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All About QTVR

What is QTVR?
QuickTime VR is "Virtual Reality" software developed by Apple Computer, Inc. QTVR allows you to navigate an object or environment in 360 degrees. You can study a priceless museum object from all sides. Visit a distant land, and experience the entire vista. With proper free software (called a "plug-in") installed, this website allows you to take a virtual "tour" of our coffeehouse.

When you click on the QTVR image that you want to view, a "Q" icon appears while the image loads. Try a small one first. Depending on your modem, and the relative traffic on the Internet, it will download swiftly or sluggishly. Often times there is a status bar on the bottom of your browser that tells you what percentage of the image has been downloaded, and at what speed. When it has finished downloading, the image appears.

How do I navigate?
Now comes the exciting part. Place your cursor in the middle of the image somewhere. Click and hold your mouse button. While the button is held down, drag in the direction that you want to "go." (imagine that you are highlighting a line of text.) The image will move, and you will have the ability to navigate the room. Notice that the farther you move from the point in which you began to drag, the faster you navigate. You can also look up and down.

As you pass over some areas, you will notice that the arrow cursor turns into a hand. If you double-click on that "active" area, you are taken to another Webpage on our site. In the case of our website, you are taken to a Webpage that describes in greater detail the area you have just clicked.

What if you don't see anything?
Either the image was somehow corrupted in transit to your computer (often displayed by an icon that looks like a broken filmstrip), or you don't have the software required to view the image.

What's a plugin?
Most likely you are reading this through a Web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. To provide multimedia features, these browsers are designed to employ special software written by other companies. These small applications are called "plug-ins" because they "plug-in" to the existing software. QTVR is just such a plug-in.

Smart Web browsers will alert you when you don't have the software required to download something from the Internet. You will get a message such as: "This file requires a plug-in. Here's where to get it." sometimes there is a link to their website, sometimes not. The task of installing a plug-in is intended to be easy.

1. go to the website
2. download the appropriate plug-in (for Macintosh or Windows)
3. close your Web browser if it's running
4. place the plug-in in the plug-ins folder
5. re-load the Web browser.
It should then automatically load the plug-in, and away you go!

Sometimes, however, it doesn't work. Either you can't find the plug-in you need, or it doesn't install correctly. It all depends on the company and the plug-in. Apple makes it very easy to install their plug-in, so we offer it with confidence.

Why isn't this mutimedia stuff easier to use?
The QTVR experience is well worth the effort of installing the plug-in. Think of it: just two years ago, Web browsers didn't even have background colors! The pace with which this medium is developing is truly stunning. Naturally there will be some confusion and growing pains. This is a medium that rewards exploration and persistence. The information is out there, be it via search engine, newsgroup or website. Try to relax and enjoy your experience as a pioneer. It really does get easier.