Looks interesting, and makes complete sense that the platform veers this direction. The changes will be big, but the product will be better.
I am completely fine with paying for software that I really like and that serves a purpose for me. However, if you are a software company that is going to use the ‘paid upgrade’ model of charging customers to upgrade to the next major version of your product, make sure the next major version contains new features worth paying for.
In the case of TechSmith’s Snagit, they have failed to provide anything of real value in their latest release (version 3.0 for Mac, or 12.0 for Windows), yet they are asking for $24.95 to upgrade to the latest version.
I paid for version 2 of Snagit for my Mac (that’s version 11 for you Windows users), and I really enjoyed using it. It became a tool in my arsenal that I relied heavily upon for doing quick screen shots and adding text, notes, arrows, and more.
Then one day a couple of weeks ago the updater ran and I was suddenly looking at a trial version of Snagit 3.0. And it said it was going to expire unless I paid the discounted upgrade fee of $24.95.
Aggravated, I hoped to have my mood changed and be wowed by version 3.0. So I tested it out for a few days. I quickly found that it had a nicer look and feel about it, but other than that, there were no noticeable enhancements or actual upgrades to the product. It was the same product with about one new feature related to the video clipping tool — something I could care less about. And that new feature was only a new arrow selector of some sort. Not impressed.
Jason Eagleston, the “Snagit Product Owner” at TechSmith even admits in their self-congratulatory release video that “with this release we had a focus on updating the way Snagit looks and feels, partially to bring that consistency across all the Techsmith things that you are going to interact with, but ultimately it’s only focused on getting your content to be the most prominent thing on the screen.”
Hmm…I only interact with one Techsmith product, so why should this be a feature worth paying for? And how is it not the most prominent thing on my screen if I’m currently using it in the first place?
A couple of more employees in the video go on to talk about how much nicer the product will be to use, and that they really wanted people to feel like they were using something current and not outdated. So it really isn’t about an upgrade, it’s about a change of clothes.
The whole video is about them admitting that their product didn’t look that great, so they spent a lot of effort making it look better (or “flatter,” as they say in the video, which is supposed to be something we should like), and now they want their customers to pay for that. No real tool enhancements or additions, just a subjective improvement to the design. For $24.95? No thanks.
For those of you looking for a free alternative to Snagit, check out Skitch. With or without Evernote, it’s a nice tool that does just about everything Snagit does for screen capturing.
Photo by Darin Barry
After reading the following article, I realized that I too have witnessed social media sharing icons on many a website never gain any traction. It is as if they are completely ignored. I went on and removed them on this website moments ago.
As someone mentions in the article’s comments section, there are certain instances where social sharing buttons are a good idea, and you should definitely make them look nice and work well when they are useful. However, sticking them at the end of every blog post just because some SEO-grading web tool says you should is not necessarily a good plan, based on the evidence.
Keep in mind, I’m referring to sharing icons, not follow-me icons (those which take visitors to your social media page).
Thanks to a thread over on Reddit, I have discovered a world of free, use-for-anything stock photography resources. They range from websites where you can sign up for free photos to be delivered via email to those where you can search and browse, and they all tend to not be very crappy!
While I’m not a fan of smiling faces on websites because of the impersonal feeling, and the fact that Google might soon penalize you for using stock photography, I do like the idea of having free resources available which can be used for compiling visuals that help narrate a story on your website. The following links are full of such images, and much more.
Disclaimer: Always read the fine print, just in case, to make sure you are allowed to use the image you are downloading without attribution or payment! Whenever possible, it’s still a good gesture to give credit where credit is due, even if you don’t have to legally.
Google Image Search for Commercial Reuse
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot search Google Images and simply use any photo you find in your project. This specially crafted search, however, produces images that are OK for commercial use and modification:
Google commercial reuse image search
Note: It is possible for images found here to have been reposted by someone who copied it from the original source. Just because you find it on Google Image search for commercial use doesn’t mean it’s absolutely OK to use without proper credit/compensation.
Similar to the above Google Images search, you can browse Flickr using a similar technique:
Flickr Creative Commons license photo search
This site lets you search a collection of curated photos for commercial use:
While not easily searchable, there are some great photos on this website.
Here you can search for “free photos for bloggers and creatives”. Enough said.
Creative Commons Search
“Find content that you can share, use and remix.” Just make sure you leave checked the checkboxes for ‘commercial purposes’ and ‘modify, adapt…’
New Old Stock
Some amazing photos from times gone by, this site pulls from the public archives.
Another site with free photos for you use.
This fellow asks for attribution or a donation for coffee via his website if you want to use the photos he offers. He has some great images that would be well worth it.
A repository for free public domain images.
You can sign up via email to get 7 free images delivered to your inbox so that you can start building your own library of stock photography.
Similar to Little Visuals, except that this site sends you 10 photos a day. They all tend to be on the awesome side of great.
Speaking of free coffee, if you enjoyed this blog post and would like to see more like it, send me a little donation!
While laid up feeling ill this weekend I decided to whip out a new logo and website design for my band, The Night Trotters. There is still a wee bit of tweaking to do, but it’s close to being complete. Check it out!
If you are not a fan of making your own theme, you can use the nifty Find Themes website to pick one that suits your needs. While I have built many a WordPress theme from scratch, on this site, I tend to try out different themes other people have made so that I can learn more about the whole process. Now that I’ve found Find Themes, you may be seeing the theme here change again very soon.