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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


TidBITS Poll Changes

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Those of you who participate in our weekly polls and quizzes will notice some new functionality this week that should make our polls easier to take and easier to reference. We've also written a FAQ that covers the standard questions we receive about our polls, plus some of the basics of poll design.


Inclusive Answers -- With some of our previous polls, you had to vote multiple times if you needed to provide multiple answers. We can now generate polls that use checkboxes rather than radio buttons for collecting more than one answer at a time, so you shouldn't need to vote multiple times in such polls. In polls that use checkboxes, you'll also see two different numbers in the results, one for responses and another for respondents, since the number of votes will differ from the number of people who respond.

Past & Popular Polls -- We've been working on providing access to the results of previous polls and quizzes for some time, and although it turned out to be a complex design question, we eventually gave up on the most problematic ideas and settled on a basic chronological list of past polls, with each one represented by the poll title, question, and the number of respondents. We've also created a page for our most popular polls, so you can see which polls generated the most interest among our readers.


GetBITS Poll URLs -- Finally, we've created permanent URLs for polls, so if you want to link to a poll, you can do so with no worry that the URL will break at some point in the future. For instance, to see the results of the Macintosh Ownership poll we ran a few weeks ago, use the GetBITS URL below:


None of these are huge changes, but we hope the collection will make our polls more enjoyable and interesting.


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