Sound Manager 3.1 Hurrahs -- Last week, Apple released version 3.1 of the Sound Manager, which consists of a new Sound control panel (version 8.0.5) and a new Sound Manager extension. Along with numerous bug fixes (some of which have saved me a lot of trouble), Sound Manager 3.1 includes support for IMA 4:1 compression (often used for 16-bit, CD-quality music) and uLaw 2:1 compression (often used for voice and telephony applications, and the basis of the ".au" file format seen so often on the Web). Sound Manager 3.1 also includes more PowerPC-native code and (finally!) allows asynchronous playback of alert sounds. If you do any audio-intensive work - or just want to give your Power Mac games a little boost - it's worth a look. [GD]
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.