PCS Video – FAQs
If you still have an open question, please use the form below the FAQ section to send us an email. We will be getting back to you as soon as possible.
Troubleshooting – When stuck, start here!
When I install a PCS Video Course, the installer asks me for the 'next install medium'. What's the problem?
This happens if you start the installer before all the installation files (.pak, .pak.1, .pak.2 and so on) have been downloaded completely to the same directory. The installer needs all of these files at the time of installation.
So please make sure that
before you start the installer.
Note: If one of the downloads is aborted, make sure that you remove the partially downloaded file from the download directory. Otherwise, your browser will rename the new file on your next download attempt and the installer will not find the file.
Note: On Windows, the file extensions are hidden by default. So the names dislayed by the file explorer may be misleading. Right-click on the file and choose "Properties" from the pop-up menu. This will display the file properties, including the full name.
When I close the player, it's gone. Where is the 'start' button?
If you close the PCS Player page or Chrome, the PCS Player will not automatically open again. You have to create a bookmark in in your Chrome browser just as for any normal web page and use that bookmark to go back to the PCS Player page when you start it next time.
To start the PCS Player again when you have not created a bookmark, there are two solutions:
If the above solution does not work, try the following:
Navigate to the directory where you installed the course. The default would be called "The Photo Cookbook Series". In that directory, you should find a file called "start now.html". Note that the extension will be hidden on some systems. Simply open this HTML file in Chrome: E.g. on Windows, right-click, choose "Open in…" and the "Chrome".
IMPORTANT: Make sure you bookmark the page to have it available quicker for the next start. It’s basically a web page like any other.
Tip: On Windows, you can also create an application shortcut on your desktop. This will make the PCS Payer look more like a normal program that you can start by double-clicking the desktop icon. Creating a bookmark and an application shortcut are explained in this video (at 3m40s).
I have downloaded the course files. Now I am lost! What's the next step?
If you have no clue what to do with the downloads, the best place to start are the Installation Instructions. Please take the time to watch the video tutorials in this section. There are separate tutorials for Windows and Mac OS that walk you through the entire installation process from the downloads all the way to starting the course.
When I double-click on the '.pak' files, I get an error message. What's up with this?
The package files (".pak", ".pak.1", ".pak.2" etc.) that may come with your course are not meant to be started or opened in any way. These files contain the installation data and they are read by the installer (the ".jar" file). Do not try to open any of the ".pak" files directly. Simply start the installer by double-clicking on the ".jar" file you downloaded.
I have problems downloading the files. The downloads get stuck and don't continue. How do I resolve this?
All our course downloads are hosted by Amazon's storage service S3. Amazon guarantees 99,9% availability, and our experience shows that in all cases where users had download issues, the problem was to be found somewhere in the user's Internet connection, computer hardware or software.
Here is a list of things you should try in that order to solve the problem. After each step try to download the files again.
If all of the above fails, try the following:
If all of this still fails, contact us, and we will try to help.
Clicking on one of the download links results in an error message. What's happening?
Our download links will expire 48 - 72 hours after your order has been completed. If you click on one of the links after this time has passed, your browser will display an error message like the following:
"The secure download manager ran into a problem that it couldn’t handle, and is unable to process your download request.
The problem was due to the following reason:
If you see this (or a similar) message and you still need to download the files, please send us an email with your transaction ID (found in the original email with the download links) and tell us about the problem. We will verify whether your transaction ID is valid and send you a fresh set of links promptly.
When I try to open the '.jar' file, I get the message: 'This app can't run on your pc.' Why is that?
You will see this message on Windows 8 PCs if you have not installed Java before opening the installer app (the '.jar' file that came with your downloads).
On older systems (e.g. Windows 7), you will get a more elaborate message telling you that your system has no application installed for that file type and does not know what to do.
Solution: Please check out the videos for you operating system in the Installation Instructions to get detailed instructions on how to install Google Chrome, Java and the course itself. Follow the steps shown in the videos and you'll be fine.
My browser keeps saying 'Please open in Chrome.' How do I do this?
First off, you need to have Chrome installed to watch any of our courses. Please check out the Installation Instructions to find out how to do this.
If Chrome is already installed on your computer, use your file browser (Explorer on Windows or Finder on Mac OS) and navigate to the directory where you installed the course. The default would be called "The Photo Cookbook Series". In that directory, you should find a file called "start now.html". Note that the file extension (".html") will be hidden on some systems. Simply open this HTML file in Chrome: E.g. on Windows, right-click on the file, choose "Open with…" and then "Google Chrome".
IMPORTANT: Make sure you bookmark the page once you have opened it in Chrome to have it available quicker for the next start. It’s basically a web page like any other. This video (at 3m40s) explains how to create a bookmark (jump to the 4:32 mark).
