Category: Digital Life

Demo with a Magnifying Glass for MacBooks

If you own a Mac and do software demonstrations or do presentations for people, you might want to learn this nifty trick for enabling a magnifying glass that can follow your cursor. It’s incredibly useful when you need to magnify just a small section of the screen for a brief moment (magnify the URL, the icon you’re clicking on, the code you’re examining). Here are the steps to locating and turning on the magnifying glass that follows your cursor in macOS Sierra: Find the Zoom preferences window: Go to System Preferences Select Accessibility Select the “Zoom” section To make...

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10 Tips for Writing a Good Bug Ticket

I have spent a great deal of time in the last two years writing software tickets for new features and bugging issues that (inevitably) arise. Many of the engineers tell me that my tickets are very clear and easy to understand. I like my engineers (I even baked bug cookies for one who visited me in Utah) so I thought I would pass along my tips to be used by more people. Tips for writing a good bug ticket: 1. Find a way to reproduce the bug. If you can’t reproduce it, the engineer isn’t likely to be able...

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The Watch: Killer Feature of the FitBit Force

I recently lost my FitBit Force in a Canyoneering mishap (Joel did say “Are you sure you want to bring your FitBit into the canyon?”) and now I’ve been downgraded to a FitBit Flex. After many years of not wearing a watch, I’m finding myself yearning for my Fitbit Force and it’s “killer” feature: the watch. I grew up with a watch. I taught the first few years with a watch. But somewhere along the way, the phone in my pocket and the ever-present time in the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen replaced the need for a watch....

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The Invasive Valley of Personalization

About 9 months ago, I gave a presentation at the World Future Society Conference called The Promise and Perils of Personalization. After thinking, reading, discussing, and musing about personalization for about a year, I realized that there is a fine line between useful personalization and creepy personalization. It reminded me of the “uncanny valley” in human robotics. So I plotted the same kind of curves on two axes: Access to Data as the horizontal axis, and Perceived Helpfulness on the vertical axis.  For technology to get vast access to data AND make it past the invasive valley, it would...

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My New Work Colleagues

Last month, I took a new position as Director of Learning and Innovation for Area9 – they build personalized learning software and learning simulations (e.g. LearnSmart, SmartBook, and SmartLabs). In this new position I am something of a learning software ninja. I propose, improve, design, spec, manage, test, and document new software features. I get to follow features and improvements from conception to completion and it is super fun!  I even write a little code here and there, which I haven’t done seriously since I was a chemist (a long long time ago when I was just out of college). I...

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