Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do You Hear the Jing-ling in Your Ears

Sometimes in the tech world, you stumble upon things.  This stumble was a rather unique one.  I am, what most would describe, an equal opportunity computer user.  I try to give every operating system and device a chance.  Sometimes in this process, I fall in love with certain parts.  When it comes to a Mac, one thing that I have fallen head over heels for is the style of the keyboards.  I find it easier to type on for some reason.  While some of you might disagree, I don't want to dwell too much on that because it is not the point of me bringing this up.  Seeing as I enjoy typing on this keyboard, I decided that I was going to plug this keyboard into my custom built PC.  At first, I really loved it and saw no drawbacks for using this keyboard.  Then, it happened.  I saw that a certain key was missing from the keyboard.  That certain key was none other than the PRTSCN key.  While many people have no use for this key, I am regularly using the print screen key as I am working.  So, now what was I supposed to do?  I was caught between a rock and a hard place.  Do I unplug this glorious keyboard and head back to a Microsoft keyboard with the legs missing?  Do I grin and bear not having my trustworthy friend?  Ah, and then like a glimmer of hope, it appeared.  Jing.  A magical, free tool that after installation, appears like a small sun at the top of my screen.  I am still in awe, even now nearly two months after installing it.

Jing is another genius product by the Tech Smith Corporation that has brought you useful tools like Snagit and Camtasia.  Oh, and did I mention, Jing is completely free.  Yes, you heard that, free!  Jing is a very quick install but it has long lasting uses.  Built in is an amazing capture tool.  Once you activate the capture tool, you window around the item on your screen that you would like to capture.   Then, Jing gives you the option of capturing a still image or a video.  Now, I am a user of Screenr and have used it exclusively for a while now, but Jing has made a new friend in me.  Like the free version of Screenr, you are limited to a five minute video.  The difference with Screenr is that you can view the videos created at Screenr or embed them into your webpages.  Jing will allow you to save the video to your computer as an .swf file. This is created in an Adobe Flash file format.  The .swf stands for Shockwave, which was originally a company that Adobe purchased and took over.   This file will successfully open in media players like Real Player and Quicktime.  You will not be able to place these videos into a PowerPoint or upload to YouTube without converting the files.  So, buyer beware, or shall I say, free downloader, beware.  As for the screen capture tool for a still image, Jing is awesome.  Once you select the image, you have a bunch of choices.  You can place the image on your clipboard to use in another program.  You can also save the file as a .png which works in most programs.  You can also edit the screen capture right inside of Jing. It is a pretty handy tool.

So, I am happy.  My fingertips are elated to be typing on this Mac keyboard and the rest of me is excited to be working on my PC.  All this happiness thanks to Jing.

Have a great week and keep fighting the good fight of technology.  God bless you in this endeavor!

Ted

2 comments:

  1. I'm a math teacher and also a Jing user for both video and image capturing. I like it a lot, but tend to not have it up and running all the time.
    Another option I use for image capturing that's really quick, simple, and already built in to Windows 7 is called "Snipping Tool." Just search for it in the Start menu. Really easy to use and has a couple of basic tools to edit captured images (pen, highlighter). I keep a shortcut handy and use it when Jing's not running because it starts up so quickly.
    I'm using Jing video-capture for a few different things: recording mini-lectures for kids to watch before class to help them be prepared for class, recording "how-to" videos for kids to review ideas from class (especially areas where I know there's often difficulties), and even recording feedback for students on papers and projects.
    As mentioned, you can't post the .swf files that the free version of Jing creates on Youtube. Any recommendations for other free software to convert .swf to something you can post on Youtube?

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  2. Dan, thanks for the comment. I have not found any solid, legit programs for free to convert from .swf to some type of good video file. I have found that ScreenR works wonderful for video capturing and it will upload straight to YouTube. I really love Jing for picture capturing, but I seldom use the video portion. Enjoy Jing!

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