Tag Archives: Apple

Apple Starts Selling a Lightning to Micro USB Adapter in the US

It’s about time.

Lightning to Micro USB Adapter Lightning to Micro USB Adapter
This adapter was originally released for distribution in the European Union only, where it’s the law (that every mobile device support the Micro USB standard). I was lucky enough to have a random subscriber send me one, and have been loving it.

So, for those of you who complained that iOS products don’t support the Micro USB standard in any way, your argument is invalid.

I, for one, do not miss the days of fiddling with cables in the dark and having to know which way is up or down. Lightning has been an absolute godsend at any price.

Is There a LEGO Apple Store Set? Kinda.

Some would call it an unhealthy obsession – I would prefer to refer to it as a hobby.

LEGO isn’t for some. Those who cannot accommodate bricks must continue to put up with people like me (who, by the way, are not responsible for gigantic minifigs washing up on Florida shorelines). We need some kind of creative outlet, and at least this activity is more interactive than outmoded options like zoning out in front of a radio or television for hours on end.

Building LEGO sets has been my zen. Combine that with the crazy possibility of someone eventually producing an Apple Store model constructed entirely of… it happened. Oliver Burridge from our community asked if he could create a “Day in the Life of Chris Pirillo” for our YouTube Channel and I happily agreed to support the endeavor. Part of the “plot” will be spent within an Apple Store, apparently – and this scene has already been recorded:

I believe that LEGO is increasingly embracing the idea of allowing their community to control the destiny of various sets. In light of the LEGO trademark falling to the wayside, perhaps we’ll see better pricing for these custom constructions?

So, maybe we’ll inspire a passionate brick enthusiast to upload a DesignByMe set for any of us not-so-Master builders to buy one day?

I’m running out of room around here; without a dedicated LEGO space somewhere in my home, I’ll soon be swimming in bricks (and they’re quite sharp around the edges if you hadn’t already noticed). Perhaps it’s better that I stick to collecting minifigs and disassembling the sets once I’ve done ’em?

PC Vs. Mac – The Truth

“Better” is a relative term. So is “best.”

It’s rare that I jump into the middle of a PC vs. Mac debate (hasn’t it been settled already?). However, this morning I watched a tweet from @Windows float by. On the other end of that link sits Microsoft’s own “PC vs. Mac” page, and it’s so full of mistruths, I (honestly) thought I was reading a piece from The Onion.

Now, I’m an odd duck – I live in both worlds. I’m a Mac AND a PC – it’s fully possible. Hell, when you buy a Mac, you become a de-facto PC (given that it can run Windows natively just like every Windows PC in the marketplace). I’m also a Microsoft MVP for Windows. I was also banned from promoting Apple products by way of their affiliate program. Just had to get all of that out of the way first.

I’m going to take the time to address each and every point that Microsoft is conveying, if only to deliver the truth to people who are really trying to figure out which is better for them. You’re free to draw your own conclusions, but (IMHO) Microsoft really did their userbase a disfavor by publishing this without first running it through the BS wringer. Well, that’s what the I’m here for, right? It’s fully possible to encourage people to buy into your platform without lying about the “competition.”

Again, a Mac can be a full-standing Windows PC. I’ve written an entire eBook on helping people switch between Windows and Mac OS X, too.

I loved Windows XP. I love Windows 7. Don’t get me started on Windows Me or Windows Vista, pl0x. Not looking for trolls or fanbois (though I’m sure they’ll come pouring in from both sides). I’ve done my best to clear the air for confused consumers, not incite religious wars.

PCs are ready for fun.

Oh, god. No. You didn’t. Really? Wow. Okay. That clears it up. Thanks.

PCs are hard workers but they’re also fun to play with. You can watch, pause, rewind, and record TV like a DVR and you’ll find that many of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC.

You can use your Mac like a TV / DVR. I do it all the time. And it’s true that “many” of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC – but a Mac can be a PC, and the Steam library grows by the year. What exactly are they trying to prove, here?

