night skies network user manual

night skies network user manual
NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
USER MANUAL
This User Manual will provide you with all the techniques necessary to
Broadcast live over Night Skies Network. The manual also contains
instructions on how to obtain a Broadcast Account, Register as a Viewer,
and View as a guest.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contents
What is Night Skies Network? ___________________________________________________________________________ 1
The NSN Story______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1
Site addresses ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1
Site Guidelines ____________________________________________________________________________________________ 2
Rules and regulations _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 2
Rule #1 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2
Rule #2 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3
Rule #3 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3
Rule #4 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3
Rule #5 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4
Rule #6 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4
I Don’t Read Manuals (Just the Facts, Ma’am) __________________________________________________________ 5
Participating in Night Skies Network ___________________________________________________________________ 6
Sign In as a Registered Broadcaster or Viewer __________________________________________________________________ 6
Sign In as a Guest __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 7
Viewing the Channel _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 7
The Video Window _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 8
The Viewer Window ____________________________________________________________________________________________ 8
The Chat Window _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 9
Obtaining a Broadcast Account ________________________________________________________________________ 10
Obtaining a Viewer Account ___________________________________________________________________________ 11
Preparing to Broadcast with a Mac ___________________________________________________________________ 12
Overview __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 12
Miloslick Hardware Requirements ___________________________________________________________________________ 12
MallincamSky Hardware Requirements______________________________________________________________________ 13
Start MallincamSky/Miloslick ________________________________________________________________________________ 13
Start CamTwist _________________________________________________________________________________________________ 13
Have CamTwist Select area of Desktop that Contain the Video Image _____________________________________ 14
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Set Resolution and Frames per Second. ______________________________________________________________________ 14
Start Chrome ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 15
Preparing to Broadcast a Windows Desktop _________________________________________________________ 16
Overview __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 16
Start MallincamSky/Miloslick ___________________________________________________________________________________ 17
Start Splitcam/ManyCam ________________________________________________________________________________________ 17
Select Part of Desktop in Desktop Capture Program ___________________________________________________________ 17
Choose a Resolution ______________________________________________________________________________________________ 18
Minimize the Desktop Capture Program ________________________________________________________________________ 18
How to Broadcast on Night Skies Network ___________________________________________________________ 20
Overview __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20
Browsers __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20
Connecting ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20
Login to Viewing Channels _______________________________________________________________________________________ 21
Login to your Channel ____________________________________________________________________________________________ 22
Customizing and Controlling Your Channel _____________________________________________________________________ 28
NSN Coffee Break Room________________________________________________________________________________ 30
Help (Something is Wrong) ____________________________________________________________________________ 33
I don’t see my list of cameras in the NSN Camera chooser. ____________________________________________________ 33
Somehow my Image is frozen on NSN. __________________________________________________________________________ 33
My Image is very pixelated _______________________________________________________________________________________ 33
Once I connect to my Camera, my Camera Control Software locks up. _______________________________________ 33
My Sound and Video Are Out of Sync ____________________________________________________________________________ 33
I Keep Getting Knocked out off Night Skies Network __________________________________________________________ 34
I Sign-In and get ‘you are not permitted to broadcast at this time’ message. ________________________________ 34
Do I have to Open up Another Window to see what my Views See? __________________________________________ 34
Can I Broadcast over Wi-Fi? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 34
CamTwist doesn’t work. __________________________________________________________________________________________ 34
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NSN Extras ______________________________________________________________________________________________ 35
Home ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 35
Login _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 35
Community ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 35
Broadcaster Captures__________________________________________________________________________________________ 36
Useful Links ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 36
International Video Astronomy Star Party ___________________________________________________________________ 37
Ecvar Star Party ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 37
About NSN ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 37
Sign Up to Broadcast _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 37
NSN Live Facebook _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Sign Up to Watch __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Site Rules __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Help ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Site Instructions _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Contact Us ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 38
Privacy Policy __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 39
My Account ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 39
NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
What is Night Skies Network?
THE NSN STORY
Night Skies network was something I dreamed up to give a few of us who would broadcast
In 2008, a handful of observers using MallinCam Video CCD cameras began broadcasting on YahooLive. This
is when Yahoo had a broadcast site. Other live broadcast sites like SparkCast became available, but by 2009,
these sites ceased operation. It was clear that astronomers needed a site where they could share the night
skies with the world live on the internet. Jim Turner took it on his own to create such as site, and by the end
of 2009, Night Skies Network was born.
The prime function of the site was for live, educational broadcasting with astronomical video CCD cameras
to share with the world, astronomy and other related sciences. As a firm supporter of public outreach, Rock
Mallin was the main sponsor for Night Skies Network from the beginning to make sure the site was
maintained as an educational astronomical site dedicated to public outreach and science education for
everyone and enjoy astronomy live on line.
In 2014, during the ECVAR star party, Jim Turner decided to sell NSN, the dedicated server supporting the
site and all files contained thereon pertinent to the operation of NSN, Rock Mallin (owner of Mallincam) was
the successful bidder, and in the Fall of 2014, he purchased the everything related to NSN. Rock paid for
web hosting, server rental, NSN website software, bandwidth usage and site maintenance.
In 2016, Rock implemented some major changes to ensure that Night Skies Network would remain focused
on live, educational broadcasting and outreach. Upgrade Server capabilities were added, along with
software changes to assist both Broadcasters and Viewers.
SITE ADDRESSES
Night Skies Network is a dynamical environment that supports many user communities. As such, there a
variety of web site addresses in which people can access NSN
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www.nightskiesnetwork.ca
www.nightskiesnetworklive.com
www.nsnlive.ca
www.nsnlive.com
NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Site Guidelines
RULES AND REGULATIONS
By using this site, you agree to abide by and be bound to these terms and conditions.
