respectively. Computer Centre is providing a few disks for short term loan to users for their application development works using Centre's PC-based multimedia system. Users who wish to keep their multimedia programs and files on storage media for long-time retention can elect to acquire their own optical disks for that purpose. Please note that optical disks formatted by Maxoptix Optical Drive using the Future Domain SCSI adaptor cannot function properly with the same type of optical drive using Adaptec SCSI adaptor. For more information about the facility, such as purchase or loan of optical disks, please contact the undersigned.

CD-ROM Production System

The CD-ROM production system which is installed in Computer Centre consists of the following items:

    a.  Sony CDW-900E CD maker
    b.  QuickTopix/Win software
    c.  QuickTopix CDR software
Item (a) is the CD-ROM maker hardware whereas items (b) and (c) are the software run under MS Windows 3.1. Users can make use of these software to first create a CD-ROM image file on the local hard disk of the PC-based multimedia system and then transcribe the CD-ROM image file to a write-once CD-ROM using the CD maker.

CD-ROM is a relatively cheap storage medium for distribution of multimedia applications which require huge storage size. A write-once CD-ROM which can provide upto 600MB storage capacity costs around $300. When a multimedia application is developed, it is important that the final product can be distributed and played by cost-effective means. The CD-ROM production system should well serve this purpose.

Users should note that each write-once CD-ROM can be used for storing information (writing operation) only once while data stored on a CD-ROM can be retrieved for many times later on. It is therefore only advisable to employ the CD-ROM maker for transferring finished software products, e.g. multimedia applications, or for long term data archive purpose.

T.Y. Lui
Tel: 8592455
E-mail: hcxclty@hkucc.hku.hk

MAC News


Multimedia Software for Macintosh

We are pleased to announced that in addition to the PC-based multimedia system, the Macintosh Centris 650 system installed in the Special Facility Room (RR-107) has also recently been equipped with the multimedia development capabilities. The multimedia capabilities are provided by two software, namely the Authorware Professional for Macintosh Version 2.0 and the Quicktime Starter Kit.

Authorware Professional

Authorware is a multimedia authoring tool for interactive learning. It gives users the power to integrate information in the forms of text, graphics, sounds, animation, and digital video into highly effective interactive learning applications. The software provides the Media Manager function for users to keep their graphics, animations and other digital media data separately in library files. Hence, the file size of an application program can substantially reduced while any changes or updates to the separately stored media data can be immediately effected in the application without any modifications to the program. Other than the Mac version, a Windows version of Authorware Professional is also available on Centre's PC-based multimedia system.

Authorware for Macintosh supports the following file formats:

Text          : Macintosh Screen fonts and TrueType fonts.  
Graphics      : Macintosh PICT, Paint, and Scrapbook files.  
Sound         : AIFF, Macromedia's SoundEdit and SoundEdit Pro.  
Animation     : PICS and Macromedia Director files. 
Digital Video : QuickTime 1.0 or 1.5 movies and DVI files.
QuickTime Starter Kit

QuickTime Starter Kit is a package which includes the software tools for facilitating easy manipulations of dynamic information, such as video and sound, required in media application development. The QuickTime Starter Kit includes the following tools:

MoviePlayer

This is a program for viewing and editing of QuickTime movies and sound files. With MoviePlayer, users can play, pause, fast-forward, rewind, and advance frame-by-frame with any QuickTime movie. Users can also use the program to create new movies by combining clips from other movies.

Movie Converter

This is a program for creating QuickTime movies from information kept in several different file types. The program can convert still images (such as PICT and Scrapbook files) and dynamic information (such as PICS files and other QuickTime movies) into a single movie according to the user- selected settings on compression, display size, and color.

Picture Compressor

This is a program for PICT images compression. The compressed image files can be as small as a fraction of the file-size of the original. The compressed image can thus bring along with the benefits of saving storage space as well as data transmission time.

Movie Recorder

This is a program which has to work with suitable video digitizing hardware. The program can be used for recording QuickTime movies from a video source, e.g. video camera. The video digitizing hardware required may be a video- capture card and sound digitizer. At present, the Mac Centris 650 installed in the Special Facility Room is not equipped with any video digitizing hardware, and the Movie Recorder program installed is not functional at the moment.

T.Y. Lui 
Tel: 8592455
E-mail: hcxclty@hkucc.hku.hk

Staff News

We would like to welcome our new colleagues Mr. Ronald Leung Hok Yin, Mr. Andrew Chan Tak Chun, Mr. Lo Ka Wing and Miss Silvia Lee Wai King. Mr. Ronald Leung, Mr. Andrew Chan and Mr. K.. W. Lo have joined the Centre as Assistant Computer Officer in October 1993, November 1993 and January 1994 respectively. Mr. Ronald Leung, a 1992 Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Hong Kong, is now working in the Academic Services Team. Mr. Andrew Chan is a 1989 graduate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hong Kong. Mr. K W Lo is a 1989 Computer Science & Electronic graduate of La Trobe University and a 1990 Computer Science graduate of Monash University. Both Mr. Andrew Chan and Mr. K W Lo are now working in the Administrative Services Team. Miss Silvia Lee, a 1990 BA graduate of University of Windsor, has joined the Centre as an Executive Officer II in January 1994.

In the last several months, a number of staff has left the Centre to pursue their career elsewhere. Miss Karen Chan Tsui Ling left the Centre in July 1993, Mr. Patrick Leu Ping Leung left in August 1993 and Mr. Leung Ian Nang left in December 1993. We would like to wish them every success in their new venture.


User Services Group, Computer Centre , the University of Hong Kong