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Computing Thoughts
First Steps in Flex: 6 Screencasts Available
by Bruce Eckel
September 16, 2009
My coauthor James Ward was here last weekend and we managed to debug the screencasting process and produce 6 screencasts. On his next visit we plan to finish creating a screencast for each chapter in the book.


You can find the screencasts here.

It seems like they work best if you let the entire cast download first (see the bar at the bottom of the screen), and then start the cast without moving the slider around. Once you've watched the first few seconds of the cast, it seems like you can then move the slider around successfully. At least, that was my experience.

Although the screencasts cover the examples in the book, we build the examples as you watch and discuss them while we build them. Our goal is to provide a useful supplement to the book; even though the screencasts can be viewed instead of the book we think/hope you may still find the print version useful.

Both the video quality and audio quality is excellent; this technology has made vast progress since I began recording "Hands-On Java" CDs. It's like you're in the room looking at the screen as we work through the examples.

We used Camtasia Studio for capturing the screencasts; one rather annoying bump in the road was that I had to upgrade -- again -- just to get codecs that would work. As a result I've effectively bought the product twice (original purchase and two upgrades). If you want to do the same you only have to buy it once. If you have a Mac the experience is much nicer and significantly cheaper with Screenflow, but my desktop machine which provided a nicer "studio" experience (and uses the fanless CPU for extra quiet) is still a Windows XP machine, so Camtasia it was.

The last time we tried this, I had followed a friend's advice and gotten two high-end AKG C520 headset microphones and an Alesis Mulitmix 8 USB mixer board. It turned out that trying to mess with this while doing the screencasts rapidly exhausted my patience, so we got a Samson C03U USB Multiple-Pattern Condenser mike instead, with a shock mount. Now we have a single adjustment (which Camtasia figures out) and we're quite pleased with the sound quality.

The mixer and headset microphones are now for sale; if you're interested .

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About the Blogger

Bruce Eckel ( provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2009 Bruce Eckel. All rights reserved.

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