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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


UPS, I Did It Again: Bits Versus Atoms

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Lest you think that the Internet is solely a medium of light beams and electricity, this illustrated tale should remind you that the Internet is full of heavy machinery (and electricity), too.

Our long-time co-location facility, digital.forest - the folks that house our servers and provide juice, cooling, and connectivity - needed to add additional capacity for their power backup. I'm used to seeing uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes) that are the size of a shoebox or a little larger. They contain batteries or sometimes flywheels that feed out power as needed.

UPSes are part of the conditioning process in making sure that power is nice and clean, too, with spikes and drops shaved off. The largest one I ever owned could supply about 1,400 watts, running a set of servers for tens of minutes in the event of a power drop or outage; it weighed maybe 40 or 50 pounds. (Backing up the UPS units at digital.forest is a diesel generator the size of several tanks that takes over before the battery power runs out.)

digital.forest's new multi-unit UPS system weighs a total of 11,500 pounds, or nearly six standard tons, and can provide 180,000 watts of power. That size and weight prompted the company's staff first to construct a wood-frame model to make sure they had clearance within their data center. Then, in consultation with their building's owners, one of the world's largest data center builders, the technicians decided that even though the units could slide through the building, it was unclear whether certain paths along the way were engineered to handle that much point weight.

Why not rip open the roof, instead? (That's what the Apple Store thieves thought in a nearby part of Seattle recently, too.) To quote They Might Be Giants, "They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane." Some peeling off of the roof, a new cap, a couple forklifts, and a crane, and the UPSes settled into place.

It's easy to forget that the Internet relies heavily not just on ethereal bits of data, but also on loads of atoms.


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
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