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Open Files with Finder's App Switcher

Say you're in the Finder looking at a file and you want to open it with an application that's already running but which doesn't own that particular document. How? Switch to that app and choose File > Open? Too many steps. Choose Open With from the file's contextual menu? Takes too long, and the app might not be listed. Drag the file to the Dock and drop it onto the app's icon? The icon might be hard to find; worse, you might miss.

In Leopard there's a new solution: use the Command-Tab switcher. Yes, the Command-Tab switcher accepts drag-and-drop! The gesture required is a bit tricky. Start dragging the file in the Finder: move the file, but don't let up on the mouse button. With your other hand, press Command-Tab to summon the switcher, and don't let up on the Command key. Drag the file onto the application's icon in the switcher and let go of the mouse. (Now you can let go of the Command key too.) Extra tip: If you switch to the app beforehand, its icon in the Command-Tab switcher will be easy to find; it will be first (or second).

Visit Take Control of Customizing Leopard


Smith Micro Acquires Allume

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Smith Micro Software, Inc. announced its acquisition of Allume Systems, Inc. for $11 million in cash and $1.75 million in Smith Micro stock. Allume, formerly known as Aladdin Systems, is the maker of long-standard StuffIt compression products as well as Spring Cleaning and a number of other Macintosh utilities. The company also recently took over distribution of Corel's graphic products for the Mac under the name Creative Essentials, including CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Allume was previously acquired by International Microcomputer Software, Inc. (IMSI) in August 2004.

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Smith Micro's interest in Allume focuses on the company's development of a new JPEG compression technology that further reduces image sizes by up to 30 percent without additional loss of image quality. Smith Micro plans to license the technology to wireless operators and handset makers, as well as apply it to MPEG video and MP3 audio along with images.

In the Mac world, the acquisition will no doubt cause some trepidation. Allume has a long history with the Macintosh: for instance, its StuffIt compression technology served as the de facto standard for Macs beginning in 1986, and the ubiquitous StuffIt Expander has long been a part of every Mac user's toolkit. Conversely, in the Mac world Smith Micro is best-known (if not well-loved) for its FAXstf line of fax software products, although the company also develops QuickConnect connectivity software for wireless devices. At present Smith Micro seems to plan to keep Allume's products around in their current forms; considering that Allume accounted for about $2.5 million of IMSI's revenues during the first quarter of 2005, it seems unlikely Smith Micro will simply turn off the tantalizing, pre-existing revenue stream represented by Allume's existing products.


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