Support Knowledgebase

Welcome to the FVDES Tech Support Knowledge Base

Before calling Tech Support, please check if a solution for your specific issue can be found in this KnowledgeBase.

This KnowledgeBase is intended to help with the most common computer issues that you might encounter with either our hardware or software.

If you are trying to login to First Class from an android Tablet or Phone
enter the following as the Server Address:


http://www.k12connect.ca:8080


If you get this error:

FC error 1044

Follow these easy steps to fix this issue:

  1. Below the username/password fields is a line headed with "Server:" After the colon it should read "k12connect.ca", w/o the quotation marks. Is that in place?
    Step 1
    If there is no entry after Server, please continue with Step 2. to fix the issue.

    If "k12connect.ca" is in place, please double-check the spelling. Maybe you accidentally made a typo, e.g. used a comma instead of the dot? If the spelling checks out, check your internet connection next. If you can reach and use e.g. google.ca your network and Internet connection is ok.
    Most probable cause at this point: If you are using a PC you might have inadvertendly blocked FirstClass with your Firewall.

  2. Click on the arrow next to "Advanced" below the "Server" line.
    Step 2

  3. More buttons will become visible.

  4. Click on "Setup"

  5. In the new window, fill "k12connect.ca" in the line headed with "Server:"
    Step 5

  6. Click on "Save"

You should now be able to connect to FirstClass with your credentials.

If there are problems with right clicking, or scrolling on a FVDES computer, please try the following:

 

1) Select the Apple in the top Right, and then System Preferences.

 

 

2) Select Mouse.

 

 

3) Copy the settings to match the ones below. The main 2 to pay attention to are the Secondary Button, and the Scrolling Vertical Only.

 

 

4) Exit out of the window using the red X in the top left.

5) If these changes do not fix the problem, please contact us via our number listed below.

iMac does not boot (start), instead displays GRAY, BLUE or BLACK screen.

If this happens, there has been a severe issue on the MAC's hard drive.

This happens most of the time if there has been a sudden power outage, or the iMac was shut down by pulling the power plug instead of shutting it down properly.

 

Only two things to try in this case:

  1. Unplug the power cord from the back of the iMac.
  2. Press and hold the powerbutton for more than 5 seconds. This will drain the motherboard's capacitors of all energy, resetting all components.
  3. Reconnect the power plug, take a deep breath and push the power button normally to turn on the iMac.

If this solved it, and after max. of 15 minutes the MAC desktop comes up, good.

Why 15 minutes? This is the maximum time it should take the iMac to check the hard drive for errors. It normally does this during startup showing a gray screen with a rotating gear.

 


The second thing you can try if the iMac is stuck at a blue or gray screen only:

 

  1. Make sure the iMac is turned off.
  2. Press and hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
  3. Turn the iMac back on, while still holding down the SHIFT key.

This attempts to boot the iMac w/o any plugins or extensions you might have installed or which might have been corrupted due to power-outage, etc.

If this was successful, the Mac OS X Desktop should show up within max. 15 minutes.

If not, sadly, we need the MAC back to further troubleshoot the cause. Please give the tech department a call.

 

Finally, a black screen with some writing on it in several different languages is bad news. Nothing to do or troubleshoot there anymore, we need the computer back. Please call the Tech Department and we will arrange a computer exchange.

 

Please read "Shut down an iMac properly" to avoid this issue happening with your replacement Mac.

Sound (5)

Windows XP Sound Mixer

 

Windows Vista Sound Mixer


Windows Seven (7) Sound Mixer

 

Using a Microphone with Windows XP

After you connected the microphone and the headset/speaker connectors click with your right mouse button on the tiny speaker icon in the tray area (lower right corner of your windows screen, next to the digital clock).
Note: If you do not have this icon in your tray bar, click on either a) Start > Control Panel > Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices >
Sounds and Audio Devices or b) Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices.

Then click on Adjust Audio Properties.


This dialog box should appear. Click on the "Voice" tab and then on the "Test Hardware" button.


Click on NEXT to start the sound hardware check. This will take some time.

If you do not get any error message, your computer sound hardware and installed sound driver software seems to be ok.

Using your microphone, speak into it and check if the volume meter on the screen shows any reaction. If it does, your microphone works fine.
Click on next.
Now test if you can hear what you spoke into the microphone. If that works too, you are done.


If you get an error like this, Windows could not detect ANY sound input from your microphone.
Try the troubleshooting steps discussed here 2.1 Sound Mixer and here 2.2 Sound Card troubleshooting.

 

 


 

 

Using a Microphone with Windows Vista

 

Caution! Very loud noises can damage your hearing permanently!

 

Step 1. Test the sound equipment

 

Testing your speakers/soundcard: If you do not have a headset connected to the computer, just speakers, test them first before testing the headset. Play any sound/music/noise. If you can hear that sound coming from the speakers we established that the soundcard is working fine.


No sound?

  • Are the speakers powered and switched on?

  • Is the volume turned up?

