With Mac OS 8's contextual menu technology and the combination of Apple Data Detectors and Internet Address Detectors (ADD/IAD), you can highlight a block of text in almost any application, then choose actions for any URLs, email addresses, newsgroup names, or other particular items the text contains. (See "Of Mice and Menus" and "More Context on Contextual Menus" in TidBITS 398 and 399.) This week's release of ADD/IAD 1.0.2 optimizes performance, adds more plug-ins for interacting with FileMaker Pro and QuarkXPress, and adds the ability to disable contextual menus in selected applications. Although Apple steered developers away from Control-click combinations for years, Mac OS 8's contextual menus can still interfere with some programs. (When using the Path tool in Adobe Photoshop, for example, Control-clicking brings up a contextual menu instead of changing the Path tool's function.) Under ADD 1.0.2, you can turn off contextual menus in any application by choosing an item from the Help menu when the application is active. Some applications that implement their own contextual menus (such as BBEdit) may not offer the exclusion option under Help. ADD/IAD 1.0.2 is a 1.9 MB download; you'll need DiskCopy 6.1 or Aladdin's ShrinkWrap 3.0 to access the disk image.
Open URLs Quickly from BBEdit
If you're working on a bit of text (HTML or otherwise) in BBEdit, and you see a URL that you'd like to open, the fastest way is to Command-click it. Most BBEdit users probably already know this tip, but if you don't, it's a huge time-saver. (The same trick works in BBEdit's free little brother, TextWrangler.)