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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

 
 

Nolobe Ships Major Interarchy Update

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Nolobe has shipped Interarchy 9, a major update to one of the longest-developed Macintosh Internet applications. The new release adds a new secure file-transfer mode using SSH encryption that requires a server with Perl 4 or later to use. Nolobe promises substantially improved performance with the new mode for mirroring, in which files are automatically duplicated whenever they're changed, typically to remote directories, such as the folder that holds a Web site.

A number of cosmetic changes were made as well, with the new main window display resembling a Leopard Finder window, including organizing information in a sidebar by categories, one of which is Bonjour-accessible local volumes. Long-time users may need to read the release notes to figure out where features they use have migrated to; in particular, it appears that the network testing features of the previous version have been removed. I particularly like the addition of the Copy Public URL command in the Edit menu, which lets you create a mapping between an FTP path and the equivalent URL to reach that path from a Web site, and then copy the public URL for any file in the FTP hierarchy for pasting into email or documents.

Version 9 ties into Mac OS X's structure for mapping file extensions to applications, rather than maintaining its own mapping. This can cause some consternation. For instance, if you had previously set Interarchy to edit .html files in BBEdit, but left the .html mapping in Mac OS X to open such files in OmniWeb, you can't duplicate that approach with Interarchy 9. An Edit With command has been added to the contextual menu, too, so you can choose among valid applications to edit a given file. This release incorporates Sparkle for updates, which slipstreams improvements in an elegant manner while the program is running (see "Sparkle Improves Application Update Experience," 2007-08-20).

In February 2007, Nolobe obtained development rights for Interarchy (originally Anarchie) from Peter Lewis's Stairways Software; Nolobe was founded by Interarchy's lead developer Matthew Drayton (see "Nolobe Takes Over Interarchy; 8.5 Ships," 2007-02-05). This is Nolobe's first ".0" release of the software since the acquisition.

Interarchy 9 costs $39 until 29-Feb-08, after which the price rises to $59. Registered owners of Interarchy 8.5.4 and earlier may upgrade for $29. Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later is required.

 

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