Screencasting is not for everyone. Most of the options out there are fairly full featured, but it's hard to find a good, free solution that can do as much as some of the pricey professional tools such as TechSmith's Camtasia Studio (download) or Adobe's Captivate (download). A new service that launched this week called uTipu (download TipCam for Windows) is stepping into the ring and offering up a Windows-only (for now) one-stop screencasting service that combines both a software tool to grab your onscreen action, along with an uploader that will send it off to uTipu's server farm for YouTube-like Web hosting. The hope is that anyone who wants to make a screencast or two will be able to download the app and get going without too much of a hassle, similar to what TechSmith's been up to with its Jing Project (download for Windows or Mac).
Like other software-based screencasting tools, uTipu's got a few tricks to get your screencasts looking right. You can set it to record your entire screen, or just a small section. It can also follow your cursor, and highlight what you're doing with a little translucent yellow circle. There are recording controls to pause and stop the action, as well as an annotation shortcut in case you feel like drawing on the screen John Madden-style. For audio and voiceovers, there's no post-production workspace, so you have to record your narration at the same time as the video and hope you don't make any mistakes.
Advanced users get some nice tweaks, such as VNC server setup to record screens on remote computers, and frame-rate quality controls to bump up how smooth your videos look. The one caveat is that higher frame rates also increase your file size, and uTipu's only serving up 250MB of free hosting for the time being, but about a minute of medium size video at 15 frames per second runs at about 3MB, which means you'll be able to create and send about 16 videos at the five-minute time cap. If you're close to running out of space, you can also skip the option to upload to uTipu's servers entirely by uploading them to any video hosting service that accepts the FLV Flash format.
On the whole, uTipu's off to a good start, but by not providing some post-processing tools to clean up your work, it's not offering a whole lot more than what you can get from its formidable competition, such as the zero-install Screencast-o-matic, and the cross-platform Jing from TechSmith.
I've embedded a sample of a user-created uTipu video after the break. As you can see, it's nice and big, and you can actually read the onscreen text. My less informative one can be found here.
The newly free NewsGator suite has a remarkably powerful set of tools for managing RSS feeds, and without a doubt one of the program's best features is its FeedStation podcast catcher. Fully synchronizable with the Webware version of NewsGator, the Windows version, FeedDemon, comes bundled with FeedStation and preset integration settings for iTunes and Windows Media Player, but not WinAmp.
Laugh all you want at the llama, but the latest WinAmp has an impressive feature set, and is far more flexible than the industry favorite iTunes. However, its podcast manager is clunky and only marginally better than iTunes' native podcatcher, and that's frustrating. Using WinAmp's smart view function, I'll show you how to set its Podcast folder to automatically check for podcasts managed by third-party software.
Of the major announcements blasting out of Macworld (see coverage), the release of iTunes 7.6 for Windows and Mac touches more users most immediately. Unlike the ultrathin MacBook Air, you can get the iTunes update right now. Stick with us as CNET editor Donald Bell cruises through the new video rental features in this video shot from the show floor.
It's called the Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate Refresh. It's supposed to be a bug-fixin', feature-enhancin' behemoth that makes Windows Vista leaner, meaner, taller, and sexier.
It'll do your dishes and take out your garbage, too.
Microsoft released this "Release Candidate Refresh" late last week--just one month after the initial release candidate made its debut. The company asserted that it wants additional information from testers, which indicates that even more bugs need to be fixed. But what does RC Refresh really do? Is it really that large? Most importantly, do you need it?
Every year in early January, Apple aficionados gather together in San Francisco to celebrate the big Mac news of the year at the Macworld Conference and Exposition. Windows users, on the other hand, celebrate...Rubber Ducky? Or a public prerelease of the first service pack for Windows Vista? It doesn't seem fair.
However, except for the hardware news (the MacBook Air is very thin), this year's report from Steve Jobs wasn't nearly as exciting as last year's iPhone announcement. In fact, some of the news--and rumors--are old hat for Windows fans.
For example, Apple TV will … Read more
Among the new product announcements at the Macworld 2008 keynote, iTunes received a brand new feature: movie rentals! With the latest version of iTunes for both Windows and Mac, you will be able to rent movies from all the major studios including Touchstone, MGM, Miramax, Lions Gate, Fox, WB, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony. Apple was able to strike a deal with studios which allowed iTunes to receive new releases 30 days after the DVD release. The first wave of movie rentals will launch by the end of February with over 1,000 titles.
Once you find a movie … Read more
This is sort of handy: OutSync is an app that will compare your Outlook and your Facebook address books, and then take the photos of people you know in Facebook who are also in Outlook, and copy them into your Outlook contacts.
It gets really cool if you use a Windows Mobile phone to connect to your Exchange server, because once it syncs the address book, the photos will then show up when people call you.
I'm not completely sure this app honors Facebook's terms of service, but it seems pretty innocuous. And it only applies to people … Read more
Checking Web sites by typing in the URL feels like firing up a rickety 56k baud modem and logging on to CompuServe. It gets the job done, but really should only be used under extreme duress or nostalgia. Syndicated feeds bring the Web site to you, and when NewsGator made all its RSS clients free on Wednesday, they suddenly made a top-notch suite with tools for Windows, Mac, mobile, the Web, a podcast manager, and a Microsoft Outlook extension incredibly appealing. And by appealing, I mean you might not be able to imagine feeds the same way afterwards. It's that good.