Meet the Flash > How to use the flash-book

Selecting page number
figure 1

Navigating movie clips
figure 2

Switching to Full-Movie mode
figure 3

Switching to "chained" mode
figure 4

Search dialog
figure 5

To use the "Meet the Flash" book, setup (if you downloaded Windows version) or simply unpack it to a folder on your computer. Then run the "_book" file (_book.exe, book.hqx, or _book.swf).

To open a particular page of the book, you select a topic in the "Table of Contents", "Bookmarks", or "History" panels. To open a page number, you press the ball at the bottom of the book and roll it to the required page number (figure 1). Also you can turn the pages with [Left] and [Right] keyboard cursor keys.

To control the embedded movies, you use the "play", "pause" and "rewind" buttons on the playback control panel. Alternatively, you may use [Enter] (to play), [Space] (to pause) and [Home] (to rewind) keyboard keys.

You navigate a movie clip, by clicking on its progress bar (figure 2). The balloon hint over your cursors shows target time (with precision ± 1 sec). To fast forward / backward the movies use [Up] and [Down] keyboard cursor keys.

The digits under the bar refer to corresponding text paragraphs. Click on a digit to jump exactly to the beginning of the proper movie fragment.

To adjust the sound volume click a "lath" next to the "speaker" pictogram. To temporarily mute the book, click the "loud speaker" itself. To allow sounds, click it again.

By default, the movie clips occupy the right half of the screen. In this mode you can read the text and see the animation at once. To see the movie at full size click the "expand" button (figure 3). To show the text, click this button again.

Normally, at the end of a movie clip the playback is stopped. To make the clips play as a single full-length movie click the "chained mode" button (figure 4). To return to the single-movie playback mode click this button again.

To search the book, click the "Search" button at the top. Loading search database make take 5-10 seconds. Press "Find" button one or more times until you encounter the searched fragment of the page text or of the subtitles. Then click "Go to page..." button to jump to the found page / movie fragment (figure 5).

NB While the "Search" panel is open, navigating of the book and movies with keyboard keys is temporarily disabled.

To quick-add a new bookmark click the "star" on the "Bookmarks" button (figure 6). To open a bookmarked page / movie fragment open the "Bookmarks" panel and click a bookmark button (see screenshot). To delete unneccessary bookmark just click its "close" delete bookmark button button.

All the text data for the book (and most of its interface) is stored in the "content.xml" file that must be in the same folder as the main "_book" file. To translate your copy of the book to an other language, you overwrite the original source file with its localized version. If such a version is not available or if you want to improve yours feel free to edit this file on your own (more about content editing). Be careful though - any changes to document structure and special symbols may make the book unreadable.

To make the localized book speak in your language you may use an external text-to-speech program (in case it can automatically read text from the clipboard).

To achieve this:
1. Open "Options" dialog and allow copying subtitles to clipboard (figure 7).
2. Make sure, that a proper text-to-speech engine (not the same as clipboard-reading program; some info available here) is installed in your system.
3. In your text-to-speech program (not the same as TTS engine), enable clipboard reading and select a proper voice (see sample settings for DeskBot (freeware)).
4. In the flash-book, minimize sound volume (figure 8).
5. Play a movie clip.

The movie clips for this book are stored in external files (so called shared libraries) named "lib_1.swf", "lib_2.swf", "lib_3.swf", "lib_4.swf", and "lib_5.swf". In the basic package, only "lib_1" contains animated clips; the libraries 2-5 only contain static images. If you purchase additional movies, you get the libraries with animated clips.

The flash-book stores your reading history, bookmarks and other personal settings to a local file
On Windows XP path to the file may look like this:
C:\Documents and Settings\Username\
Application Data\ Macromedia\Flash Player\

If necessary, you may delete this file to reset all.

The "ini" file is rather small - 1Kb or less - while the default settings of Flash player allow storing up to 100 Kb of information. However if you use lots of flash-content that stores data to your computer (eg. flash-game scores) or if in your Flash player settings local storage is currently set to 0, you may need to increase this amount.

To achieve this:
1. Right-click on a flash movie and open the "Settings" dialog (figure 9).
2. In the "Settings" dialog, click the "folder" button to display "Local Storage" settings.
3. Use the slider to increase allowed amount of information stored on your computer (figure 10).

Quick-adding bookmark
figure 6

figure 7

Click to see screenshot of localized flash-book read aloud  by "DeskBot" program
figure 8 (click to see full-size screenshot)

figure 9

figure 10

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