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Frequently Asked Questions for FOSSweb

To use FOSSweb, your computer must have a compatible browser and recent versions of several plug-ins (see below for more details). Your computer may already have these plug-ins installed, but you can test your browser to make sure.

Please read the current support topics below. If your question is not answered, fill out the Technical Questions Form.


Browsers and Plug-ins

  1. Installing Shockwave 11 on Intel-based Macs.
  2. Shockwave activities don't work on a Mac even with Shockwave 10 installed.
  3. Error message "Macromedia Flash Player has stopped a potentially unsafe operation."
  4. Compatible browsers for FOSSWeb.com.
  5. Plug-in requirements for FOSSWeb.com.
  6. Do I need to upgrade to the latest version of Shockwave if everything works OK?

Troubleshooting

  1. Issues with activities on XP Service Pack 2.
  2. Site navigation doesn't work.
  3. Unable to access activities in the modules.
  4. The K-2 and 3-6 module pages don't display, the page just flashes.
  5. QuickTime movies don't play correctly.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Tips for viewing PDF files.
  2. Can I use pop-up blocking software with FOSSWeb.com?
  3. I have trouble with sound, can I view the site with sound turned off?
  4. Tips for using FOSSWeb.com on a slow Internet connection.
  5. Can I print pages on FOSSWeb.com?
  6. How do I bookmark FOSSWeb.com?

Contacting FOSS

  1. How do I submit materials to FOSS?
  2. Contacting FOSS.

Browsers and Plug-ins

  1. The Shockwave activities don't work on my Mac browser -- I either get a blank page or a message about Xtras.
    Please install the latest version of Shockwave from www.adobe.com (version 11.5) for the Intel-based Mac. This version works reasonably well with the Shockwave activities on FOSSweb, although some activities may have display issues. We are working on converting these activities to Flash.

  2. When I click on an activity on my Intel-based Mac, Firefox opens a window asking me to install additional plug-ins, even though I have Shockwave 10 installed.  Using Safari results in a blank window.
    If you are using Shockwave 10 on an Intel-based Mac, you need to run it in Rosetta mode. However, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Shockwave, if possible.

    Follow these steps to run Rosetta Mode:

       1. Quit out of the browser.
       2. Go to your Applications folder and control-click on the browser application bundle.
       3. In the context menu that appears select Get Info.
       4. Under the General heading of the Info dialog select "Open using Rosetta".
       5. Close the Info dialog box

    If you are unsure whether your Macintosh is Intel-based or PowerPC-based, click on the Apple menu and select "About this Mac". The processor field will mention Intel or PowerPC.

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  3. When I try to open the FOSS multimedia activities from the CD-ROM, I receive the error message "Macromedia Flash Player has stopped a potentially unsafe operation." What should I do?
    Two new security settings (on Flash Player and ActiveX Controls) could interfere with the use of FOSS CD-ROMS or FOSSweb Flash activities on PCs and Macs. To remedy this, FOSSweb has created a "FOSSfix" to adjust the security settings to allow CD-Rom users to access the Flash activities. You can download the installer to fix the security settings here: http://www.fossweb.com/fossfix/index.html

  4. Which browsers are compatible with FOSSweb?
    FOSSweb is tested and supported on the following OS/Browser configurations:

    Macintosh OS 10.2.8 or higher:
    Safari 1.0 or later, or
    Firefox 1.5 or later.

    PC Windows XP or Vista:
    IE 6.0 or later, or
    Firefox 1.5 or later.

    Go to the Compatible Browsers page in the Test Your Browser section of FOSSweb for information on downloading and installing a compatible browser.

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  5. What are the plug-in requirements for FOSSweb?
    All of the modules and courses require recent versions of Flash and QuickTime. To view some of the 3–6 module online activities and some of the Middle School multimedia, your browser must also have Shockwave installed. The Middle School courses that require Shockwave are Electronics and Human Brain and Senses.

    To view, download and print the Teacher Duplication Masters, you must have Adobe Reader version 8 or higher installed. You can download Reader at www.adobe.com/downloads/.

    Go to the Test Your Browser section of FOSSweb to determine if you have all required plug-ins and for information on downloading and installing the software.

  6. I got a message saying to upgrade to the latest version of Shockwave. However, my browser's current version meets FOSSweb's minimum requirement. Do I have to upgrade?

    PC Users: You can upgrade, but the Shockwave Plug-in will need to install some addition components and you will need to be online to do so.

    Intel-based Mac Users: You should upgrade to 11.5. Most of the activities should work, but you may have some minor display issues. We are working to rectify the issue.

    Power PC Mac Users: DO NOT upgrade to Shockwave 11. If you have already upgraded to version 11, you can download version 10 from our site.

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Troubleshooting

  1. Why can't I view FOSSweb activities after installing Windows XP Service Pack 2?
    Windows XP Service Pack 2 contains pop-up prevention which may block many of the FOSSweb activities and other content. There is a bar that appears between the navigation bar and the browser window that indicates a pop-up was blocked. You can always allow pop-ups from the FOSSweb site by clicking on the security bar and choosing the option to enable pop-ups from the FOSSweb site.

  2. Nothing happens when I click the links in the site's navigation. What's wrong?
    First check to make sure you have a compatible browser and all required plug-ins to view FOSSweb. Then make sure your browser is set to having JavaScript enabled.

    Firefox: Go to Tools -> Options (on a PC) or Firefox -> Preferences (on a Mac) and then click on the "Content" tab. Make sure "Enable Javascript" is checked.

