Macromedia Acquires FutureWave -- Last week, Macromedia made a play for dominating the online multimedia market by announcing it had acquired FutureWave Software, makers of the FutureSplash software family which (among other things) creates compact vector-based animations that are viewable through Web browser plug-ins. Macromedia is re-christening FutureSplash products as Macromedia Flash and plans to integrate them into the Shockwave lineup. FutureSplash is currently being used by a number of high-end Web sites (like Microsoft's "new" MSN) because it's small and fast compared to other Web animation technologies, including Macromedia's own Director. One can only hope Macromedia Flash doesn't acquire Director's less-attractive features, including stratospheric pricing. [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.