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Open Files with Finder's App Switcher

Say you're in the Finder looking at a file and you want to open it with an application that's already running but which doesn't own that particular document. How? Switch to that app and choose File > Open? Too many steps. Choose Open With from the file's contextual menu? Takes too long, and the app might not be listed. Drag the file to the Dock and drop it onto the app's icon? The icon might be hard to find; worse, you might miss.

In Leopard there's a new solution: use the Command-Tab switcher. Yes, the Command-Tab switcher accepts drag-and-drop! The gesture required is a bit tricky. Start dragging the file in the Finder: move the file, but don't let up on the mouse button. With your other hand, press Command-Tab to summon the switcher, and don't let up on the Command key. Drag the file onto the application's icon in the switcher and let go of the mouse. (Now you can let go of the Command key too.) Extra tip: If you switch to the app beforehand, its icon in the Command-Tab switcher will be easy to find; it will be first (or second).

Visit Take Control of Customizing Leopard


Fun Stuff at Macworld 2009

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It's impossible to convey just how much fun can be had at Macworld Expo, but darn it, we're going to try, with these brief snapshots of clever events, cool demos, and neat people.

Most Pervasive Tchotchke -- The giveaways seemed pretty sparse at Macworld Expo this year, but one freebie stood head and shoulders above the rest, literally. Peachpit Press was giving away free bunny ears to promote the Visual QuickStart Guide bunny logo. Wearers could win iPhones and iTunes gift certificates. Although it was a clever idea, even Peachpit's staff were amazed at how popular the fuzzy pink ears turned out to be. They gave away over 700 pairs of ears in the first few hours of the show, and ran out of a subsequent 300 pairs the next day. You could see bunny ears not only on the show floor, but in restaurants surrounding Moscone. Interestingly, Peachpit chose not to put their name on the ears, thus forcing everyone who wanted a pair to ask where they'd come from. [JLC]

Best Audience Participation -- DriveSavers, the folks who can disassemble crashed drives and often extract their vital data, had a nifty demonstration where they drafted a passer-by to act as a "disk doctor." I was walking by and the DriveSavers booth staffer had equipped what appeared to be a regular attendee as a clean room technician, and used the Socratic method to elicit responses as he helped the "doctor" disassemble a sealed drive mechanism. A microphone and speakers allowed observers to hear what dust spinning on a drive does to the read/write heads as the specks bang into them. Remember, we love what the DriveSavers folks do, but they'll be the first to encourage you to back up instead, since their services aren't cheap. [GF]

Best CHOCK LOCK -- The 100-foot-tall Craig Hockenberry, who strides the floor of Macworld Expo like a colossus, is a very funny man, as well as one of the principals of Iconfactory, most recently known for the desktop and iPhone/iPod touch versions of Twitterrific and Frenzic. Hockenberry, seen here crushing Bare Bones founder Rich Siegel (himself 99 feet tall) into the show floor, has spread a hilarious meme via Twitter about the CHOCK LOCK, a morphable description of practically any behavior. [GF]

Largest Digital Project -- Artist Bert Monroy described his latest project to me at the Peachpit Press party: It's a 25-foot-long photo-realistic mural he's creating in Photoshop that's so large and complicated he expects to spend another two and a half years working on the project - and has already stretched the limits of Adobe's Creative Suite products to the breaking point. Monroy's source file is over 11.5 GB flattened, and his next steps will quadruple the current file size. [GF]


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