Taking advantage of a Quartz effect for a better online video experience (among other things).
There are no end of sites that embed video within a browser, rather than load it in your external video player of choice. Case in point — Comedy Central’s Daily Show video archives. Since the video size controls of the player are often not accessible when the player is embedded, how many times have you ended up hunched over and squinting at a postage-stamp-sized video?
Sure, you could hunt down the URL of the video in question and force a download to disk. (The most reliable way I’ve found to do this and bypass the browser’s default file handling: hand-code a direct link to the video in a static HTML file, right-click the link, Save File As.) Or if the format is QuickTime, you could always shell out $30 for the “QuickTime Pro”
extortion fee and save it direct from the player.
But if you run OS X, there’s a quick hack that eliminates the petty file management either of these routes require. The first stop is your system preferences, in the Keyboard and Mouse Panel. You’ll find a group called “Universal Access”, and within that group is a setting labelled “Turn zoom on or off”. Make sure it’s checked. Alternatively, you can just hit ⌘ + ⌥ + 8 from any application to toggle this setting.
Now, at any time and within any application, you can simply press and hold ⌘ + ⌥ + = to zoom the screen inwards, and ⌘ + ⌥ + - to zoom back out. Load up the windowed video, hit the magic key combination, and use the mouse to center the video within the screen. Voilà — instant full screen. Thanks to OS X’s Quartz rendering engine, the video enlarges without causing any noticable hit in frame rate.
Of course, you’re not gaining any video resolution this way, and you’re still going to have an enlarged mouse cursor and visible border on-screen. It’s not perfect, but hey, it beats that postage stamp doesn’t it?
I always leave this setting on, because universal zoom anywhere in the OS is mighty handy when you’re someone who deals with pixels for any amount of time. The only gripe I have is that the anti-aliased smoothing doesn’t allow me to measure pixels by sight; an option to smooth the enlarged pixels or simply enlarge the mosaic would be most welcome. Apple’s a few steps ahead of me. ⌘ + ⌥ + \ toggles the smoothing setting. Thanks, Joseph.