When you buy a PC running Windows 7, you can get a Blu-ray player, TV tuner, Memory Stick reader, or 3G wireless built in. You can’t get a Mac that ships with these items.

Valid point.

Most of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC. And Macs can’t connect to an Xbox 360. PCs are ready to play.

Someone apparently needs to hire me to teach these people that there’s a big difference between a Mac (hardware) and Mac OS X (the operating system). Their imprecision aside, there is software available to enable Mac OS X to connect to an Xbox 360. Maybe this is the part where I should tell you that I have four Xbox 360s in my home?

Many PCs running Windows 7 are designed to connect directly to TVs, so you can watch movies and see photos on the big screen. Most Macs can’t hook up to your TV unless you buy an adapter.

Huh? This doesn’t even make sense. I can share photos, videos, etc. to my smart TVs just by sharing the folder and making it discoverable on the network. As pointed out by @BWOps, DLNA compatibility makes things easier – and is readily available for free on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux vis-a-vis TVMOBiLi.

With PCs running Windows 7, you can play the video and music stored on your home PC while you’re on the go, for free. Apple charges $99/year for its online service.

It’s true that Apple makes it insanely easier to do with their MobileMe service (and this price is subject to change), but it’s completely possible – without any additional service required – to access your files remotely. If anything, I’d argue that Windows makes it more difficult for the average user to do – but that’s a subjective assertion, not a blatant mistruth.

Oh, and some MobileMe services work on Windows, too.

The computer that’s easiest to use is typically the one you already know how to use. While some may say Macs are easy, the reality is that they can come with a learning curve. PCs running Windows 7 look and work more like the computers you’re familiar with, so you can get up and running quickly.

By that logic, no Mac OS X user would ever want to switch to Windows because it’s too unfamiliar. Allow me to quote something that @Shally tweeted the other day: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write – but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” [A. Toffler] I couldn’t have said it better myself. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face to believe that today’s solution is going to be the answer for all of tomorrow’s problems.

When you use a PC, everyday things like your mouse and keyboard shortcuts work the way you expect.

Hang on. I’m laughing so hard right now, I’m crying.

Windows 7 was designed to make everyday tasks simpler with features that the Mac doesn’t have. For example, the new Snap feature makes it drag-and-drop easy to view two documents side by side.

Aero snap is nice, indeed. But I could have easily have written: “Mac OS X was designed to make everyday tasks simpler with features that Windows doesn’t have. For example, Exposé will show you all your open windows at a glance.” This is just tit for tat. You can cut, copy, and paste on either OS.

Sometimes the most natural way to use your computer screen is to touch it. And sometimes a real keyboard and mouse are hard to beat. If you get a PC, you don’t have to choose. PCs running Windows 7 support Touch, so you can effortlessly move between typing and touching to create documents, browse the web, read papers, and shuffle through files and folders. (Of course, you can still use a mouse, too.) Speaking of fingers, PCs with a fingerprint reader even let you log in with just a swipe of your finger.

Have you ever tried to use a Windows PC with a resistive touch screen? Let me just say this: it ain’t no iPad.

PCs are ready for work and school

Yes, because Macs aren’t? I’d argue that school IT administrators aren’t willing to switch, but… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you use Apple’s productivity suite, sharing files with PC users can be tricky. Your documents might not look right and your spreadsheets might not calculate correctly. Sharing goes beyond working together on a document. With Windows Live Mesh, you can access your home PC while you’re on the go, so your most important documents are always up to date and at your fingertips. Apple charges $99/year for its online service.

Google charges free, and is both Mac OS X and Windows compatible. Booyah. Maybe if Microsoft Office for Mac wasn’t so nasty, I’d give ’em some leeway. Actually, why didn’t they take this opportunity to promote their own product? It’s like they’re telling the entire PC and Mac world that their own Microsoft Office for Mac isn’t worth the price of admission?! But “your spreadsheets might not calculate correctly.” Wow. I guess Macs suck at addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as much as I do.

You’ll have to buy a separate hardware adapter to plug your Mac into a standard VGA projector. Most PCs with Windows 7 hook up easily.

