September 2012

Open Source Media Software

I recently received an education in global DVD compatibility, and was encouraged to share my findings with the STJ community.  A professor recently asked me to facilitate the purchase of a DVD for a class.  As I researched its availability I found that it was not available domestically and was out of stock from Amazon UK.  I did locate it from another UK vendor and began to process this order.

The professor then told me that the DVD was made in a PAL format and not NTSC. Without getting into technical details, it means that this DVD is encoded for use in many countries, but not in the USA, which uses the NTSC format. Windows Media Player which we tend to use by default is not PAL compatible. I then found out that DVD players sold in PAL countries play both kinds of discs, but NTSC players can’t play PAL discs.

With the assistance of the IT Department, I was alerted to an open source media software program entitled VLC Media Player available free via CNET that addresses this issue.  Due to the global reach of the St. John’s community, the links listed below might be particularly helpful.

For PC;pop

For MAC;pop

Exhibition on View August 30th – October 12th 2012

4th Floor University LibraryMary Garden at St. John's

The Mary Garden at St. John’s is located behind Donovan Hall and lies adjacent to the Organic Community Garden. Conceived and designed by Professor Andrea Oliva Florendo, M.A., DDA and her Mariology students as cross-curricular gardeners, the Mary Garden provides students with an opportunity for community service.  In this service learning project, art, stewardship and gardening offer the vehicles and language for theological reflections, and devotional and spiritual inculturation.

A Mary Garden is an essential, but little examined feature of garden history that can be traced from the small monastic gardens of medieval times. The name has its recorded origins in Renaissance religious art in which paintings of Mary or the Virgin and Child are depicted in an enclosed garden (Hortus Conclusus) surrounded by symbolic flowers.  Whereas a Mary Garden of the 13th century was created to spread the Gospel and Christian symbolism, the modern-day Mary Garden may also be seen as a conservation tool instrumental in encouraging the preservation of biodiversity.

Outside of the classroom, students have a greenhouse, a herbarium at St. Albert Hall and the garden itself at their disposal. Hands-on activities such as pressed-flower art, nature printing, watercolor painting, and gardening allow for the students’ own discovery and spirituality.  The results of some of these students’ activities are on display on the 4th floor of St. Augustine Hall.  Also featured in the exhibition are books from St. John’s University Libraries and Special Collections. These books, and many more, are available for further research, by visiting the main library on the Queens Campus or making an appointment with the University Archives and Special Collections Department at

For more information about the Mary Garden at St. John’s, please contact Andrea Oliva Florendo at