Mac 101: Fix and extend your WiFi network

Having problems with your home Wi-Fi network? Don’t feel bad if you’re not a professional radio engineer — we can help. The following can help Mac owners or anyone with a WiFi network understand where and why their devices are not connecting to the network.

Mac 101: Deleting files and erasing drives

There are two ways to think about securing information: Enabling access to information you want to keep, and disabling access to information you don’t. For information Mac users no longer want, it’s not as easy as moving a file to the trash and emptying the trash.

Mac 101: Using External Displays With Your Laptop Closed

A lot of the time when you connect an external display to a Mac notebook, you’ll want to continue working on the large display and close the lid of the laptop. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting that working right every time.

How to Do What the Mac App Store Doesn’t: Uninstall Apps

So you’ve just installed tons of apps from the Mac App Store, but now you realize you don’t really need that fifth Twitter client. How to uninstall it? Unlike Windows, OS X doesn’t have a “Remove Programs” tool, but the answer is actually simpler than that.

Mac 101: Keep Your Mac Running with Regular Maintenance

If your Mac is running slow or things don’t seem to be working properly, it may just be that you need to give your computer some TLC. Here are a few ways to look after your Mac to make sure it doesn’t get too ill.

Mac 101: Window Management in OS X

Moving from Windows to Mac is a big change, and can be a little disconcerting at first. A friend of mine described the feeling akin to being “underwater.” One of the biggest differences between the platforms is in how windows are managed.

Mac 101: Target Disk Mode

Apple’s Target Disk Mode is an essential tool built-in to every Mac. It has become irrelevant simply because switchers today aren’t aware that it’s even there. Apple obviously notices this trend. Two of Apple’s current Macs don’t even include Firewire

Mac 101: Sharing Files Between Two Macs

One of the reasons I like Mac’s so much more than Window’s boxes is their outstanding networking capabilities. No matter if I need to add a network printer or share files with someone on my network, it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Setting up two Macs to network and share files can be done wirelessly or wired (if you do it wired just run a regular network cable between the two computers). The following steps are generally the same for both Leopard and Tiger users. There will be a few interface differences, so if you have any trouble just post your question in the comments.

  1. Open System Preferences on the computer that you want to share files from.
  2. Under the Internet and Network section open the “Sharing” folder.
  3. In Leopard, click the box that says “File Sharing”. In Tiger there should be a prompt stating “Personal File Sharing is Off” on the right hand side of the sharing folder. You should always turn personal file sharing off when you are not actively using it to protect your personal information. Under the prompt there should be a button that says “Start.” Click the start button.
  4. Now that you are sharing your personal files with the other Mac (and any other computer around you) can see your public folder in Username/Public. Anything you put in that folder your friend will be able to get.
  5. After your done sharing, be sure to turn file sharing off.

I often use this technique to quickly move mp3’s from my laptop to my desktop because it’s faster than ziping and uploading them to a server.

Mac 101: Activate the Onscreen Keyboard in OS X

An onscreen keyboard can be a powerful tool for screencasters. This tutorial will show you how to turn on the onscreen keyboard that OS X has built-in.

To turn on the onscreen keyboard:

  1. Go to the System Preferences panel
  2. Select the “International” icon

  3. Go to the “Input Menu” tab
  4. Select the “Keyboard Viewer”

  5. You now should have an American flag in your menu bar. Click on the American flag and select “Show Keyboard Viewer”

  6. You now should have a keyboard on your desktop that displays whatever your press on your keyboard. Quick, easy, free!

* If you click the plus arrow in the upper left hand corner of the keyboard it makes it much larger.

Mac 101: Create Zip Files

Before converting to Mac I ran Windows, which to my knowledge, has no built-in capability to create zip files forcing users to download and install a third party application. After converting to Mac it took me several years to realize that OS X had the built-in functionality to create zip files, which delighted me!

To create a zip file in OS X (Tiger or Leopard):

  1. Right click on the file or folder you would like to zip
  2. Select “Compress … ” or in Tiger “Create an Archive of …”

Creating zips is great if you heavily rely on email for your main form of communication; instead of attaching several documents to an email I make a new folder, name it properly, drop in all of my files, and zip it. Then I log into my favorite email client and attach the one zipped file instead of several single files, which saves me time and is easier for both me, the sender, and the receiver who now only has to download one file.