Frequently Asked Questions
- When I shared my story, I could not play the sounds. How do I make sound work?
Playing sounds in shared stories requires Flash, which Apple does not allow on iPhone/iPad/iPod. Sound should work from any regular computer, as long as Flash is installed. (It almost always is.) If sound is still not working and you are using Internet Explorer, you might try a different browser. Sound should work in any modern browser (including recent versions of IE), but we have seen issues with IE in the past.
- When I tried to share, it said it couldn't connect and gave error 204. What's wrong?
That error usually comes up if your internet connection is blocked by a firewall (i.e. a proxy server at a school or company). If your IT department can open the firewall for "iphone.childrenslibrary.org", it should solve the problem. It might be the case that you're simply not connected to the Internet. If you can view the StoryKit FAQ page (http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org) from the device, then sharing should work as well. If not, please send email and let us know.
- How do I share my story on Facebook or Twitter (or any other social network)?
Share the story and send the e-mail with the link to your self. Then, you can copy the link from the e-mail and paste it into Facebook, Twitter. On a regular computer, right-click the link and choose "Copy Link" (or similar). In the iPhone Mail program, press and hold the link for a couple seconds and then choose "Copy" from the menu that pops up.
- Why doesn't StoryKit have a website for sharing stories publicly (i.e. with other StoryKit users)?
In designing StoryKit, our first concern was the privacy of children using it. Some people put personal family photos in their stories. People of all ages are using StoryKit. Although people have differing views on privacy, it is important that all parents and teachers feel safe letting even young children use StoryKit. Therefore, we designed the sharing feature so that your stories are never posted publicly unless you choose to share the link publicly. Furthermore, no special account setup is necessary. That said, if we receive a lot of feedback asking for this, we might try to set something up in the future.
- How exactly does sharing work?
After you upload your story to our server, the server sends back a private web address just for your story. StoryKit opens a mail window with a link to your story, which you can send to yourself or anybody you like. That message will be sent directly from your iPhone (or iPod Touch) using whatever e-mail service you usually use with the Mail application on your device. That link is intended to be viewed from a web browser on a desktop computer (Firefox/Windows or Safari/Mac recommended), but you can also view it with Safari/iPhone.
- Why does it take so long to upload my story?
When uploading my story, it seems to stop for a minute or two. Why?
A few things may be causing this. If it seems slow, the best thing is to connect to WiFi (i.e. in a house or office) and try again. If you've added sounds, uploading may pause for a minute or two while the sound file is sent to the server. Sending stories with sounds when connected to 3G or EDGE cell networks will be especially slow. If you have a lot of pages or photos on your pages, that will add to the time somewhat.
- Since I upgraded to iOS 4, StoryKit crashes sometimes.
Although we have tested with I'll ask for ourselves, we have received a few reports of problems. To the best of our knowledge, it is affecting a very small number of users. Of course, if it's affecting you, that is no consolation. We are planning to release an update in October or November 2010 that we hope solve the problem. Because it is working on our iOS 4 devices, we don't know for sure what is causing the problem but we will be looking into it further. Unfortunately, due to scheduling constraints, we aren't able to do this immediately, but we are looking forward to getting it resolved. You might be able to work around the problem by resetting your device. To do that, hold the top button and the front home button for a few seconds and power it off. Then, power it back on. If this is affecting you, we apologize. We would appreciate your letting us know so we know how prevalent it is and so we can try to collect clues as to what might be causing it.
- Sometimes when I add a photograph or text box, it appears too high on the page.
We are aware of an intermittent bug with this and are working on a solution. The bug only affects a small percentage of users. It will be fixed in the next update of StoryKit. In the meantime, if you see this problem, just drag the photo or text box down to where it should be.
- How can I get more books?
Basically, the StoryKit application is for creating your own new books. We included a few public domain books from the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) to help you get started. If you'd like to see more such books available in the next StoryKit update, please send us e-mail and let us know. Because of licensing issues, we will most likely be limited to public domain books, but we'd be happy to add this in the future if there is enough interest.
- How can I print my story?
We don't have a good option, yet. This is partly because StoryKit was made for electronic stories and lets you include things that can't be printed, such as the clickable speaker icons (sounds) and the scrolling text boxes. (When your story text doesn't fit in the box, it lets you scroll to see the rest.) That wouldn't work with a piece of paper, or even a PDF. However, we've heard from a number of people who would still like some way to print their stories. We are looking at possibilities. For now, you may find it helpful to try printing from Firefox, instead of another browser. No browser that we've seen prints them perfectly, but Firefox seems to do the best, in our experience.
- How can I save my story for offline use or long-term preservation?
We don't yet have a good option for saving stories, separate from the web. Although development time right now is limited, we consider this a high priority. We don't think your stories should be tied to a particular server. That said, StoryKit is maintained by the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland, a research group with a 27-year history, including many long-term projects, such as the International Children's Digital Library. We are highly unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Support inquiries, questions, complements, and complaints can be sent by email to...
If you're having trouble with anything, we hope you'll give us an opportunity to help you fix it. Also, if you have any stories you don't mind us sharing publicly (i.e. on the web site, in research articles, etc.), we'd be most appreciative. Just share them with that address and we'll get back to you.