While most of these rules apply to the broadcasters of NSN, there are some that apply to guests as well.
Please read them. Remember that watching or broadcasting on Night Skies Network is a privilege not a
right. These rules are in place to protect not only Night Skies Network, but also those who use the site as
well.
Here is a brief statement of the NSN rules:
1. NO BROADCASTING OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ALLOWED ON NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
EVER. PERIOD! THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!
2.
THE SELLING OF PRODUCTS ON NIGHT SKIES NETWORK IS NOT ALLOWED.
3.
NO FOUL LANGUAGE, HATESPEECH, DEROGATORY INNUENDO, NO DISPARAGING MEMBERS,
THEIR EQUIPMENT, THEIR STATUS AND/OR THEIR PERSON IS PERMITTED ON NIGHT SKIES
NETWORK.
4.
UNATTENDED BROADCASTS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NIGHT SKIES NETWORK.
5.
ALL VIDEO, CCD, DSLR AND WEB TYPS CAMERAS WILL BE ALLOWED TO BROADCAST ON NSN
WITH AMAXIMUM INTEGRATION OF 3 MINUTES MAXIMUM.
6.
MANDATORY EQUIPMENT DISCLOSURE.
FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE RULES CAN LEAD TO BEING BANNED FROM NSN.
For a better understanding of the NSN rules please read further.
Contact nightskiesnetworklive@gmail.com if you have any questions or want clarifications to any of the
terms.
RULE #1
To avoid law suits.
NO BROADCASTING OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IS ALLOWED ON NIGHT SKIES NETWORK EVER.
PERIOD! THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!
This means no movies unless they are home made. No TV shows science shows or sporting events and
anything that is covered under the FCC Copyright Office and FBI copyright material laws. For example, just
because you bought a DVD movie does not give you full copyrights authorization and therefore cannot be
broadcast. No advertisements of any kind will be allowed. Music playing in the background from a radio or
CD player that is copy righted is not acceptable. Having a device with music playing in the background is
also a copyright violation so please make sure your music is not going out to your audience. Other broadcast
sites like LIVE STREAM, USTREAM and JUSTIN TV are being sued because of copyright violation. We want to
avoid that by making it clear that such violations will not be tolerated. Broadcasters own the rights to all
their productions on NSN. Users are not permitted to distribute, sell, re-market, re-brand or use any portion
of the video, broadcast, or images in any way shape or form without verifiable authorization by the
broadcaster. Verifiable means that it can actually be verified, verbal agreements are void and not acceptable
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
regardless of state / provincial law. NSN reserves the right to use any and all productions by any
broadcasters without previous approval. Though we will ask anyway.
RULE #2
Night Skies Network is about sharing the night skies with others not about selling a product of any kind or
bragging that you have something that is better than someone else's. Things become misinterpreted way too
easy so please refrain from such practice. It is OK and natural for us to talk about the products we use, but
please think about others when doing so. Think about the manufacturer who makes the product also. They
put a lot of time into the development of their products. Try not to speak too harshly if they have a product
you don't like. No vender or product will have a channel name other than the site sponsor. He has one for
obvious reasons. He's paying for it along with yours. You might take the time out to thank him for his
support of NSN.
RULE #3
NO FOUL LANGUAGE IS ACCEPTED, by you the broadcaster or by guests who are watching. The broadcaster
is responsible for the actions and language on his/her channel. Let's try and keep our conversations on the
main subject astronomy. Broadcasters please warn your viewers and ask them kindly to stop using foul
language. If they don't, then KICK them out! There are some families and clubs that like to tune in to NSN so
please watch how your guest converse. They may have only one name, but that one name could be a class of
students or a club tuned in to watch. This happens more and more. There are guests who may have a very
limited knowledge so please do not make remarks about their questions. Correct them and try to help them
gain better understanding.
RULE #4
Remember people are coming to NSN to watch and see our nighttime skies and to learn. UNATTENDED
BROADCASTS and fixed PICTURES broadcast ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NIGHT SKIES NETWORK.
Do not leave your channel running unattended unless you are at your scope working on something for a few
minutes. If you are working on something, please let your audience know this.
DO NOT leave software running on your channel that shows a logo. If you are testing that software, then
please state so on the information bar above your screen image. A week or two of testing should be all the
time you need to know if it works for you. Don't leave out door scenes from your camera running unless you
are testing your set up and camera. Again let your audience know if you are testing. State so in your channel
information at the top. Don't waste people’s time. Let them know what you are doing. NSN was designed to
be use with video type cameras that feed FPS. This is not a site for still images being posted up and talked
about. There are hundreds of sites for CCD long exposure imagers out there. Use one of them please.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
RULE #5
NSN was intended to provide a real to near real-time experience; therefore, we shall be limiting exposure
times to a 3-minute maximum rate, which includes all specialty filters when observing DSOs. This would
include various types of cameras such as true Video Astronomical cameras, DSLR, CCD's and web type
cameras with video mode that refresh an image per exposure. 30 FPS (NTSC) or 25 FPS (PAL) output for
true video ccd cameras with frame grabbers and constant live refresh for all other cameras such as DSLR,
CCD's and webcam type. Extremely long exposure times tends to lead to off-topic chat, since there is nothing
happening on the screen. A 3-minute exposure include total single exposure and total stack image of shorter
exposures.
RULE #6
Mandatory equipment disclosure. All broadcasters will need to list the OTA, Camera model and type of
filters in use as well as third-party software used to enhance the image. This will make it a lot easier for all
to see what is being used, and also reduce confusion about the resulting image quality and such. The reason
for this disclosure is to let all viewers; especially new viewers understand what software if any is being used
to enhance the image. (Example software like CamTwist, Virtual Dub, etc...)
