Apple AirPort Express Review

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Like many of you out there, I have a home network. In the past, mine happened to be called “the not-working home network,” but I digress. Have you ever had a problem getting everything configured just so on your network? You would be my hero if you managed to get every setting correct and every feature fully optimized without any help. It can be confusing and difficult to do. There are ways to minimize the amount of frustration that you have with your home network.

A few years ago, I bit the bullet and decided to try out the Apple Airport. I had been using a different router and some open-source firmware up until that point. I had tweaked it to the max – and still wasn’t happy with the performance. It just got to be more trouble than it was worth. Many of my friends and colleagues had recommended the Apple device, so I gave it a try – and have been very happy with that choice.

At first, I was a bit put off at having to install software on my computer in order to manage the Airport. Why couldn’t I just log into a webpage and do things from there? I quickly learned that managing things like this is much more efficient when done from within the desktop. Also, the installed software can tell me when the firmware is up to date. Until this point, I had never had a router tell me if an update was needed.

Recently, I realized I needed to extend the range of my wireless network. I had a Time Machine hooked up my to main Mac Pro and a base station on the other side of the house. I tried to extend the range using the Time Capsule, but there was too much interference going on. I went out and bought the AirPort Express in order to accomplish my networking goals.

This worked beautifully. The AirPort Express looks pretty familiar, doesn’t it? It looks similar to the power bricks which come with the Macbook line. Setting it up is simple: plug it in! There are a few cool features, as well:

  • Take the music from the iTunes library on your computer and sends it wirelessly to any stereo or speakers in your home.
  • Print wirelessly through AirPort Express – it’s almost like having a printer in every room of the house.
  • Wirelessly share photos, movies, and other files without having to worry about slow data transmissions.
  • The AirPort Express Base Station now features 802.11n, the next-generation high-speed wireless technology included with most shipping Mac computers and some newer PCs with compatible cards.
  • Industry-standard encryption technologies built into AirPort Express, including WPA/WPA2 and 128-bit WEP, plus a built-in firewall that creates a barrier between your network and the Internet.

After working with this device for about a week, I can say that it works fantastic. I’ve tried it out in several different areas of my home in order to make sure it was going to be exactly what I needed. By doing this, I also found out where it should be placed in order to give me the most optimal performance.

What’s nice with this software is that I can go through their step-by-step wizard and go with their suggested settings, or I can configure everything manually.

In comparison to a lot of junk I’ve seen, Apple gets home networking right. If you need your network to work – you’re going to go find something that actually works for you.

How Do Stormtroopers Get Through Airport Security?

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Chat room visitor Benson wanted to know how difficult it is for a Stormtrooper to get through airport security while wearing all that armor. What do YOU think – seriously?

Let me tell ya – it’s a joke. They asked me to remove my watch. I don’t wear one – where the hell would I put it? They asked me to remove metal. Dude, come on! I can’t! If I’m not wearing my armor, I’m open to the elements. I can’t do it!

They tend to let me twist through, cuz they really don’t want to get shot. I’m not trying to downplay airport security, but they really don’t want to mess with a Stormtrooper. You don’t want me to even explain what happened when one of the security people tried to do a strip search on one of our guys. I still shudder every time I think about it.

We don’t encounter this too often, anyway. Stormtroopers usually prefer to use their own form of transportation.

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Your MacBook Air Can Stay in the Bag in Airport Security Lines

Reports earlier today claimed that the TSA was making a big exception for the new 11″ MacBook Air machines. The rumor was that the devices did not need to be removed from their bags when going through security checkpoints in airports. Several people were angry over this news, wondering why their machine of choice wasn’t given the same treatment.

Is this really a case of being prejudiced or selective in what the TSA wants to require? It certainly seemed that way when the original article was published. However, they apparently didn’t do their homework before blasting the Security Administration. Right on the TSA blog, it was revealed earlier this year that the guidelines had changed.

Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases.

There were no special exceptions for the new MacBook Air – nor the iPad. Every device the size of a netbook is treated equally, and left in their protective bag.

Step Back From the Baggage Claim at Gnomedex

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What happens when you take a step back? It’s very powerful and can change the world. A single example can make a huge difference in our businesses and our lives. When Jason Barger approached me to discuss his book, I begged him immediately to join us on the Gnomedex stage. This is what our conference is all about – changing the world one person… one day – one STEP BACK – at a time.

Step Back From the Baggage Claim is a movement to help effect change. In Jason’s own words: “Change begins from the ground up. The pressure underneath the wings has to be greater than the pressure above the wings. Change begins with singular moments. Change can begin at the baggage claim and carry into our everyday lives. Change begins with you and me.”

The book is powerful, and the inspiration behind it is even more so. I hope you’ll take the time in your life to step back – and to spread that message to others.

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Step Back From the Baggage Claim at Gnomedex

Gnomedex 2010 speaker Jason Barger is no ordinary traveler. Prior to writing his book Step Back From the Baggage Claim, he spent a week flying over six thousand miles to seven different cities. During this adventure, he never once stepped foot out of an airport. He spent more than 10,000 minutes studying people from all four corners of the United States, observing what our airport experiences can teach us about life.

The funny and inspiring stories found within the pages of his book remind us to step back and really see our lives – moment by moment. How much of your life is spent doing what is “normal” and routine? Are you doing things the same way as you did yesterday? How much of our time is spent ignoring possibilities because we think we already know the answers?

We all tend to get caught up at times in a fast-moving world crowded with goals, hopes, dreams and plans. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your job title is or how much money you make, you stand around that metaphorical baggage claim in the hope of claiming certain things for your life. You have a choice each day, Jason believes, to choose how you “want to navigate our way through the crowded obstacles and what spirit we’ll carry with us along our path.”

Before taking off to sleep in airports and observe human behavior, Barger led over 1,700 people to construct 125 houses internationally for families living in poverty. He also implemented the Streets Mission Project to serve the homeless on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. In 2004, he was one of five people in Columbus, Ohio, to receive a Jefferson Award, a national award given to “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

There are still tickets available for Gnomedex 10. The conference will again be held in Seattle, WA from August 19 – August 21st, 2010. We hope to see you there.