The installer keeps warning me that the installation directory already exists. Is that a problem?
No! This happens if you have already installed another course ( e.g. the Free Trial Course). You can safely click "Yes" here. The installer will not overwrite any of your other courses. It may update the PCS Player software automatically if it brings a more recent version that the one that is installed on your computer. But that's perfectly fine.
The installer says 'failed to unpack pack:...'. What can I do to cure this?
The error message 'failed to unpack pack:' followed by the name of some package occurs if one or more of the downloaded files have been corrupted during the download. There are two solutions for this problem:
Solution 1: If you have a fast Internet connect and if you can spend the time to download all the files again, please do the following:
After the new download is complete, restart the installer and check if the problem is solved.
Solution 2: If you have a slow Internet connection and if you want to avoid downloads as much as possible, please do the following:
Depending on the results of these checks, do the following:
If all the files have the correct size, but wrong names, please rename them correctly.
If any of the files has a different size than given in the order confirmation email is is corrupted. Remove it and restart the download of that file.
If all the files have the correct name AND the correct size, it is unclear which one is corrupted. Go through all the '.pak' files one by one and
On Mac OS I get a warning that Java 7 does not run in Chrome. Is that a problem?
No, it's not! The warning refers to the Java Plug-in for Chrome. You do not need that plug-in to run our courses in Chrome. You only need the Java runtime environment (JRE) that can run Java programs on your Computer. These are two separate things. The JRE will be installed and runs properly so that it can execute the course installer.
I restarted one of the downloads for my course, and now the installer runs into problems. What gives?
If you restart one of the downloads, please make sure that you remove the file of the previous (failed or aborted) download before you restart. Otherwise, your browser will append some characters to the file name of the newly downloaded file, to avoid overwriting the existing one (same file name). The consequence is that the installer will read the corrupted file of the failed download and ignore the new one.
If you already downloaded a file anew and ran into problems, please do the following:
When I double-click on the '.jar' file included in the downloads, it does not start the installer. How can I fix that?
The .jar file is an executable Java program that installs the course properly on your computer and inside Chrome. On Windows, the file extension '.jar' is normally associated with Java so that when you double-click it, the installer is launched.
However, even if you have properly installed Java, some other Windows software (typically archiver software that deals with ZIP files) may hijack the '.jar' extension and prevent the installer from being launched.
To fix that and execute '.jar' files normally again, please download the little Windows utility called jarfix.exe and run it. When it has finished successfully, it will display a small window telling you that the ".jar suffix has been registered successfully."
Close the Jarfix application by clicking 'Ok' and then double-click on the course installer again.
Check out the video "How to fix the PCS jar installer problem" for a more detailed explanation and an alternative way of solving the problem.
If the installer still does not launch, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the PCS Player?
The PCS Player is a web application that runs inside your web browser. It runs and controls PCS video courses and provides many features beyond the bare videos that make your learning experience more interactive and simple.
Can I also watch the PCS courses without the PCS Player?
Yes, you can. Basically, a PCS Video Course is just a set of videos (one for each lesson). You can navigate to the lessons subdirectory of the respective course and start the videos one by one in a video player that is installed on your computer.
But keep in mind: When you watch the course in the PCS Player, you will get a bunch of additional features that will make it much easier for you to consume the content.
What are the main features of the PCS Player?
First and foremost, the PCS Player plays the videos of the individual lessons in a course and presents you with a concise table of content. But beyond that, it provides access to additional learning resources that are presented to you as you watch the relevant parts of a course. These resources can include the original source photos used in a course, Photoshop project files, cross-references to other lessons and courses, relevant links to external resources on the web etc.
The PCS Player also provides a sophisticated bookmark framework that lets you define bookmarks for the parts of the course that you find most interesting. In combination with the Quick Bookmark function, this allows you to get quick access to the information that is most relevant to you. The lesson navigation functions allows you to watch a course in a non-linear manner without getting lost. This means that you can jump back and forth between different lessons in a way that is most appropriate for your needs, and the PCS Player remembers the way in which you watched the course.
What do I need to watch a PCS course?
You need the PCS Player, the PCS Video Course you want to watch, and you need to have the Chrome web browser installed on your system to run them. For the installation of the PCS Player and PCS Video Courses, you also need the Java Runtime Environment.
Why does the PCS Player only run on Chrome?
We'd therefore rather spent our efforts on developing the functionality of the PCS Player up to a point where it is easily usable and provides the maximum benefit for you, rather than concentrating on cross-browser compatibility at the cost of a reduced set of features.
Are there any plans to support other browsers in the future?
