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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).

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iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store Is Slick

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I noticed earlier in the week that José González has released a new album, but haven't had a chance to go check it out on iTunes or listen to samples. I'm glad I waited. Today's release of iPhone 1.1.1 gave me a chance to try out the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store (see "iPhone 1.1.1 Adds Features and Updates Security," 2007-09-07).

I'm happy to report that the store works as smooth and easy as you might expect; or rather, it probably exceeds some expectations because one normally doesn't expect something like this to work smoothly or easily.

The album did not appear on the Featured screen (despite being a new release), so I tapped Search, which brought up a blank page with an empty text field. Tapping on the field and typing J and O was all I needed to do: the application displayed a list of auto-completed options. I would love to see this type of Search added to the Contacts application in a future release.

Tapping a song loads a 30-second preview, with a clever icon that compactly indicates how much of the preview you've listened to so far and a button in the middle to stop playback. Ordering the album was intuitive: tap the price button, which turns into a Buy Now button, and then tap that. After supplying my iTunes account password, the songs began downloading. Better yet, the songs continued to download in the background even after the phone had put itself to sleep.


When I synced the iPhone to my Mac, iTunes created a new item under the Store heading, "Purchased on Jeff Carlson's iPhone." I'm now listening to the new album on my Mac, and I never swore during the process. Now I'll just have to wait for early October to roll around to convince me to check out the new Starbucks store that will automatically appear on the iPhone when I'm in one of the many many locations in Seattle. (But I'll get my espresso at Zoka, e.t.g., or the new Stumptown location, thank you very much.)

 

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