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MacEdition Pro News : May 13, 2002: Utilities! Utilities! Utilities!

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With the distraction of WWDC, there’s been an absolute deluge of press releases in our ProNews inbox at the moment. We thought that rather than trying to work through the pile by date (ha!) we’d bundle a few ProNews segments into themes. Today’s segment is about utilities of all shapes and sizes for Mac OS X.

Everyone loves Cocoa Snax

OK, so WWDC revealed that Jaguar, the next update of Mac OS X, will have a heap of new goodies, including spring-loaded folders. And about time too. The question is, what do you do until Jaguar gets here? And is the Finder still Carbon?

Enter Snax, a file browser for Mac OS X 10.1 and higher, from CocoaTech. It’s been around since September last year, but the latest release, Version 1.2.8, shows it’s come a long way. Here’s the blurb for the record:

Snax is popular file browser for Mac OS X which features an easy to use Aqua graphical user interface, and many additional features not found in Apple’s Finder.

The press release lists just a few “key features”, over 30 to be exact, but who’s counting? They are:

  • Labels
  • Custom Font and text color and background colors
  • View invisible files
  • Spring loaded folders
  • Flexible sorting options
  • List view, column view, icon view
  • Quick find (uses locate unix tool)
  • Convert graphic files
  • Create and convert disk image files
  • Compress and decompress (preserves resource forks and type/creator)
  • Preview drawer
  • Built-in bug reporter
  • Contextual menus
  • Customizable toolbar
  • Open with menu to open a file with any application
  • View as Hex command
  • Path navigator
  • Copy paths
  • Built-in Application menu for easy access to all installed applications
  • Generic icon mode for faster browsing
  • Menu key editor for customizing menu key short cuts
  • Create aliases and symbolic links
  • Show info window allows changing or permissions, type, creator, etc.
  • View packages as folders
  • Copy, move, duplicate files and folders
  • Enhanced column view
  • Copy paths
  • Secure delete and delete as root
  • Launch applications with root privileges
  • Open in Terminal
  • Scroll wheel and two button mouse support
  • English, Japanese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Spanish, Danish, German, Italian localizations

CocoaTech certainly has bold plans for Snax as they state below:

Our long term goal is to completely replace the Finder. We feel the Finder is great for novice users, but there will always be users who want more control over their files. Snax fills this important niche. Snax is being continually updated and we have big plans for the future. Snax was written entirely in Cocoa and Objective-C.

Cocoa Finder and spring-loaded folders, that’s two beautiful buzzwords. A single-user license costs $30 and is available for immediate download at http://www.cocoatech.com.

Don’t find it, Grep it.

Do you ever get the feeling that creepy woman in Sherlock is staring at you? Look closely, it’s as if her eyes follow you (no, really). Seriously though, for those who don’t like the “kitchen sink" approach of Sherlock, AquaGrep may be the thing for you. So what is AquaGrep?

AquaGrep is a Mac OS X front-end to the Unix grep text search utility.

Grep’s powerful and versatile text search features, its speed and its straight-forward working principle have made it one of the most heavily used Unix command line tools.

While Mac OS X comes with a full-featured grep implementation in its Darwin kernel, command line tools are notoriously difficult to use and do not offer the kind of user experience that Macintosh users have come to expect over the last 15 years.

AquaGrep is shareware and costs $9.95. It can be downloaded from www.publicspace.net/AquaGrep

Oh, and we were joking about the creepy Sherlock woman (no, really).

Spring into, uh, everything...

If you’re looking for a Mac OS X productivity utility that does things a little differently, look no further than Spring from UserCreations. Think of it as a user experience utility, or as UserCreations put it, “More human, less machine".

Vienna, Virginia USA, May 6, 2002: UserCreations today announced Spring, an OS X application that acts as a desktop – one with deep, thoughtful, and imaginative communication and commerce integration.

“Spring makes your Mac more human, less machine-like. With its support for unlimited kinds of natural objects and its reliance on open web and desktop standards, the potential for Spring is limited only by user and developer imagination.” said Robb Beal, UserCreations President and Spring inventor.

A sampling of the Spring user experience, in some cases contrasted with today’s typical experience, is given below:

  • Instead of having to go to five different applications to communicate with the same person, with Spring, you simply control click on the person and choose among actions like Email, IM with, Visit Weblog, Check Work Calendar.
  • Booking a flight with Spring is as simple as opening a Spring canvas with a background map and dragging between two Spring cities.
  • Getting lyrics, band interviews, and touring information for digital music with Spring is as simple as control clicking on the cover art.
  • With Spring receipts, that cordless phone you bought on the web might have “Track Package” and “Buy Replacement Batteries” actions available simply by control clicking on the phone.
  • Sharing Spring Objects is as simple as dragging between any object and a person and choosing “AIM this to Josh” or “Email this to Mia”.

This product has not been released yet. In what may be a first for ProNews, we’re actually preannouncing a product. The folks at UserCreations are also keen to hear from both business partners and developers interested in the Spring development platform.

Spring will be available as a fully functional, expiring demo in about two weeks or less. A single-user license will cost $29 (US). Spring will require OS X 10.1 or higher. More information about Spring is available at www.usercreations.com/spring

Looking for old ProNews segments? Check out our index at www.macedition.com/news/. Do you have news releases or tidbits of interest to the Macintosh professional? Send them to pronewsnotes@macedition.com.

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