Gems in brief: Updated favorites

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In our last week of “Gems in brief” articles, I cover a few old favorites that have recently been updated with new features and/or Tiger compatibility.

NetNewsWire Lite 2.0 (   ; free). Safari’s RSS-reading features are nice, but if you’re serious about news feeds, you need a dedicated RSS reader. The $25 NetNewsWire is my personal favorite, but NetNewsWire Lite offers many of its features for free. It organizes all your RSS feeds into a three-paned interface similar to Mail. New articles are highlighted, as well as included in the application’s Dock menu; choose an article title to view its content in the main window. And if you’ve got NetNewsWire Lite installed on your laptop and desktop Macs, you can even share your RSS subscriptions between them.

WindowShade X 3.6 (   ; $10). WindowShade X brings Mac OS 9’s popular Window Shade effect—and more—to Mac OS X. Double-click on a window’s title bar, and the window rolls up and out of the way. Or becomes transparent. Or minimizes in place instead of to the Dock. Or hides completely. You decide which action you prefer. You can even assign different actions to different types of clicks (such as control-double-click). As a bonus, you can even customize window shadow settings.

PDF Browser Plugin 2.2.2 (   ; free for home, education, or non-commercial use; commercial site license, $69). Tiger’s Safari provides basic PDF-viewing features, and the latest version of Acrobat Reader includes a PDF plugin for most Web browsers, but for much more functionality, get PDF Browser Plugin. It allows you to view online PDFs directly in your browser but also provides multiple layout options; split view (for viewing different parts of a PDF simultaneously); and support for annotation, forms, tables of contents, and links. You can access options and control viewing via toolbar menus and keyboard commands, and you get additional printing PDF printing options not available without the plugin. And you can easily send PDFs to other applications or save them to disk.

FileXaminer 2.4 (   ; $10). Among the myriad utilities that help you edit file information and permissions, FileXaminer has always stood out, and the latest version is even better. In addition to an easy-to-use interface for modifying file permissions and attributes (including advanced settings such as sticky bits), it provides Super Delete and Force Empty Trash functions—accessible from the application’s Dock icon menu, Finder contextual menus, or within the application—for getting rid of stubborn files. It also has a batch mode for working with multiple files simultaneously, Finder integration (Command+Option+I to get info or Command+Option+C to copy a file path to the Clipboard), and systemwide contextual menu support. Other features let you resize and convert images, edit icons, and edit text files as root. FileXaminer even lets you create and delete user groups without having to delve into NetInfo Manager ($10;

FileXaminer image

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