Screen Toaster closes down.
It's just been announced that Screen Toaster - the free online screen capture tool - is to shut down, with both the service and all online content unavailable after July 31st 2010.
We've used Screen Toaster quite a lot for informal screen capture and quick screen grabs, often on managed machines with no screen capture application and no way of installing one, and it was a really useful tool with some good options not offered by its competitors - downloadable MOV and Flash screen capture files for a start. We'll certainly miss its functionality and ease of use, and while there are alternatives like Screenr, there's nothing that fits the bill quite so well at the moment. Being accessed through a browser, there was no need to install software on the host machine - sometimes a problem with managed networks - but unlike most online tools Screen Toaster allowed you to download your file after capture for processing and post-production in the DAW of your choice. Neat.
Its demise also brings to light the dangers of relying on online tools which offer no legacy support. Even if the producer of a piece of commercial software goes bust, I still have it installed on my computer, and I can still use it - at least in the interim period until I find a successor. Not so an online application - once it's gone, it's gone, and all your work in learning to use it is gone with it. It's always worth considering the risks should support become unavailable for a key element in any workflow, and software can be particularly ephemeral.
On a personal note, I was hoping to use Screen Toaster for one or two introductory exercises (fortunately quite minor ones) for our new Building Effective Screencasts workshop which is currently in development (E.T.A. September 2010) - guess I'll have to find an alternative :-/
CamStudio, while different in functionality, is critically open source, unlike Screen Toaster, so will always be here as long as we have the freely available source code. Chalk one up to the Open Source warriors! That will do for now, but an online hosted version would be very cool (attention developers!)...
For further information and advice about screen capture and screencasting tools - including some alternatives to Screen Toaster - take a look at our Screencasting Workflow guide, and look out for new workshops coming soon.
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