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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

 
 

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Raymond Lau's StuffIt rules supreme, but the new version of DiskDoubler from Salient may advance into StuffIt's domain. DiskDoubler 2.0 costs $79 (up $20 from the price of the previous version), but registered users will be rewarded with free upgrades. In return for the price hike DiskDoubler compresses files up to 250% faster and up to 200% smaller than StuffIt. The feature list continues, however. DiskDoubler works transparently in the standard open file dialog box. When a user selects a Nisus file, say, that has been compressed with DiskDoubler, it will be automatically decompressed and opened with no extra steps. Lest StuffIt users (and PackIt users, if they aren't extinct) feel left out, DiskDoubler can open both StuffIt and PackIt archives at a speed up to 250% faster than those programs. For maximum convenience, DiskDoubler can install another menu in the Finder so groups of files can be easily compressed or decompressed at any time. A free utility, DDExpand, allows anyone to decompress DiskDoubler files.

DiskDoubler's capabilities make it a convenient way to work with compressed files that has not been possible previously. Even with StuffIt's advances past PackIt, compressing and decompressing files is a multi-step process that is necessary but not particularly pleasant. If DiskDoubler lives up to its claims, everyone can store significantly more files on their hard disks. (Our hard disk is ready for this!) A feature not mentioned in the MacWEEK article that would make DiskDoubler more popular is transparent file compression on saving. PageMaker users would be especially pleased with this feature, given the size to which PageMaker files grow with seemingly little provocation. One caveat to all thisif files are compressed, the data contained in them will be harder to recover, if recovery is even possible, in the event of a disk crash.

Salient -- 415/852-9567
Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 01-May-90, Vol. 4, #17, pg. 5

 

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