Clarify 2 – multiple screenshot document creator

Written by Cool Angus on . Posted in Blog, Resources, Software

Clarify 2

Sometimes you need to communicate clearly and quickly. But creating screen recordings and messing with formatting in Word or Pages can be time consuming and frustrating. 

In the past, creating visual documents like the ones you create with Clarify required the use of multiple applications that were difficult to integrate together. Clarify streamlines screen capture, image editing and document authoring and combines it into a simple workflow. What used to take hours takes minutes.

In the past I have used either the built-in or a third party screen-shot app and then spent an often frustrating amount of time trying to arrange the images in Word and then add text. The usual issue is that as soon as more images or text is added the existing stuff gets all out of alignment. Grrrr…

Clarify is much easier to use and formats everything for you automatically. Of course you can change the formatting, but it does a pretty good job on its own.

If you find yourself needing to explain to others just how some software package works, or where a fault lies in something you are trying to do, this makes it much easier.

As an added bonus Clarify offers a free shared website service once you have bough the app (on the iTunes store or directly from their website) on which you can host the documents you make. Then all you need to do is send the URL to anyone and they can view the article online.

The software is available both for Windows and Mac OS X.

Gaussian Elimination Method

Written by Cool Angus on . Posted in Blog

01aagreen

Okay, so this probably says quite a lot about the way my mind works….

Today, in Engineering Analysis (maths) class, we learned all about a way to solve for three variables, given a set of simultaneous equations – see screenshot below – this method is called Gaussian Elimination Method.

All (and I really mean ALL) I could think of, the picture that kept popping into my head was of some little green alien squatting down and having a poo. Is it me? 

G2

I am saved!

Written by Cool Angus on . Posted in Blog, Hardware

Hallelujah brothers and sisters, I am saved! HALLELUJAH!

It is true, I have over recent months strayed from the path of the righteous to the dark side. I cannot deny it, my sin is plain for all to see. The pages of this very blog give testament to just how wicked I had become. I have been using Android (it is so hard to say the word, the pain is still there) in both smartphone and tablet form.

But I have seen the light! Apple have saved me from myself. I am now the proud owner of the latest and greatest creations from the blessed team at Cupertino. Yes, brothers and sisters I have laid down my hard-earned and taken possession of a gold iPhone 5S (64GB, of course) and a slate iPad Air (128GB, of course). I am in heaven!

Iphone 5s shop le monde editApple unviels ipad air 10 22 2013 123439 l

Technology can make me smile

Written by Cool Angus on . Posted in Blog

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that google knows my birthday, after all I am a subscriber to the google apps. But even so, it was rather pleasant open my browser this morning, which defaults to the google search page and see this.

Made me smile.

Google at 10 42 10

Assignments – the techies solution

Written by Cool Angus on . Posted in Blog, Software

UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) provides some excellent advice and tutorials on how to prepare and format assignments for submission. But of course, being the techie that I am, I thought there must be a better way.

Scriv

In a nutshell, the UCLan way is to prepare and submit your assignments using Microsoft Word, either on a Mac or a PC. I have a Mac personally, but the uni provides access to both through the library.

One of the key aspects of assignment writing is to avoid plagiarism by making sure I fully reference any source material I use, and the uni helps in this by providing an online referencing software called RefWorks, which has direct links to the library catalogue, making it simple to build up a list of reference material. Then, what is supposed to happen, is that when you need to cite a reference in Word, you install a free add-on from RefWorks that allows a one-click insertion. Only problem is that, at least on my Mac, it crashes every time I try.

That is one issue, the other one for me is that Word, whilst a great word-processor is not ideal when working on longer documents. Enter two pieces of software from Literature and Latte; Scrivener and Scapple.

Scrivener is, in essence, a document layout product. As they put it, “Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.”

And, that is an accurate description, it allows me to concentrate on getting my ideas down in writing and leave the formatting and presentation to later, which it can either do itself or it can export to other products, including Word.

Dsc 0002 640x473

Scapple is, to my mind, a brainstorming tool, allowing me to ‘jot down’ ideas as and when they occur and decide on the links (if any) later. Again, the companies description sums it up well, “Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.”

It is the sum of the two products that works especially well for me, as I enter the layout of my assignments in Scrivener, then jump into Scapple to brainstorm, place the Scapple document into the reference section of Scrivener, before starting to properly draft my answers in Scrivener.

How does this all work with RefWorks? Directly it doesn’t. However, RefWorks allows me to click a button which generates an appropriate (we use Harvard) reference for insertion into Scrivener. Then once finished, I can quickly generate a bibliography from RefWorks and paste this into a section of Scrivener, which will then compile the finished document.

If this seems complicated, it isn’t, because once setup the same format can be used for every assignment saving work in future.