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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

 
 

AT&T Adds iPhone Plan for Hearing, Speech Impaired

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The iPhone may not be any more accessible to those with hearing or speech impairments, but it's now more affordable on a monthly basis. AT&T has introduced a $40-per-month Text Accessibility Plan available through the company's National Center for Customers with Disabilities. The plan includes unlimited SMS messaging and unlimited EDGE data, along with 40-cent-per-minute voice usage and Apple's Visual Voicemail.

Customers who qualify can purchase and activate an iPhone as if they were applying for a regular service plan, and then contact AT&T's center to have the plan changed to this new offering.

This plan is essentially the same as the most expensive messaging package available as an add-on for existing AT&T customers who upgrade to an iPhone - that unlimited messaging plan also costs $40 per month - without any requirement for a voice plan. For other customers, AT&T requires at least a $40-per-month voice calling plan, which would be the equivalent of 100 minutes of calls made per month using this new offering.

A separate iPhone TTY (teletype) adapter ($19) allows the use of standard TTY equipment for relay calling, although relay calling requires the use of voice minutes. Apple documents its iPhone accessibility features, although the iPhone lacks a common feature ensuring hearing-aid compatibility that is not yet mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC apparently started enforcing a requirement on 18-Apr-08 after cellular telephone carriers failed to hit a mark that 50 percent of all cell phone models offered have one or both of two forms of hearing-aid compatibility.

 

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