Tar Heel Reader

New Accessible Games

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We are developing browser-based games that are designed to be accessible to players with a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities. You can help us improve these switch-accessible games by letting your students play them and giving us feedback. All the games have been tested in the Google Chrome browser on laptops, desktops and ChromeBooks but they are unlikely to work on iOS devices.

In Space Defense you will guess the move that will block the alien spaceship

In Switch Tetris you can play Tetris with two switches and no time constraints. On each turn the
computer allows you to choose between the best and worst move.

In Crawler Game you will explore a dungeon collecting treasure and defeating enemies (soon). This game is a work in progress.

Please give these a try and give us your feedback by completing this form

Problems with the site

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I had to move Tar Heel Reader to a new machine and some problems cropped up in the process. There were issues with downloading books as PowerPoint or EPub and uploading images. I believe these are fixed.

There is some issue with the way we use Flickr for images. Search goes very slowly if it works at all and sometimes even if the search succeeds it fails to display the resulting images.

I’m working on it but I am currently at a loss for any idea about what is happening.

Update: 3:50PM Friday Maybe it is working now?

Login issues

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Several people have reported trouble logging in to the site. After entering their username and password they just get redirected to the page to login again.

I don’t know why this is happening but clearing your cookies appears to cure the problem for most. You can find instructions here: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/clear-cache-cookies-specific-website and at several other sites on the web.

Transitioning to https

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We are moving to https://tarheelreader.org from the old http://. If I have done things correctly it should just work but there will, no doubt, be issues with the transition.

I have configured it to be as permissive as I know how for the transition. I plan to gradually tighten it up over the next few weeks .

If it fails, try refreshing the page with Control-F5 or shift and the refresh button. Restarting your browser may help.

My hope is this change will fix some of the problems a few of you have been having with logins.

Problems with book writing

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Some users are having problems writing books. I currently think the problem originates at the picture repository Flickr. I’m working on it.

Login problem

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There is some new problem with login. I don’t know what it is and don’t have time to look at it now.

Maybe clearing the cache on your browser will help.

10 Million Books Read!

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We passed the 10 million books read milestone on January 7th at 7:35 PM EST!

Congratulations Tar Heel Readers!

Server changes

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We switched servers and the operating system software underneath Tar Heel Reader this morning. I think everything is working but please report any problems that you encounter.

A bug in the writing page

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I introduced a bug in the write page with a change that was supposed to be innocent. Thanks to a report from one of our users, I have now fixed it.

You’ll likely need to reload the page twice to fix the problem. The issue is the way pictures appear when you click on them to zoom them up.

Hotmail hates us!

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The hotmail email service hates Tar Heel Reader and throws our messages away without notifying us or you. This results in me getting inquiries from new users who have attempted to sign up but never got our password message.

I have modified the registration process to reject hotmail addresses. You’ll need to use some other provider to sign up with us.

Big fonts temporarily disabled

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The changes I made to implement big fonts may be causing problems for some users. I don’t understand what is happening so I am stepping back to the state we were in before 24 February to see if the errors go away. I apologize for the issues with “parse error” some of you have been seeing.

Those who need big fonts can still use them at http://test.tarheelreader.org.

I’ll do my best to get them working again on the production site.

Large fonts when reading books

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Based on a request from a teacher, I have implemented an experimental large fonts feature for readers who can’t quite see the text in our normal format. To activate the feature press the z key (that’s zed) while reading a book. It will cycle through three font sizes and then back to normal. In this mode you’ll first the the normal page layout, then when you go to next you’ll see a version of the same page with large fonts and a small picture. Selecting next again will take you to the next page again in normal format. I think of it as a bit like the book doubling in length with pages devoted to pictures and pages devoted to text.

I’d appreciate your feedback on this design. How does it work for your students? What could be improved?

Bad Language bug

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I just found and fixed a bug that resulted in some of you getting an error message about “Bad Language”. The issue wasn’t the use of foul language in your books; it was a bug in the code.

Thanks to Lori and Paige for reporting the issue.

You may need to force your browser to refresh TWO TIMES by pressing the F5 key or pressing the little circular refresh arrow near the URL bar in order to get the updates.

New features at Tar Heel Reader

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This morning we released a new version of Tar Heel Reader that has been in development for over a year. It brings several new features and possibly a few bugs.

  • New voice: Those of you using modern browsers should see a new option Built in in the Speech menu. This will use the built-in text-to-speech capability on your computer and my sound better than the old speech engines we have on the site.
  • Reading offline: On modern web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox you’ll have the option of saving books into local storage on your computer so that you can read them when you are offline. Simply add books to your Favorites and then go to the Read offline page to add them to your locally stored books. You can even have speech when offline by using the Built-In voice.
  • Draft books in Favorites: Now you can add books that you would rather not publish to your Favorites page. Simply read your draft book from the Your Books page and then click the Heart icon in the upper right of the first page of the book to add it to your Favorites. We hope this will make it easier for your students to read unpublished books.
  • Passwords: Probably the most requested feature has been the option to change your password; that should now work.

Let us know by sending mail to tarheelreader@cs.unc.edu if you run into issues with the new version.

Tar Heel Gameplay

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Check out our new site Tar Heel Gameplay with games everyone can play. You’ll find a growing collection of games made from YouTube videos. The games are accessible using switches, mouse, or touch screens.

You can create and share your own games using the Create page. You can have a simple gameplay going in just a few seconds using the Basic creator. The Precise creator allows you to put varied prompts at just the times you want. The Advanced creator allows you to create gameplays with multiple choices, jumps, and loops.