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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).

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In Memoriam: Bruce Fraser, 1954-2006

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We received the sad news that author and Mac expert Bruce Fraser passed away on Saturday after battling lung cancer. Bruce was one of those few people who can be honestly described as being the world's top expert in his field. In this case, that field was color management.

If you've not done much work with publishing or image manipulation, it might seem trivial to make the image on your screen output on paper - that's what computers do, right? Well, the steps required to accurately reproduce colors are numerous, complex, and bordering on mystical. Bruce knew it all. He wrote many books and articles on the topic, including several revisions of "Real World Photoshop," "Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop," "Real World Color Management," and "Real World Image Sharpening."

I worked with Bruce briefly in 1996 on "Real World Photoshop 3," which he co-authored with David Blatner. I was the newly hired managing editor for Open House Books, a little book packaging company run by Mac author and publishing guru Steve Roth.

I was still getting my feet wet in the book publishing process, so I didn't end up interacting directly with Bruce much, but one anecdote from that time sticks out. During an intense, sleep-deprived period of time working on the book, Bruce was making coffee at 4:00 AM and wondered why one of his faucets was labeled Cyan.

That's the kind of subtle, dry humor that characterized Bruce. The digital world and the real world are both a little less colorful now.


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