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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

 
 

Soft Support

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A few months ago, I had the good fortune to acquire a Bucky to use in my daily computing. "What's a Bucky?" you may ask. A Bucky replaces your antiseptic neoprene keyboard wrist pad with a soft, sweet-smelling, bean bag wrist pad. Actually, the Bucky is filled with buckwheat hulls, which for those of us who grew up in a rural area, make the Bucky smell like a summer field. (Evidently, the hulls are commonly used for filling Japanese pillows, and the company does sell similarly-manufactured travel pillows.) The outside is polar fleece, a colorful, soft material often used to make lightweight jackets. The Bucky ends up a refreshing cross between a business-like wrist pad and a comforting teddy bear. My Bucky came a bit over-stuffed, but its makers, Bucky Products, anticipated that and provided a zipper for the somewhat messy removal of extra hulls.

I use the Bucky at work where I help an average of thirty callers per day with their computer dilemmas. In other words, I have one of those stressful jobs where people occasionally lose their data and I can't do anything about it except mutter sympathetically. I also have tendonitis problems that flare up now and again. So, when I'm helping a person with a difficult problem, I can rest my wrists on that soft, cushy pad, pick it up and squish it around, or inhale a reassuring sniff of country. We're definitely talking warm and fuzzy here.

I rotate the Bucky with my Silicon Sports Puzzle Pad (see TidBITS #134) about every two weeks. I can't say that the Bucky fixes tendonitis problems, cures cancer, or prevents global warming, but it definitely reduces stress and makes the day more fun, which is an admirable achievement in its own right. The Bucky sells for about $23 (plus $2.50 shipping in the U.S.; overseas costs vary by location) and is available in some stores or directly from Bucky Products. Bucky also sells a shorter version of the wrist pad for use with a mouse, and given the difficulty of keeping one's wrist straight while using a mouse, I imagine the mouse wrist pad ($16) would be equally as useful. Highly recommended, especially if you don't already use a good wrist pad.

Bucky Products -- 800/MY-BUCKY -- 206/545-8790
206/545-0729 (fax)

 

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