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
I Don’t Read Manuals (Just the Facts, Ma’am)
Ok we get it. Some of you just want to Log in and get Broadcasting without reading the User Manual. You
love living on the wild side, and are willing to just wing it. So these instructions are for you.
Visit
www.nightskiesnetwork.ca
Login to Broadcast
Channel
Allow Flash to use Camera
and Microphone
Right-Click for to Settings to
choose Camera
Left-Click to set Resolution
and Frames per Second
Start Broadcasting
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Participating in Night Skies Network
You have opened up the Night Skies Network site, and notice that one or more Channels are Broadcasting.
You want to watch the amazing action, so you decide to Sign-In. You have 3 options: Sign-In using your
Broadcaster Account, Sign-In using your Viewer account, or finally Sign-In as a Guest.
SIGN IN AS A REGISTERED BROADCASTER OR VIEWER
If you are a Broadcaster or a Registered Viewer just click on the Orange
Sign-In Button. When the Login Window appears, enter your User Name
and Password, then Click the LOGIN button to Login.
You will be presented with a Broadcast Screen that indicates who is Broadcasting, along with a current
snapshot of their Broadcast Window. Just Click on the Image of the Broadcast Channel of choice to move
into that Channel and enjoy the fun.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
SIGN IN AS A GUEST
If you are new to the site, and would like to watch the Broadcasts as a
Guest, then Click on the Orange Button labelled “VIEW AS GUEST”
After the Sign-In process is completed, you will be presented with a
Channel Page that indicates who is currently Broadcasting. Just Click on
the Image of the Channel which you would like to observe.
VIEWING THE CHANNEL
Now that you are Signed-In, you will be presented with the Channel’s Main Screen. This Screen presents 3
different Windows for you to observer or participate in.
Video
Window
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The Chat
Window
Viewer
Window
NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Each of these Windows can be moved or resized to suit your viewing pleasure. The Video Window displays
what is currently being broadcasted by the Channel Owner. The Chat Window displays the current
conversations that are taking place in this Channel. The Viewer Window displays who is currently viewing
the broadcast. If the Viewer has not yet chatted with in the Chat Window, the name of the Viewer will
either start with NSN (this is a registered Viewer) followed by some other digits, or GUEST (this is a Guest
Viewer) followed by some other digits. If the Viewer has chatted in the Chat Window, then he/she would
have assigned a name for himself/herself, that name will be displayed in the Viewer Window.
The Video Window
The Video Window displays the current Video Image being broadcast by the Channel Owner along with
the Channel’s Name. Just Above the Video Window should be (assuming the Broadcaster has read this
manual and is following protocol) information about the equipment being used. If the Broadcaster is using a
microphone, you should be able to hear what is being said over your computer’s speakers. If you need to
disable the sound being broadcast, simply Click on the checkbox beside the microphone symbol on the
upper right side of the Video Window.
The Viewer Window
The Viewer Window lists the current viewers and guests signed into this Channel.
The Channel Owner’s name will also appear in the list along with symbols indicating
if he/she is currently broadcasting with an activated camera and/or a microphone.
At the top of the Viewer Window will be the Channel’s Name followed by the number
of current viewers (can you set a new record?).
The names in the Viewer Window have the following format:
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If the names start with NSN then they are registered viewers who are
watching anonymously (these are affectionately known as Lurkers).
If the names start with GUEST, then they are guests to the Night Skies
Network.
If the names actually look like names, then the viewers have visited the Chat
Window and have given themselves a cool name.
NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
The Chat Window
The Chat Window is where the Viewers and the Broadcasters (Sorry Guests, you
can only observe. No Chatting for you) can carry out conversations (sometimes the
Viewer will use the Chat Window while the Broadcaster will respond over the
Speaker in your computer).
Every time a chat message is sent by a Viewer; you will hear a tiny beep over your
speaker. You can deactivate this beeping sound by Clicking on the Sound Effects
checkbox on the upper right of the Chat Window.
To Start Chatting, simply Click your mouse in the Text Line at the bottom of the
Chat Window. When chatting for the first time in a Channel Session, you should
see a line of Text in the Chat Line saying “Fill your name here”.
Type in the name you would like others to know you by. Remember those Rules in the Rules and
Regulations section in this manual, so use courteous logical names such as Michael (New Hamburg). This
protocol lets users know my name and where I am from.
If you typed in a comment as your name, such as “Hi Chris how is the weather in Toronto?”, then that is
what everyone will see this as your Viewer name (don’t worry, we have all done that at one time or
another), just exit Night Skies Network and Sign back in.
Now you can enter a comment, or ask a question from the Chat Line. If you
want to be unique, you can change the Color of the comments you are tying by
Clicking on the little Color box beside SEND. You can have your comments
displayed in Bold, Underlined, Italic or any combination of the above. You can
also add Emoticons to the comment by selecting an emoticon from the Smiley
Face Icon.
After you have type in your comment, just Click on the Blue Send button, and the comment in broadcast to
all viewers.
Hey Chris, what is the temperature like in Toronto?
Please use proper protocol when commenting, we do have students and families participating in the
Broadcast. We have tried to ban offensive words, and if you accidently type those sequence of letters, we will
replace the broadcasted offensive characters with a few asterisks, ***.
If you do this repeatedly, or on purpose, the Channel owner can Ban you from the site. Administrators are
also monitoring the Channels and we can Ban your IP Address from the Night Skies Network (oh, the
powers we have). So use common sense and common courtesy when making comments.
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Obtaining a Broadcast Account
So you have been watching all of the other Broadcasters amaze the Viewers with
their equipment and skills, and you know you are ready to join the Fun. But, to do
that you need a Broadcast Channel.
