How to use these notes
These notes are not a textbook. In other words, they cannot be printed as a neat volume and taken home in hard copy. Experience with the use of these notes in university lectures shows that the first thing most students want to do is print everything out. It is important to understand the difference between a textbook and electronic notes.
Despite great advances of computer media a book still offers many advantages over the computer screen. I can take a book on the train, I can take it with me to study under a tree, I can use it next to a warming fire in winter. All these factors make learning from a book often more enjoyable than learning from a screen. It is therefore understandable that many students want to have their printed version of these notes.
Electronic notes have their own advantages. They make it easy to use colour in text and illustrations which, if used properly, can be of great assistance in the learning process. (Many students are of course prepared to print colour pages at no matter what cost.) They allow the use of animations which can dramatically clarify complicated issues. They can be upgraded daily in response to comments from users and developments in science. It is obvious that printing the notes will not produce a textbook but a collection of working sheets which do not contain animated information and may soon be outdated.
These notes began as an electronic version of printed lecture notes in black and white. As the months progressed all figures were converted to colour. This produced version 1.0, an electronic version of printed notes with colour illustrations. Version 1.01 includes several animated figures and two online calculators and clearly defies attempts to print out the entire contents. Beginning with version 1.1 the lecture notes are linked to a set of on-screen exercises which cannot be done offline. There is clearly no point any more to try and print the entire volume of lecture notes.
An old art which seems to have gone out of fashion is the art of taking notes. Today, making a copy or printing out a computer page is easy, and in any case it is much easier to simply copy a page than to comprehend and remember it. Making notes as I go through a lecture is an excellent way of training my mind to concentrate on the essentials. The first rule of using electronic material is to make notes while looking at the presentation on the screen.
If these notes are used in a class, at the end of the lecture cycle you should have produced your own well annotated volume of notes, with cross-references to the pages of the electronic material to allow you to look things up quickly when needed. If this is best achieved by including the odd printed page or illustration from these notes, so be it; but refrain from trying to print out every lecture and paste it in your notebook.
Before you start
The following was written in 2006. Most of this is now obsolete.
- Following oceanographic convention, the lecture notes use Greek letters for certain quantities. Your browser should be capable to recognise the "Symbol" font. You can verify this here: If the symbol σt looks similar to , your browser is set correctly; if it appears as st, it is not.
If your browser is not set correctly the most likely reason is that it is set to use its own fonts. Go into the preferences or options of your browser, find where the font is set and enable "Let the page define the fonts" or something similar. Reload (refresh) this page to verify that the problem is solved.
- Animations in the lecture notes use animated GIFs, an image format that is used by the web. Your browser should be able to display animated GIFs. You can verify this here; if this image: continuously changes appearance, your browser is set correctly; if it appears like this: , it is not.
If your browser is not set correctly the most likely reason is that it is set not to display animated GIFs. Go into the preferences or options of your browser, find where the loading options for images are defined and activate "display animated gifs" or something similar. Reload (refresh) this page to verify that the problem is solved. Note: Some browsers give you the choice of loading all images first before showing them on the screen. This can take some time if the animation files are large (which some of them are in these lecture notes) and give the impression that nothing is happening. You may have to check that your browser is set to display images while they are loading. This will make sure that the animation starts as soon as image loading begins.
- Sometimes it is an advantage to display information in several windows simultaneously. On some machines (particularly PCs with small screens) new windows may cover previous windows completely. If this happens you can always return to the original window by selecting it from the WINDOW menu of your browser.
A more confusing situation can occur when information is delivered to an existing window that is hidden behind another window. This gives the appearance that nothing is happening. The safest way to use multiple windows is to size them so that they overlap but are all visible at least in parts. Try this here: Open a new window and set its size so that you can see part of this window behind it. Open the new window.
The layout of the lecture notes is designed to keep everything together in a single window. Experimentation and experience with first year computer users has shown that this is the safest way of making the interface user friendly. It has a few disadvantages, which can be overcome by the more experienced user. Here are a few tips to influence the screen layout.
Users with smaller screens can increase the window area by hiding all unnessessary buttons of their browser:
- In Netscape Navigator 3: deselect Show Toolbar, Show Location and Show Directory Buttons in the Options menu;
- in Internet Explorer 3 (not recommended as a browser) and Internet Explorer 4: deselect Button Bar, Address Bar, Status Bar and Favorites Bar in the View menu;
- in iCab: deselect Navigation Toolbar, Location Toolbar, Standard Links Toolbar and Favorites Toolbar in the View menu;
- You can move the borders between all frames up and down to increase the text or the figure area; move the pointer over the frame border, hold down the mouse and drag the border;
- If this still does not give enough area to view text and figures together comfortably you can display individual figures in a separate window:
- In Netscape Navigator 3: click on the link to the figure you wish to see; when it is visible in the lower frame, hold down the mouse button over the lower frame until a menu appears, then select New Window with this Frame;
- in Internet Explorer 3 (not recommended as a browser) and Internet Explorer 4: hold down the mouse button in the central frame over the link to the figure you wish to see until a menu appears, then select Open Link in New Window;
- in iCab: click on the link to the figure you wish to see; when it is visible in the lower frame, hold down the mouse button over the lower frame until a menu appears, then select Open Frame in New Window;
These instructions are derived from the Macintosh versions of these browsers. PC user may have slightly varying menus and button to use. (For example, the command Open Link in New Window reads Open in New Window in the PC version of Internet Explorer and is reached by holding down the right button, and more bars can be deselected in the View menu.)
Printing from the screen
The most common complaint from students is that the print command only produces a printed version of the text but does not include the figures. The safest way to print is from a window without frames. Follow step 3 under "Screen Viewing" above to open the material which you want to print (the text frame or the figure frame) in a new window and print the content of the new window. This is a somewhat labour-intensive procedure, but as explained above printing should not be an everyday activity, and printing out a single lecture including all its figures in this way is still acceptable.
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© 1999 - 2000 M. Tomczak. Last updated 7/7/2000