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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


AccessPC Installation

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AccessPC ships on a single disk with five items, only two of which need to be installed by dragging to your System Folder and restarting. Those two items are the "~AccessPC" cdev and its associated document "~AccessPC Data." I presume that the tildes sit in front of the file names to make them sort together, and so that the cdev runs after most other INITs and cdevs. On my system, only the @Disinfectant INIT runs after AccessPC. The third item on the disk is a small HyperCard 1.2.x stack that talks a little about the process of assigning icons to DOS files with certain extensions and then gives 13 examples of common DOS extensions and the appropriate Mac file creators and types. Then there are two folders, "PRACTICE" and "Other." "Other" holds three alternate versions of the ~AccessPC Data file for people who use MacWrite II, Wingz, or the Ashton-Tate suite of Macintosh programs, FullWrite, Full Impact, and dBMac. If you fall into one of those three categories, Insignia recommends using the appropriate ~AccessPC Data file instead of the default one, which is set for Microsoft Word and Excel users. Insignia doesn't say what to do if you use MacWrite II for your word processor, Wingz for your spreadsheet and dBMac for your database. Other than the last one, it's not all that unlikely a situation. My impression is that the only difference between the different data files is that they have different preset extension mappings, so don't worry about it too much. The "PRACTICE" folder contains four documents, an MS-DOS Word file, an MS-DOS Word style file, an MS-DOS WordPerfect file, and a Lotus 1-2-3 worksheet file. They are used in the tutorial chapter on how to assign Macintosh icons to DOS files with certain extensions. If you're wondering, they merely have some examples of how formatting isn't lost if you have the proper program on the Mac, along with a short blurb on how wonderful AccessPC is. What did you expect?

As I said before, installation is remarkably simple, simply drag two files to the System Folder and reboot. I haven't noticed any conflicts at all, although Insignia recommends renaming CD-ROM drivers to load after AccessPC if they cause problems. The Errata sheet that accompanies the manual says not to rename the "~AccessPC" file itself though, but instead to prefix the offending INIT's name with a tilde, which should cause the INIT to alphabetize after AccessPC.


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