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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

 

 

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After Dark Returns for Mac OS X

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After Dark Returns for Mac OS X -- Tonya still wears her Flying Toasters sweatshirt from the days when Berkeley Systems's After Dark screensaver was so popular it had not one, but two books written about it (see "After Dark: The Books" in TidBITS-150) - in fact, the very first item in the very first issue of TidBITS concerned a maintenance release of After Dark! If you don't remember After Dark, keep in mind that the screensaver was launched in 1989 and finally faded out in 1999. After Dark sported modules beyond Flying Toasters, including a simulated aquarium, a Mandelbrot fractal generator, and the Sisyphean Mowing Man, who can never finish mowing his lawn (but never seems to run out of gas). Numerous other modules came from independent programmers and annual programming contests, though no one ever implemented my idea of a simulation of one of those sand sculpture panels where different colored grains of sand fall to create an otherworldly landscape each time you flip the panel.

<http://db.tidbits.com/article/02854>
<http://db.tidbits.com/article/03912>

Unfortunately, the After Dark engine was incompatible with Mac OS 9, and After Dark fell into software purgatory. Infinisys, the Japanese distributor of the original After Dark, has ventured into the void to rescue After Dark from oblivion. Infinisys's After Dark X + Fish relies on the Mac OS X screensaver engine, and Infinisys has made use of Mac OS X's support for OpenGL 3D capabilities in providing not a straight port of the old modules, but many new options and displays. After Dark X + Fish costs only $10 and requires Mac OS X 10.0.4 or higher (though I hope everyone is using at least Mac OS X 10.1.5). Some modules may not work on multiple monitor configurations. [ACE]

<http://en.infinisys.co.jp/product/adx/>

 

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