Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Recommendation: Camstudio

For those who didn't spot it I made the video in my last post using Camstudio.

Camstudio is one of those rare 'It just works' applications. It has nice simple interface ( the red button starts you recording!) a host of practical features , full screen or region capture, and as demonstrated you can have the region follow your mouse around the screen.

In the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words I've used it to capture the setup of new developer workstations and configuration of applications. The configuration of developer workstations is a big one, the enviroment and projects we work on are complex and there are a lot of steps involved. Particularily when six to eight months down the line a new developer joins and no-one has had to set up a workstation from scratch since the first week of the project.

And best of all it's free.

Friday, June 6, 2008

GMail Labs and links

Google have just released Labs for Gmail. A set of optional functionality for it's web mail system. And there is some nice new functionality here : view mail in fixed width font, new signature functionality and custom shortcuts. There are also changes to the appearance of chat and the mail folders to save screen real estate.

The one that caught my eye was the Quick Links functionality. This is a new panel below chat containing links. When I saw it first I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I thought it was going to show a list of the links that I have received in my mail. "Brilliant" I thought, "now I've got a shortcut to those links blocked by our ,somewhat draconian, firewall in work" (games sites and such!). This was functionality I had never thought of before but now needed

As it turns out I was mistaken (or somewhat so anyways). It lets you bookmark any gmail url in one click. This could be used to bookmark an email as per my initial thoughts.

Anyhow still thinking about my inbound links I started playing around with the idea and came up with the following tip.

If you search for "http:// or www" you will get results for any email containing a link, you can then bookmark the search and add it to your new "Quick Links" panel for easy access.

You can also bookmark any advanced search you use ( such as checking for attachments)
which makes it one less click.

Oh, and there's also a version of Snake in amongst the toys of labs. So far I can't beat 150.

p.s. To enable the labs features you need to go to Settings -> Labs in your Gmail Account.