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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

 
 

Rogue Amoeba's Live Disc Avoids Wasting CDs

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Imagine that you're exhibiting at Macworld Expo and want to hand out CDs containing demo versions of your software. It's easy to create a master disc and a label, and send it out for printing and duplication. But there can be a long lead time for big orders, making it hard to release a new product at the show, and any unused CDs become obsolete quickly afterwards, which is a waste of money and resources.

The clever lads at Rogue Amoeba have come up with a nifty solution to this problem, which they call Live Disc. Essentially, Live Disc is a custom application that presents a Finder-like window to the user, showing icons for demos of Rogue Amoeba's products that you can drag to copy or double-click to launch, just like in the Finder. The magic is that if a newer version of the application is on Rogue Amoeba's server, Live Disc seamlessly downloads that version and copies or launches it instead. If there's no Internet connection, Live Disc simply uses the copy on the CD.

At the moment, Live Disc isn't a product anyone can buy or license, although I imagine that Rogue Amoeba would consider making it one if there's sufficient interest. Far too many CDs are wasted because their contents have become obsolete; with Live Disc and some forethought, nearly any promotional CD could have a significantly longer life span and would be less likely to join the ever-growing waste stream without at least being useful first.

 

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