Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

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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.

 
 

iMac Graphic FW Update 3.0

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Apple has quietly released the iMac Graphic FW Update 3.0, saying only that it “fixes a graphics issue that may cause an iMac to hang under certain conditions.” It’s conceivable that this will play a role in resolving the video-related crashes new iMac owners were experiencing under Mac OS X 10.7.0 Lion, though most of those seem to have disappeared with 10.7.1 (see “Video Viewing in Lion Freezes New iMacs,” 4 August 2011). Apple does indicate that this latest firmware update requires Lion, though the company doesn’t say which iMac models are affected. Frankly, though you can download this from Apple’s Web site, we recommend letting Software Update get it for you, since then the download will appear only if it’s relevant for your iMac. As with all firmware updates, be careful not to power down your Mac during the update. (Free, 482 KB)

 

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