Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

I have been a fan of sysinternals tools since 2003 (I think), when their debugview utility saved the bacon of some colleagues and me doing DirectX development on beta Windows XP – when in full screen Direct3D mode, and when you hit a breakpoint in the debugger, the machine would lock up. We used debug view and liberal trace statements to diagnose a bunch of problems.

One of my favorite sysinternals tools lately (actually…for about a year or so…it’s just soooo cool!) is ZoomIt. You can use it to zoom in to some detail during a presentation, to check details about icons or graphics, and I even use it to read things when I am being lazy and don’t want to pick my head up and move it too close to the monitor.

Recently I found out about their blog for updates to these tools. I have to admit that I have a lot of trouble trying to keep up with the cool little features they are constantly adding to their tools. As an example, here is a brief timeline of ZoomIt’s features, from my fragmented memory:

  • ZoomIt introduced: Let’s you zoom, mouse wheel zooms more, let’s you “Madden” on the screen (draw with the mouse, etc.)
  • The ability to change the pen width added
  • The ability to change the pen’s color added
  • Timer mode added (makes the screen into a giant count down clock – great for keeping people from talking too long in a meeting.)
  • The ability to make a whiteboard/blackboard with it (side note: last year we were in a meeting with a technical team from one of our indian vendors…I was getting sleepy, and all of the sudden, one of them says, “bring up notepad.” I though, “Rock and Roll! Now we’re going to see some code…old school style…in notepad…hmmm.” I asked, “are you sure you don’t want visual studio instead?” The looked at me funny and one of them made a gesture with a pen. I realized they just wanted a white surface to draw on the whiteboard I was projecting onto. Doh! Now I use zoomit for that.)
  • Tuesday they added the ability to do _straight_ lines.

From there blog, it looks like they update this tool more than once a month. Add that to the other tools, and it’s kind of a lot to keep up with…but their tools are sooo nice! I love all the little extra touches.