Useful Articles of the Week

I found a few articles from this week that I feel are relevant and useful.

10 Step Security Guide to Keeping your Computer Virus Free from Groovy Post. #5, I use WinPatrol and Malwarebytes (paid but free is good enough) instead. Oh and in #7, pay attention to what your mother-in-law does.

Back to School Tips for Students Using Microsoft OneNote also from Groovy Post.

iOS 10

Top 10 Secret Features in iOS 10 and How to Fix iOS 10’s Biggest Annoyances from Lifehacker.

How to Make a Meme with SnagIt from Techsmith. Camtasia 9 is coming out next week!

 

 

 

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Recent Software Updates

Two software applications I recommend recently got updated.

  1. Techsmith Snagit – in early June, Snagit was upgraded to version 13. The update brings a host of new features. This week, Techsmith released an update, version 13.0.1, which fixes some of the bugs found in version 13. If you have Techsmith Updater running (it should be by default), the Updater will notify you of the new release and work in the background to update your copy of Snagit to 13.0.1. You can check your version via the Help Menu.snagit 13
  2. Foxit Reader – Version 8.0 introduces the new ConnectedPDF feature. I believe it replaces the Foxit Cloud feature in the earlier versions. I use the Reader to mainly read PDFs and nothing more, so I recommend you disable the ConnectedPDF feature. Here is how to do it, via Techdows. I updated for bug fixes and to gain the new connection feature to Dropbox, which was previously not available.

foxit

Snagit 13

snagit 13

My favorite screen capture software just got updated. Techsmith’s Snagit is now at version 13. Here is the list of what’s new (from Techsmith’s web site):

  • New design for capture

    • Updated ability to start a capture from within the editor

    • New on-the-fly capture interface

  • Panoramic capture

    • Capture tall, wide or infinitely scrolling content using this innovative scrolling capture method

  • New, streamlined capture preset creation and use
  • Effects side panel with property drop downs

    • Quick Styles are customizable – add, delete, reorder

  • Tools

    • New crop tool

    • New text tool

    • Color picker

    • Auto-resizing canvas

    • New magnify tool

  • Library/Tray

    • Removed Flags

    • Make tray collapsible

  • General/Share

    • Launch a capture from within Editor

    • Light and dark theme editor and capture window

    • New Share History

    • Ability to add share destinations to the toolbar

  • Improve performance when dealing with images with 10 or more items on the canvas

  • Eliminate crashes with large images – improved performance

  • Multi-edit images can be edited with acceptable performance

  • Outlined text

  • New callout shapes

  • New and updated stamps

  • Webcam

    • Ability to record webcam video while preserving Snagit’s real-time encoding

    • Toggle between webcam and screen video during recording

    • All built-in webcams and standard USB webcams will be supported

  • Animated GIF

    • Create a GIF from a video recording

    • Presets and custom GIF settings available

    • Option to “Fade to Black” on GIF start and end

    • Option to “Dither” GIF colors

    • Make GIF from a selection of a video

    • Saving and sharing via outputs to any destination that supports animated GIF.

  • Ability to capture fullscreen video at dimensions greater than 1080p

  • Supports image capture on 5K monitors

  • Higher frame rates for video capture

  • Easier video editing

  • Adjust DPE of capture before capturing

My first impressions:

  1. I like the modern look of the editor. It is more customizable.
  2. The startup time is rather long. Version 13 does require the .NET 4.6 Framework, which gets installed automatically if it is not present in your machine. I am not sure if this helps or hinders the performance.
  3. Techsmith claims that Snagit received a major performance upgrade. I will know more about it next time I record a video.

If you are going to be using Snagit, I recommend you also sign up for Techsmith’s blog here (scroll to the bottom of the screen).

Technology + Instructor = Enriched Learning: Leveraging Multimedia Tools to Bridge the Knowledge Gap

I gave a talk on leveraging multimedia tools to bridge the knowledge gap at National Association of Developmental Education’s 2015 conference in Greenville, SC.

Summary:

The biggest influence of student success, especially in developmental education, is still us, the instructors. Technology can enhance the best skills we possess and multiply the impact of a single instructor. This session will demonstrate how to leverage the technology to enrich student learning.

Snagit Upgraded to Version 12

Snagit 12

My favorite screen-capture tool just got updated. Techsmith’s Snagit does the usual image and video captures, but version 12 now adds the ability to trim the videos. I snagged 🙂 the screenshot of the new editor above using Snagit.

Useful Features

I like Snagit because it is thoughtfully designed. It is extremely easy and intuitive to select exactly what area of the screen or window you want to capture. For example, I do a lot of Excel screen captures. Sometimes I want to focus only in a certain cell or all of Excel’s window.  One nice feature is that if I want an application’s entire window captured, Snagit snaps its capture window to it so that I don’t have to be so precise in making the capture selection window to the exact size. Follow this link to see this in action.

Editing images is also easy. You can add the pointers, arrows, borders, edge effects to the images. The Blur tool comes in handy when you want to share something but not the private information. Video editing is nothing fancy, but now I don’t need to use Movie Maker to trim the beginning and the end of my videos. I can do that within Snagit!

Snagit added Google Drive integration in version 11. I also like this feature. When you install Snagit and if you have Google Drive installed on your computer, it creates a “Techsmith” folder within Google Drive and you can upload your captures directly into that folder without leaving the application. Saves you time.

Last reason why Techsmith products beat the competition is that the company is educator friendly. The tutorials are easy to follow and informative. There are lots of examples where the teachers use Techsmith products to produce amazing lectures. Support is quick to reply. I cannot complain.

For more information on how to use Snagit, the link is:

http://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-snagit.html

How teachers can use Snagit in the classroom:

http://www.techsmith.com/snagit-education.html

Creating Your Own YouTube Instructional Videos

YouTubeAs a teacher, I find YouTube to be an incredibly useful tool. I decided to tape my own lectures so that they are always available for those students who need to review the materials.

It’s really easy to make your own videos and screenshots. Here is the list of tools you need.

  1. Any camcorder and a tripod. The tripod I use is the Sunpak 620-020.
  2. A usb headset. I use the Plantronics Audio 478. Also recommended: Microsoft LifeChat LX-6000.
  3. On Windows, Windows Movie Maker. On the Mac, iMovie.
  4. For capturing a computer screen, Techsmith’s SnagIt.

The software tools above will let you upload directly to YouTube.

One note: by default, YouTube only let you upload videos that are 15 minutes long.  To upload longer videos, follow the steps in the page below.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/71673?hl=en

You will be a videographer in no time!