Friday, December 22, 2006

Dolphin Olympics Tournament Results

The lab consultants had an informal Dolphin Olympics tournament during their free time at the end of the semester. Michael was the clear winner with 19,506,379. I still don't know how he managed it, but he printed out a screenshot as proof. The final scores:

Michael: 19,506,379
Dave: 1,449,856
Neal: 659,327
Jesse: 3,148,724
Steve: 2,289,053
Nick: 755,824
Chris: 83,664
Mel and Jeff didn't play.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have a good one!

Ah... the semester is over. A whole week of much-deserved and much-needed vacation coming up for everyone! We're open til 9 tonite, (our usual hours), and then thursday and friday we'll only be open 10-5. After that, you won't see us again until the new year.

We hope you found the lab useful this semester. If you haven't yet availed yourself of the resources we make available, please stop by in the Spring semester and check us out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lost and Found

See this stuff? It's our Lost-and-Found box. Yes, that's a pair of shoes. No, none of us here at the lab are sure how someone could accidentally walk off and leave their shoes behind. But you know those wacky Penn students.

It's the end of the semester, so I'm taking the box down to the Reserve Desk (ie. Rosengarten: ground floor, Van Pelt Library) to add to the main lost-and-found collection, so if anything in the photo looks familiar, stop by Rosengarten to get it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Red Ink

Update: Ok, we're back in business. Magenta (not red. my bad.) ink is loaded and in plentiful supply.

We ran out of red ink on the poster printer tonite. Sorry! (Thanks, Neal, for checking in and letting me know about the problem.) There's been an onslaught of poster printing in the last week the likes of which we've never seen, and our printing supplies dwindled much faster than expected. If it's any consolation (and I know it's not), we have enough glossy paper now to last us well into next year. I'm pretty sure we do have more ink down in the supply closet, but we won't have access to it until Monday, so the poster printer will be out of commission until then. If you're in dire straits and can't wait that long, check out Kinkos or Campus Copy. They both charge a lot more than we do, but then they probably have red ink, too. (note: this applies only to the poster printer. The normal color printer should be working fine.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday hours

For those of you who plan to stay on campus over break for some reason, the lab's going to be closed between December 23rd and New Year's Day. We'll open with limited hours in January, and then ramp up to our regular hours when classes start again. Our hours are available for your perusal online.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Glossy Paper

The lab ran out of glossy paper for the poster printer on Friday. But we're back in stock today, so we have both glossy and matte papers for all your poster printing needs.

Final Cut upgrade to version 5.1

[update, 1/18/2007: we've erased everything on the computers and installed fresh copies of all the software, including the FCP upgrade to version 5.1. We expect this to solve all of the problems users were encountering, but please let us know if you're still having trouble!]

We've heard concerns from students this semester that they'd created a Final Cut Pro project elsewhere using version 5.1, but that it wasn't 100% compatible with version 5.0.4, which is what we've been running in the lab. To solve this problem, we've purchased version 5.1 and we'll be installing it over winter break, so it should be available by the first day of classes in January.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Nick's Geometric Thing

Nick Salvatore is one of the lab consultants you've seen working here at the Vitale Digital Media Lab. He's probably even helped you on one of your projects. In this picture, Nick is holding a 3D geometrical object he created with the help of the Adobe Illustator CS2 software in the lab. He was able to take the computer file of his design and use it to program a special cutting laser (made available to School of Design students) to cut the pieces out of 1/4"-thick plastic, which he then assembled by hand.

Want us to showcase a project you worked on in the lab? Email us at

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Say Farewell to Michael and Mel (rhyme not intended)

Michael Highland and Melissa Miller are leaving the lab at the end of this semester to spend some time abroad in Hong Kong. Michael and Mel have been a valuable part of the lab, and we'll miss them both. If you see them, be sure to say good-bye and wish them bon voyage.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

New Director of the Weigle Information Commons

We are pleased to announce that Anu Vedantham has accepted the position of Director of the David B. Weigle Information Commons. She will begin work on January 15th 12th.

Anu comes to us from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where she serves as the Director of Instructional Technology. She is also currently a student in Penn's Graduate School of Education, pursuing her Ed.D. in the Higher Education Management program. Anu will be assuming a leadership role in the Information Commons, maintaining responsibility for the operation of both the Commons and--with David Toccafondi--the Vitale Digital Media Lab, planning technology systems to keep pace with student needs, and developing outreach programs to support teaching and learning. Welcome, Anu!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nintendo Wii Launch! T minus five hours and counting...