The process is quick and painless; unless you had to convince your spouse that you
had to buy all those bells and whistles for your telescope just so you could
Broadcast.
On the Main Night Skies Network Page, locate the Button that says “SIGN-UP TO
BROADCAST”, then Click on it.
This will open up a new Registration Screen which requests that you fill out the
Registration Form with information about yourself and your Channel.
At the Bottom of the Form, don’t forget to check the acknowledgement box, the Click on Submit. In a few
days we will get back to you with verification of your Channel. In the meantime why don’t you read the
chapter ”How to Broadcast on Night Skies Network”, it is great reading if I don’t say so myself.
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Obtaining a Viewer Account
So you have been watching all of the other Broadcasters as a Guest, and you would like
to become more active but are not yet ready to Broadcast.
Then you can obtain a Viewer Account and have a front row seat to the amazing
broadcasts of the various Channels.
The process is quick and painless, even less painless than filling out the form when you
move up to be a Broadcaster.
On the Night Skies Network Home Page, locate the Button that says “SIGN-UP TO
WATCH”, then Click on it.
This will open up a new Registration Screen which requests that you fill out a few
pieces on information so we can get the account ready for you.
Give yourself a User Name, a Password, and tell us who you really are and your email address so we can
inform you when your account is ready.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Preparing to Broadcast with a Mac
OVERVIEW
In the early days of Night Skies Network, there was the PC and the Video camera and the world has very
happy. NSN would capture the output of the Video Camera, while the camera was controlled by an external
finger or software, then came the Mac (a proud but less common computer than the Window PCs). The
problem with the Mac was software, nobody had written quality software that could control cameras (both
through rs232 or through a usb port), and the Mac owners were sad. Then along came Miloslick, and the
Mallincam SkyRaider, products that allowed the Mac to do imaging on par with that of the Window’s
Computers, and the Mac owners became happy. But, there was a catch, both of these products required
complete control of the Video Signal they produced. This was a problem with NSN, since it needed the Video
Signal to Broadcast. How could both NSN and Miloslick/Skyraider reach a compromise? CamTwist to the
rescue. CamTwist is a piece of software that allows it to act like a video camera to NSN, therefore whatever
CamTwist sees, NSN sees and broadcasts. So, the plan of attack is simply to let Miloslick or MallincamSky
(SkyRaider’s software) run on the Mac displaying and controlling the camera, then let CamTwist capture the
Desktop area which contains the images from camera. So, when CamTwist is connected to NSN as a camera,
NSN can broadcast the images from Milislick or MallincamSky as if directly connected.
One of the issues we always have when trying to run multiple programs simultaneously on Mac (or any
computer) is Screen Real-Estate. We will need to have our Browser displaying the NSN Broadcast window,
we also will need MallincamSky/Miloslick controlling and displaying the image from the camera, and finally,
Camtwist which will capture and pass along to NSN the Video image. It can easily get crowded on your
screen (unless you have two monitors attached). Most find it easier the get your Camera Control Software
(MallincamSky/Miloslick) positioned on the Right Side of the screen, and have Camtwist on the left side of
the screen, to capture the camera’s image. Then finally minimize CamTwist (this way it doesn’t use any
screen space) and then open your Browser also on the Left side of the screen. This way you see the contents
of the Browser on the left side of the screen (it will be pointing to NSN) and the Camera Control Software
on the right side of the screen. Just plan ahead and experiment to see which software placement works best
for your environment.
Miloslick Hardware Requirements
Serial Adapter for Mallincam Video Cameras
To allow Miloslick to control the Mallincam Video Camera’s you need a serial adapter. Excellent results with
adapters from Tripplite (formerly Keyspan), IOGear, FTDI and TrendNet, since these manufactures provide
up-to-date drivers compatible with most versions of Mac OS
Video Capture Device for Miloslick
To bring in the Video signal from the Mallincam Video camera to Miloslick you need a Video Capture device.
There are many brands of Video Capture Devices for the Mac, but the one that users seem have most success
with is the Diamond VC500MAC video grabber.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
MallincamSky Hardware Requirements
Just a free USB port (only one cable to work with, how sweet is that).
Start MallincamSky/Miloslick
With your SkyRaider (or Mallincam Video camera) connected to the Mac, start MallincamSky (or Miloslick if
using Mallincam Video camera) and obtain an image on the video portion of the software.
Start CamTwist
CamTwist is a free piece of software which will capture our desktop image and act like a camera to NSN’s
Flash. CamTwist which can be obtained at http://camtwiststudio.com/
Now I recommend you become familiar on how CamTwist works (don’t be afraid to ask a question on
Mallincam Yahoo Channel for assistance), When in doubt Google “How to use CamTwist” and you will find
lots of information and quite a few Video’s on how to use this product.
With Camtwist Running, choose either Desktop or Desktop+ (Google CamTwist to see the differences) as
the Step 1 Select Video Source. Now using your mouse have Camtwist select the image portion of
MallincamSky/Miloslick that you want broadcasted (uncheck Full Screen and use Select Capture Area
button in the Settings Window on CamTwist).
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Have CamTwist Select area of Desktop that Contain the Video Image
Once you have unclicked Full Screen and selected Select Capture Area in in the Settings portion of
CamTwist, you will see a rectangular box that represents the size and location of the Desktop area where
CamTwist would like to capture. Using your mouse Move and Size this rectangle over the Video display
section of your Camera Control Software (MallincamSky/Miloslick).
Use Command P to pop-up the CamTwist Preview Window (this verifies what CamTwist is capturing).
Once you are satisfied with what you have selected Click Done Selecting from CamTwist Settings box.
Set Resolution and Frames per Second.
