Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



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Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.

Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.

In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.

Submitted by
Doug McLean


Two New Ebooks Explore Networking and Security

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It’s not quite a no-brainer, but it’s close enough: just about anyone can get an iPhone or iPod touch connected to a Wi-Fi or 3G data network, as millions of satisfied iOS device users can attest. But just because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s simple. Many subtleties and features lurk beneath the surface of iOS networking, and you can make better and safer choices if you understand them. And that’s where Glenn Fleishman’s latest effort in our Take Control ebook series, “Take Control of iPhone and iPod touch Networking & Security, iOS 4 Edition” comes in.

In the 165-page ebook, you can learn how Glenn thinks about iOS networking, and thereby profit from his explanations of, and advice about, key networking topics. Mystified about how networking security works? Confused about which 3G data plan to use? Baffled by what it means to tether your devices? Wondering how to connect a Bluetooth device to your iPod touch? Concerned about what you should do if you lose your iPhone in a bar near Gizmodo headquarters some evening? The ebook covers all of that and more (well, except for the Gizmodo bit).

From the moment iOS 4 was announced in June 2010, Glenn has been researching and writing this book, and now his comprehensive and detailed look at the iOS networking landscape is ready, both for those who already have their devices in hand, and for those who will soon receive a shiny new iPhone or iPod touch during the holiday gift-giving season. It’s $15 and is available in PDF and print now, with EPUB and Mobipocket coming in a few weeks for those who purchase the PDF.

(If “Take Control of iPhone and iPod touch Networking & Security, iOS 4 Edition,” sounds like a familiar title, you’re likely thinking of Glenn’s older “Take Control of iPad Networking & Security,” which is up for a minor update once iOS 4.2 ships for the iPad. The two books are somewhat similar, and we may combine them into a single title for iOS 5 if enough of the differences have been ironed out.)

But that’s not all that Glenn has been up to: together with co-author Adam Engst, he has been working on an update to the 109-page “Take Control of Your Wi-Fi Security,” aimed at those who want to understand and implement wireless security for home or small business networks. Like previous updates to this longstanding title, this version 1.7 is a free update for everyone who has bought the book already, but the update brings it up to date with the latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft, current security issues, and recommended protection mechanisms. It’s $10, and is also available in PDF and print forms, with EPUB and Mobipocket coming soon.

’Tis the season to network safely!


New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as “Tx” for “TextExpander”. With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <>