Alsoft announced today that its two utilities - PlusMaker and PlusMaximizer - for converting hard disks to Apple's new Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus) are available for purchase and download at its Web site. With the release of Mac OS 8.1, users have the option of using the new Extended Format, which saves disk space by increasing the number of allocation blocks used by the Finder. (See "All About Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus)" in TidBITS 414.) One catch, however, is that you must backup and initialize your disks with the new Extended Format, then restore the data - a time-consuming operation, especially for system administrators managing numerous Macs. PlusMaker (an 875K download) enables you to perform the conversion without reformatting; PlusMaximizer (a 265K download) gives you the option of using 512-byte allocation blocks instead of Apple's default 4K size. Each utility is priced at $29.95, or you can purchase both as a 1.1 MB download for $39.95.
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.
- All About Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus) (26 Jan 98)