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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


Prodigy Internet Rate Update

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Prodigy released the Mail Manager DOS software to all its members last week. It costs $4.95 to download the software. There are no versions as yet for Mac or Windows. To send Prodigy messages or to send or RECEIVE Internet messages, the fee is 10 cents ($0.10) for each 6,000 character block, with a maximum length per message of 60,000 characters. (In the beta testing, fees were 15 cents per block of 3,000 characters, so prices were lowered considerably for the public release.) All Mail Manager fees apply per recipient, so a message distributed to a dozen people would be charged a dozen times.

Binary file transfer fees within Prodigy are charged at the same rate, with a maximum length of one megabyte per file. That's much better than the 250K limit of the beta test. Prodigy says, "File transfer via the Internet is not available at this time." You can also send faxes ($1.25 per page of about 3,000 characters, maximum length 20 pages) or USPS letters ($1.50 each letter, with a maximum length of four pages [about 12,000 characters]).

What about Macs? The information Prodigy supplies about Macs is incorrect in a few ways. The online info says, for example, the following: "Mac users can receive files sent to them with Mail Manager. These files will be received as text files and may require some conversion." Not true - binary files are received fine at Macs; they just arrive without the resource fork; the MacBinary format was developed years ago to handle such foreign transfers. I told the software developers months ago that Mac files could be converted to files without resource forks (like text files or MacBinary files) and transferred fine with their software; apparently, only part of that message was understood.

I'm now talking to the developers and have had some success in getting things straightened out. They really seemed to like it when I recommended ZipIt 1.2 as a $10 shareware utility for handling Mac to MacBinary and vice versa manipulations. "It's compatible with PKUNZIP 2.04G!" I said. They were suitably impressed.


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