And by “easily,” they mean “after futzing with the settings on the projector for five minutes, if you’re lucky.” Microsoft is essentially forcing you into the past. VGA? Okay. You’ll have a top of the line notebook PC and be crippled by an ancient port? Really? Okay. Apparently, Windows PCs never need adapters in Utopia.

On a Mac, out of the box, you can only encrypt your home folder. With Windows 7 Ultimate, you can encrypt your entire hard drive and even USB drives. So your files can be safer wherever you go. And, with 25 gigabytes (GB) of free online storage, you can save your stuff in your personal cloud and use it from virtually anywhere you are.

Since they’re doing the comparison, how much does Mac OS X cost versus Windows 7 Ultimate? Don’t try to give me the BS that “Windows users don’t have to pay for Service Packs.” What do you think Windows 7 was to Windows Vista, folks? Oh, and in case nobody told marketing: Windows Live Mesh is available for Mac OS X.

It’s easy to share with a PC

Empirically, it’s easier to share with a Mac.

When you’re connected to the Internet you can actually use the programs and files on another PC as if you were sitting right in front of it.

Oh, because VNC (baked into OS X) doesn’t work?

With HomeGroup, you don’t have to manually set up movie and music sharing, file sharing, and printer sharing. Instead, it’s easy to automatically and securely network with all the computers in your house when they’re running Windows 7. And, when you’re away from home, you can automatically connect to the right printer on each network you use.

Microsoft DID make data easier to share data with other Windows 7 PCs that are running HomeGroup. FWIW, Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) will be using SMBX instead of Samba to better network with Windows PCs.

Sharing high-resolution photos used to mean sending huge email attachments. With a PC and Windows Live Mail, instead of clogging your friend’s inbox, you can send one small email with up to 200 photos attached. Your friend gets a preview album of the photos, can watch a slide show online, and then download high-resolution versions of the exact ones they want.

Dude. If you ever send me 200 photos in a single email, I will drive over to your house and slap you. Seriously. I’m not joking. They’re actually encouraging this behavior? Okay, well… if it makes you feel any better? You can send a massive amount file attachments from Mac OS X, too. How about just sending a link to your Facebook page, your Flickr stream, or wherever else you want to share your photos online? Don’t gag my inbox, either way.

On a Mac, iPhoto puts all your pictures in an iPhoto-protected library. If you want to organize, edit, or share your pictures, you have to use the iPhoto software. With a PC running Windows, you can work with your photos any way you like.

Thank you for explaining why I don’t use iPhoto on the Mac. They don’t force you to do anything. Picasa is perfectly cross-platform. You don’t HAVE to use iPhoto just like you don’t HAVE to use all that crapware that comes preinstalled on “many” PCs.

Plain and simple, if you’re a PC user, you have a world of compatible software and hardware to choose from. With PCs outselling Macs 10 to 1, most computer software is developed to run on PCs.

Has anybody bothered to talk about the quality of this “world of compatible software and hardware?” I’ve been more than happy with the selection available to me as a Mac OS X user. By the nature of Microsoft’s licensing approach to the marketplace, they will absolutely outsell Macs 10-to-1 – but what about overall user satisfaction? What about service and support? What about TCO? “Most computer software is developed to run on PCs.” This is an unfounded statement.

Most iOS software is developed to run on iPhones. #rhetorical

Apple’s productivity suite file formats won’t open in Microsoft Office on PCs. This can be a real hassle for Mac users sharing work documents with PC users.

Ah, but Apple’s productivity suite will import Microsoft Office formats. At least they’re trying, Microsoft. Moreover, if you’re still sending document attachments, KNOCK IT OFF. *points to Google Docs again* *points to Microsoft Office Live*

If there’s a Mac version of a program you need, you’ll have to buy it again and re-learn how to use it on a Mac.

Hahahahahaha! *catches breath* Hahahahahaha!

You can get the PC you want, in the size and color you want, with the features you want—all for the right price. With the best selection and price, PCs win hands down.

