From the Tips Box: Banish Photo Glare, Cheap Cable Organizers, and Mouse Laser Pointers

By Jason Fitzpatrick on September 1st, 2011

Tips-How-To-Geek-TemplateIt’s that tips sharing time of week again! This week we’re looking at reader tips about sun glare reduction in photos, turning old credit cards into cable organizers, and activating the mouse “laser pointer” in PowerPoint.

Mask the Sun with Your Hand


Jim writes in with the following photography tip, especially useful for those of you that photograph landscapes:

Dear How-To Geek,

I’m not sure if this is too much of a photography hack and too little of a computer and electronics hack… but I stumbled upon this great photo tutorial last week. You know how when you take a picture and the sun is low and/or in the frame and it creates a lot of glare? You can sometimes reframe the photo but what if you want the sun to be part of the composition? This tutorial shows you how to use your fist as a temporary mask to block the sun. You take two shots, one with the sun shaded, and then use Photoshop to combine them. I was kind of skeptical but it worked like a charm.

That’s pretty clever and goes well beyond putting on a lens hood and reframing the photo to take the sun out of it. Thanks for sharing!

Organize Your Cables with an Old Credit Card


Marcos writes in with the following tip on quick and dirty cable management:

I use a wire cage under my desk for the majority of my cable organizing needs. The problem is that cords which must come up on the desk (like the charger for my cell phone or the sync cable for my iPod) will often fall behind the desk. The wire cage keeps them from falling all the way down to the floor but I still have to do some contorting to get my arm back there and grab them. I solved that problem with an old credit/members card. This tutorial on Instructables tipped me off to the idea… it’s really simple. You just cut slit, then a hole for the cable, and bend the card to insert the cable into it. Now if my cell phone starts to slide the plug catches in the hole and I don’t have to try and reach behind the desk to retrieve it.

We’ve seen organizers like this, with slightly heftier bodies and some included adhesive strips, retail for $15-20. This is definitely a cheaper and more customizable solution. Thanks!

Turn Your Mouse into a “Laser Pointer” in PowerPoint

This tip comes to us courtesy of Andrea:

I’ve been using PowerPoint for a long time at work but I never knew about this trick. The other day a coworker showed me how by simply holding the CTRL key on the keyboard and clicking the left mouse button, the cursor changes into a bright red dot, just like a laser pointer (minus the risk of accidently shining it in the head of marketing’s eyes). Maybe it’s kind of cheesy but it allows you to highlight parts of the slide while still manning the keyboard. Pretty neat.

Well this is certainly a new trick to us. I suppose now we’ll have no excuse for bringing that 1w green laser to board meetings anymore. Alas. Thanks for writing in!

Have a tip to share? Shoot us an email at with your tip and, if applicable, photos of your project or trick.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/1/11
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