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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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DealBITS Drawing: Billable

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18 years ago, before Tonya and I started TidBITS, I was working as a Mac consultant and tracking my time with a program called Timeslips (see "Slip Slidin' Away," 1992-02-17). I remember it as having more features than I needed, features which consequently made using the program somewhat clumsy. Timeslips exists only for Windows now, but there's a brand new Mac OS X-native program called Billable that looks clean and easy to use. With Billable, you can set up clients with individual hourly rates, track the services you perform for those clients on an hourly or flat fee basis (Billable includes a timer for tasks performed at the Mac), and generate PDF or plain text invoices based on the services you've performed.

Billable 1.0 was initially released in September 2006, and the new Billable 1.1 makes it possible to add taxes, generates invoice numbers according to your scheme, increases the customization options for invoices, and automatically saves and backs up data. You can export the data to XML, making possible communication with other applications, such as your accounting package. Billable is worth a look for any Mac user earning a living billing by the hour; be sure to check out Clickable Bliss's well-done screencasts explaining Billable's operation and features.

In this week's DealBITS drawing, you can enter to win one of four copies of Billable 1.1, each worth $24.95. Entrants who aren't among our lucky winners will receive a discount on Billable, so be sure to enter at the DealBITS page linked below. All information gathered is covered by our comprehensive privacy policy. Be careful with your spam filters, since you must be able to receive email from my address to learn if you've won. Remember too, that if someone you refer to this drawing wins, you'll receive the same prize as a reward for spreading the word.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as “Tx” for “TextExpander”. With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>