Demo with a Magnifying Glass for MacBooks

Nov 12, 2016 by

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 a magnifying glass:

  • Select the box next to “Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom”
  • Select the box “Zoom follows keyboard focus”
  • Change “Zoom Style” to “Picture-in-picture”


To change the size of the magnifying box:

  • To the right of “Zoom Style” click on the “Options” button.
  • Click on the “Adjust Size and Location” button.
  • Drag the edges of the example magnifying box that appears until the box is the size you want. Then click OK in the center.


To change the magnification power:

  • To the right of “Zoom Style” click on the “Options” button.
  • Drag the slider next to “Magnification” to the desired power.


To use the magnifying glass

  • Press Cmd-Opt-8 to turn it on (it will follow your cursor).
  • Press Cmd-Opt-8 to turn it off.

Maybe you prefer your tutorials in video form, in which case, here you go!


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WolframAlpha Facebook Report

Apr 12, 2013 by

This is a delightful exercise that everyone seems to love. WolframAlpha will provide you with an extremely detailed analysis of your own Facebook data including visualizations, world clouds, graphs, and more.

Graph of Facebook Activity over time




Here’s how:

  1. Go to
  2. Type “Facebook Report” and execute the search.
  3. Allow WolframAlpha to have access to your Facebook account by clicking on “Analyze my Facebook Data” and following the directions.
  4. Wait while the data is analyzed.

Note: Sometimes the report seems to stall after 100% of the data is analyzed. If this happens, simply repeat steps 1-3. The second time, the report seems to load just fine.


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Favorite Google Chrome Extensions

Aug 2, 2012 by

I’m in the process of setting up a new computer (yes, the rumors are true … I’m using a MacBook Pro now).  Now I have a work gmail account and a personal gmail account, so I’m setting up my new computer with Chrome synced to my work Gmail.  This means I’m revisiting my “must-have” Chrome browser extensions and looking around to see if I’m missing anything awesome.

Chrome Extensions live in the address bar at the top of the Chrome Browser.

Consider this a major update to the list of Chrome Extensions I compiled in 2010.  Here are a few of my recent favorites that might be useful to you:

Reading and Writing

RSS Subscription Extension:  If a website has an RSS feed and you’re NOT subscribed via Google Reader, the RSS icon will appear in the address window. Click on it and subscribe to the RSS for new content.

Lazarus Form Recovery: You know how the browser inevitably crashes when you’re writing a paragraph of text in a conference proposal?  Lazarus autosaves all the text you enter in form fields.  When the browser crashes, you’ll recover that text.

Thesaurus Extension: Highlight a word with your cursor, right-click (Mac: CMD-click or 2-finger tap) on the word, choose the thesaurus option.

To delete an extension, turn one off, or change the settings, go to the Chrome “wrench” in the upper right-hand corner, then “Tools”, then “Extensions.” Click on image to enlarge.

Video Extensions

Turn Off the Lights: When there is video content on a page, you’ll see the ToTL icon turn black. Click it and the rest of the screen will fade out so that you can watch the video without distraction.

QuietTube: Send viewers to a Youtube video without all the ads and other video suggestions. This is fantastic for instructors that want to strip off all the video suggestions and the advertisements (well, most of them).

Bookmarking and Sharing

Mindomo Bookmarks: When you visit a webpage that you’d like to add to your mindmaps, click Mindomo Bookmarks to import the URL and site description to your Mindomo Account (you need to set up or link to an existing Mindomo account to do this – make sure you manually set up an account, don’t use the auto-setup from Gmail or Facebook).  When you go to Mindomo, you can quickly move those links to the appropriate mindmap branches.

bitly Bookmarks: I have to say that I used to like this extension a lot.  It used to be that in one click, you could send a URL and site description to your Twitter account.  Now it takes 4 clicks to do the same thing, and you can’t add hashtags to the end of a tweet anymore.  Hashtags will appear before the URL.  So any functionality that depends on the hashtag on the end of a Tweet will no longer work.  I’m replacing this one with Hootsuite, but it still might be useful for you if you’re also looking for a Bookmark manager.

Hootsuite Hootlet:  Quickly share with any/all of your social media sites. Schedule messages for later.

Readability:  View any article in an easy-to-read font of your choice, in the width of your choice, without all the ads and other crap on webpages.

Send from Gmail: Click the icon to send the website URL and description to someone using your Gmail account.


AdBlock: Block most advertisements on webpages.  Note: You will sometimes have to turn this off to get a website to load properly.

StayFocusd: Increase your productivity by enforcing self-imposed rules about how much time you can spend on a given website (like, ahem, Facebook).

Designing or Editing a website?

WhatFont: Just hover over the text on a webpage and a tool tip pops up to tell you what the font is.

Color Picker: An eyedropper tool that tells you what the color you’re looking at on a webpage is.

To make this list more dynamic (and easy to find in the future), I’ll house a permanent collection of great Chrome extensions under the Resources Tab: Chrome Extensions from now on.

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Triple Click

May 13, 2012 by

Here’s one of those little “Secret Technology Tips” that works in all sorts of programs and fields.

  • Single-click places the cursor.
  • Double-click highlights the word.
  • Triple-click highlights ALL of the text in the field or paragraph.
  • Ctrl-A (PC) or Cmd-A (Mac) highlights ALL the text/images in that document space.

Click on image to enlarge.

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The “Secret Technology Club”

Feb 10, 2012 by

During Winter Seminar Days at MCC, I held a breakout session called “The Secret Technology Club” and I just finished a set of slides to mimic the presentation. Here’s the description:

The Secret Technology Club: If you think that technology power-users have a whole bunch of “secret” tricks and shortcut, you might be right. We’ve been immersed in computer-use for decades now, but very few of us have had much formal training. We learn through trial and error, but it’s difficult to learn what you don’t know exists! If you suspect you’ve fallen behind and would like to fill some of those silly technology gaps, this is for you. This will be a random assortment of tips and tricks for a variety of programs and web applications. You can become a member of the “Secret Technology Club” by learning the secret technology handshakes.

You might be surprised by what you don’t know. I learn something new every time I prepare for this presentation.

Here are the slides for The Secret Technology Club.


I’d encourage you to “play along” and try out all the tips as you go through the slides.

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