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.


Mathematical Art from a Mac

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The cover of the journal Science for 22-Sep-06 features a beautiful artwork titled "Still Life: Five Glass Surfaces on a Tabletop" by graphic artist Luc Benard and mathematician Richard Palais, but the image is neither a photograph nor a Photoshop illustration. Instead, the five objects pictured are famous mathematical surfaces produced by the free Macintosh program 3D-XplorMath. The objects were then exported into Bryce, a 3D-rendering program, where Luc Benard gave them a glassy texture and placed them on a virtual glass-covered wooden tabletop.

The image is the first-place winner in the illustration category of the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, jointly sponsored by Science and the National Science Foundation.

Richard Palais, a well-known professor of mathematics at the University of California, Irvine, has worked on the mathematical visualization program 3D-XplorMath (previously known as 3D-Filmstrip) since 1997. Users can view a gallery of interesting mathematical objects in it, plus modify various parameters and viewing options for further experimentation. 3D-XplorMath runs in Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X as a Carbon application and is a free 12.3 MB download.


New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as "Tx" for "TextExpander". With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
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