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.

 
 

Macinstruct Opens Mac Tutorial Contest

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Here's an idea I like - a contest to generate the most creative and innovative tutorials for Macintosh users. Sure, the meme is that being a Mac user means not having to read the manual, but the fact is that the Mac world is also home to some of the best writers and teachers on the planet. Organized by the non-profit Macinstruct site, the Tutorama contest aims to encourage Mac users to help others with clearly presented, helpful tutorials. The format isn't fixed: although the written word remains the ultimate communication method for many people, you're welcome to submit video tutorials, Flash animations, or who knows what else. Just make sure it succeeds at teaching your topic. And even if you don't win one of the very cool prizes, you'll have the satisfaction of having shared your knowledge with other Mac users.

Now, I'm not writing about Tutorama purely because I think it's a good idea, but also because I'm helping to judge entries, along with Tonya, our senior editor Joe Kissell, Take Control author Kirk McElhearn, and Take Control editor Dan Frakes. Other judges include the doyenne of Mac technical writing, Robin Williams; the inimitable Guy Kawasaki; No Starch Press founder William Pollock; Jonathan Price, creator of Apple's first style guide; and Amber MacArthur, a new media journalist and video host.

Check out the Tutorama Resources page for the official rules and advice from the judges, and then think about what you'd like to explain to the rest of the world.

 

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