Apple Posts Important iMac SuperDrive Update -- Apple has released the iMac SuperDrive Update, the first of a series of SuperDrive firmware updates that are critical for owners of SuperDrive-equipped Macs. A bug in the firmware of Pioneer DVD-writing drives (such as the SuperDrive, though Apple doesn't use Pioneer drives exclusively) makes them unable to identify media belonging to a new specification for higher-speed DVD media. Using these discs, which record at 4x speed for DVD-R and 2x for DVD-RW, can potentially damage the drive itself: the device's laser attempts to determine what type of media has been inserted, and since it doesn't recognize the new format, it keeps trying until it overheats and burns out. (Macintosh author Jim Heid has published more detailed information at his Macintosh Digital Hub Web site.) So far, Apple has released an update only for the iMac G4 (15-inch Flat Panel), and only under Mac OS X; the company says that updates for the Power Mac G4, as well as Mac OS 9 versions for both types of machine, will be posted soon. Recent models, such as the 17-inch iMac G4, the SuperDrive-equipped eMac, and the Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors), include the latest firmware version and are not affected by the problem. The iMac SuperDrive Update for Mac OS X is a 1.2 MB download. [JLC]
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.