Jing’s the thing

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the term screencast. Taking stock, I’m reminded of all the uses of this medium we’ve seen since, and also of those still in the pipeline. The diagnostic use that I recommended to Mary Branscombe here is one of those still-emerging uses for most people. And after describing the Windows Media Encoder technique to her, I realized I’ve been remiss in not exploring, and advocating, TechSmith’s Jing.

Here’s a short screencast illustrating the use of the Excel geocoder I discussed a while ago. It was ridiculously easy to capture that screencast using Jing and, what’s equally useful, to upload it up to screencast.com at a shareable URL.

When the TechSmith folks told me about Jing I was thinking about screencasting at a different level: professional quality, careful editing, multiple delivery formats. So I made note of it, but didn’t fully appreciate its significance. Jing is perfect for Mary Branscombe’s scenario. And when more scenarios like that can play out more easily and naturally, we’ll all benefit from the improved flow of understanding about how software works, or why it sometimes doesn’t.

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9 thoughts on “Jing’s the thing

  1. It takes me back; when I worked on PC Plus magazine we used Lotus ScreenCam to record the applications we were reviewing and the projects we ran tutorials on and put them on the cover disc (we called them screencams). It was quite a bit of work producing them and there was no editing but they were hugely popular with people who wanted the in-depth information. But someone who wants to skim through a review or project for something that will solve a different problem often prefers text; audio, video and screencasts have lower information bandwidth than searchable text in terms of the amount of information you can get out of them in the same amount of time and with the same amount of information.

    Is so much content online in bite sized chunks because it’s easier to put up (not necessarily if you’re taking the effort to bite off the right chunk) or easier to consume?

  2. “used Lotus ScreenCam”

    Me too!

    “Is so much content online in bite sized chunks because it’s easier to put up (not necessarily if you’re taking the effort to bite off the right chunk) or easier to consume?”

    I’d say both. Easier to capture glitch-free unrehearsed screencast action in small chunks. And also easier to recombine an inventory of those to suit different purposes.

    On the flip side, we’re driven to that strategy because there’s as yet no easy way to manage chunked videos along with links to those chunks.

  3. I’ve tried Jing and really liked it also. But their free subscription has the bandwidth cap at 1GB / month(?). But I supposed you could save the SWF (only video format supported by Jing) and upload that to your own site.

  4. Jing is a great idea. It’s simple to use, sits on your desktop, and has pretty good quality. While I still use Camtasia for serious screencasting, I did screencasts for my dad (demo for something), showcasing Seesmic, etc, and for those Jing is just about right

  5. Just today I was beta testing a new site for a friend and he wanted to fill out a survey and make screen captures of screens that weren’t clear. I just whipped out Jing and recorded my testing – just verbalizing my thoughts …

    I’ve also used jing to create on the fly, in demand technical support help to people, including my dad …

  6. Thanks Jon for popularizing this medium. Convinced that screencasts could almost replace the written manual we decided to put together a community targeted towards fellow bio-scientists. While adoption has been slow..its amazing to see great examples of database querying and software use from people who “just get it”.
    Things like jing make it so much easier. It will be great to see an open platform emerge that captures , encodes/transcodes and gives users the option to upload their content directly to their favorite screencast centric community.

  7. Hi Jon! I tried JIng AFTER working with Skitch for a while. I just had gotten so used to Skitch that I didn’t feel comfortable with Jing. I’ll check it out again and see if I can get it too work.
    BTW- I think your Heavy Metal Umlaut screencast is brilliant genius. I’ve sent many people there to learn about wikis.
    Brent Schlenker

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