Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Capture Screenshots And Show Off!

Well, this apps is not a new program. But it’s still a good application to capture screenshots from your E90. Not only good, this application is also free! Everything is better when it’s free..hehe..

ScreenSnapS60 allows you to take screenshots in different capture modes (single shot, multiple or continuous shots) and save them in a variety of file formats (JPEG, BMP, PNG, MBM) and qualities (true color, 8 bits).

It is possible to set delay and interval times, customize the notification message (visual message and/or tone), define the number of shots, configure the shortcut keys and specify memory location, directory name and file name of the saved shot. ScreenSnapS60 for 3d Edition works on all Symbian S60 3d edition smartphones, including E90.

1. Starting up ScreenSnapS60
When starting up ScreenSnapS60, you are presented with a summary of all settings, providing you with a very convenient "at one glance" overview of all parameters.This allows you to quickly verify if the current settings are OK and avoids having to go to the settings dialogue and browse through the 11 settings. If a particular setting needs to be changed, you can go quickly to the relevant setting item in the settings dialogue.
At any point during the use of ScreenSnapS60 you can go back to the "Settings summary" by selecting the "Settings summary" item in the options menu.
Also, each time when closing the "settings dialogue" the "Settings summary" screen is displayed in order to be able to verify the correct settings have been selected and ScreenSnapS60 is ready to take screenshots according to your preferences.The "Settings summary" screen is also displayed when returning from the "about" dialogue.

2. Taking a screenshot
There are 2 methods to take a screenshot:
- Press a shortcut key combination e.g. + <*>
- Select the "Take screenshot" item from the options menu
The shortcut keys are the default method, enabling to quickly take screenshots when ScreenSnapS60 is switched to the backgound. The "Shortcut" setting allows to select one of 3 possible shortcut key combinations:
+ <*> (default setting)
+ <0>
The key is the key with the "pen" symbol (see picture on the left). First press the key, then while keeping it pressed, press the <*> ,<0> or key.
The method using the options menu item has to be used in combination with the setting "Delay first shot", allowing to switch to the screen of which a shot has to be taken after selecting the "Take screenshot" menu item (Otherwise you end up taking a screenshot of ScreenSnapS60 itself!). This method avoids the usage of shortcut keys, which may be appropriate for one handed operation or when all shortcut key combinations are already in use by other applications.
The user is notified when a screenshot is taken (and saved). The notification can take the form of a visual message, a tone (camera click sound) or both. It is also possible to deactivate all notifications.
The "Notification" setting allows to select one of the following :
- Visual note + tone (default setting)
- Visual note
- Tone
- None

3. Saving a screenshot
When a screenshot is taken, it is always automatically saved to a file on your smartphone. It is possible to specify exactly where and under which name the screenshot is saved.
The "Filename" setting allows you to specify the filename.
The "Location" setting is a toggle function allowing to select either the phone memory or the memory card (default setting).
The "Directory" setting prompts you for a directory name. If the directory (path) does not already exist, it is automatically created for you.

The directory specified by you is created under the "images" directory in the root directory of the memory card ( E:\Images for Nokia phones!) when you choose the memory card as location and under the default phone memory "images" directory ( C:\Data\Images for Nokia phones!) when you select the phone memory as location.This is done as S60 phones only provide access through the default file manager to certain directories in order to prevent access and possible irreparable damage to system files. So, when using the default file manager you will see a directory "Images" both on the memory card and on the phone memory. When using the freeware SExplorer filemanager you can see the full directory paths.
A 4 digit serial number is appended at the end of the filename in order never to overwrite previously saved screenshots e.g. Screenshot0025. The filename number displayed on the Settings summary screen is the number of the file of the next screenshot to be taken.
Finally the extension of the file is appended according to the selected file format (see point 6.Screenshot format and quality). The complete specification of location, directory and file name of the last screenshot taken is saved for future reference (see next point).

4. Viewing a screenshot
After taking a screenshot it is automatically displayed on the main screen of ScreenSnapS60 (and thereby replacing the settings summary screen). The original bitmap is displayed, not the saved file format.
At any point during the use of ScreenSnapS60 it is possible to view the last screenshot taken/saved by selecting the "View last saved shot" menu item. This is possible, even after exiting and restarting ScreenSnapS60, as the location, directory and filename of the last saved screenshot are saved when exiting the application. When the file in which the last screenshot was saved has been deleted in the meantime, the "View last saved shot" menu item will not be displayed.
This feature is important as it allows to verify - by switching back to ScreenSnapS60 - that the screenshot has been correctly taken, at the right quality, making the use of ScreenSnapS60 more efficient.
It is possible to display the screenshot in full screen mode by toggling the "Full screen mode / Normal screen mode" options menu item. When switching to full screen immediately after taking a screenshot, the screenshot image is no longer displayed. It can be viewed again by selecting "Options | View last saved shot".

5. Sending a screenshot
As soon as a screenshot has been taken, it can be sent to a PC or another phone by selecting "Options | Send".
A screenshot can be sent for free to a nearby phone or PC via bluetooth or infrared (if supported by your phone).
After selecting the "Via Bluetooth" menu item, the standard "Searching for devices" screen is displayed. Select one of the devices found and the file will be sent.
Alternatively screenshots can be sent to remote devices via multimedia (MMS) or e-mail making use of your operator's network data services (check data rates).
The multimedia sending process is based on the standard S60 screens.
This "Send" feature is very useful as it allows "one stop" processing: taking, saving and sending a screenshot in one movement instead of having to use the file manager or gallery on the phone, searching for the right file and transfering it to a computer via PC suite.

