Newer Technology Closing Shop -- Macintosh enhancement pioneer Newer Technology has announced it is ceasing operations; 29-Dec-00 was the last day of work for the bulk of Newer's employees, and a shareholder meeting 08-Jan-01 will determine whether the company will file for bankruptcy protection. Newer Technology has a long history in the Macintosh industry, having first built its business on memory upgrades, then shifting into expansions for PowerBooks, clock chip accelerators, and Macintosh CPU upgrades. Newer filed for bankruptcy protection in 1996 when the world RAM market buckled, but it seemed to be recovering its stride with a wide range of well-regarded CPU upgrade products. Newer announced an equity partnership with Singapore's Tri-M Technologies in February of 2000; Tri-M had been manufacturing Newer products, and during the last year provided Newer with operating capital and brought in an executive team to help operate the company. However, despite executive denials and plans to exhibit new products at the upcoming Macworld Expo in San Francisco, in recent weeks Newer has been unloading inventory at fire sale prices, and rumors abounded that Newer was looking for a buyer among remaining upgrade vendors. Newer Technology's shutdown is likely due to a lack of demand in the Macintosh upgrade market and comparatively inexpensive new machines from Apple - a $400 CPU upgrade has trouble competing with an $800 iMac. There's no word yet on what support or update options, if any, will be available for Newer's hardware and software products. [GD]
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.
Published in TidBITS 561.
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