Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



Pick an apple! 
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



Published in TidBITS 11.
Subscribe to our weekly email edition.



SUM Competition

Send Article to a Friend

Symantec's SUM disk utilities for the Mac has become pre-eminent, and Symantec recently solidified its hold on the Mac utility market by purchasing Peter Norton Computing. Other major disk utility packages include 1st Aid Software's Deluxe 1st Aid Kit and Central Point Software's MacTools Deluxe. Central Point recently advertised MacTools Deluxe for $25 if you could produce a photocopy the first page of the manual of another Macintosh disk utility. For $25, how can you go wrong?

Well, it seems that you really can go wrong. A number of people (including us) took Central Point up on its offer, and after several delays (during which Central Point did not deposit any checks) we received the program. We haven't had a chance to test this for ourselves, but several people on Usenet report that there is a potentially dangerous bug in MacTools Deluxe's backup program. It seems that MacTools Deluxe allows you to save sets of folders to backup, but if MacTools finds a folder and files with the same name as the ones you want to backup before it finds the ones you want, it will backup the ones it found rather than the ones you selected. This isn't an entirely unusual possibility, because you could easily have a number of files and folders with the same names in different main folders.

Of course, it's only a problem if your hard disk dies or if you accidentally erase the files, but that's what backups are for. For true archiving of files, though, Retrospect is ideal, since it actually keeps different versions of the same file through revisions, allowing you to recover the file at any revision level. On the whole, we are also happy with the SUM Backup program, which isn't at all fancy, but does the job.

Evidently this bug survived beta-testing, but Central Point has reproduced it and will be discussing it with the third-party developer of MacTools Deluxe. However Central Point did not promise that it would be definitely fixed or that owners of MacTools Deluxe would be informed. One useful thing is that Central Point does have a limited warranty that says that they will replace the software or refund your money if it does not perform substantially as advertised. In our opinion, this bug violates their warranty and they should provide a free upgrade to all registered users. We suggest that everyone who owns MacTools Deluxe call Central Point and ask them about the bug and the necessary upgrade.

Other comments about MacTools Deluxe hint that its optimization feature is not as good as SUM TuneUp and the backup program is slower than Apple's HD Backup (which is not included in at least System 6.0.5 and will not be a part of System 7.0).

Symantec -- 800/441-7234 -- 800/626-8847 (CA) -- 408/253-2167
Central Point Software -- 503/690-8080

Information from:
Jonathan Pool --
George D. Nincehelser --


READERS LIKE YOU! Support TidBITS by becoming a member today!
Check out the perks at <>
Special thanks to Alexandra Kleijn, Robert Hayes, Stuart Forsyth, and
Daniel Dorato for their generous support!