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“We’re announcing a new update to the Flash Player today code named “Moviestar” and it includes support for the widely used industry standard H.264 codec as well as High Efficiency AAC audio support”

So reads the opening statement on a blog post from Ryan Stewart an RIA evangelist at Adobe.

We at Bioscreencast are thrilled at this announcement. As you may remember Bioscreencast.com in its zeroth avatar was offering all its content as H.264 encoded *.mov formatted files that were playable using the quicktime plugin. We chose H.264 since the video quality was amazing for the size of file and also the codec itself was “open”. We were further encouraged by the choice of H.264 by other online screencast offerings such as the video-books at Safari from the O’Reilly stable.

A few weeks after our launch, we started hearing from a lot of our users about issues they had with the quicktime plugin. These were mostly apparent on older hardware using older versions of the quicktime plugin. Prompted by these problems and the ubiquity of browser flash support we decided to bite the flash bullet. The transcoded videos were very viewable but definitely suffered in quality compared to the original mov versions.

We are therefore obviously excited by this announcement today because it could mean that we can have our cake and eat it too. Flash and the flash player are incredibly powerful in the richness of the APIs backing them and there is no denying that Flash rules the Rich internet Application (RIA) roost.

We will definitely be looking into using the new platform to offer screencasts at the best possible resolution.

Hari Jayaram
Bioscreencast.com

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First of all, thank you to everyone for all the feedback and suggestions. There are always a lot of things we can do to make Bioscreencast the perfect user experience, but we feel that some of the new features you might have already seen in the past day or so will make your time on the site a lot better.

So what do we have in store for you in this new beta release of Bioscreencast.com

Internet Explorer is no longer the forbidden zone. Bioscreencast.com should now run properly on both IE6 and 7. Please let us know if you find anything behaving in unexpected ways

Flash video format support is something we’ve discussed among ourselves for months, and finally we bit the bullet and now the screencasts are all flash. We have tried our best to keep the quality as high as possible, but this change should create a truly cross platform/cross browser experience for everyone. We also believe that the move away from H.264 will finally convince Apple to add Flash support on the iPhone.

A redesigned landing page will new icons, the most recent upload and a news feed (for now just this blog), should also make being visiting Bioscreencast.com a better experience.

There are some additional usability related changes as well. For example, you can now access the embed code and screencast URL without needing to play the screencast.

This is just the first in a series of updates you will keep seeing as Bioscreencast.com grows and evolves. Adding support for Internet Explorer was at the top of the list and we all need to thank Suresh for doing such a marvelous job of turning this around as quickly as he did.

Last but certainly not the least. Bioscreencast.com will only go where you, the users and producers will take it. So I encourage anyone who does computational life science to download Camstudio and start screencasting. If you want to learn how, just visit the wiki or check out one of the screencasting tutorials.

Request Screencast

One of the features at Bioscreencast.com that we like , is our “Request Screencast” feature. Using the request screencast page you can put in your request for something you want to learn about and the hope is that our user community will respond. When you make a request, you can categorize and tag it. You can also vote on requests other users have made and that pushes the request up the ladder.

If you have a screencast that you created that fits a particular description we encourage you to use the upload button on this page to upload the movie to our library. Once a request is fulfilled , the person who first created the request will be notified by email.
You can watch a screencast describing this page functionality here. We hope you like this feature..to give it a whirl click the icon above, go to the request screencast page link from any Bioscreencast.com page