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Jolt Awards: Utilities Category


Jolt Product Excellence Award

Balsamiq Mockups

Balsamiq Mockups is a breakthrough communication medium for presenting one's vision and describing that vision to others. For clients of a project, interface design can take many forms, from wireframes, to images, to sample screens written in HTML. Writing code is typically out of the question for business teams, images are difficult to maintain for developers, and wireframe tools are generally too cumbersome for both.

Most wireframe tools miss the mark by trying to recreate the end state — there is simply too much detail. While it might sound counter-intuitive at first glance, more is not always better. What happens is that businesses and developers end up trying to get the wireframe to look like the final, perfect product, and burn up a lot of time in the process. Mockups eliminates that problem by using an interface that is as easy to use as a felt-tip pen on a blank sheet of paper. The palette is organized by familiar categories, and all the icons are instantly recognizable; every user can look through this visual menu and say, "Yes — I want one of those."

Mockups can export directly to PDF, making screen designs highly portable and readily available to all team members. Additionally, Mockups can export and import designs as XML. With its features, ease-of-use factor, and price (only $79), Balsamiq Mockups is clearly a tool for all teams.

Congratulations to Balsamiq on Mockups, recipient of our Jolt Product Excellence Award for the Utilities category.

— Jon Kurz

Jolt Productivity Award #1: Utilities Category

Camtasia

One of the premier screen recording utilities for the Windows platform has continued to excel at its feature to price performance ratio. New in the latest release of TechSmith's Camtasia are enhanced captioning support, speech-to-text transcription (way cool), searchable video based on spoken word or on-screen text, and the ability to export for iPad video playback — just to name a few.

The program includes an intuitive video editor to help spruce up screencast presentations, various callouts to focus on sections of the screen, as well as keypress displays and animated shape overlays that give presentations a live whiteboard feel.

Having been a Camtasia user since the early days, I'm still amazed by how new and fresh the application's interface, feature set and advanced capabilities keep this uber-helpful utility a must-have.

Even after all these years, TechSmith's Camtasia Studio is still the best screen recording utility for Windows (and an up and comer now on the Mac platform) available for developers, marketers, and instructors today. Congratulations on receiving one of our Jolt Productivity Awards in the Utilities category!

— Mike Riley

Jolt Productivity Award #2: Utilities Category

VMware Workstation

Early releases of VMware Workstation — a product designed for testing cross-platform code — started the entire virtualization revolution. Each new release, including the recent VMware Workstation Version 7.1 adds or enhances the developer features.

For example, VMware Workstation includes the ability to hit a bug and then step the virtual machine backwards in time to replay the defect and see how it came about. New integrations with Visual Studio, Eclipse, and VMware’s own Spring tools make it possible to do this while testing 32- and 64-bit code running on up to 8 cores directly from within the IDE. And when the problem is located, the VM at point of failure can be snapshot, time-stamped, and sent to QA as defect documentation. No tool provides a more complete test environment.

Congratulations to VMware Workstation 7.1 for receiving one of our Jolt Productivity Awards in the category of Utilities.

— Andrew Binstock


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