Now, open the preferences (CamTwist > Preferences), and select the "General Tab". Set the frame rate to
the same frame rate you plan to encode at. We recommend 15 FPS. The higher the FPS, the smoother the
video, but the more bandwidth and CPU required to encode and transmit it. Check the Keep camera warm
checkbox.
Set video size to "Custom" and set it to your desktop resolution. In my case, I have it set to 640 x 480, which
is a typical camera resolution. Set it to the native resolution even if you are going to broadcast at a lower
resolution. We will have NSN’s Flash match this video resolution.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Start Chrome
Google’s Chrome Browser contains (and updates) the Flash driver, which is required by NSN, within itself. So
there is no need to download Flash Media Live Encoder as you would if using Safari.
Have Chrome go to www.Nightskiesnetwork.ca and then you visit the Next Chapter in the User Manual
(How to Broadcast on Night Skies Network) and when you are at the Select Your Camera Stage, just
choose the Camtwist Driver as the camera source (You may see two different ones, both should work).
That’s it., You are now Broadcasting on a Mac.
Camtwist has some amazing Astronomy Filter packs (routines that improve live astronomy images)
produced by Pangea Software. Visit Pangea Software’s website at:
http://www.pangeasoft.net/astro/instructions.html for more information.
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
Preparing to Broadcast a Windows Desktop
OVERVIEW
In the early days of Night Skies Network, there was the PC and the Video camera and all was cool. NSN
would capture the output of the Video Camera, while the camera was controlled by a finger or a piece of
software, then along came Mallincam SkyRaider and Miloslick. The Mallincam SkyRaider camera was a USB
camera and as such, was controlled by, and its video image displayed by, an amazing piece of software called
MallincamSky. While, Miloslick not only controlled the camera, but has outstanding image intensifying and
correcting routines and therefore both needed to have complete control of the Video stream. Alas, there was
no direct way to get either MallincamSky and NSN’s Flash, or Miloslick and NSN’s Flash to simultaneously
share the Video signal. Lucky for us, there are a few specialized Software Programs (Splitcam, ManyCam,
WebcamMax, SparkoCam, …) that act like a video camera to NSN, and yet have the capability to capture all or
part of your Windows Desktop (so I will call them, Desktop Capture Programs). Therefore, whatever the
Desktop Capture Program sees, NSN sees and broadcasts. So, the plan of attack is simply to let Miloslick or
MallincamSky run on the Window’s Desktop displaying and controlling the camera, then let the Desktop
Capture Program capture the Desktop area which contains the images from camera, and have NSN chose
the Desktop Capture Program as the camera for Broadcasting (see below for pictorial technique).
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NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
START MALLINCAMSKY/MILOSLICK
With your SkyRaider (or Mallincam Video camera) connected to the Windows PC, start MallincamSky (or
Miloslick if using Mallincam Video camera) and obtain an image on the software.
START SPLITCAM/MANYCAM
Start your Desktop Capture Program of choice. In this User Manual, I will be showing images from
SplitCam, but the procedure will be similar if you are using any other Desktop Capture Program.
One of the issues we always have when trying to run multiple programs simultaneously on a Windows PC is
Screen Real-Estate. We will need to have our Browser running displaying the NSN Broadcast window, we
will also need MallincamSky/Miloslick running controlling and displaying the image from the camera, and
our Desktop Capture Program which will capture and pass along to NSN the Video image. It can get crowded
on your screen (unless you have two monitors attached, and you can spread the software across them). Just
plan ahead and experiment to see how to place the different software packages that best works for your
environment.
SELECT PART OF DESKTOP IN DESKTOP CAPTURE PROGRAM
With MallincamSky or Miloslick on one the sides of your Window Desktop, sized appropriately, use the
Desktop Capture as the Video Source in the Desktop Capture Program. Choose the Desktop Capture
Source that allows you to Size and Pick the area of the Windows’s Desktop that you want to capture, rather
than the while Desktop.
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Size and Position the Desktop Capture Mask over the actual Video Window of the MallincamSky/Miloslick
program. You should now see the Video image inside the Desktop Capture Program’s Video display.
So, when we point NSN’s Flash to the Desktop Capture Program, whatever is in the Desktop Capture
Program’s Display Window is what will be sent through NSN’s Flash and broadcasted on your Night Skies
Network Channel, just as if it was broadcasting directly from the camera.
CHOOSE A RESOLUTION
We now need to tell the Desktop Capture Program what resolution to use when it acts like a camera. It is
recommended that you Start with 640 x 480 (Some Desktop Capture Programs will automatically give you
the best resolution that the image contains, while others have a maximum of 640 x 480).
MINIMIZE THE DESKTOP CAPTURE PROGRAM
Since the Desktop Capture Program knows what area of the Windows Screen to capture, we can minimize
the actual Desktop Capture Program, by Clicking on the Under-Score Image on the top of Desktop
Capture Program’s window.
The Desktop Capture Program is still running, but it is minimized to save you space (isn’t that neat). You
can bring it back to full size by clicking on its icon in the icon tray at the bottom on the Window’s Desktop.
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That’s it. We are now ready to broadcast.
So jump to the Next Chapter in the User Manual (How to Broadcast on Night Skies Network) and when
you are at the Select Your Camera Stage, just choose the Desktop Capture Program as the camera source
(Splitcam Video in this example).
Now remember, the Desktop Capture Program is capturing a defined region of your Windows Desktop,
the region where the MallincaSky/Miloslick is producing its image. So if you decide to move, or resize the
MallincamSky/Miloslick program, the Desktop Capture Program will still just capture the specific defined
Windows Desktop region, not the new MallincamSky/ Miloslick video location. You will have to again tell
the Desktop Capture Program where the new region is by using the Desktop Selection routine in the
Video Sources Tab.
