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

 

 

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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

 
 

Why I'm Buying an iPod touch

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Does a lack of mobility in lifestyle lead to a lack of mobility in trying new technologies, such as the iPod touch?

I posed that question to myself over the past weekend, reflecting on how my lifestyle choice to work at home has caused a lack of mobility in more ways than eliminating commuting.

Since I work at home, I am usually home, so I don't have much use for a mobile phone. Also, I don't have mobile-phone connectivity at home, here in the hills of upstate New York. Sounds fine, perhaps, but it led to trouble. It led to me not much using instant messaging on a mobile phone, thus causing me to conflate the fact that younger people are more likely to use instant messaging with the idea that I don't often use instant messaging because I'm in my late 30s. At home, my life was fine - why complicate things by trying new technology that didn't seem to apply to people like me?

In fact, after several months of complaining about how civilization was ending if anyone thought that Twitter was a cool idea, and after spending a few weeks actually using Twitter (see my previous blog post), I now believe that younger people use instant messaging not because their wacky fashion sense has messed with their intelligence, but because it is an excellent way to quickly communicate key information. The best thing about Twitter is the 140-character limit, which puts a strong check on pomposity and wordiness.

Going forward, I'm going stop being cranky about mobile-lifestyle "young-person," technology, since I believe that it has the answers to problems faced by many people in my generation: too much email, too many commitments, not enough time spent outdoors. And, how else can I justify buying the oh-so-cool iPod touch? I can't wait to see where I can go with it, what I can do with it, and how much fun it is to pinch it.

 

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