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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.

 
 

Google Earth Browser Plugin for Mac OS X

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Much to the delight of virtual Mac Magellans everywhere, Google has announced that Mac users now have access to the Google Earth Browser Plugin. Some Mac users have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the plug-in since it was introduced for Windows in May 2008 and for the iPhone in October 2008. The plug-in is compatible with both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, and works in both Safari 3.1 and later and Firefox 3.0 and later.

While the Google Earth Browser Plugin doesn't offer all the features present in the regular Google Earth application, it does enable users to access the fundamental service: the navigable 3D globe. The main advantage of the plug-in is that it lets users avoid the comparably cumbersome process of launching the full application and lets Web sites tie into Google Earth more tightly. To see some fun examples of how the plug-in is already being used, check out the following sites: Puzzler, Earthswoop, Mini Flight Sim, and Monster Milktruck.

Downloading the whopping 46.8 MB plug-in requires navigating to a site with an embedded Google Earth component. This includes any of the pages listed above, as well as Google's official Google Earth API site.

 

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