Alsoft announced today that its two utilities - PlusMaker and PlusMaximizer - for converting hard disks to Apple's new Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus) are available for purchase and download at its Web site. With the release of Mac OS 8.1, users have the option of using the new Extended Format, which saves disk space by increasing the number of allocation blocks used by the Finder. (See "All About Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus)" in TidBITS 414.) One catch, however, is that you must backup and initialize your disks with the new Extended Format, then restore the data - a time-consuming operation, especially for system administrators managing numerous Macs. PlusMaker (an 875K download) enables you to perform the conversion without reformatting; PlusMaximizer (a 265K download) gives you the option of using 512-byte allocation blocks instead of Apple's default 4K size. Each utility is priced at $29.95, or you can purchase both as a 1.1 MB download for $39.95.
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Hold down F9, F10, F11, or F12 (or whatever you've set for the Expose and Spaces keyboard shortcuts) for a few seconds, and then release the key to enter and leave the appropriate mode without having to press the key again. This is particularly useful for Dashboard, in which you can check the contents of a widget and then return to your work with only a single key press.
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- All About Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus) (26 Jan 98)