"Selection Filter" button
Been discussed in previous threads and noted as coming. Make sure you are using Manifold Future to be the first to know about it.
there's no useful way to "see" those records in the table.... is there?
Sure there is. With Radian we use a query. See the example on Selection Query functions. With a more GIS thing, we'd use a Selection Filter button. Example: we've selected some records in the mfd_meta table that is open in a window. The selection set for that window is 3. We enter this into the command window:
EXECUTE CALL Selection([mfd_meta], 3, TRUE)
... and press the ! button and it creates a table showing just the selected records. If you do this a lot with the same table just toss that text into a query so you can right click it and hit !.
is there is a means of selecting objects on a map based on an arbitrary "shape" I trace interactively with the mouse?
I've checked the Selection topic very carefully and I don't see that.
I think if I wanted it I would send in a Suggestion, maybe designing it as a Ctrl-Alt-right click, click, click to draw the selection polygon. What do you think? How would a better way look?
Keep in mind there is a lot of stuff in 8 that people don't use, so eliminating things like a selection based on drawing an ellipse shape is very helpful in de-cluttering the interface. One of the points of a public process like Future is giving people the opportunity to say what they think is important.