Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tech tools: Brainshark and Greenshot

Brainshark and Greenshot. Sounds like a kids' cartoon about a pair of superheroes.

But no, this post is all about a pair of simple tools that you can use in a variety of ways to enhance your recruitment and selection efforts and just plain make your life easier.

Brainshark is a remarkably simple, and free, tool you can use to create slideshows or videos with audio in a matter of minutes. Did I mention it's free?

Simply upload your file, add audio (if it's a PowerPoint) using either your computer microphone or phone, name your slides, and you're good to go! You can see a simple example of a promotional spot I whipped up below--remember, my specialty is information filtering, not multimedia! Make sure to check out the "Contents" menu to the right of the fast-forward button.

This took maybe thirty minutes to develop and record, and I used my computer's built-in microphone, hence the less-than-stellar audio quality. But I think you get the idea and see some of the possibilities:

- realistic job preview
- job advertising
- instructions for applying

And so on. For $10 or $20 a month, respectively, you can upgrade to Brainshark Pro or Brainshark Pro Trainer, which includes options like private sharing, capturing leads, testing, and integration with LMS. Just pretty darn cool all around, I say.

The next tool is simpler but no less useful on a day-to-day basis. I know I'm not the only one out there who likes SnagIt. It's an easy way to take screenshots of parts of the screen and quickly add borders, arrows, or other accents. And it's very reasonably priced.

But I'm all about the free stuff whenever possible, which is why I was pleased to learn about Greenshot, a scaled-down tool that gives you pretty much what you'd get in SnagIt, if a little less snazzy. Simply load the software and whenever you press Print Screen, instead of taking a picture of the whole screen you can specify the region. I use this all the time for showing others what I'm talking about, presentations, and user guides. You can also capture just the window, or the whole screen.

One feature unique (to my knowledge) to Greenshot is "obfuscate", which allows you to blur parts of the picture (e.g., name, SSNs) you may wish to hide. See the screenshot below for an example where I obfuscated part of the blog post title:

The one feature that I'd still use SnagIt for is capturing a rolling webpage that includes the links. Very handy. But other than that, Greenshot would do ya just fine.

So there you have it, two simple tools that have the potential to add tremendous value to your life. Hope you enjoy.

Hat tip to my colleagues at CODESP for turning me on to Brainshark, and my friends at Biddle for Greenshot.


Pitch Black said...

Greenshot looks very handy, especially while preparing dossiers where different info needs to be blurred out.


Have you tried 'Prezi'? Google it, you'll find it useful.

BryanB said...

Thanks for the tip! Prezi looks very cool. Have to check it out.