    IE: The default setting is for Javascript to be enabled, so you should only need to change it if you disabled it in the past. Go to Tools -> Internet Options and then choose the "Security" tab. For the zone, choose "Internet" and then click the Custom Level button. Scroll all the way towards the bottom to find the section labeled "Scripting." Make sure the "Active scritping" radio button is set to "Enabled." Click OK and then click OK again and then restart IE.

    Safari: Go to Safari -> Preferences and then click the "Security" tab. Make sure "Enable Javascript" is checked.

    If you have the correct software and JavaScript is enabled in your browser, and you still can't view the site, please contact FOSS using the Technical Questions Form.

  3. I can't access the activities in the modules. What should I do?
    If you are having trouble accessing the activities, first go to the Test Your Browser section of FOSSweb to determine if you have all required plug-ins.

    If you have all plug-ins but are still unable to view the activities, the problem may be pop-up blocking software. The FOSS activities open up in pop-up windows, but this type of software prevents the activity windows from appearing. Check to see if your computer has pop-up blocking software installed and set it to allow pop-ups from FOSSWeb.com.

    Different pop-up blocking applications have different ways of allowing sites. If you don't know how to do it for your browser's pop-up blocker, try doing an Internet search for instructions, or contact your school's tech support for help.

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  4. When I try going to the K–2 or 3–6 module menu pages, the pages don't load correctly. Everything flashes. Help!
    If the content on the module menu pages (or any other module page) flashes continually, you have an outdated version of the Flash plug-in. Go to the Flash plug-in page of the Test Your Browser section of FOSSweb to download and install a more recent version.

  5. I am having trouble playing QuickTime movies on my Mac, even though I have the right plug-in. What's wrong?
    If you are on a Mac, try refreshing the page. In addition, some versions of Quicktime will not work properly if you are running the browser in Rosetta mode. To take your browser out of Rosetta mode, quit out of the browser and open your Applications folder. Click once on your browser and then go to File -> Get Info (or hit Apple + I). Uncheck the box labeled "Open using Rosetta." Close the Get Info dialog and then open your browser.

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Tips and Tricks

  1. Opening, downloading and using PDF files.
    Many files on FOSSWeb and lhsfoss.org are available in portable document format (pdf). You need Adobe Reader to download and view these files. Reader is free and can be downloaded from http://www.adobe.com/downloads/. We recommend using Adobe Reader version 8 or higher.

    If you have problems viewing the pdfs or get error messages, try saving the file directly to your computer (option-click on Macs or right-click on PCs to see the download menu), and then opening the file from Adobe Reader. We recommend viewing the PDFs with Reader as opposed to other PDF software such as Preview because they don't always display correctly on other applications.

    If you are having trouble viewing the file in Reader after you have downloaded it to your computer, please make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader. If you continue to have issues, please contact us.

  2. Can I use pop-up blocking software with FOSSweb?
    Pop-up blocking software will block many of the FOSSweb activities and other content. You can continue to use it with FOSSWeb as long as you allow pop-ups from FOSSWeb.com

    When you try to open an activity with pop-up blocking turned on, a bar appears between the navigation bar and the browser window that indicates a pop-up was blocked. You can always allow pop-ups from the FOSSweb site by clicking on the security bar and choosing the option to enable pop-ups from the FOSSweb site.

  3. I am having trouble with my computer when the sound is on. Will I miss much if I turn it off?
    Sound is used extensively on FOSSweb. However, you can still enjoy the site without it. If the sound suddenly stops on the PC, try restarting your computer. Loss of sound indicates a memory problem, which may lead to other undesirable behavior, such as freezes and crashes.

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  4. Do you have any tips for viewing FOSSweb with a slow Internet connection?
    Go to your browser's Preferences menu and increase the cache. Your browser stores previously downloaded pages in the cache. Increasing the cache size in your browser will allow you to store more pages and thus speed up FOSSweb.

    Firefox: Go to Tools -> Options (on a PC) or Firefox -> Preferences (on a Mac) and then click on the "Advanced" tab. In Advanced, click the "Network" tab and find the "Offline Storage" section. Increase the amount of disk space used for storage in the text box.

    IE: Go to Tools -> Internet Options and then choose the "General" tab. Under "Browsing history," click the Settings button. Increase the amount of disk space in the text box.

    Safari: Safari does not allow you to change the size of the Cache.

    If a page has been updated or the page has downloaded incorrectly, you won't see the new or correct version until the page has been refreshed or the cached version has been deleted. To refresh the page, click "Refresh" in the browser toolbar to download a new version of the page. You may need to hold down the Shift key while clicking Refresh for the new version to download.

  5. Can I print pages on FOSSweb?
    You can print all pages on FOSSweb except for the Shockwave activities. In all cases, the center frame is printed without the top and side menu bars.

  6. Can I bookmark FOSSweb?
    Yes. Go to the Favorites (or Bookmarks) pull-down menu in your browser and select Add Page to Favorites. Please note, bookmarks to specific pages within a module will default to the module welcome pages.

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Contacting FOSS

  1. How do I submit materials to FOSSweb?
    We welcome user submissions to the site. You can submit pictures, movies, web sites, tips and tricks, posters, and questions to ask a scientist. You can also submit book, software and video titles. All submissions are moderated and approved by FOSS staff before they appear on FOSSweb. The questions for scientists and the posters have their own submission processes. Go the Posters or Ask a Scientist pages in individual modules for more information. Click here to submit any other resources.

    You must agree with the Terms of Use before submitting anything to FOSSweb, and all materials, once submitted, become the property of the FOSS program.

  2. How can I contact FOSS if my question has still not been answered?
    If you are having technical problems with the web site, please contact FOSS using the Technical Questions Form. Do not use this e-mail for submission of materials or general questions about FOSS. For these kinds of inquires, please contact FOSS using one of our Submission Forms.

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