It will take a while for you to get used to Desktop Capture routine, and you will place (or open other
programs) on top of the Capture Location, then after you have done this a couple of times, you will consider
convincing your spouse that you really do need a second monitor for your Broadcast Computer.
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How to Broadcast on Night Skies Network
OVERVIEW
The engine behind Night Skies Network broadcast capabilities is Adobe Flash. Simply what a Broadcaster
does is tell Adobe Flash what DirectShow device that it should latch onto, so it can broadcast that device’s
image. The DirectShow Device can be a physical camera, or a simulated camera that is capturing images
from a desktop environment. NSN can also broadcast sound through the use of a microphone, and also
supports a chat window where viewer can ask questions, provide hints, and become an active participant in
the Broadcaster’s Channel.
BROWSERS
Night Skies Network uses the Flash Plugin for your Browser. Most Browsers (such as Chrome) have this
plugin automatically installed (and updated) within itself. But, as environments change, you may want to
verify that your Browser is compatible with Adobe Flash. Current (Windows) Browsers where a successful
connection has been achieved include Chrome, Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Maxthon.
If you are having difficulties connecting your camera to NSN’s Flash, then try another Browser.
CONNECTING
Using your Browser, connect to: www.nightskiesnetwork.ca
The following login screen should appear on your Browser’s Window:
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LOGIN TO VIEWING CHANNELS
The first step is to Login to NSN Channel Viewer. So, either Click on the orange SIGN IN button near the
middle right of the screen, or Click on the LOGIN button at the top left of the Window.
A popup Window will appear, where you will enter your Username and Password. Click on the orange
LOGIN button to accept.
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You will now be presented with the Master Channel Lineup Window. You can examine the currently
available Channels in the list, and discover any Channels that are currently Broadcasting by observing a
Window snapshot on the its current Broadcast.
LOGIN TO YOUR CHANNEL
Now is the time to log into your Channel. Locate and Click on the Login heading on the right side of the red
line just above the Channel Names. Another Login Window will appear, asking again for your Username and
password.
The Brown Arrows on the left of the instructions that follow indicate when your action is required.
Enter in the information and Click on the PUBLISH CHANNEL button to accept these and start the
Broadcasting routine.
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Flash will attempt to set up a connection to NSN and you may notice some cool effects
as little squares try to align themselves in a row; yep we are getting all our ducks in
a row. Once the procedure is completed, the following window should be visible in
your Browser window.
Do not worry about “NetConnection Call Failed” comment in the Chat Window
You should notice the Adobe Flash Player Settings Window (the one with the Allow
and Deny Buttons.
Click on the Allow Button (else nobody will see and hear your amazing Broadcast; and this is very boring
for most Viewers).
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Now locate the small rectangle Window, the one with the Blue Send Button, and enter a message to let
everyone know what is happening. First Time users may send a message like “Setting Up”, but old pros will
immediately send a list of their current equipment used for the broadcast; “Meade LX200 10 inch SCT,
Mallincam DS, UV Filter”
Looking at the NSN Video window, you will notice some icons at the top. The only two
that you need to concern yourselves with when staring up are the two on the right.
Clicking on the icon that resembles a microphone toggles on and off your
microphone
Sometimes this is a good idea, as some laptop microphones may issue a feedback and
the viewers will hear some very loud echoing noise (They will let you know). If that
occurs just Toggle off the microphone, and in a later step you (with the viewer’s
guidance) will be able to adjust your microphone.
Clicking on the Camera icon will toggle on and off your Broadcast Camera (good to
do if you are broadcasting off your laptop camera and are having a bad hair day and
need to comb it).
Leave the left three icons alone, as they will be adjusted later in another window.
The Color Bar Window Icon toggles (Preview Compression) whether to compress or
not compress the Video Signal. Clicking on this allows you to see the exact same
compressed video stream of your broadcast over the internet as your Viewers see.
Click on it to return to your own uncompressed Source view.
The Circle Looping Arrows Icon will give a Bandwidth recommendation for your
Broadcast. But we will adjust that value later on.
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The Cog Wheel Icon (settings), will allow you to set your Video Source as either
Webcam or External Camera. Again, leave this icon alone, as we will make those
choices in a different Window.
Now is time to connect to our Camera (and if you have multiple microphone, select
one) to the Flash Driver to Broadcast its image.
Move your Mouse inside the NSN Video Window and Right-Click (CTRL-Click on Mac) inside the window
to activate the Settings Pop-Up Window.
The only Setting Headings that we are interested in is the one named Settings…
(the other choices are either disabled, or will take the Browser to the Adobe Help
site that will provide more information about Flash.
Click on the Settings… selection, then the Adobe Flash Play Settings Window will appear. Again we are
only interested in the Right two icons, the Microphone and the Camera.
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To Select your Camera, just Click on the Camera Icon, and select the camera (or ManyCam, WebcamMax,
SplitCam, CamTwist) that you are using to Broadcast your images from the Drop-Down List.
If you need to adjust (most time you will not have to worry about this Icon) your
Microphone, Click on the Microphone Icon.
You can select a specific Microphone (if your system has more than one), you can
adjust the volume, and even checkmark if you would like Flash to help reduce the
echo).
Click on the Close Button to activate these choices.
The Final Adjustment you may need to perform is to provide Flash with the
Bandwidth, Picture, Resolution, and Framerate Settings.
To activate the Flash Settings, Click in the NSN Video Window, and the Settings Window will pop-up.
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As you are streaming out lots of video data, move both the Bandwidth and Picture
Sliders to the right side of the screen.
The actual values depend upon your service provider’s up and down speed, but today
everybody has fast enough internet that placing the sliders on the right will be fine.
Most of us have cameras that are producing at a resolution of 640 x 480, so choose
this setting.