Yes, you can get what the market gives you – but that’s not “any size and color you want.” PC doesn’t win hands down. Sorry. It doesn’t. TCO isn’t factored into this ploy. There is absolutely a wider selection of Windows products available – yes. This doesn’t take into account build quality or service, but… you can find more PC options out there, certainly. If that’s what you want (an arbitrary value versus a good consumer electronics device), the choice for you is clear.

PCs running Windows 7 often come with features that either aren’t available or don’t come preinstalled on even the highest-end Macs, including Blu-ray, eSATA, multi-format card readers, touch screens, and mobile broadband support.

The Xbox 360 doesn’t work with Blu-ray, either – does that mean it’s worthless? Do you know how many Blu-ray discs I own? Seriously. I’m asking you because I have no idea. Everything I consume these days is fully digital. Moreover, my mobile broadband support comes by way of my mobile device – and every single Windows touch screen PC I’ve tried has fallen laughably short. I’ll give ’em eSATA, sure – but what about Thunderbolt (a far more ubiquitous IO port)?

Then again, if you want to watch Blu-ray movies on your computer (since OS X can read, write, etc. Blu-ray data)… Microsoft is correct, and Windows is a better option. Doesn’t mean that a PC is a better option, though – even though this entire debate is centered on PC vs. Mac – not Windows vs. OS X.

A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC.

PCs are available in a full spectrum of colors across a wide range of price points. Macs are only available in white or silver.

I kinda like that. Plus, I tend to skin my notebook computers, anyway. This value is relative – largely irrelevant to them trying to prove that PCs are superior to Macs.

The selection of software for Macs is smaller than the selection for PCs. So if there’s a program you use on a PC, you’ll need to make sure it’s available for the Mac. And, if it is, you’ll need to learn how to use it on a Mac.

I don’t even want to qualify this argument with a response. In all the years I’ve used both Windows and Mac OS X, I’ve collected far more apps for Mac OS X – and they’re designed better, too. So many apps have similar interfaces – so once you stop treating Mac OS X like it was Windows, and Windows like it was Mac OS X… you’ll be more than happy with either one.

Did you hear that? It’s possible to be MORE THAN HAPPY WITH EITHER ONE. Or BOTH, for that matter. That’s the truth.

Mac Malware on the Rise

Newsflash: your Apple machine actually can become infected. Wait, what? You didn’t already know that? Seriously? I’ve been telling you for years that it’s possible. Other writers have attempted to educate you. Your Mac is not a steel wall against malware, people. It’s always been possible for an Apple computer to be infested with some type of malware – it just hasn’t happened very often.

Photo credit to Precise Security.

We can argue until we’re blue in the face about the reasons why we haven’t seen much malware aimed at the Mac. Apple lovers will of course tell you that it’s nearly impossible for their precious machines to fall prey to hackers and script kiddies. Security experts will teach you that the reason is as simple as a popularity contest. Until recently, Microsoft computers were much more prevalent. It didn’t pay to expend time and energy writing malicious code for a Mac. Windows was everywhere – malware was written for the masses.

Many of us have said repeatedly that as Apple gained in popularity among consumers, so would malware written specifically for the operating system. While it still obviously isn’t as much of an issue as it is on the Microsoft platform… it IS out there, and it is growing. A quick glance through the Apple forums will show you several new cases every day of people begging for help removing the latest threat: a Rogue software known as “Mac Defender.”

Apple fanboys and security researchers are going to argue for weeks. Many will tell you that you still have nothing to worry about and you don’t need to protect your Mac with any type of anti-malware/virus/spam software. They’ll try to convince you to continue feeling all warm and fuzzy. You’re supposed to keep believing that your machine isn’t susceptible unless you use it in a stupid way. After all, smart computer users could never get infected, right?

I’m here to tell you that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Weigh your options and take a good look at the possibility that something could happen. Isn’t your information worth protecting? Resign yourself to the fact that malware is indeed “out there” which could infect your Mac and educate yourself as to how to stay safe.

