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

 

 

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Smarter Parental Controls

If you've been using the parental controls options in Mac OS X to lock your child out of using a particular computer late at night, but would like to employ a more clever technique to limit Internet access, turn to MAC address filtering on an Apple base station.

To do this, launch AirPort Utility, select your base station, and click Manual Setup. In the Access Control view, choose Time Access to turn on MAC filtering. You'll need to enter the MAC address of the particular computer, which (in 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard) you can find in the Network System Preferences pane: click AirPort in the adapter list, and click Advanced. The AirPort ID is the MAC address.

 
 

MacBook, Pro, Air EFI and SMC Firmware Updates

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If you're using the recently released unibody models of the MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, there are a number of firmware updates now available from Apple.

The EFI Firmware Update improves stability for each of the models and, at least for the MacBook, addresses problems with sleep-wake, USB, and device compatibility. I say, "at least for the MacBook" because Software Update on my Mac added that last bit; the descriptions on Apple's site restrict themselves to grunting "Update make Mac better." The updates are available via Software Update or as separate downloads for the MacBook (1.8 MB), MacBook Pro (1.9 MB), and MacBook Air (2.4 MB) at Apple's Support Downloads site.

The SMC Firmware Update for each of the three models improves the sensing and accuracy of the MagSafe Power Adapter light. For the MacBook and MacBook Pro, it also improves the sensing and accuracy of the battery charge indicator lights. Find the 550K updates for the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air at Apple's Support Downloads site or via Software Update.

These being firmware updates, be careful when installing. Apple has separate help articles for installing the EFI Firmware Update and SMC Firmware Updates.

 

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