Frame Rate set at 15 Frames per Second is more than adequate for Broadcasting.
The Microphone set at default 11Kz is perfect.
Click on the Green OK Button to accept your updated settings.
There you are; you are now Broadcasting whatever your chosen camera (or Desktop Capture Software) is
displaying. You can now re-adjust the different windows in the Night Skies Network to make the best use of
your screen. You will be seeing what you are Broadcasting in the NSN View Window, you can see who has
logged into your Channel in the User’s Window, and you can Participate in the Channel Chat Window.
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CUSTOMIZING AND CONTROLLING YOUR CHANNEL
You can control the User’s behavior in your Channel by having the ability to Ban a specific user if he/she has
become antagonistic or disrespectful to the Night Skies Network Rules or to you. Near the Top of the
Browser Window you will see a Ban User Heading with a Drop-Down selector. Just use the Drop-Down
Button to select which User you need to Ban. NSN will then remove the user’s IP address from the allowable
devices that can connect to NSN.
There are Administrators also keeping an eye on Night Skies Network Channels, and they may also ban that
User from connecting to NSN.
There are sound effect used when ever a view makes a chat comment, you have the ability to turn off those
beeps by unchecking the Sound Effects checkbox located on the Channel Chat Window.
You can also make the Chat Lines comments more interesting by choosing a different Color, or using Bold,
Underline, and Italic. You can even add graphic symbols (emoticons) to the chatting lines to express
emotions.
Just select the appropriate enhancement choice from the right side of the Chat line.
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Then when you enter a reply and hit the Blue Send Button, the character changes will be displayed on the
Channel Chat Window.
You can observe who is logged into your Video Channel by examining the Viewers Window. You can also
think about Bragging rights by looking at the number of Viewers who are logged into your channel.
What, Only 2 Viewers. I guess nobody
likes looking at a street light?
When you are finsihed, and have said you good nights, it is time to log out of your Channel. Others may remain
to discuss the amazing images that you have been broadcasting, so the Channel may remain active until they
all exit.
Click on the Red STOP Button on the Night Skies Network Window.
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NSN Coffee Break Room
Night Skies Network provides a special location for Viewers and Broadcaster to hang out and chat or pass
along ideas, specifically if no one is currently broadcasting and you have that astronomy bug.
At the Bottom of the Main Night Skies Network Window is a Banner which provides the Doorway to the NSN
Coffee Break Room (Sorry you have to bring your own coffee, or tea, or whatever beverage suits you
tonight). Just Click on the CLICK HERE button.
You will be presented with a cool Login Window.
Enter in your User Name and Password and Click on the Blue Login Button (I know, everything is blue).
The Coffee Room Window will then Open up. Just Chat like you would using the NSN Chat Window
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The Coffee Room has cool sounds as people enter and leave (you leave by Clicking on the Red Dot in the
Upper Right Corner of the Coffee Room Window).
You can customize your experience in the Coffee Room, by Clicking on the Options button near the Bottom.
Another Window will open up where you can select themes, adjust sounds, have fun with effects, and even
adjust the fonts that you prefer to use when chatting. You can even choose a Picture as the Background of
your Theme. Just get in there and have some fun.
If you need to save the Chats, just Click on the Save Button on the Bottom on the screen. The Coffee Room
will open another HTML page with a copy of the Chats. Just save that window using your Browser.
You can also let people know if you are Away, Here, Busy, or BRB by choosing the appropriate heading
beside Options. This message will appear beside your name on the Right side on the Window.
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You can also create Custom and Private Chat areas by clicking on the Add Button near the Top of the Coffee
Room window. Then Give the room a name, and if necessary (I don’t know why) a password.
To EXIT the Coffee Room, you just need to Click on the Red Dot located on the Upper Right Side of the
Coffee Room Window.
So have fun and Visit the Coffee Room (p.s. remember administrators are ensuring proper language and
respect is taking place at all times …).
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Help (Something is Wrong)
I DON’T SEE MY LIST OF CAMERAS IN THE NSN CAMERA CHOOSER.
This is a Flash to Browser issue. It can happen quite often after installing a new Direct Show device. There
are two possible solutions to this. The first try another Browser and see if the other Browser works better
with Flash. The second solution which works for me (as I am always installing and uninstaller DirectShow
Drivers). My current go-to browser is Chrome. But when I try to select a camera in the Camera settings in
NSN, my list is sometime empty (nothing to choose at all). I just log-out. Shutdown Chrome, Start Internet
Explorer, reconnect to NSN, and now I have no difficulties connecting to my camera. Then I again log out,
shutdown Internet Explorer, start Chrome, log back into NSN, and for some reason, I can now select my
camera from the list. Go figure.
SOMEHOW MY IMAGE IS FROZEN ON NSN.
This catches us all by surprise, because everything looks good at our end. It is usually the Viewers who let
you know that something is wrong. We don’t know why this happens, we believe it is Flash that has just
frozen. The only solution is to shut down the Browser (the Channel will still stay active because Viewers are
still in the Channel), then restart the Browser, log back into your Channel. Everything should be back up and
running (in ugly situations, sometimes you have to reboot the computer, a real pain).
MY IMAGE IS VERY PIXELATED
Make sure that settings in NSN is set to a high enough resolution, say 640 x 480. Also if you are using a piece
of Desktop Capture Software (SplitCam, CamTwist, ManyCam), make sure that its resolution is at, say 640 x
480. You can also change the Bandwidth and Picture sliders in the NSN settings window. Maybe your
computer is just having a slow day, or the internet is experiencing a lot of traffic.
ONCE I CONNECT TO MY CAMERA, MY CAMERA CONTROL SOFTWARE LOCKS UP.