Dear Fanboys: Go Away

Do you have any idea how much I loathe the fanboy mentality? I honestly don’t care if you’re an Apple lover, a Microsoft admirer or an Android proponent – you’re all equally insane! Being a fanboy does not mean you enjoy or believe in one product more than another these days. It means that you are so insanely narrow-sighted that you cannot possibly understand that a different brand may just work better for another person – or even yourself.

Hat tip to Chu Chu for this fantastic fanboy depiction!

I had an eye on Twitter a few moments ago, and noticed that a friend was sad to realize that her three-year-old HP TouchSmart is slowly starting to fade. This has been her primary machine since August of 2008, y’all. She works from home and spends about ten hours per day – seven days each week – using the heck out of this beast. I’d say it has held up pretty well, wouldn’t you? Through blogging, Tweeting, video editing and even gaming, this setup has never let her down. Not once in nearly three years has she complained about this piece of equipment being bad, wrong, cheap or poorly made.

Wouldn’t you know it – an Apple fanboy was quick to jump down her throat in a Tweet response. His response? “That’s what you get for buying cheap crap. You should have gotten an iPad.” Fanboysaywhat? Are you serious here? Any computer that holds up for three years under intense usage – with NO upgrades or hardware changes at all – is obviously not “cheap crap” as you claim.

This is what I’m talking about. This person is so blinded by his lust for all things Apple that he has failed to realize his beloved product wouldn’t even work for what she needs. (Let’s also not forget that the iPad didn’t even exist when this particular computer became hers in August, 2008!) Would you honestly attempt to use an iPad as your main computer? If you can then kudos to you. As much as I adore my iPad 2, there is no way in hell I am going to get rid of my desktop. I’m willing to bet most of you wouldn’t, either.

Here’s a tip, fanboys: lighten up. Learn to embrace the fact that other people have different needs, wants and likes than you do. Stop harassing them and shoving your favorites down their throat each time there’s a problem with their favorite product. Guess what? Yours isn’t perfect, either.

MacBook Air Initial Impressions


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Apple’s MacBook Air is arguably the most elegant portable computer on the market. The device is lightweight and thin. But how does it stack up for practical use? Is the processor speed fast enough? Does the MacBook Air come with enough RAM to be practical? Is the machine really as light as people claim? Here are some first impressions of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air, along with the best and worst of what Apple’s smallest laptop has to offer.

This little baby comes with a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. You can also choose the optional 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. You’ll find 2GB of RAM onboard with a 4GB maximum capacity. The 11.6-inch high-res screen has support for about a million colors. The device comes with a standard full-sized keyboard and a pretty sweet multi-touch trackpad. You can pinch, rotate, swipe, three and four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap and drag right from your trackpad.

You’ll be happy to find the built-in EyeSight camera, two USB ports, a microphone and of course a headphone jack. The NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor is enough to handle most of your graphics needs, and more than enough in a such a small portable device.

What’s interesting about this machine is that there’s no disk drive. Complaining that a computer such as this doesn’t have a tray for a disc is like complaining that YouTube doesn’t have a slot to stick things in. This machine doesn’t need any type of removable media (disc) options, honestly. The 13-inch model has an SD slot if you are really in need of one.

The MacBook Air is actually much faster than a new laptop that I recently won, likely due to the processor style inside of both machines. It’s also a better device than the MSI Wind netbook I happen to own. Can you not see the huge difference in profile between the Wind and the Air? The MacBook Air wins out when it comes to speed, thinness and even looks. I happen to prefer that gorgeous aluminum. That’s part is personal preference, of course.

I personally think that my Air was a bargain at a bit over $800 USD and free shipping. It has better specs at the base level than many “higher-end” netbooks and notebooks.

I happen to LOVE that this machine has “instant-on” features. I open the lid, and it is ready to go. There’s no waiting on an operating system to load. I don’t have to sit here and whistle Dixie while waiting for the device to wake itself up.

I am also adoring the layout itself. The keyboard is just perfect for my fingers. Even though I have small hands, the keyboards on most small-ish devices just don’t work for me. I end up making eighteen typos before the end of any given sentence. I don’t have this problem with my Air.

