Carnegie Mellon University / Introduction to the Electronic Media Studio (60110-A)

Unit 00

by Golan @ 12:05 am 19 August 2009

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Working towards: Having your kit and knowing how to get around.
Learning Outcomes: To demonstrate an understanding of hierarchical file systems, uniform resource locators (URLs).
Tools: Mac OSX, HTML editor (Adobe Dreamweaver).

Assignment 00. DUE Wednesday, AUGUST 26.


Course Materials
Please be aware of the required materials for this course, which can be purchased online or at most computer stores. I have listed a few recommendations, but there are many other equally good brands.

  • A flash-memory USB keychain (“thumb drive”), 2GB or larger. Depending on capacity, these will cost $8-$75. I happened to spend $70 for a 32GB drive at the CMU Computer Store, but if you’re on a budget, just get a little one.
  • A digital still camera of some kind, 5 Megapixels (MP) or better. Even better if the camera also records video. Try to get a model that records on compact flash memory cards; we have multi-format readers in the classroom, and you won’t need a special cable. If you’re in the market right now for a new camera (September 2009), I trust this recommendation from David Pogue for the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX1 or the Fuji Finepix F200EXR (about $350).
  • A Firewire+USB combo hard drive, 100 GB+ (I recommend Maxtor and LaCie brands; should run ~$100-250.) “Combo” means it has both Firewire and USB connection ports, which gives you the most flexibility. Some models now support three forms of connector, which gives you lots of options: USB, Firewire-400 and Firewire-800.
  • There is no textbook for this section of EMS1. If you feel that you are lacking technical guidance, consider purchasing Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design, By Xtine Burrough & Michael Mandiberg. If you are truly at your wits’ end, there are all sorts of books FOR DUMMIES and for COMPLETE IDIOTS. Many students prefer video tutorials; if this is the case, sign up for a monthly subscription at

If you’re on a budget, it’s possible to find much less expensive equipment with some sacrifices in capabilities. I have purchased digital cameras for as little as $15 (I have a limited number of these puppies I can give away, but believe me, they’re cruddy). You can also find 60GB or 80GB hard drives for well under $100. Spend what you can. You’ll need these things, and they’ll come in handy after you leave the class, too.

Navigating File Systems: The Basics of Getting around the Mac

  • Logging into the cluster computers with your AndrewID
  • Files, Folders, and Executables: telling the difference
  • Finding and launching applications, such as Photoshop

Hierarchical Directory Structures: File Paths and URLs

  • Do you understand how to read URLs?
  • Every data file has a unique location defined by a string of text. Do you understand where to find file paths, and how to read them?
  • Observe how hierarchical Directory structures are used in URLs
  • Observe how hierarchical directory structures are used in local file paths.

Remote versus Local files

  • finding your local user directory (on the local machine)
  • finding your “myAFS” Andrew directory (on a remote server)
  • understanding the difference between remote and local storage
  • testing reading/writing on external hard drives (camera flash memory, USB thumb drive, HD)
  • reminder: work locally, save locally, then copy to home server
  • reminder: never to save files across the network!
  • reminder: your Andrew server only has 100MB. Demonstrate use of Flash Keychain or FireWire HD.
  • copying files to Andrew by drag-and-drop
  • copying files to Andrew by FTP (Fetch)

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