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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

 
 

Panorama II Clarifications

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Well, no one's perfect, and I missed a few things in my review of Panorama II last week. My overall comments stand, but there are a few things I feel the need to clarify.

It is easy to display the results of calculations on forms using what Panorama II calls an auto-wrap text object and a variable merged in with the text. I can't believe I didn't realize that, especially since I have used formulas in auto-wrap text objects for creating intelligent addresses that know not to include a space for company name if there is none present.

One cool feature that I forgot to mention is Smart Dates. Panorama II knows how dates relate to each other, so you can enter dates like "May 21" or "3/17" and have Panorama II expand into that the date format you are using in that particular field, even adding the current year automatically. Neater yet is the ability to enter "last Tuesday" and have the program figure out the proper date. It can be easier to remember a relative date than the absolute date, and it's always nice to have Panorama II enter the current year for you if you wish.

Jim Rea of ProVUE explained the rationale behind the Design Sheet to me. Apparently, ProVUE assumes that most people will use the Field Properties dialog to define and modify fields at first, but once a user becomes more comfortable in the Panorama II environment, he or she will prefer to use the Design Sheet, which is much faster and more efficient for making multiple changes. I must be abnormal, then, because I've almost never used the Field Properties dialog. Maybe if I had read the manual more carefully... :-)

Information from:
Jim Rea, President of ProVUE -- ProVUE on AOL

 

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