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.

 
 

Macintosh Color Display

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This new 14" color monitor is only an incremental improvement over the previous one (i.e., it performs exactly the same task), but Apple paid a lot more attention to detail, making for a nicer monitor at a lower price. You get the same 13" of usable area on the Trinitron CRT (cathode ray tube), and the size is the same at 640 x 480 (resolution is 70 dpi instead of 69 dpi), but the new CRT offers higher brightness, high contrast, and uniform color. The monitor is 50% brighter than the previous model and supposedly uses 32% less power, a move I wholeheartedly endorse. Now if only the new desktop units could emulate the PowerBooks' sleep mode.

Front-mounted controls and a tilt & swivel base make the monitor easier to use, and it complies with the strict Swedish guidelines for very-low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic and electric emissions. Whether or not those emissions are specifically harmful (no one has conclusively proven that either way, as far as I've heard), I can't imagine that they're good for you. The monitor weighs a bit less, so it will be easier to lift, a major bonus to techie types who frequently have to move them. Finally, and I'm not sure how important this is, the monitor features automatic degaussing at startup. Probably akin to a stiff cup of espresso to start the day.

 

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