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I searched and didn’t immediately find anything, so I’m partly doing this for my own mental archive but also for others who might want this feature.

First, I use two tools for snapshot capturing.  When I want a quick snapshot with no annotation, I use WinSnap, which rocks the hizzouse.  For when I need annotation (arrows, highlighting, etc.) I use SnagIt from the makers of Camtasia (Betsy Weber rocks).  Both of these tools are incredible and I’ve purchases full licenses for both and haven’t regretted it at all.

In WinSnap, there is a feature that allows you to specify a tool you can run on the image that was just captured.  I’ve customized this using PNGOut based on recommendations and feedback.  Most programs create PNG files that can still be compressed by stripping out interlacing or whatever.  You can read all about image formats from Coding Horror here.  Jeff’s tips on bandwidth savings for web sites are invaluable.  It is helpful and works well in WinSnap.  One thing I can’t figure out is that WinSnap never saves my custom commands…that is quite frustrating, but I get over it…I don’t reboot often so I deal with it.

When using SnagIt though I didn’t use PNGOut.  Partly because I didn’t think it had that capability…alas but it does!  here’s how I customized it.  First, get PNGOut and put it somewhere.  For consistency with other programs I put mine in C:\Program Files\PNGOut\pngout.exe.  Yes I know there are GUIs for the tool, but I like the command-line as it integrates with this workflow.  Okay, now in SnagIt set up a new capture profile using the Add Profile wizard (I couldn’t figure out how to use SnagIt to take a capture of the SnagIt box :-) or I’d show it here).

Decide your settings for steps 1 and 2.  When you get to 3, do this:

    • Click the Properties button
    • Click the Program tab
    • Click Add and then point to where you have PNGOut.exe and save that setting
    • Under the File name area, I don’t like automatic naming so I change that to ask me for a file name
    • Click OK
    • Make sure that in the Step 3 wizard that Program is now selected (and if not select it)
    • Choose your other settings and then finish the wizard

Boom, now when you capture a screenshot with this newly created profile you can annotate or do whatever you want with the capture in SnagIt and then when you click finish (after giving the file a name), PNGOut will automatically run:

This will save the image immediately, run PNGOut on it and keep it in the same place…saving you time, size and bandwidth (assuming you are uploading the image to a browser).  This works nicely with my workflow.  I think I’m going to hack together another output program that enables an immediate upload to Amazon S3 so that I can capture, annotate, compress and upload in one click (well, 2).

Anyhow, hope this helps!

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so maybe my dream of getting exciting people in the silicon desert really starting to think different is coming to fruition?

this past weekend was , an event organized by some community members, sponsored by a few organizations and attended by many.  the primary face of the event seemed to be brent of .  let me tell you, if anything else brent seems to have solid skills as an organizer, designer, and marketer (i'm amazed at how he's marketed the iboughtamac brand -- how do i get a shirt?).  the site for podcampaz was very cleanly designed and wasn't thrown together (or at least didn't appear that way).  kudos to brent (and anyone else who helped) for that effort.

UAT was again the host for a community event and i'm liking this trend A LOT for them.  UAT has really, really stepped up to support these community events starting with Desert Code Camp and then BarCamp (note: another BarCampPhoenix will be happening on 08-DEC) and now PodCampAZ!  for an institution to recognize the value of having such things is great and i applaud UAT and all the staff that make these things happen (thanks Meredith!).

Zune at podcampaz

I wasn't able to stay long at podcampaz because my wife was in a triathlon and i had full-time mr. mom duty with a 1 year old and 5 year old (small children + geeks + no dora != fun).  i did manage to stop by and drop off some stuff to brent for giveaways for the ending session (i dropped of a zune, some copies of vista/office/windows server, and a lifechat headset).  i stayed for a few minutes and walked around.  surprisingly there was a zune table (apparently they were a sponsor but didn't donate a zune themselves :-)).  they had the banner and some stickers so i grabbed a few as the laptop lid is a little bare these days.  whomever was able to reach out to the zune team, kudos -- i don't even know how to get them to answer my calls.  hopefully they kicked in more than stickers :-).

Twitter wall at podcampazthere was a flurry of podcast-type sponsors.  techsmith and their supremely awesome camtasia studio and snagit products were being demonstrated in the foyer by bruce jacobs (done very well, i might add).  bruce was also talking about , a very cool mini-screencaster i know betsy weber was there but didn't get a chance to catch up.  they had the twittercamp application running on the wall so you could get your twitter fixes while walking to the next sessions.

the sessions themselves seemed really broad as well. there was plenty to listen about core podcasting itself (audio basics, equipment, screencasting tools, etc.) but there were also discussions about social media and how to integrate better with other platforms. 

iPodcamp AZsecurely delivering media content was another topic and also one of the sponsors had information about their secure and subscription delivery mechanisms.  one of the interesting sessions i saw on the agenda was leveraging social media and podcasting in the classroom.  there was an instructor there talking about how he'd begun to use the concept of podcasting to get his lecture content our, streamline learning for students and just overall be more efficient using platforms that were available to him (i cought some of this on the live ustream.tv feed).

there were also some big name bloggers there as well.  the internet herself, , was there in full force.  rumor has it that ask-a-ninja himself was there.  it seemed like a really good time with some energy.  i have no idea how many people were there (it didn't look like the scale of a typical code camp).  brent was running around a lot (i only got to introduce myself a bit to him -- call me, i'll buy lunch) and there was a host of volunteers doing all sorts of things.  the event was very well put together.  i wish that i had been able to stay the entire day.  i also wish that i would have seen this marketed in some of the other broader user groups in phoenix area.  it didn't hit some of the groups like refresh until only a week or so out.  i think next time around it will have bigger traction from simple awareness.

until then, great, great job brent and team.  looked very well done and i love to see the commitment to community in our area.  keep up the great work and i hope that the contributions microsoft was able to make to the event prizes were met with few boos :-).  this event reminds me that there is usually something in the community happening EVERY day if you are looking for it.  speaking of which, remember facebook developers garage is coming!


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as i've found myself doing more editing these days for podcasts, screencasts, whatever, i've been using a mix of tools.  i've been really liking camtasia lately for most as it has provided me with what i've needed...after all i'm no professional.

one thing that it wasn't doing for me was allowing me to put overlays on top of video frames.  actually it does, but i was just an idiot looking for it in the wrong place.  camtasia calls these "custom callouts" and are hidden underneath the add callout features.  i wouldn't have thought to look there as all the callouts i've seen basically are used for arrows, balloon boxes, etc.  but nonetheless i found them and it does exactly what i wanted for my scenario.  perhaps it will add value for yours as well so i recorded a rough video (no editing, sorry for the audio and super loud keyboard clicks, i lost my headset, new one en route) demonstrating where this feature is.  it's useful for me, so i thought i'd share.  of course other video editing tools do this for you as well, but if you aren't a pro (or like me want the one-click, produce to many file formats) and have camtasia, this may be handy.

hope it helps.

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just came across this little project from the makers of camtasia, .  they call their project .  it's essentially a 'let me take a video/snapshot of what i'm doing and instantly share it with you' tool.  sure we have us nerdos who know how to do these things already with alt+prtsc, winsnap, snagit, camtasia, etc.  but could this be a tool for the rest of us (or even for the alphas).  it's simple, fast and does exactly what it says it does.  check out the screencast on their blog for a quick demonstration (love the background music).

pretty cool project from the team at techsmith.  i was able to quickly get it installed and get it running.  it requires an accound on screencast.com, but my experience even enabled me to quickly create one without having to go to the website!  well done!