Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Apple to Announce New Macs August 7th

Apple Inc. has invited the press to an unveiling of new Macs next Tuesday, August 7th. New iMacs have been rumored for some time now and other Mac computer hardware upgrades may also be in the offing. No new iPod or iPhone models will appear next week though, Apple stated succinctly.

New Apple AirPort Fix and Tiger Security Update

Apple Inc. issued a patch today intended to improve Wi-Fi (AirPort) reliability with "Intel-based MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers." The patch is available in the usual place--Software Update.

Security Update 2007-007 was also released today and available you-know-where.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Little Mac Book - Tiger Edition

I've mentioned this previously.
Worth mentioning again. Here's a discount on Robin William's The Little Mac Book - Tiger Edition. For ten bucks or so learn how to use the Dock, file sharing, search with Spotlight, adjust the mouse, and the usual "much more."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Computer Networks: Share and Share Alike

What can a computer network do for you? A computer network in your home office offers the full range of network services. Here are five big services supported by home office routers such as the Apple AirPort Extreme or Linksys Router:

Do you have a router installed permitting you to share the Internet? Then you have a computer network ready to share files and share a printer, and backup irreplaceable data. Web pages in to your computer, along with files, print jobs, and music out.

Sharing Printers. Sharing files. Sharing the Internet--it's a sharing kinda thing.

Monday, July 09, 2007


If e-mail is the life-blood of the Internet, it needs an occasional transfusion.

Follow a few rules to smooth your communications. See below what I call The Big Three:

More on netiquette can be gleaned from David Tuffley's web page.
Transfusion complete.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Keeping Up With The Wi-Fi Joneses

If you live, or work, in a multi-unit building, it's too late for a wireless network. Everyone else is already engaged in a silent battle of the bandwidth that you--believe me--don't want to join.

Wi-Fi as we know it came into being in 2000 (the technical specifications of which were established in October 1999), and the modern equivalent of it in 2003. That's seven years.

Seven years to saturation.

Wi-Fi "network space" is an invisible cloud surrounding a Wi-Fi access point (Apple cutely calls these devices AirPorts) rudely disregarding walls. A maximum of three (you can sometimes get away with four if the devices are configured "just right" which they never are) Wi-Fi networks can function reliably in any single overlapping cloudy Wi-Fi radio environment without incurring serious interference problems such as network bumping. This means that ten, or five, or even four do not function as expected.

I am not compelled to do much Wi-Fi surveying on-site these days to know the score. In the Bay area, unbeknownst to residents, many apartments, condos, and multi-unit commercial buildings are already over-saturated with eight to a dozen (or more) Wi-Fi transmitters bashing each other with feeble radio-wave bludgeons.

It's way too late to install new service for those who want reliable service. The Joneses have beat us to it, but manufacturers don't want us to know what we need to know. Even in many single-family residential areas of the East Bay, clients for whom I installed Wi-Fi networks a few years ago are now eager, in their consternation, to understand why the network I installed isn't working any longer. In short: the new neighbors installed their chic new Wi-Fi network which is now doing a tap dance on theirs.

Microwave ovens and cordless phones: These ubiquitous items do not mix with Wi-Fi! The microwave oven that heats that one last cup of cold coffee is using 2.4 GHz microwave radio waves to do it. This is the resonant frequency of H2O, and also the radio frequency used by Wi-Fi access points. The ever-present cordless phones--far worse the offenders--if they aren't next door, they're on the same desk as your own Wi-Fi box.

The Joneses next door have us between a rock and a hard place with their 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network, 2.4 GHz microwave oven, and multiple 2.4 GHz cordless telephone handsets. Condos and small business buildings are filled with people scratching their heads, and swearing under their breaths, at the Wi-Fi network that won't let them stay connected. Plug and Play, right? Says so right here on the box.

Manufacturers of Wi-Fi equipment are not stupid--they can smell a buck or two in the beckoning backwaters of obsolescence. Wi-Fi is approaching the frustration level of obsolescence and soon the Joneses will toss out their "old" Wi-Fi hardware for the "new and improved" Wi-Fi that is immune to the current bunch of rowdy access points. This strategy will work until everyone else on the block also has the "new and improved" Wi-Fi flavor. By that time, Wi-Max will boot them all into oblivion--but that's another story. Ahh, progress!

I'm considering canceling my landline phone service. Now that's progress!

Monday, July 02, 2007

One Rare Mac Gotcha

The Mac operating system is user-friendly. It's difficult to do anything wrong because the Mac OS has many built-in safeguards.

Not so with managing external storage devices--
Keep in mind that all external storage devices that are writable, and mount as an icon on your desktop, require proper dismounting. Bad things happen otherwise.

External hard drives, iPods, and even flash drives (aka thumb drives) must be dismounted before removing the USB or FireWire cable. To dismount a drive, drag the drive icon on the desktop straight to the Trash. Nothing could be more counter-intuitive, but the Trash icon will transform into a stylized eject icon (a triangle). Wait until the storage device icon disappears from the Mac desktop. Not doing so will produce an error message window stating that the drive was not properly dismounted.

Flash drives, too. Yes, they're tiny and cute, but they're writable external data storage devices that can quickly be corrupted.

Not dismounting an external drive correctly can irreparably corrupt the drive. Data loss is a distinct possibility. Always drag the icon of any external storage device to the trash prior to disconnecting the data cable.

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