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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 26 June 2012

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TextExpander 4.0 -- Smile has released TextExpander 4.0, a major update to its typing shortcut utility with several new features for automating longer texts such as form letters. Aside from new features, however, the new release is also notable for the fact that Smile won’t be releasing this latest version of TextExpander via the Mac App Store due to Apple’s sandboxing requirements (which, in this case, would prevent TextExpander from working inside other apps, which is its raison d’etre). TextExpander 4.0 is available only from the Smile Web site for $34.95 new and $15 for an upgrade from a previous version (though you can get a free upgrade if you purchased TextExpander after 15 January 2012). Additionally, TextExpander 4.0 now requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and later (version 3.4.2 remains available in the Mac App Store for 10.6 Snow Leopard users).

As for new features, the release adds new “fill-in-the-blank” snippet options that enable you to create a template that can be personalized with names and dates as well as custom links or HTML tags with variable attributes. It also offers fill-in capabilities for multi-line text fields, pop-up menus for multiple choices, and optional text blocks that can be triggered as needed. For those new to TextExpander, the app now includes a Snippet Creation Assistant that provides step-by-step guidance on creating new snippets, and the interface has been tweaked to create fill-in snippets via a pop-up menu. Other enhancements include default values for text fields and pop-up menus, snippet expansion when filling out a text field, and the addition of French and German AutoCorrect snippet groups. ($34.95 new with a 20-percent discount for TidBITS members, $15 upgrade (free for purchases after 15 January 2012), 8.5 MB, release notes)

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Skype 5.8.0.865 -- Updating to version 5.8.0.865, Skype for Mac adds several user interface improvements as well as support for the upcoming release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The update includes an improved Contacts Monitor (which can be more compactly resized when using other applications), automatic reorientation of mobile video calls when the mobile device switches between landscape and portrait views, the addition of a keyboard shortcut for controlling volume, and an SMS button in the conversation input field. Skype Premium subscribers also get improved screen sharing with the addition of simultaneous video call and screen sharing views. For a complete overview of the improvements, see this Skype Garage blog post for the release notes. (Free, 23.3 MB)

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Bento 4.1.1 -- FileMaker has released version 4.1.1 of its simplified Mac database software Bento, which offers no new features save for the addition of a Simplified Chinese localized version. Rather, the focus of this release is adding compatibility with its recently updated iPad app. The Bento 4 for iPad app adds several new ways of accessing your data, including a Form view, a spreadsheet-like Table view, a Split view that combines the Table and Form views, and a Full Screen view with a Libraries sidebar. It also includes 40 new Retina display-ready themes and single-tap access to the Bento Template Exchange for access to a wealth of free, ready-to-use templates.

Bento 4.1.1 for Mac is a free update for current owners (whether purchased from FileMaker or the Mac App Store), and it has been discounted to $29.99 (from $49.99) through 31 July 2012 for new users. Similarly, Bento 4 for iPad is available for a discounted $4.99 through 31 July 2012 (regularly $9.99). However, there is no free or discounted upgrade path — or future updates — for owners of the previous edition of Bento for iPad (version 1.15), even if you purchased the older iPad version just days ago. Megan Lavey-Heaton at TUAW has some suggestions on who to contact if you recently purchased the old version 1.15 and are looking for a refund. (Mac version $49.99 new with limited-time $29.99 discount, free update, 98.6 MB)

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