If you’re on the go and need something to carry with you, I think this device will suit your needs perfectly. I’m told that it runs Windows very well, even though I haven’t tried it yet myself. This machine is fast, it’s light and it works very VERY well.

Have you used the new MacBook Air? What are your initial impressions?

Bing for iPad


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The new Bing app for the iPad is actually better than Bing in the browser. No, I’m not joking. It is absolutely beautiful, and one of THE best overall iPad apps I’ve ever used. The first time I opened it up, I was drawn in for about fifteen minutes, just exploring everything it has to offer. If I were Apple, I’d be selling the device with this as a default app. It’s honestly THAT good.

The entire touch experience is right there. You can play around with everything on the screen. Anything you could possibly want – or need – is literally at your fingertips:

  • Find what’s important near you: tell Bing what you’re looking for using voice-activated search – even addresses. Find a restaurant or reserve a table. Use the Plans feature to explore nightlife options, Likes and comments on Facebook. Grab onto the social feature to see updates from Facebook and Twitter in your search results.
  • Find stores, photos, movie times and reviews, iPhone apps, travel deals, airline promotions, local weather forecasts and directions.
  • Use the real-time transit features to figure out if your bus will be on time or check the status of any flight.
  • Add information for a business or location on the map and Bing will let you know when you’re close to it.
  • Try using the Bing Vision to search using the device camera. Bring text into close view, and the app will recognize it. Select which words you want to search.
  • Scan a barcode and Bing will give you product results. It can also detect product information from QR code, Microsoft Tag, UPC codes and cover art from books, CD, DVDs, and video games.
  • Check into your favorite social sites without having to leave the app.
  • Always find the lowest rates and hottest deals on everything from dinner to movies to travel options using Bing.

I absolutely love that I can clear all of my history in about two seconds with one tap. The same can be said about turning Safe Search off and on. The setup and customization options are fantastic in this application.

Another awesome thing is that the app will keep a history of all of the places I have searched for. I can quickly scroll through and find something I’ve already looked up without having to type it out again or scrolling through results to find the correct one.

Want to see a movie tonight? Don’t just find a local theater and show times. Watch the movie trailers right within Bing. I can also get movie ratings and reviews and links to news articles written about each flick and their various actors and actresses.

This is what an app should be – something that draws you and and makes you want to explore the world around you. It’s not only functional, it’s fun. There are a lot of news and search apps out there, but this one just get it right.

Help for Jailbroken iOS Devices


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JailbreakQA is a site dedicated to answering iPhone jailbreak related questions. This week, Reza talks about JailbreakQA and how it can help you find the right answers to your questions about Cydia, jailbreaking your iPhone and any other non-standard uses for your iPhone or iOS device. Reza brings you tips and tricks to help you get the most use out of your jailbroken iOS device each week.

The JailbreakQA site is based on the OSQA platform, just like our Lockergnome Q&A site. Our site is dedicated to asking and answering questions of any nature, not just technical ones. Since most of our community tends to lean towards geeky things, that’s what you’ll find most often. However, I’ve seen questions about things such as cars, gardening and even dancing. To date, we have over 16,000 questions asked and nearly 70,000 answers have been given!

JailbreakQA works much the same way. People ask questions and other members give answers. You can vote up (or down!) the answers that you feel deserve a bit of recognition, and comment on any answers given to ask for more clarification. This site is a fantastic resource for those of you who may still be thinking about jailbreaking your device as well as for long-time “expert” jailbreakers.

If you’ve been thinking about doing this to your iOS device but still aren’t sure, you may want to read through some of the questions and answers on JailbreakQA. There are many people in the same position as you: they think they may want to unlock their device but aren’t positive it is the best option for them. You’ll find threads here which explain the advantages of jailbreaking – and ones which discuss any disadvantages.

Jailbreaking your device is a decision only you can make. I will give you the same advice here as I do when you ask me “which is better?” – do your research. Understand the benefits and limitations of a jailbroken device. Know your pros and cons. Decide if doing this is the best thing for you. If it is – then go for it. It’s your device, your money and your time. No one other than you can figure out what will work best for you.

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.