  • is the speaker's audio cable plugged into the correct connector on the computer? (green)

  • If there is still no sound please continue with No Sound on a PC

Testing your headset: Hook up your headset to ANY other known working sound source, e.g. iPod, other MP3 players, TV, radio, etc. Some device you know for sure the sound output works. This helps to determine if your headset is working fine or defective.

No sound?

  • Did you connect the correct connector? It is either color-coded green or has a headset symbol on the connector.
  • If there is a volume control on the headset's cable, did you turn it all the way up?
  • If there is a mute button on the headset's cable, make sure it is not activated.
  • Did you push the jack all the way in?

If your headset still does not work, it it very likely defective.

 

If your speakers work fine on the PC and if you get clear audio from an external device (iPod etc.) on your headphones we have established that the sound output on your card and the headset itself are working fine.

 

Step 2. Making it work


Now hook up the headset connector to the same jack your speakers are connected to. If you do not have any speakers attached, it will be the green connector.


Play some sounds/music while wearing the headset. Be careful! The sound could be VERY loud! If you still have no sound at all continue to the Sound Mixer section.


Now it's time to connect the microphone. Plug this in the red/pink connector on your sound card.


 

 

Move this!

Are there any background applications running that might use the microphone exclusively?


Examples: Skype, other VOIP apps or any audio recording application. If so, shut them down. Very important! Skype does not really shut down when you click on the close button! You still have to right click on the little Skype icon in you tray area (lower right corner of the Windows screen, next to the digital clock) and select QUIT.

 


 


Some headsets have a volume control and mic mute switch. If present, check that the volume control on your headset is turned all the way up and that the mic mute is off = mic is on. Be very careful when testing this, very loud noises can damage your hearing!


All plugged in? Let's test it: Click on START > CONTROL PANEL (you might have to click on Settings first) > SOUNDS AND AUDIO DEVICES > There, click on the tab labeled VOICE > Then, click on the button labeled test hardware to test your setup.

The wizard explains in detail what will happen and what is expected of you. If this fails, please call the manufacturer of your PC.

To test your speaker/headphone setup you need some audio to test them with.

 

If you have no other audio source on your PC/MAC use these test tones.

 

Either click on a link with your left mouse button, this will attempt to play it in your browser, or click on the link with your right mousebutton (Control + Click on a Mac) to save it to your system.


No sound on your PC (Windows XP/Vista/Seven)

Due to the vast diversity of soundcards, chipsets and drivers and the thousands of combinations and ways something can go wrong (driver? hardware? wrong port? Vista?) we can only provide generic help for the most common sound issues. If we determine during troubleshooting, that this is a setup issue on your system, we will refer you to your PC manufacturer's hotline.


Before we begin, some basics. All PC soundcards have at least the following two sound connectors: (according to PC System Design Guide)

  • Speaker or Headset (amplified) OUT, usually green(ish)  marked with a speaker or headset symbol
    Note: depending of what you connect, the sound chipset present and the operating system in use this might double as Line-Out (= not amplified OUT) if no headset is connected and/or the sound mixer software has been set to Line-Out
  • Microphone IN (amplified), usually red/pink and marked with a microphone symbol

 

Another connector which might be present:

  • Line-IN (not amplified), usually blue(ish), symbol not standardized
    You would connect your HiFi equipment to this connector (PLAY/OUT on a Stereo amplifier)
    Important: Microphones will NOT work.
    Note: depending of the sound chipset present and the operating system in use the blue(ish) connector might double as Line-OUT


PC Sound Card

Laptops usually only have 2 connectors: Mic in and Headset/Speaker out.

Laptop Sound Card

Same standardized color coding here. Red/pink is for microphone in, green/light green is for headphones/speakers out.


Ok, let's get to work.

  • Make sure, your microphone is connected to the proper microphone-in jack on your computer (red/pink).

  • If you have two sets of connectors, one in the front of your computer and one in the back, please use the ones in the back first!
    Reason: The front connector could just be inoperative by a simple cabling issue, the back plane connector always works though.


Click here for Windows XP Microphone Setup

Click here for Windows Vista Microphone Setup

Click here for Windows 7/Seven Microphone Setup

Using a Microphone with Windows XP

After you connected the microphone and the headset/speaker connectors click with your right mouse button on the tiny speaker icon in the tray area (lower right corner of your windows screen, next to the digital clock).
Note: If you do not have this icon in your tray bar, click on either a) Start > Control Panel > Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices >
Sounds and Audio Devices or b) Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices.

Then click on Adjust Audio Properties.


This dialog box should appear. Click on the "Voice" tab and then on the "Test Hardware" button.


Click on NEXT to start the sound hardware check. This will take some time.

If you do not get any error message, your computer sound hardware and installed sound driver software seems to be ok.

Using your microphone, speak into it and check if the volume meter on the screen shows any reaction. If it does, your microphone works fine.
Click on next.
Now test if you can hear what you spoke into the microphone. If that works too, you are done.


If you get an error like this, Windows could not detect ANY sound input from your microphone.
Try the troubleshooting steps discussed here 2.1 Sound Mixer and here 2.2 Sound Card troubleshooting.

 

If you need assistance logging in or recovering your password, please call our tech support line @ 1-800-663-3381, option 2.

How to reduce digital photos in size?

