Expo Notes: Screenshot sharing

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Editor’s Note: All this week, Macworld editors will report from the Macworld Expo show floor on meetings with Mac developers, new product announcements, and anything else that catches their eye.

Have you ever wanted a way to quickly share a video or screenshot with someone? While visiting TechSmith’s booth at Macworld Expo, I learned about that company’s currently-free Jing Project, which lets you do just that. Using Jing is amazingly simple; you download an application from the TechSmith site and drag it to your Applications folder. Launch the application, and you’ll be offered the chance to open a free account on the screencast.com site, where you can upload both images and video. You can also send your output to an FTP site, a local file, or even to your Flickr account.

The program is designed for ease of use. Once running, a translucent yellow sun-like shape appears at the top right of your screen, just below the menu bar. Click it (or use a definable global hot key), and three “rays” extend from the sun; click on each ray to start capture, view a history of previous capture activity, or access more settings and controls. When you start a capture, onscreen controls appear to help you drag-select the region of interest. Once you have the region selected, click either the Image or Video button, and capture begins (complete with microphone capture for voiceovers on video). Once the capture is done (instantly with an image, or when you click Stop with a video), Jing goes to work processing and uploading the capture. If you’ve chosen to upload to screencast.com, Jing will even populate your clipboard with the URL to your uploaded capture—just switch to your browser and hit Command-V when the upload is done, and you’ll be viewing your content online.

Jing’s in a state that TechSmith describes as a “project,” which seems to be something like a large public beta. It’s not a pro-level tool, in that you don’t have control over many things—such as the video codec used or the desired frame rate—but it is very easy to use and seems to work quite well, even in its current unfinished state. If you’re the unofficial tech support person for your family, it might be worth a test drive.

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