Let’s face it, a lot of us tend to get easily distracted in life. This is no exception when it comes time to work on our computers. Honestly, when was the last time you had to finish up a project or report only to find yourself Tweetering or decorating your Myspace page instead? While there are nothing wrong with using Twitter or Myspace, there is a time for it and using them when writing your final report can cause you to lose focus! OK OK, so let’s say you did finish up your work and now want to watch an online streaming video. The bad part is that the website the video is on has a bunch of flashing banners, unnecessary and often times rude and offensive comments written by other viewers, chat boxes and other pictures and ads that also distract your attention from the streaming video. Well, with a simple application download, those woes are finally over!
I have to admit that I am that very easily distracted person I mentioned earlier. Although the good news is that while I will still finish my reports and other important work on the computer, I usually take a lot longer than it really should have been. I constantly change my music playing in Winamp, look up video gaming news, write in online forum boards, browse through Amazon to see what’s cool to buy next and chat with my friends all the while writing that report. Our computer is the gateway to the very large and awesome world we call the Internet and so I really can’t blame people for being distracted as well. However, I just believe we need a little bit of discipline when on the computer. What better way to do that than to black out your entire computer screen other than the application you’re currently working on? Zorro is a neat little application that allows us to do just that!
With Zorro, you can easily at a push of a button black out your entire computer screen except for the application in which you want to solely focus on. For example, let’s say you are writing a report in Microsoft Word. By using Zorro, you could configure it so that it only shows your writing area while blacking out everything outside of that area. That way, you minimize the distractions so that you can better focus on writing that report instead. Another excellent function for Zorro is when you want to watch an online video at a website but also want to minimize all the distractions around the video. With Zorro, you can easily once again configure it so that it only shows you the video portion while blacking out everything outside of it. You might notice that some video hosting websites already have a similar feature (Hulu and Youtube) in that it allows you to ‘dim the lights’ on that webpage. This provides for a more cinematic viewing experience. That’s neat and all but not all video sites allow you to do this and that’s when Zorro can come in handy. While some of you might be thinking of simply full screening the video to minimize the distractions that way, not everyone likes to do that because it distorts the video when in full screen mode. Sadly, not every video hosted online is in high definition so when we go into full screen, it can look pretty horrible. If you’re like me, then you almost always watch every video in their native resolution, especially with online streaming videos.
1. You can download Zorro from here. It should be the last utility on the website. The neat thing is that you can download the portable version of Zorro. This way, no installation is needed to use the tool. Simply run the self-executable to launch Zorro. You could also just dump it into your USB thumb drive and use it on any other computer.
2. Once you have launched Zorro, you’ll simply see the Zorro option menu along with what seems like a see-through window. This window is re-sizable and this is where you will configure it so that whatever is showing inside the window will be the only thing you see once you activate Zorro. For example, you can resize Zorro so that the window fits exactly to the online video you are watching. Or, so that it only shows you your Word document’s typing area. Once you have done so, simply hit the Esc key on your keyboard and voila! Everything outside of the Zorro window will now be blacked out!
3. (Optional) There are some minor tweaks you can configure with Zorro as well. If you head into the Options menu, you could set things like the background color, blacking out the selection instead (blacks out the inside of the Zorro window rather than the outside), and configuring a hotkey combination to activate Zorro if you want to.
Well, that’s pretty much it with Zorro. A simple application to perform a simple task. Whether you use Zorro to enhance your online video viewing experience or to create a distraction free computer screen, it’s certainly worth trying. I remember using Zorro back in the days when it was first created but I totally forgot about it since I reformatted my computer to Windows 7.