Checking out Jing and Flowchart.com

jingI’ve been reviewing a wide array of applications over the last few months, and there never seems to be an end to the new ones coming out or the old ones I’m hearing about for the first time. I decided to check out several competitors to sites I’ve reviewed before and do some quick comparisons. FYI, I often find out about competitor apps through the comments section of this site so thank you for your ongoing input!

The first one I looked at was Jing (Jing Project) that helps you capture images – and video – and share it in multiple ways online. I recently reviewed Skitch, began using it immediately and loved it. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I tend not to read any instructions at all so like applications that are intuitive and help me immediately with my Web work. Jing is almost as intuitive as Skitch.

If I had to make an immediate choice between Skitch and Jing, I have to say that I’m still leaning toward Skitch, but there is a certain elegance to Jing’s functionality that does make you go “oooo” and “aaaaaa” starting with this lovely, subtle “sun” icon in the far upper right hand corner of my screen that expands into sunrays representing a toolbar of choices for using Jing: Capture, History, More.

Whereas Skitch integrates beautifully with Skitch.com, Jing relies on Screencast.com as the repository of screen shots if you want to host them online and embed them into your blog posts unless you have an FTP site or Flickr account. Not a huge deal but it does feel less seamless, and I wasn’t able to find easy sizing options like I could with Skitch.

Also, while I could frame, add text, highlight or add color to my screenshots through Jing, it lacked the cool and handy doodle feature that gives me that much more flexibility with Skitch. These are minor things, but these are the small details that can make the difference between liking and loving a product.

One thing that Jing does have that Skitch doesn’t is a video capture and sharing function. I’ve been wanting to create screen casts of various online activites as demos and was thinking I had to buy a software product to make this happen. Well, Jing does just what I’ve needed – and it’s free and both Mac and PC compatible.

The next site I demoed was Flowchart.com which is “an online realtime collaboration flowchart creator,” according to the site. I looked at flowcharting and “mind mapping” sites like SpinScape (rockin’) and a number of others in my post Mapping Your Work Madness.

I can’t put my finger on it, but I just can’t figure Flowchart.com out. So I decided to make a video with Jing to illustrate the trouble I’m having with creating a simple Flowchart. View my video. I started with a template thinking it would get me going on the right track. But I was flummoxed.

I hate to say this, but I gave up soon after the “how do you connect the boxes” quandry. Still, Flowchart may be perfect for someone else out there. It just clearly wasn’t for me.

What are you using these days to create your flowcharts? Screenshots? Video screencasts?

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