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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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iTunes 7.1 Prepares for Apple TV

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Apple has released iTunes 7.1, an update that doesn't appear to offer much on the surface, but incorporates compatibility with the upcoming Apple TV. A new Apple TV section in the preferences displays Apple TV units that have been authorized to work with iTunes. When the video streaming device is released this month, you will be able to use iTunes 7.1 to synchronize media to the Apple TV's 40 GB hard disk for playback on a connected television (see "Apple TV Connects Macs and TVs," 2007-01-15).

Also new in iTunes 7.1 is the option to browse the library in a full-screen Cover Flow mode. A new Sorting tab in the Get Info dialog for individual tracks lets you set up nicknames, which can then be applied to related artists and sorted; for example, tracks composed by two artists can be sorted together with each artist's other works. (Chris Breen at Playlist offers more details.)

iTunes 7.1 is available via Software Update or as a 28 MB download; it requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. Apple also released iTunes 7.1 for Windows, but Windows Vista compatibility (which seems to be spotty) is not touted; Apple lists Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 as system requirements.

 

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