6. Screenshot format and quality
An important benefit of ScreenSnapS60 is the wide range of supported file formats and the flexibility to define the quality (and hence the size) of the saved screenshot file.
Available file formats:
- JPEG (compressed, ideal for photos) (default setting)
- BMP (bitmap, non-compressed format)
- PNG (compressed, ideal for text based screenshots)
- MBM (Symbian multi-bitmap format for developers)

True color (actual number of bits per pixel depending on the phone model) and 8 bits per pixel can be selected for BMP, PNG and MBM formats. A screenshot file taken in PNG 8 bits format can be as small as 5 kbyte and still offers good quality for text based screens.

For the JPEG format, the quality can be chosen on a continuous scale from 0 to 100, allowing fine tuning of the JPEG quality, compared to the traditional high/medium/low quality scale.

7. Multiple and continuous screenshots
ScreenSnapS60 offers 3 different capture modes:
- Single shot (default setting)
- Multiple shots
- Continuous shots

In "Multiple shots" capture mode, a predefined number of shots are taken as specified in the "Number of shots" setting.
The time between shots can be specified in the "Delay between shots" setting from 1 sec to 60 sec.
After the last screenshot in a "Multiple shots" session has been taken, a "Multiple shots ended" note is displayed.
In "Continuous shots" capture mode, shots are taken until the sequence is stopped by pressing the shortcut keys again. Indeed, in multiple or continuous mode the shortcut keys operate in toggle mode alternatively starting and stopping screenshot sessions.
It is also possible to select the "Stop taking shots" options menu item to stop a multiple or continuous screenshot session, though this requires switching back to ScreenSnapS60.
In both "multiple shots" and "continuous shots" capture mode, only tone notifications are available in order to avoid that the visual notification messages are displayed over the screenshots. If a notification setting includes notes they will be ignored.

8. Other options menu items
Two settings are accessible via the options menu - and not via the settings dialog - as they have to be readily accessible from the main screen and typically are only switched on during brief periods:

"activated / deactivated mode"
"normal / full screen mode"
The "deactivate" function is a toggle menu function between deactivating and activating the shortcut keys used to take screenshots.Typically this would be used to allow other applications to use a shortcut combination in case of conflict. Remark however that there is a choice of 3 different shortcuts in order to avoid this kind of conflicts.
The "full screen mode" function is a toggle menu function between full screen and normal screen mode. It can be used to view a taken or saved screenshot in full screen mode. Watching a screenshot in full screen mode can be quite confusing as it may make you belief you're looking at a genuine S60 screen with soft menu buttons, status indicators,...
None of these settings are stored when exiting ScreenSnapS60. When starting up the default settings are "activated" and "normal screen mode".
The options menu also features an about screen with essential information about ScreenSnapS60.
You will notice the options menu is a dynamic menu. During a "multiple shots" or "Continuous shots" session the options menu only displays the "Stop taking shots" menu items.
Finally the "exit" menu item closes ScreenSnapS60.
The soft "back" button at the right sends ScreenSnapS60 to the background, ready to take screenshots using the shortcut keys.

9. Settings
The settings dialogue comprises 11 settings as outlined above. They are saved when exiting ScreenSnapS60.
As described above the "Settings summary" screen provides an overview of all settings, including the "Deactivate" and "Full screen mode" settings available via the options menu.

10. Notifications
At many moments, notification messages are displayed. Below an overview of all messages:
"Screenshot saved in xxx"
"Busy, try again later"
"ScreenSnapS60 stopped"
"Multiple shots ended"
"Memory full! ScreenSnapS60 stopped!Delete data before trying again!"
"ScreenSnapS60 activated"
"ScreenSnapS60 deactivated"
"FullScreen mode activated"
"NormalScreen mode activated"

11. Differences between ScreenSnapS60 for 2nd Edition and ScreenSnapS60 for 3d edition
ScreenSnapS60 for 3d Edition is similar to ScreenSnapS60 2d Edition. The following main changes and improvements have been implemented:
Shortcut keys
It is now possible to stop a multiple or continuous mode screenshot session by pressing the shortcut keys. Indeed, in multiple or continuous mode the shortcut keys operate in toggle mode alternatively starting and stopping screenshot sessions. It is hence no longer necessary to go back to the Options Menu of ScreenSnapS60 to stop a screenshot session.
Full screen mode
Full screen mode is now only available while not taking screenshots (Idle mode). When switching to full screen after taking a screenshot the screenshot image is no longer displayed. It can be viewed again by selecting "Options | View last saved shot" .In full screen mode the "Settings summary screen" is now also displayed in full screen.
Image file location
The image file locations have been modified for S60 3d Edition and are made device independent. No hidden paths are displayed in the confirmation messages.
Other changes
The "View last saved shot" menu item is only displayed when the last screenshot exists (after taking at least 1 screenshot which has not been deleted).
ScreenSnapS60 for 2nd Edition is available in English and French whereas ScreenSnapS60 for 3d Edition is available in English, French, German and Dutch.
A number of minor changes have been implemented to improve performance.

12. Other remarks
Settings are not saved when upgrading.
The precision of the delays and intervals (especially when they are smaller than 2 seconds) will depend on the following factors:
- speed of phone
- file format/size
- memory (phone memory quicker than memory card)
ScreenSnapS60 for 3d Edition is available in English, French, German and Dutch.

You can download the application HERE