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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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LaunchBar 3.3 and 4.0b1 Released

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LaunchBar 3.3 and 4.0b1 Released -- Objective Development last week released both LaunchBar 3.3, the latest version of their slick keyboard-based application launcher, and LaunchBar 4.0b1, a public beta of the next major version (see "Tools We Use: LaunchBar" in TidBITS-671). LaunchBar 3.3 distinguishes itself by scanning address books for phone numbers, which are displayed in large type when accessed via LaunchBar. Most of the other changes are relatively minor, though undoubtedly welcome to specific users (for instance, you no longer need to press Command to move the LaunchBar window, and Unix aficionados can now navigate the search results list with Emacs key bindings). It's a 269K download and is free to registered users; new copies cost $20 for home use or $40 for business use.

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LaunchBar 4.0b1, though, brings major features to the application, including a new configuration interface, a multithreaded indexing engine that scans in the background, new scanners dedicated to specific types of data (such as music in iTunes, pictures in iPhoto, Web browser history, Watson tools, Sherlock channels, and more), built-in Web searching, an Open With command, access to recent documents for any application, and execution of AppleScript scripts and Unix executables. It's a beta, so if you're not willing to take the usual precautions, stick with version 3.3. It's a 450K download. [ACE]

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