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

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
Option-click to Hide Apps Quickly

This trick has been available in the Mac OS for years, but many people still don't know it. If you have too many windows cluttering up your screen, you can hide specific ones easily as you work. When you're in any application, hold down the Option key and click on another app's window, on the Dock, or in the Finder to switch to that other app and simultaneously hide all the windows in the previously current app.

 
 

AirPort Firmware Updates Fix Major Bugs

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Apple late today pushed out two incremental firmware releases to its wireless base stations, AirPort Express 6.1.1 and AirPort Extreme 5.5.1, on the heels of a major release a few weeks ago (see "AirPort 4.1 Fixes Encryption Irritation, Enables Remote Control" in TidBITS-756). These incremental fixes should finally address a perplexing and persistent problem with making reliable FTP connections across either AirPort Express or Extreme networks.

<http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ airportextremefirmware551formacosx.html>
<http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ airportexpressfirmware611formacosx.html>
<http://db.tidbits.com/article/07897>

The release notes for both firmware updates have four items in common.

  • FTP: This maddening problem meant that many users could not reliably perform FTP transactions across an Apple base station. Maddening is the most publishable word. The bug has been fixed, apparently; I was unable to test it before this article went to press.

  • Hard Reset: The base stations now tell you when you've held down the reset button long enough to trigger a hard reset, which wipes all resident settings. (The behavior varies slightly between the AirPort Extreme and Express base stations for soft, hard, and factory resets.) After five seconds of holding down the reset button, both base station models flash their LEDs rapidly to indicate that the command was received.

  • WDS with WPA: It sounds like gibberish, but this is a method of using the latest security for encrypting a Wi-Fi network (WPA, or Wi-Fi Protected Access) with wireless connections between base stations. The previous major firmware upgrade allowed WPA to work with wireless distribution system (WDS); this micro-release fixes a bug that would cause a base station to crash eventually when a WDS node was removed.

  • Printers: Some printers wouldn't work with the base station printing sharing after the previous major firmware release was installed. This micro-release reportedly fixes that problem.

  • PPPoE: Finally, some PPPoE setups were garbled on AirPort Extreme Base Stations after the previous major release was installed. This release also supposedly resolves that problem.

 

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