Ergonis Software has released a significant update to PopChar X, the long-standing tool for finding and inserting special characters anywhere you can type text. Version 5.0 adds the long-requested feature of being able to collect frequently used characters together in a Favorites group that remains visible at the top of the character table. The update also adds a new customizable hotkey for opening and closing the PopChar window, improves the menu attached to the status item in the menu bar, and enhances the scrolling speed and display of the character window. The update also fixes a handful of bugs, including one that caused the Mac OS X font manager to crash PopChar, one that caused the program to hang while updating font collections, and one that prevented text from being entered into the license key field. The full list of changes is available on Ergonis Software's Web site. (€29.99 new, free update for purchases made in the last 2 years, 2.1 MB)
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).