Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

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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

 
 

Microsoft's Split Personality

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Newsweek recently brought us Bill Gates's ignorant ranting about security on the Mac, a topic on which he was apparently informed solely by the existence of the Month of Apple Bugs project. He was quoted as saying, "Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." Way to get a dig in at Apple and taunt the cracker community at the same time, Bill!

Those of us who actually use Macs know just how utterly silly that statement is, especially considering the hordes of zombie PCs out there hammering everyone on the Internet with spam and automated attacks. No one (or at least no one who knows anything) is saying that Macs are immune from problems - far from it - but for a variety of reasons, Macs are currently relatively unencumbered by the kinds of security exploits that afflict Windows XP.

Bill must not use a Mac on a regular basis, and while I can see the dogfood value in that (he certainly should be using Windows!), it would have been nice if he'd first talked with some of the Mac folks in Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit before spouting off. Microsoft has been making Mac products for a very long time now, and the MacBU as a separate entity is now 10 years old. More to the point, this bit of inspired icon geekery using colored Post-it notes shows they have the right Mac spirit. Now if only they could convert the icons to metal sculptures along the lines of Apple's long-gone icon garden (also be sure to check out the QuickTime VR movie).

 

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