Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Software finds: fill out PDF forms and make a screen recording

You have a pdf form that needs to be filled out, but you've been keyboarding so long that you're handwriting skills have all but vanished. You don't want to fork out for the full Adobe package. Where do you turn? To PFDescape!!!

This is a little clunky (e.g. can't cut and paste to rearrange ideas in a paragraph or copy from a word document into the online file & I couldn't figure out how to do a circle or rectangle that wasn't filled in red), but compared to the alternative (my handscratch), it's a great way to fill in one of those read-only pdf's that can be such a pain. Just open an account (so you can save and get back to the document), upload, enter your information, then download and save as a pdf again. I tried it this morning and it worked perfectly.

I can see using this with students when they have job application forms to do. They can scan their forms, save them as pdf's (instead of jpegs), add their information in beautiful typed format and download to add their signatures and return them to the employers. They could also do fill in the blanks kinds of quizes or tests or annotate images like maps or mindmaps that have been saved in pdf format.

For those of you who can't easily get online, there's a very inexpensive ($20) downloadable alternative called PDFill. They also offer some free tools that are worth looking at if you're using an old version of Word and can't save to a PDF or want to merge/split files, reorder pages and so forth.

For those of you who don't have a good screen recording tool, today's Giveaway of the Day -- Bandicam -- seems to be receiving good reviews from the gamers. I'm going to try making machinima with it in Second Life. Remember, when you download from GOTD, you must open the ReadMe file right away and follow the registration instructions exactly. If you don't do that inside their 24 hour period, you'll lose the lifetime registration and the program will revert to a trial version.

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