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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

 
 

GarageBand '09 Adds Music Lessons

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GarageBand '09 has added a major new feature called Learn to Play, an instructional tool that teaches you how to play the guitar or piano. Instructors walk you through nine basic lessons in high-definition video with synchronized notation; animated fretboards and piano keys appear at the bottom of the screen showing you how to follow along.

In addition to the basic lessons, Apple is also adding special Artist Lessons, in which celebrity musicians actually teach you how to play simplified versions of their songs. So far, participating artists include Sarah McLachlan, Fall Out Boy, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, One Republic, Ben Folds, John Fogerty, Sting, and Norah Jones. Users can store lessons, and buy new ones from the Learn to Play Store for $4.99 each.

Smaller changes include five new simulated guitar amplifiers, 30 new complete guitar rigs, added guitar pedal effects, and a virtual rehearsal space complete with a customizable backing band.

GarageBand '09 is part of iLife '09, which will ship in late January 2009 for $79 or $99 for a family pack. Also available then will be the Mac Box Set for $169, which includes iLife '09, iWork '09, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. New Macs will continue to ship with iLife for free. If you purchase a new machine between 06-Jan-09 and 31-Mar-09 that does not include iLife '09, you can upgrade it for $9.95 through Apple's iLife Up-to-Date program.

 

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