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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

 
 

Final Cut Studio 2 Applications, SuperDrive Firmware Updated

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Apple has released updates for the Final Cut Studio 2 suite of video production applications via Software Update and as stand-alone installers; the latter require that you sign in using your Apple ID and your Final Cut Studio 2 serial number. Most of the updates cover bug fixes and improve stability, but a few items are notable. Pro Applications Update 2007-01 (an 8.1 MB download) patches the underlying frameworks and shared components of Final Cut Studio 2 (the package also seems to be specific to those applications).

Final Cut Pro 6.0.1 (a 37.5 MB download) adds support for importing AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) footage, a video format introduced last year that is designed to be saved to random-access storage devices such as hard disks, solid-state memory, and MiniDVD discs (versus MiniDV tapes, the media of choice for many consumer camcorders as well as cameras that record to the high-definition HDV format). Although a few AVCHD camcorders are currently available, editing the footage has been limited under Windows and nonexistent on the Mac. Apple's release notes indicate a few caveats with AVCHD footage, namely that as it's imported, the video is transcoded into either Apple ProRes 422 or Apple Intermediate Codec; that could require up to 10 times the size of the native AVCHD file of available hard disk space. (The inclusion of AVCHD also potentially means the format could be supported in the next version of iMovie HD.)

Motion 3.0.1 (a 19.4 MB download) fixes a number of known issues with 32-bit float projects and rendering of intersecting 3D groups, and improves performance. Soundtrack Pro 2.0.1 (a 74.5 MB download) improves stability and performance and updates the Delay Designer surround effect plug-in. Compressor 3.0.1 (a 93.3 MB download) adds the capability to export music in the 256 Kbps AAC format used by iTunes Plus, can now set poster frames, and applies other fixes. Color 1.0.1 (an 8.3 MB download) improves stability, metadata support from Final Cut Pro, and single-display mode, as well as floating-point processing on Macs with Nvidia graphics cards.

Lastly, unrelated to Final Cut Studio 2, Apple released SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1 (a 12 MB download), which provides unspecified fixes but notes improved readability of certain CD media. The installer puts an application called SuperDrive Update 2.1 into your Utilities folder that must be run separately, which is unusual. Note that the application starts the update process at launch, which is bad form; it should behave like most updaters, where the user initiates the process (for example, to make sure the drive isn't in use, I would imagine). The updater also requires a restart of the Mac to take effect.

 

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