The camera’s driver can only be controlled by one piece of software at a time. Sometimes we need software
such as MallincamSky to control our SkyRaider camera. Then MallincamSky MUST have control of the
camera so it can produce the image. You will then need a Desktop Capture Software such as SplitCam,
CamTwist, or ManyCam to capture the portion of the desktop that contains MallincamSky’s Video Window.
You will then tell NSN that the camera you are using is SplitCam, CamTwist, or ManyCam and NSN will
broadcast what the Desktop Capture Software is looking at.
MY SOUND AND VIDEO ARE OUT OF SYNC
Welcome to the world of the internet. Flash is capturing both video and sound sending it to the Night Skies
Network Distribution Server which then sends the data back through the internet to the Viewers. Sound
uses less bandwidth than video, so they can get easily out of sync by one internet relay server being
overwhelmed by all the other internet traffic going through it. You may notice that what the Broadcaster
sees, and what the Viewer sees can get to be out of sync by up to 30 seconds or more.
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I KEEP GETTING KNOCKED OUT OFF NIGHT SKIES NETWORK
There is no really good solution to this, as there could be many temporary causes. It could be that Flash and
your Browser are having a bad time together due to Windows doing some internal house cleaning. It could
also be something along the internet path is having intermittent difficulties, and that causes Flash to lose a
secure connection. Try a complete reboot of your computer (this may allow Windows to finish what it was
trying to do), and see if this fixes the problem.
I SIGN-IN AND GET ‘YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BROADCAST AT THIS TIME’ MESSAGE.
Something has happened to your account permissions. Hopefully you did not misbehave while visiting Night
Skies Network in the recent past. Click on the Contact Us button on the bottom of the Night Skies Network
Home Page and fill in the details for us so we can resolve the problem.
DO I HAVE TO OPEN UP ANOTHER WINDOW TO SEE WHAT MY VIEWS SEE?
Nope, there is no need to do that (unless you are also viewing another Channel). What you see on your NSN
Window is uncompressed Video signal from your camera. This signal is then compressed and send to all of
the other Viewers of your Channel. To see what the Viewers are seeing, just Click on the icon that looks like
a TV with Color Bars at the top on your Broadcast Window. This icon toggles between non-compressed
(what you see) and preview compressed (what your viewers see).
CAN I BROADCAST OVER WI-FI?
Sure, as long as your Wi-Fi has a strong enough signal to the internet, you should have no real difficulty. If
you try to Broadcast and speak at the same time, you are walking on the edge of the through-put
capabilities. But, Broadcaster have had success doing both. Give it a try if you need to, as we have had users
use their Smart Phone as a wireless hub to Broadcast live in the outback in Australia.
CAMTWIST DOESN’T WORK.
The latest version of the Flash player is 64 bit by default. The CamTwist driver doesn't
work in 64 bit applications and thus the CamTwist camera will not be visible. You can
try running your app (Safari for example) in 32-bit mode to see if that solves the
problem. Another possibility is to downgrade the Flash player.
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NSN Extras
If you Look at the Top on the Night Skies Network Window you will notice some Titles.
So let’s look at these more closely.
HOME
Clicking on this Title brings you back to the Home location www.nightskiesnetwork.ca
LOGIN
Clicking on this Title provides an alternate way to Sign-In to the Channel area. It is identical to Clicking on
the Orange SIGN IN button located in the middle of the screen.
COMMUNITY
Placing your mouse over this Title automatically drops-down a menu choice.
From here you can visit some other areas on the Night Skies Network’s Website.
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Broadcaster Captures
If you select the heading Broadcaster Captures, then another window will open up allowing you to look at
previous Broadcaster’s work. You can Click on one of the Dots to go to a specific image, or let the Slide Show
progress on its own. More images will be added as Broadcasters submit their pictures.
Useful Links
As we find Websites that provide cool information, we will add them to the Useful Link area.
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International Video Astronomy Star Party
Every Year Rock Mallin hosts a Video Start Party at his Home. All are Welcome (just make reservations with
him). Clicking on the Title takes you to Rock’s Star Party Website.
Ecvar Star Party
Clicking on the Title will take you to the Ecvar Start Party Website.
About NSN
The About NSN gives a small blurb about NSN (how about that for a great Title).
SIGN UP TO BROADCAST
Another location that duplicates the SIGN UP TO BROADCAST button. You just Click on this Title to register
for a Broadcast Account. See section in manual that covers the process in more detail.
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NSN LIVE FACEBOOK
If you have a Facebook account, you can visit (and join) the NSN Live Facebook page. This Facebook page
contains up to date information about NSN and Mallincam related captures and discussions.
SIGN UP TO WATCH
Another location that duplicates the SIGN UP TO WATCH button. You just Click on this Title to register for a
Viewing Account. See section in manual that covers the process in more detail.
SITE RULES
Clicking on this Title will display the Site rules for Night Skies Network (just in case you did not read them
in this User Manual).
HELP
Hovering your mouse over the Help Title will drop-down Some for Choices.
Site Instructions
This will give you the techniques to get Broadcasting on Night Skies Network (just in case you did not read
the section called I DON’T READ MANUALS in this User Manual).
Contact Us
You guessed it, select this for a pop-up window that allows you to contact us. Just fill in the information and
click on the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the Window, and we will get back to you.
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Privacy Policy
If you want to keep the lawyers happy then select this choice. It provides all of the jargon that should be
there when you are using a Streaming site. Enjoy the reading.
MY ACCOUNT
At the Bottom of the Night Skies Network Home Window are some Duplicate Buttons of the Top of the
Home Window. With one exception. The My Account Button.
Clicking the My Account button will allow you to see your current account information. Along with the
ability to update it. You can also use this area to change your password. Neat eh.
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