Anyone Up for a Little Jing?

6 Jun

Did you know the word, “desserts,” is just “stressed” spelled backward?

That’s one of the first things Beth Ziesenis taught me when she sent cookies our way after signing a contract to be TSTC Publishing’s newest author, and she’s been teaching me ever since. With her first book, Upgrade to Free: The Best Free & Low-Cost Online Tools & Apps, I’ve learned about Jing, Kuku Klok,, FlipMyText, Font Squirrel, and much more.

My favorite by far is Jing at It’s a sunny little tool from TechSmith that in Beth’s words “makes the screencapture process insanely easy.” Not only can you capture screenshots, but you can add directional arrows and text to your shot. It’s a great teaching tool, one that we use all the time in this office. I use it personally, too, when I need to remember to ask my doctor about a side effect. I look it up, Jing it using the little red arrow, and then print it out to take with me to my next visit.

At last count, the book has more than 300 apps and tools. Personally, I want to take a couple of days for just me and my computer to apply them all. That probably won’t happen, but I can tell you that I’m using many of the tools Beth suggested. For instance, I hang out with MailChimp every time I work on a newsletter.

So who is Beth Ziesenis anyway? We call her Beth Z here at the office, and our publisher, Mark Long, started reading a blog by her a few years back. After trying many of the tools she suggested in her blog, Mark asked her about the possibility of putting all her suggestions into one book. That’s how the book was born. Beth Z now calls herself “Your Nerdy Best Friend” and offers answers at ask beth z.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a BFF who says, ‘Yea, I know an app for that’?” But back to Beth. She is an author, speaker, marketing analyst, and in her own words, “a complete tech geek.” Since her first Commodore 64 computer, she has been fascinated with technology and computer shortcuts that make people’s lives easier. From her home base in sunny San Diego, Calif., Beth helps computer users all over the country filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets, and doodads to find the perfect free and bargain technology tools for business and personal use. She loves to keep up with all of the online applications and downloads that can help you look like you’re working with a team of marketing, computer, and productivity experts, even if you suffer from a shrinking staff and a disappearing budget.

The book is available for pre-order now at major book retailers. It’s expected out in ebook format in July and on bookshelves in August.

The cool thing is most of these apps are FREE! As Beth Z would say, “How cool is that?” Also, you should know Beth LOVES cupcakes and has been known to share a few tips over a plate of them and coffee.


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