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

 
 

MobileMe Oh My (or, Apple Breaks Record in Making My Book Obsolete)

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In early 1997, my second book (co-authored with David McKee) was published. The topic: Cyberdog. If you have no idea what Cyberdog was, don't worry - it's immaterial. All you need to know is that at almost exactly the time my book came out, Steve Jobs returned to Apple, and one of his first official actions was to kill Cyberdog, along with its OpenDoc parent project. Less than three months after my book hit the shelves, my contact at Apple informed me that, unfortunately, Cyberdog was being discontinued and I shouldn't count on any further book sales.

Well, as I feared (see "Updated .Mac Book to Require Major Find-and-Replace?," 2008-05-30), Apple has now outdone themselves by making my latest book - "Take Control of .Mac" - somewhat obsolete in a mere two weeks! As it turns out, the new MobileMe service announced today at WWDC (for details, see ".Mac Morphs into MobileMe," 2008-06-09), is scheduled to replace .Mac in early July! Gee, thanks, Apple! Grrrrr.

And it wouldn't merely be a matter of having to do a fancy find-and-replace to update the book, either. To be sure, some MobileMe features will be similar to those already existing in .Mac (Web-based email, photo galleries, and iDisk, for example). But the new service does away with the tedious and error-prone process of syncing that I labored so hard to describe, in favor of a new push-based mechanism for updating your personal information on various Internet-connected devices. In addition, all those paragraphs complaining about things like .Mac's inability to update calendars online and its 10 GB limit on file storage are moot, and all the cool new features have yet to be described.

I spoke to Take Control editor-in-chief Tonya Engst on the phone today, and we agreed that we'll need at least a day or two to think through our options, review our schedules, and figure out what to do next in terms of Take Control coverage for MobileMe. If you currently have a copy of "Take Control of .Mac," click the Check for Updates link on the cover later this week; we'll post information there about our plans as they evolve.

 

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