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Option-Click AirPort Menu for Network Details

If you hold down the Option key while clicking the AirPort menu in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you'll see not just the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks, but additional details about the selected network. Details include the MAC address of the network, the channel used by the base station, the signal strength (a negative number; the closer to zero it is, the stronger the signal), and the transmit rate in megabits per second showing actual network throughput. If you hover the cursor over the name of a network to which you're not connected, a little yellow pop-up shows the signal strength and type of encryption.

 
 

TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates through 05-Oct-09

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ClickToFlash 1.5.3 from ClickToFlash Developers is a highly recommended stability update to the free WebKit plug-in that blocks Flash content from loading in Web pages in Safari. The latest version addresses a number of issues, including a crashing bug that occured when parsed Flash variables were being released prematurely, duplicate whitelist entries that resulted in hangs and crashes, and embedded YouTube videos displaying a question mark when loaded with the VIDEO element. Full release notes are available on ClickToFlash's Web site. (Free, 524 KB)

BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac 1.0 from RIM is the first official release of the Mac-compatible desktop management system for BlackBerry smartphones (previously, the only syncing option was to use third-party software like The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, from Mark/Space). RIM's new software enables BlackBerry users to sync calendars, contacts, notes, and tasks with their Macs. The program also includes BlackBerry Media Sync, which lends the capability to sync media files without having to resort to third-party programs, a feature that's currently unavailable for Windows users. A more-detailed review is available on CIO.com. (Free, 26.73 MB)

VMware Fusion 2.0.6 from VMware is a stability and security update to the popular Windows virtualization software. The latest version addresses various compatibility issues with 32-bit kernel mode in Snow Leopard, improves 3D performance in Snow Leopard on Macs with Nvidia graphics cards, and fixes over 20 other bugs. Security fixes of note include two that stem from kernel extension vulnerabilities, one that could lead to a denial-of-service attack, and another that could lead to code execution. ($79.99 new, free update, 291 MB)

Camino 1.6.10 from The Camino Project is a security and stability update to the Mac-focused, Gecko-based Web browser. The latest version has been upgraded to version 1.8.1.23 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, improves ad-blocking features, disables Java when running on Snow Leopard to prevent crashes, and fixes a bug that occasionally caused crashes when clicking on a tab's close button. (Free, 15.9 MB for English-only or 19.9 MB for multilingual)

Growl 1.2 is a compatibility update to the open-source customizable system-wide notification software. The latest version is now fully compatible with Snow Leopard, adds 64-bit support so System Preferences doesn't have to relaunch in 32-bit mode when you open the Growl preference pane, restores functionality for the Growl Mail bundle, resolves several memory leaks, and adds a new icon for HardwareGrowler. While Growl is still compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is no longer supported. (Free, 5.3 MB)

BusyCal 1.0 from BusyMac is the first official release of the iCal-inspired desktop calendar with built-in sharing capabilities. Features include multi-user editing, a host of security options, offline editing capabilities, and Bonjour, Google, and iPhone calendar syncing. Also featured is a floating Info panel, weather forecasts, the capability to add graphics and sticky notes directly into your calendar, and the capability to make recurring to-do items. ($40 new, $10 upgrade for current BusySync users, 4.4 MB)

PDFpen 4.5 and PDFpenPro 4.5 from SmileOnMyMac are major updates to the company's PDF editing utilities. The latest versions greatly improve their OCR capabilities with the integration of the OmniPage Capture SDK OCR engine. Additionally, users running Snow Leopard now have the capability to scan directly into PDFpen from Image Capture or TWAIN scanners. Finally, a text highlighting tool has been added which can select and highlight text as a single action. ($49.95/$99.95 new, free updates, 44.6 MB/44.8 MB)

Typinator 3.6 from Ergonis Software is a significant maintenance update to the auto-typing and auto-correcting utility. Changes include added support for Dropbox and iDisk synchronization, the capability to use abbreviations that begin with a space character, the option to select to which folder Typinator will save abbreviations sets, more flexibility for applications that have special requirements, more robust management of set files, improved efficiency in Clipboard saving and restoration, and a new support interface for registration and other support activities. Various compatibility issues have been addressed with World of Warcraft, MYOB Account Edge, TeamAgenda, Chromium, FirstClass, Papyrus, Perforce, Mariner Write, TextMate, AlphaX, Nisus Writer Pro, and Tex-Edit Plus. Finally, a crashing bug related to importing or exporting sets in Snow Leopard has been fixed. A full list of changes can be found on Ergonis's Web site. (19.99 euros new, free update for purchases within 2 years, 2.7 MB)

Bento 3 from FileMaker, Inc. is a major update to the personal database software. The latest version adds iPhoto integration, a new thumbnail Grid View, the capability for the Related Data field and File List to display thumbnails, and an enhanced Table View with a new media display area. Also, a new Simple list field type has been added, library folders have been refreshed, security options have been expanded, and collaborative multi-user features have been added. A full list of new features is available on FileMaker's Web site. ($49 new, $20 upgrade, 106 MB)

iWork '09 Update 3 from Apple is a stability and compatibility update to the office productivity suite. The latest version reduces the file size of images with Instant Alpha applied, better manages a file's size when movies are inserted, improves working with dates and durations in the Chart Data Editor for Pages and Keynote, and enhances the exporting of data from Numbers to CSV when using table categories. A full list of changes for Numbers, Pages, and Keynote is available on Apple's Web site. The update is recommended for all iWork '09 users and is available via Software Update or the Apple Support Downloads page. ($79 new, free update, 59.62 MB)

 

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