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How To [Crossed Wrenches]


by Los Cajunos
Boy, the new Eclipse is really causing a reaction. With all of the features and enhanced versatility, you can use Eclipse for much more than just a screen saver. In this month's How To, we'll take a look at three things that Eclipse can do -- besides save your screen.

The Slide Show
F
or those of you who may not be familiar with the new 3.0.0 version of Eclipse, allow me to provide a little background. Remember how Eclipse 2.2.0 would display a graphic on your screen? Well, the new version of Eclipse takes a folder full of graphics and displays them either sequentially or randomly. This allows you to place pictures of all of your favorite Sesame Street characters in the Eclipse Graphics folder and Eclipse will display them with ease. Oh look, there's Bert, and Oscar, and Big Bird bouncing around the screen.

This can be taken a step further. Suppose you worked for a software company and your artist brings in his nifty brand new Zip drive. You hook it up to a computer, and on his disk he has a folder filled with prospective pieces of art. He has used different programs to create the pieces, but fortunately they are all in either PICT, JPEG, or GIF format (the three file formats Eclipse supports). Instead of opening the programs he used (because you don't have them, perhaps), you can use Eclipse to view the images.

Here's the easiest way. Make an alias to the folder that contains the graphics. Open the Eclipse folder and rename the Eclipse Graphics folder to something else (like Old Eclipse Graphics, or my favorite, Mud), and drag the alias that was just created into the Eclipse folder. Then, simply name the alias "Eclipse Graphics" and let Eclipse dim. Eclipse will locate and dereference the alias and display the graphics that your artist brought in. All done with an alias.

The QuickTime Movie
W
hat's also pretty cool about the new version of Eclipse is that it displays QuickTime movies. If you have some cool animation of your company's logo or something similar, you may want to use Eclipse the next time you are at a trade show. Passers by will notice the cool animation and wonder what nifty little program is displaying your cool animation. You can tell them it's Eclipse from Ambrosia Software .

Earlier, we saw how Eclipse can derefernce an alias to a folder. Eclipse can also dereference aliases to files, providing they are in either PICT, JPEG or GIF format or if they are QuickTime movies. This is particularly useful if you have large QuickTime movies on a CD or some other removable media. This will let you save some hard drive space by keeping the files on the external device.

Eclipse does something else with QuickTime movies: it doubles the size of them if Eclipse is running on PowerPC machine. Eclipse can tell whether it is running on a PowerPC or not. If so, it will double the size of a QuickTime movie to take advantage of the capabilities of the faster machine. Won't this make that cool animation of the company logo look that much better?

The Playmate
C
an you see where this is heading?

I do not spend my time on the Web downloading pictures of beautiful women in scant outfits. Really, I don't. Don't listen to my roommates! It's art I tell you! It's not pornography! It's art! It's art!

Regardless of my opinion, I am not doing these things. Really. But, if I were to do these things, I would download my images directly to the Eclipse Graphics folder. This way, I can dim Eclipse and see what Miss November looks like without opening some large image processing application. With this method, you can view what you download within seconds. Some browsers and communication software will display an image for you, so you don't have to use this technique. But for those images that may be too large, you can use Eclipse.

A while back, I was download some photos for my favorite Sesame Street characters (really) and I was using the above technique; downloading to the Eclipse Graphics folder. While one of the images was on it's way down, Eclipse dimmed. What was rather neat about this was that Eclipse displayed the image that was being downloaded. Only the top half of Miss September's... uh, Grover's picture was displayed. Eclipse was doing it's job with only half an image. Cool huh?

I hope everybody has a happy holiday season. See you in '96.


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