Not at the moment. The PCS Player may run on other browsers out of the box, but on some browsers it may never run. For example, Mozilla Firefox has a fundamental design flaw that prevents the PCS Player from running.
Why do I need a web browser for running the PCS Player?
Is it safe to run the PCS Player in my browser?
Absolutely! Your web browser is designed to keep the software running inside from accessing your system. So even if the PCS Player was misbehaving, it could not harm your system in any way (e.g. delete files and add harmful files).
If the PCS Player is only a web page, why do I need to install it?
The installation of the PCS Player itself is nothing more than extracting a ZIP archive inside a new directory you create. No system information will be changed in this process. We use an installer software to keep all the nasty little details away from you. That's all!
The additional installation of PCS Video Courses inside Chrome is necessary to tell the PCS Player where to find the course and all the accompanying information. We are using a mechanism called localStorage for this. localStorage is a piece of memory of limited size which is maintained inside the Chrome browser and is kept completely separate from any other data in your browser or on your system.The necessary data is written into this storage space and when the PCS Player web page is loaded, it reads this data.
So apart from copying a bunch of files onto your computer, the act of installing the PCS Player and PCS Video Courses will only change the storage in Chrome. No other resources or files of your system will be affected.
Can I also watch PCS Video Courses online?
No, not at this time!
The PCS Video Courses are designed to be downloaded and watched offline on your computer. This is much more scalable, avoids any connectivity problems from spoiling your learning experience and saves precious resources on the server side which helps us keep the course prices low.
Can I watch PCS courses on my tablet PC?
Tablet PCs are not officially supported. If you have Chrome installed on your tablet, if you have enough space on the device, and if you have a way of getting the files onto your tablet, you may be able to watch it there. But the best way to consume the courses is really your desktop or laptop computer. They usually have enough storage space and system resources. They can run a full version of Chrome. And they run the software that you need to practice what you learn (e.g. Photoshop).
I have a slow Internet connection. Can I still download the courses?
The course download packages are split into smaller chunks so that you can download one by one. If you are able to watch HD video online (2-3 MBit/s bandwidth) you should be fine. Although, the download may take a few hours.
Do you also sell physical DVDs with the PCS Video Courses on them?
Not at this time. Selling physical DVDs requires a completely different infrastructure and creates additional costs. We'd rather keep the overhead and the costs as low as possible so that the prices remain low and our time can be spent on more useful things than packaging and shipping DVDs (e.g. improving the Player and the Courses for you).
What am I allowed to do with the courses I download?
All material within the PCS Video Courses is protected under copyright law. You may watch it on as many computers and as often as you want. You may also make a backup copy.
However you must NOT disseminate any part of the content (video, text, images, software etc.) to any third party (e.g. by uploading it to a file sharing service or video sharing platform or through any other communication medium). You must also not show the content or any part of it publicly or use it in any commercial context other than for your own personal education.
Please consult the license agreement that you find in the PCS Player and Video Course directories for more details. Agreeing to these licensing terms is a part of the installation process.
Why do I need the have Java installed on my computer to use PCS Video Courses?
Java is not required for watching the courses. It is, however, required for installing them.
A number of rather technical steps are necessary to copy all the required files to the correct location on your computer and to set up everything so that you can start watching a course. To keep these details as far as possible from you, we have packaged PCS Video Courses in installer programs. Such an installer does all the hard work for you and guides you through the installation process.
Since you may be running any type of operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc.), the installer needs to be able to run on all these systems. This is what Java does for us: It provides an environment for running the same installer program on any type of computer.
I don't use Chrome. I use a different browser. Can I still watch PCS Video Courses?
If you don't have Chrome, and if you don't like to use it for browsing the web, that's fine. There is no need to replace your standard browser with Chrome.
In fact, you can safely install Chrome besides your main browser and use it only for watching PCS Video Courses. You would then continue using your referred browser for surfing the web. The browsers will not interfere with each other, and when Chrome asks you if you want to make it your default browser, just say 'No'.
How do I start the installer if I am using 'Path Finder' instead of 'Finder' on Mac OS X?
In Path Finder (which is a replacement for the standard Finder App in Mac OS), you have to right-click the JAR file and open it in the Jar Launcher to start the installer.
What is a '.jar' file and what do I do with it?
The '.jar' file that you get when you download a course is the installer file. It can be executed with a double-click if you have Java installed. 'JAR' stands for Java Archive.
Each PCS Video Course comes packaged in such an installer (possibly together with multiple '.pak' files) that puts all the components of the course onto your computer and tells Chrome where to find them. This is done by the '.jar' file when you execute it. Make sure that Java is installed on your system before you try installing a course. Detailed installation instructions can be found on the course page.
You still have an open question?
If you did not get the desired answer above, please send us an email with your question, and we will get back to you.