My Dell laptop died.
I fried the motherboard trying to reduce the fan noise … long story. The computer was a couple years old and was pretty low-powered, so I don't feel too bad.
I got a new laptop. It's a Lenovo T510 – pretty much the only laptop I could find under $1k that had a matte screen. I just can't look at those glossy screens.
Anyway, I've been playing around with having a more powerful computer so I dowloaded Microsoft's Expression Encoder 3 (formerly Windows Media Encoder). Besides the encoder, it also has a screen capture function. The free version limits you to 10 minute captures, but I'm guessing you could merge several screencasts in the Encoder component to make a longer video.
Anyway, on the downside of course is that the free version limits you to WMV (Windows Media) format. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't the best format for widespread deployment via the Internet. But you can easily upload the video to YouTube or the much classier Vimeo. That way you can get the file converted to something that can be viewed in-line with Flash and hosted for free. And those sites offer easy ways to share and embed the videos into your blog, website, or Facebook page, etc.
Now another option if
- you have the bandwidth to host the video yourself
- and you like open standards
is to convert your WMV file to Ogg Theora via ffmpeg2theora. All I had to do was dowload the Windows version of ffmpeg2theora (version 0.26) and then place it in the same folder as my WMV file.
Let's say the file is called "foo.wmv" and that it's in my root C drive.
The WMV can be converted to Ogg Theora via the following command line code:
C:\> ffmpeg2theora-0.26 foo.wmv
I should mention that I seemed to only have any luck with this if I first set Expression Encoder to export to VC-1 Simple/WMA for the respective video/audio output formats.
Anyway, the new file called "foo.ogv" gets made and you can open and play it straight from Firefox which has native HTML5 <video> tag support for Ogg Theora video files.
By the way, here's an interesting bit on the impending battle between Ogg Theora and the H.264 video codec.--------------