Directionally impaired Mac users will be relieved to learn of the release of GPSy 3.0, Karen Nakamura's software for working with data from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. With a GPS receiver, a Macintosh, and GPSy, you can pinpoint your location to within 100 meters anywhere on Earth (the GPS system is capable tracking to one sixteenth of an inch, but that capability is reserved for use by the U.S. military; see Karen's article "Feeling Lost? An Overview of Global Positioning Systems," and a review, "Driving Through Trees: Using GPSy," in TidBITS 388). In addition to numerous protocol additions for working with a wide variety of GPS units, GPSy 3.0 adds the ability to view your position using information from several Internet map servers, such as the U.S. Census TIGER Mapping Service and Geocities. GPSy is $50 and available as a 1 MB download.
Viewing Wi-Fi Details in Snow Leopard
In Snow Leopard, hold down the Option key before clicking the AirPort menu. Doing so reveals additional technical details including which standards, speeds, and frequencies you're using to connect, as well as what's in use by other networks. With the Option key held down and with a network already joined, the AirPort menu reveals seven pieces of information: the PHY Mode, the MAC (Media Access Control) address, the channel and band in use, the security method that's in use, the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) measurement, the transmit rate, and the MCS Index. In Leopard, some, but not all, of these details are revealed by Option-clicking the AirPort menu.
- Driving Through Trees: Using GPSy (14 Jul 97)
- Feeling Lost? An Overview of Global Positioning Systems (14 Jul 97)