Hubzilla Meets Macintosh -- Okay, this is just too funny. Charismac Engineering has introduced a 4-port FireWire hub embedded into an 8-inch (20 cm) tall plastic Godzilla toy. The ports are in his scaly back, his eyes are red LEDs, and there's a blue LED in his mouth (the LEDs all light up whenever Hubzilla is connected to your Mac). No drivers are necessary, though an optional power adapter (sold separately) provides external power if needed. Hubzilla costs $75 (which doesn't seem like an unreasonable markup over a boring old FireWire hub), and Charismac is taking pre-orders now. Normally we wouldn't write about a product that wasn't available, but Tony Overbay of Charismac told me the response has been great and he fully expects to sell out of the initial shipment (due to arrive in early November) on pre-orders alone. Hubzilla will remain available, but the second large shipment likely won't be available in time for the holiday shopping frenzy, though it might make it to Macworld Expo in January. Who knows, Charismac might be starting the next big design movement in computer hardware - disguising it as retro toys from yesteryear. [ACE]
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.
- 2002 Hardware Gift Ideas (12 Dec 02)