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Using Jing for Support

Using Jing for support




2009/01/09

I've explained before that I often use Skitch for support purposes. That can be very helpful, but sometimes it isn't quite enough: sometimes I really need to SHOW someone how to do something with their computer - where to click, what will happen when they click. I need a movie of the on-screen actions.

I made a little effort to find something that would do that but wasn't very successful because I was using the wrong search terms. If you try "record onscreen video", you'll do much better than I did.

I did eventually find CamStudio, but that's Windows only. I needed Mac OS X, but I didn't find it.

Twitter came to my rescue when KidTechGuru twitted his post on How to Snap A Screenshot or Record A Video of Onscreen Action for Free (link dead, sorry) . He didn't mention that there was an OS X version, but I followed through out of curiosity and was delighted to discover that this has both Windows and Mac OS X downloads.

I downloaded the software immediately and found it very easy to use. Skitch is probably easier for still snapshots of your screen - Jing takes several more keystrokes, but also offers far more options so I'm not complaining. When you activate Jing (which can be done with a hotkey) you first select the screen area you want to record and then choose whether you are just doing a screenshot or a movie. If it is a movie, there's a countdown and then you just go ahead and do whatever you wanted to demonstrate. When you are done, you can save the video (swf format) to your local machine or upload it somewhere to share. Jing integrates this with their Screencast site, making that an easy choice. You can record up to 5 minutes of video.

I recorded the video in the link below without sound so it shouldn't bother anyone around you.

Link: (this could have been imbedded here also but it is a bit wide so I decided to link to it instead)

http://www.screencast.com/t/DIdob2Y6o

I realized that for a real effort I'd want to slow down much more so that the mouse cursor can be more easily followed. Of course a voice-over would help that also.

I can think of lots of other places I could use this - I could embed demonstrations into "how-to" articles here or even offer them as extra cost content for those too lazy to read.

Good stuff. Free download. Mac OS X and Windows.

Tony Lawrence 2009-01-09 Rating: 4.0

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