Ok, so I'm still not so excited about the name, but the Nintendo Wii launches tonite at midnight! Given that people have already been waiting in lines outside for *days*, and the fact that the weather isn't that pleasant anyway, I've decided to wake up at 3am (ugh!) and try to snatch one from Amazon when they go on sale at midnite, *west coast time*. Why should you care, you ask? Well if I get one, I'll bring it--and the new Zelda game (which has become my primary reason for living)--to the lab for people to try out.

[update: apparently Amazon sold out in less than a minute. So fast, in fact, that most of the people trying to get one weren't even aware they'd even been made available, and they stayed up for hours waiting for Amazon to put them online. Oh well. In the meantime, I'll be doing my best to get one of these things, but it seems unlikely before Christmas. Unless one of our many generous lab users wants to donate one to the lab. Hey, we're a non-profit, so it's tax-deductable, after all... If you want to see the happy faces of the lucky people who did manage to snag a Wii, here's
Engadget's coverage of the launch.]

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

New Book: Switching to the Mac

We've noticed that most of the users of the Digital Media Lab are using Macintosh computers for the first time. If you're new to Macs, too, then we've got just the book for you.

Switching to the Mac, Tiger Edition, by David Pogue.
2nd Revised Edition, October 2005. ISBN 0596006608

Editorial Review from

"Covering the latest in Mac OS X v.10.4 "Tiger," Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition explains the hundreds of innovative new features to the Mac OS and how you can understand and make the very most of each."

"Whether you're a novice or a power user, Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition, teaches you how to smoothly and seamlessly replace (or supplement) your Windows machine--in a refreshingly funny and down-to-earth style--with a mighty Mac."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Mural

Just wanted to post this Halloween mural one of our lab consultants (Jesse) in the digital media lab created this morning on the whiteboard.

Drop by the lab and take a look in person before it gets erased.

Monday, October 2, 2006

The Lab's Library

The Digital Media Lab maintains a small library (well, more like two shelves) of books relating to the software, hardware, and activities in the lab. Curretly these books are for use only in the lab so that they can remain available as a reference source to everyone. They're are a great resource whether you want to look up how to do something specific in Adobe Photoshop, or you want to sit and teach yourself how to use Final Cut Pro, or anything in between. Soon, you'll be able to see a list of all of our books on the Info Commons website. In the meantime, stop by the lab to see what we have. Is there a book you think we should have? Email us at

If you're looking for more books on computer-related topics, from software to hardware to programming, you should also check out Safari Tech Books Online. This wonderful service offers the full-text-searchable content of a wide range of computer books available online, including the popular O'Reilly books (you probably know them by the pictures of animals on their covers). The Library makes a certain number of these books available to members of the Penn community at no cost. (You'll need a PennKey to access this content) These books are selected by a librarian and updated periodically. You can also purchase your own subscription at a very reasonable rate and create a personal library tailored to your own needs and interests.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Layers Magazine, Sept/Oct 2006 issue

The new issue of Layers magazine has arrived at the lab. There are some good articles on flyer and logo design, importing your designs from Photoshop and Illustrator into Flash and After Effects, workflow in InDesign, and Deke McClelland gives an introduction to JavaScripting in Photoshop.

There are also tutorials on wireframe illustration in Adobe Illustrator, working with cue points in Macromedia Flash, and webdesign with layers using Dreamweaver 8. Rod Harlan also has an interesting article that makes a case for using Flash video rather than MPEG-4 on the web.

This issue also includes reviews of Nickon Capture NX, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H5, Canon PowerShot S3 IS, the Epson Perfection v750-M Pro, FontExplorer X 1.0.1, and more.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Welcome to the Lab!

Welcome to the Vitale Digital Media Lab blog. We're located in the Weigle Information Commons, on the far west end of the 1st floor of Van Pelt Library. The lab was made possible through a generous donation from Alberto Vitale, and is funded jointly by the Library, the Provost's Office, and the College of Arts & Sciences. We're unlike other labs on campus in that not only do we offer high-end software and hardware aimed at video, audio, scanning, graphic and web design, and poster printing, but we're also open to all current students, faculty, and staff at Penn. Our assumption when you come through the door is that you're not an expert, so we always have someone on duty who can show you how to use the software and hardware in the lab, and get you started on your project. You can see our hours on the Penn Library website. Check back often for updates about things going on in the lab, news, tips, tutorials, and more!