The site is self-explanatory to use, but keep the following thoughts in mind while viewing the pages.
1) Using this site will require a computer equipped with a sound card and speakers. The sounds were optimized for playback on external speakers, and may be distorted when played through a standard internal PC speaker.
2) The heart sounds were maximized for smooth playback on a Pentium-II 333 MHz. If you are hearing beats coming too quickly, or too slowly, it may be due to Internet issues or to the speed of your machine. Each cycle of murmurs should have 3-4 beats, and the pacing of the beats should not be interpreted as significant.
3) You will notice that the murmurs play continuously in the background while you are reading about the pathophysiology. This is an intentional choice. In order to have the murmurs play only on demand, a reasonable length of beats would have to be downloaded to your machine, at least eight to ten cycles, so that you could appreciate the cadence of the rhythm. This would make the sound files extremely large and the site very slow. To minimize download times, the sounds have been shortened and looped continuously so that you can pick out the subtle aspects of the murmur via repetition. If you want to read about a murmur without having it play in the background, turn off your computerís speakers.
5) The text and graphics of this site were optimized for best viewing with Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher on a monitor with 800 x 600 resolution or higher. Users with resolution set for less than this will have disturbingly large text and graphics.
6) The audio files in this site are standard .au and .wav formats. Using Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher with a standard IBM-compatible machine should automatically work. If you are unable to hear the sounds, a recommended plug-in which works well for Macintosh is Beatnik. If you are using Netscape Communicator 4.0 or higher, you may need to download the multimedia add-on from Netscape Communications.
7) If you are still not hearing the sounds, be sure to check the following:
A) Make sure you have a sound card in your computer. For Macintosh, this is built-in. For Windows users, you can use the system program in the control panel folder and click on the device manager tab. If you have a card installed, check that it is loaded with the proper driver.
B) Make sure that your volume is turned all the way up. For Macintosh, there is a sound file in the control panel folder which adjusts volume. Windows users will see a speaker icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Double-clicking that will bring up volume control. If you have external speakers, be sure they are connected and turned on with high volume.
C) Go to the introduction page for this site and notice if a dialog box appears stating that you cannot listen to the audio file. If no dialog box appears, then the file is being interpreted correctly by your machine, and the problem is either that your sound card or speakers are not working properly, or that the volume control is set too low. Internet Explorer should work just as well as Netscape Navigator, and may be an option if you cannot hear sounds with Navigator.
6) Enjoy the site!