Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Screen Captures Using CamStudio

Have you ever wanted to show someone something on your computer by making a video without having to use a video camera but didn't know how or what program to use? Well this can be done by using a nice little Open Source program called CamStudio and it can be downloaded from here: http://camstudio.org/. The interface of the program is pretty strait forward if you have ever used some type of device for recording before or even if you haven't it is very easy to learn to use.

Like many other programs CamStudio works very well without changing any settings, but you may want to tweak some things to your liking though.

Main window in CamStudio

One of the things that you may want to change is to capture the whole screen or just a portion of the screen. To do this all you will need to do is go to Region > Region, Fixed Region, or Full Screen. When you select Fixed region you can choose the size of the space that you would like to record.

Region options menu

Another important option that you may want to change is where the videos are going to be saved. You can change this by navigating to Options >Program Options > Temporary Directory For Recording > Use Windows Temporary Directory, Use Installed Directory, or Use User Specified Directory. To change it to a directory that you choose on your own you will need to select Use User Specified Directory.

Changing the directory where video is saved

One more thing that would be more common for recording games and such would be to not show the cursor while recording. This can be done by going to Options > Cursor Options. You can then select whether the cursor is shown or not by selecting the corresponding button.

Cursor options

These are just some of the main features that you may want to play around with but there are still a ton more options that I have not shown too. So if you would like a very strait forward program to do some screen captures CamStudio is a very good choice. Have fun making some screen captures. If you would like to share some that you have made with me feel free to upload them to youtube or similar and then post a link in the comments or you can send a link to my email @ thegeekylife@gmail.com

Monday, February 9, 2009

Screenshots On iPhone And iPod Touch

Have you ever wanted to share a high score moment or show off your collection of Apps you have on your iPhone/iPod Touch? Well you can do this very simply by just taking a Screenshot.

To do this all you will need to do is push the Home Button and the Power Button at the same time. The screen should then blink. Your Screenshot will be saved with all of your other pictures under the Saved Photos album.

Screenshot from my iPod Touch

Screenshot shown Saved Photos Album

Now to take your Screenshot off of your iPhone/iPod Touch and onto your computer you will first need to plug your device into your computer. You will then need to open the device to view your photos. In Windows you will need to goto My Computer then select your iPhone/iPod Touch to veiw your Screenshot.

iPhone/iPod Touch shown in My Computer

Now once you have it open you can now copy and paste the photos to where ever you like on your hard drive. Now you can send others all of your really cool Screenshots to all of your friends and family.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How To Tell If A CD or DVD Is Blank

Are you like me where you have piles of burned CD's mixed with un-written disks and then the only way to tell is to put them into your computer one-by-one to see if they have been written to. Well there is a really simple and easy way to check if the disks have been written or have not been written already.

You will need to take one of your disks and then look at the bottom (The shiny side). What you will need to look for is if the disk has a dark ring coming from the center of the disk. If the disk does then that one has been burned already. If the disk does not have a dark ring it is either full of data or is empty. To tell if the disk is either full or empty you can compare it with another blank disk and if the surface is darker it is full, if not, then it is empty.

Blank Disk

Already burned disk

Thursday, February 5, 2009

See Your Games Frame Rates Using Fraps

Have you ever wondered what your frame rate (FPS) is while you are playing games? Well just like most other things there is a small free program that can do this for you and it is called: Fraps. You can download your free copy of Fraps from here: http://www.fraps.com/. If you are wondering what all of this talk about frame rate (Fps) is you can visit this wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate#Frame_rates_in_video_games. That page can explain it in a lot more detail than I would be able to.

Now all that you will need to do is install the program after you have downloaded it. You will then need to run it and the main window should look like something similar to the image below.

Fraps Main Screen

Once you have Fraps open you will have a couple options on the main screen like to start the program minimized to the system tray, or keep the Fraps window on top of all other windows, and also a option to start Fraps when Windows starts.

Fraps Icon In The System Tray

If you then goto the FPS tab you can change some settings in there too if you would like to but most of those options are fine the way they are unless you prefer them to be different. The one option that you may want to change is where the frame rate will be shown in your gaming window. You can do this by clicking on the little circles in the Overlay Corner portion or the Fraps window.

Overlay Corner

In the Movies tab there really isn't much that you will really need to change either. You may want to change where your output video will be saved though. This can be done by just clicking on the Change button toward the top of the window on the right side. You will then need to browse to where you want your movies to be saved.

Changing Directory Of Saved Movies

Now in the Screenshots tab you may want to change a couple of different things. You can change the output directory just like you can with the movies, but you can also now change what file format you want the pictures to be in (you can only do this is you get the full version). You can change them to: BMP, JPG, PNG, or TGA. You can change the output format by selection the button next to the option you want. You can also put a check in the box that says Include Frate Rate Overlay On Screenshots so that the frate rate will show up in your screenshots.

Screenshot File Output Options

That is an overview of just the main options that you have while using this program. Now to see your frame rate in your games you will just need to keep Fraps running and then just start up the game that you would like to play. You should then be able to see your frame rate in one of the corners that you selected.

In Game Screenshot

Screenshot from the game Combat Arms which is a free First-Person Shooter and can be downloaded from here: http://combatarms.nexon.net/Intro.aspx