When you insert digital photos from your camera into any application like PowerPoint or Word without preparing them first you will run into problems. What happens is, even after just inserting a few pictures the filesize of the document will be enourmous, clogging up your email account and/or your hard disk pretty quickly.

Resizing pictures inside e.g. Powerpoint or Word does not reduce the physical size of the picture, just the visible representation in that particular document. The data file in the background is still the same size.

Example: You took a digital photo. At 10 megapixel the photo has a resolution of 3648 x 2736 pixels and is about 4 MB (= approx. 4000 KB) in size.

If this picture is inserted into Powerpoint for a homework assignment, and even if the visible size is reduced with the little black handlebars, the picture will still be a whopping 4MB.

Now add four more pictures from the same camara and you end up with a file of approx. 21 MB!

Most email providers will never allow this to be sent and/or received, not taking into account that it will take close to forever to send this email.


So, how can you avoid this?

Easy: Reduce the physical resolution of the picture without damaging the original. Always keep the original, in case you want to have them printed later or modify them again.

Rule of thumb: Never work on originals, always use copies!

Accepted resolutions for web use and/or use within documents (Powerpoint, Word, E-Mail, etc.) are:

160 x 120 - small - small enough to leave room for text
320 x 200 - bigger - already covers a quarter of the Powerpoint sheet
640 x 480 - medium - covers almost the entire Powerpoint sheet
800 x 600 - large - significantly bigger than the Powerpoint sheet

Note: Everything after 800 x 600 is too big for this specific purpose.

Have a look at the example screenshot taken from Powerpoint (see below). Notice how large even a 160 x 120 picture is in Powerpoint?
Tip: How can you check if your picture is scaled or full size? Right click in the picture and select "Format Picture", then select the "size" tab. "100%" percent means, the picture is not scaled, but shown at it's original size.

 

Note: We are going to use the free, open source AFELO picture compressor for this example, but feel free to use whichever software you prefer. If you want to download AFELO please click here. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and the only prerequisite is a fairly recent Java Runtime.

For this example, we want to insert 6 digital photos into a powerpoint presentation and write a short story about how, where, and why we took them.

As the filesize of the photos alone would exceed 21MB we are going to reduce the physical size of those 10 megapixel pictures before we add them to the document.

Step 1:

 

  • Remember the rule of thumb? Never work with the originals! Create a folder on your desktop, name it appropriately. In this case we named our folder "My Homework"

  • Copy (not move!) the pictures you want to use into this folder.

  • Start AFELO, then click on Compress & Upload Images

 Step 1

 

  • Next select if you want to convert one or a folder full of photos.
    For this example select All images of one directory

Step 2 

Select the photo(s) or the folder with the photos you want to reduce in size. This is basically a file menu you know from PC and MAC applications like Word or Powerpoint.

Step 3

A: You can jump to the  M y Pictures, to the Desktop if you placed your pictures on the Windows/Mac Desktop, My Documents quickjumps to the My Documents folder. Another Directory will bring up the usual Windows/Mac file selection dialog box.

 

B: If you selected any folder containing pictures they will show up here. Select one or more and click on Forward.

C: The icon with the orange arrow allows you to move UP in the directory structure. The other icons that might show up to it's right are the folders/directories contained in the folder you selected under point A.

 

 

Double clicking on Desktop, then on My Homework gets us to the folder we want to convert.

Step 3

Step 2:

After clicking on "Forward", leave the setting drop down box on "optimize for the web" and select one of the offered resolutions. You might have to experiment a bit until you find the one right for the job.

As a guideline: 800 x 600 is very big, but still significantly smaller filesize wise than the original. If you need lots of details and are unsure, go for this resolution. Check with the example at the beginning of this guide.

Step 4

Step 3:

Next step. AFLEO lets you modify the selected picture(s) in this step. Double click on any of the thumbnails on the left. The picture will then be shown in the main viewarea.
Now, you have the option to: Crop the picture, turn the picture clockwise or anti-clockwise, make the image brighter, convert it to black & white, adjust the brightness, contrast hue and saturation manually or reset whatever you changed. When you are satisfied, click on "Forward".

Step 5

Step 3

Step 4:

Now for the most important part. Where do you want to put the resized pictures? AFELO can put them on your Desktop in a new folder it will create, labeled with "AFELO_IMG_YEARMMDD_TIME". Example: "AFELO_IMG_20090407_1515" This was saved on 7th April 2009, at 3:15pm. Or you can save it to a folder you specify.

Step 4

After Afelo is done it will show the new loction of the converted images:

Now let's compare filesizes before and after the operation. The original 10 megapixel pictures combined filesize was close to 22 megabytes, that is approx. 22.000.000 bytes. After the resize operation this has been reduced to just over 386 KB, which is approx. 386.000 bytes, from 22 megabytes to less than half a megabyte!

Immediate benefits: The document will look the same, but it will a) load significantly faster, you will not have PowerPoint crashing on you react in super slow motion, sending this document via email will only take seconds and -not unimportant- the teacher's computer will have no problem opening this document.

Result

 

As you can see, choosing the right resolution saves a lot of memory.

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