Zooming In with Universal Access

At my Photoshop seminars, I often zoom in on a portion of my screen so that people at the back of the room can read some of the fine detail in an image, palette, or icon. If you use a Mac and would like to temporarily zoom in on your screen, then do the following:

1) Choose System Preferences and then click on the Universal Access icon.


2) Click the large button labeled Turn On Zoom (that is unless it happens to be labeled Turn Off Zoom).


3) When you want to zoom in on a portion of your screen, position your mouse over the area and then hold both the Option and Command keys and then press + to zoom in. The more times you press that key combo, the more you’ll magnify your screen. When you’re all done hold the same two keys down and press – to zoom out.

I’m sure there is a utility available for Windows that has similar functionality, but as far as I know it’s not built into the operating system… if I’m wrong, please let me know where to find the feature.

The Start of the Media Center Mac?


Apple has just introduced a few new products:
• The new iPod, which is capable of playing video
• The new iMac, which is slimmer than the old and has an integrated iSight camera

But to me the most interesting part of the announcement was something called Front Row.

Front Row is a remote control for the new iMac that looks a lot like an iPod shuffle in that it has no display and the same button configuration. What’s the big deal about this new remote? Well, it’s really the software that comes with it. It’s what appears to be the first hint of a Media Center Mac. The software allows you to easily browse music, movies and photos as well as control the iMac’s internal DVD player. Now all Apple has to do is add an FM radio tuner and video in capabilities and allow us to record those sources and we’d have a very easy to use Media Center Mac.

If and when they do that, the next step would be to release an iMac with 1920×1080 resolution so that it could be used to watch full resolution High Definition television and it would completely replace my bedroom TV… add a few features to the Mac Mini and it could replace the TiVo in my living room… and then come out with a new version of Airport Express that includes an IR port for the remote control and video out and then I could watch and listen to things from any TV set. Then allow me to control it all over the internet from my PowerBook and play content from my home systems remotely while I travel and I’d be absolutely hooked. I see little hints of Apple heading in this direction, but they’ve always said they aren’t into convergence… then again look at how many things have converged in the new iPod (video, audio, calendar, contacts, etc, etc, etc.)

Unlimited On-line Storage for $4.95/month


Here’s an interesting concept: unlimited on-line storage where you are charged based on how many Gigabytes of data you *download*. That means that you could potentially use this service to backup all of your digital photos, your entire music collection and more and then pay only $4.95/month and be able to download up to one Gigabyte each month. To download more, you of course pay more. But if you’re using it as a backup and you don’t actually plan to download anything unless something happens to your home/office system, then it could be a low cost solution.

They even have a free version where you can upload up to 10 Gigabytes of data and download up to 100 Megabytes per month. I think I’ll use that to backup all the images I use for the seminars I present… that way I should be able to download them from any computer that has an internet connection in the event that my laptop dies. I don’t usually need more than 100MB worth of images for a seminar, so I should be able to get by with their free plan!

Access Your HD from OSX’s Dock


If you run OSX on a Mac, then consider dragging your hard drive icon from your desktop into the lower portion of the dock (below the horizontal line that appears above the trash can). Once you’ve done that, you can click and hold on the icon to quickly navigate your hard drive. I’m amazed at how many people ask me about this trick when I use it at my seminars.

Tiny MP3 Player


If you find Apple’s iPod Shuffle to be lacking, then check out the MobiBLU DAH-1500i. It’s absolutely tiny (I saw one at PhotoshopWorld), includes a voice recorder, FM radio and 1GB of memory in a tiny 24x24x24mm cube that includes a very bright screen and sells for just over $100.