AMITIAE - Saturday 13 October 2016
Cassandra: Speculation on Enhanced use of Apple's Rumoured OLED display for MacBook Pro Computers
By Graham K. Rogers
Earlier this week, Jordan Kahn (9to5 Mac) speculated on what the OLED screen might look like and (more important), how it might work, with "contextually sensitive buttons, offering up different function keys depending on what app" is being used.
To imagine this we might look at the current situation regarding Function keys and the way Services operate. On MacBook Pro (and MacBook) keyboards as well as the 12 Function keys, there is an Fn key. By changing settings in System Preferences > Keyboard (Keyboard pane) we may either use the Function keys in standard fashion, or use special features when Fn is pressed.
When the specific checkbox is not used F12 increases the volume of speakers. Using the Fn key at the same time, activates the Dashboard. When the checkbox is used, these operations are reversed: F12 activates the Dashboard; Fn + F12 increases the volume of speakers. Other Function keys operate in a similar way. Some of the keys are unallocated. Certain applications may already use specific keys for different operations.
If there had been any clash with the selection a yellow triangle would display a warning. These mechanical changes are time-consuming, require some knowledge of the System Preferences, and may not suit all users.
This is the situation with my text editor TextTWrangler. However, if I highlight a section of text, 10 actions are available to me, including sending a Twitter message directly from within the application. Safari operates in a similar way: no Services are shown until a portion of text is highlighted. Note, however, that Services may not apply when an image is selected (best to use Control + click for that).
Specific applications will have their own Services options added as they are installed. It is also possible to download new Services scripts or to create our own using Automator, which also allows the creation of many additional ways to create specific operations for Macs. Automator may be one of the most underused resources on OS X (or macOS).
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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