“Capturing” my momentum…

I haven’t been looking forward to Thing 18, but I think it may be one of the easiest to cross off my list. Quite simply, I don’t really need either of the tools mentioned. I already have some reliable screenshot tools at my disposal, and I’m not currently in a position where I need to create instructional video or audio resources. Someday, I’d like to try my hand at a screencasting tool like Jing, but it’s just not something I have time to explore without a true purpose. As we saw in my previous post about Prezi, I’m not much good at pretending. So, instead of messing around with tools that I won’t use in the foreseeable future, I’d like to use this opportunity to tell you about similar things I already do use.

The boring stuff…

Whatever happened to good old “Print Screen” and “CTRL-Alt-Print Screen” for capturing screen shots? Many times, that’s really still all you need. However, I must admit that I loved finding out that Command-Shift-4 on my Macbook would bring up little crosshairs I could use to focus my screenshot! The Windows 7 snipping tool isn’t too shabby, either.

So why do we feel like we need all of these other tools? I guess it’s because we often like to annotate our screenshots, and we want to be able to do it without opening up an image editing program. Here are a couple of tools I’ve found useful.

Skitch (for Mac)

SkitchI’m not sure where I first heard about Skitch, but it’s a handy little free Mac app (Android also available, iOS coming soon) that makes capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots quite simple. I used it to create images for PowerPoint presentations when I was in library school, and I’ve even used it to spruce up a blog post. I wouldn’t say I’m a Skitch expert, but it has come in handy for me. My main complaint so far is the cutesy pink heart logo. I’ll be interested to see what happens to this little utility now that it has joined the Evernote family.

LightShot (for Firefox on Windows)

I got tired of using Paint to crop and/or annotate screenshots on my Windows XP computer at work, but I also can’t download any additional software like Jing. I went in search of a Firefox add-on that could do the job. I used to like Screengrab because it would allow me to copy just a selection rather than the entire screen, but unfortunately development has not kept up with the newest editions of Firefox. Luckily, I found an alternate extension that does even more than Screengrab. LightShot not only allows you to copy and/or save a selection of the screen, it has quick sharing tools and a fairly powerful online editor.

And one more thing…

Earlier this week at the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) Conference, I learned about a unique screencasting tool that’s more about troubleshooting than training. ShowMeWhatsWrong.com creates a link that you can send to a confused family member, friend, or customer. Once they click on it, it will record their screen so they can show you what’s happening. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I can see loads of potential!


Putting off Prezi, among other things…

I really can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post! I hate to think about how far behind I am on CPD23, which is probably part of the reason I’ve still got so many things left to do…

My new goal is to finish the program by the end of the year. That gives me eight weeks to do seven things. While that will be a much faster pace than I’ve attempted over much of the last few months, I think the deadline will be a big help. And if I still have any readers left, please help hold me accountable!

Now, onto Thing 17. Believe it or not, I created my first Prezi about a month ago. I don’t have a good reason for why it has taken me so long to write about the experience, other than that I really have no use for Prezi in my life. I was curious about the tool, but currently have no need to prepare any presentations.

I decided to explore Prezi in a somewhat formal way, by participating in one of their “Getting Started” webinars over my lunch hour. While I feel like I gained a sufficient grasp of the basics, my efforts at playing along and putting up random text and images to keep up with the presenter resulted in a rather horrendous first Prezi. This thing seems simple enough at first, but I really think you need to have a certain type of brain (or hours and hours of free time) to create a decent Prezi. The zooming in and out and bouncing around was a little too much for me to handle without a goal in mind. I wanted to come back to this and try making a Prezi around a real topic, but I’ve been putting it off so long I have decided to let myself off the hook for now.

If I ever find myself in need of a presentation, I may consider further experimentation with Prezi. But honestly, I think I would be frustrated by the trial and error it would take to set up a presentation I could be proud of.

I don’t have much to say about Slideshare, either, considering I haven’t done a presentation since grad school. I’m not sure if any of those would make sense outside the context of a class project, but I am tempted to go back through my files and see if any could enhance my online portfolio somehow. In the meantime, it’s nice to have Slideshare available for tracking down other people’s presentations. This has helped me avoid frantic note-taking and given me a taste of conference sessions I was not able to attend. Also, while I agree that Slideshare can provide some inspiration for creating one’s own presentations, there’s a pretty significant drawback. Typically, the best presentations are the ones with the least text and the most captivating images. Coupled with dynamic speaker, these slides would be awesome. But on their own, they mean almost nothing. And that’s frustrating.

I wish I had something more profound to offer about presentation tools, but this is about as much as I care to think about them right now. It’s time to cross this one off the list and move onto bigger and better things!