Use Mountain Lion’s new Wi-Fi Scan utility to optimize your home wireless network

A new Wi-Fi scanner tool is in Mountain Lion’s refreshed Wi-Fi Diagnostics Utility, allowing users to easily discover Wi-Fi networks within range and view related data not available from Apple’s Wi-Fi menu bar item. Comparable to third-party Wi-Fi stumbler tool iStumbler, the scan tool provides data for BSSID, band, protocol, channel, signal strength, security, and more. It also has Active and Passive scan modes.

From the window, you can see what networks are in your area and their strength. Some maneuvering of base stations can increase coverage to the outermost areas of your house, and it is much, much easier to see slight differences in numerical signal vs. noise strength over those four waves Apple uses in its Wi-Fi menu.

Additionally, by looking at what Channel (1-13) your base station is on, compared to your neighbors (or other base stations in your house), you can often find the least used channel in your area to improve reception.

If you are interested in using the new Wi-Fi scanner tool, OSX Daily provided the necessary steps for quick access:

  1. From any Finder window, hit Command+Shift+G and enter the path: /System/Library/CoreServices/
  2. Locate “Wi-Fi Diagnostics” and drag and drop it into Launchpad or the OS X Dock for easy access

Now that you have the Wi-Fi app in an easy-to-find location:

  1. Launch Wi-Fi Diagnostics and ignore the frontmost menu, instead hit Command+N to summon the new “Network Utilities” window (this is also where the wireless signal strength measurement tool is located now)
  2. Click the “Wi-Fi Scan” tab to get started with the wireless stumbler tool.
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from 9to5Mac

Bring Back Save As To Mountain Lion, Weep With Joy [OS X Tips]

Welcome back! We’ve missed you!

When OS X Lion debuted, our old-friend Save As… had been sent packing for a new imposter, Duplicate. We tried to like this new one, but wow was it not the same. Luckily, Mountain Lion has brought Save As… back, only in a sneaky, less than obvious way.

We want to share how to see the Save As… command, of course, with a simple key press, but we’ll go even one step further, clueing you in on how to return good-old-Save As… to its former glory, in the exalted spot it used to reside in. Here’s how.

If you’ve upgraded to Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to do this right away. Launch something simple, like Text Edit, from the Applications folder. Open a file or just make changes to the one that’s been restored to your view. Then, click on the File menu. Notice, Duplicate, the meanie, is still there. Now press the Option key. Huzzah! There’s Save As… hiding out and waiting for you. It’s even got a shortcut, though it requires the Option key: Shift-Command-Option-S will bring you back to the nirvana state of Save As… functionality.

But what if you really want to go back to the way it should be the way it was? There’s a simple way to do this, devoid of any hacking or terminal-fu.

Simply launch System Preferences from the dock, and click through to Keyboard, then Keyboard Shortcuts. Click on Application shortcuts in the left hand column, and then All Applications on the right. Then, click on the plus sign underneath the right hand column. Type in Save As… in the Menu Title field, and then click into the Keyboard Shortcut field. Now, press the keys you want for your shortcut, like Command-Shift-S. Mac OS X Mountain Lion will add that into the field, and clicking Add will commit it to memory.

Do the same for Duplicate, only adding a shortcut like Command-Option-Shift-D. You should now have two new shortcuts that will work across applications with the Duplicate/Save As… functionality. Test it out – in Text Edit, if you click on the File Menu, you’ll see both Save As… and Duplicate, and their associated keyboard shortcuts. Now that’s worth the price of admission, right there.

Super secret pro tip? If you actually remap Duplicate to Command=Shift-Option-S, you’ll hide it, much in the same way Save As… was hidden when you started this whole rigamarole. Pretty fancy, eh?

Now if only Apple would realize that Save As… is the way to go and restore it by default, we’d all breathe a bit easier.

Are you using OS X Mountain Lion? Got a tip you want to share with us? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.


from Cult of Mac

Mountain Lion Server May Look Limited, But It Still Has Enterprise Bones [Feature]

Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.

Apple has released two documents about Mountain Lion Server ahead of this month’s Mountain Lion (and Mountain Lion Server) launch. The first, a 25 page product guide, offered a some insights into the changes and new features that Apple wants to highlight for customers. The second is Apple’s Advanced Administration guide, an in-depth document that would be nearly 400 pages is it were printed or packaged as a PDF. This guide is the full documentation for Mountain Lion Server and it offers a lot of information about all the changes that Apple has made since Lion Server shipped last summer.

On the surface, these two guides are enough to make longtime OS X Server administrators nervous at Apple’s removal of the advanced admin tools and features that have been in nearly every previous OS X Server release. It’s very easy to look at the contents of the Advanced Administration guide and assume Apple is completing the consumerization of its server platform.

Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals that Apple may actually have a winning strategy in the way that it continues to integrate iOS and Mac management into a single workflow and that not all of the capabilities from previous iterations of OS X Server have been scrapped.

Let’s start with the bad news. Server Admin and Workgroup Manager are indeed gone. The Server app and web-based Profile Manager, both introduced in Lion Server, are now the primary administration tools.

The long running Mac client management system known as Manager Preferences, which was largely administered using Workgroup Manager, appears to be gone as well.

All in all, it looks like the OS X Server that many Mac IT folks are familiar with is gone and isn’t coming back. Without a doubt the familiar tools and user interfaces are gone, but much of the functionality still seems to be there.

One of the biggest questions is whether or not Apple has ditched Open Directory, the native directory service in OS X. With the push for Active Directory integration and the apparent focus of Mountain Lion Server as a small business tool, a natural assumption is that Open Directory might be deprecated and its functionality significantly reduced. That doesn’t seem to be the case. The guide contains references to all the advanced capabilities of Open Directory including support directory replication and locales (both major enterprise features), the ability to create multiple domains and multi-domain search policies, and the ability for Mac clients to be integrated with both Open Directory and Active Directory domains.

Profile Manager is the new Workgroup Manager. That seems pretty clear from looking at both documents from Apple. Many of the options that were previously set using Workgroup Manager (such as removable media access restrictions, Dock settings, and a custom login window on managed Macs) are now listed as items that can be set using Profile Manager. That implies that one of the tasks Apple did between Lion and Mountain Lion was shifting the client management data out of Open Directory and into Profile Manager. That would be a logical process (and one assumes straightforward) since Managed Preferences data is stored as XML data and that Configuration Profiles created and used by Profile Manager are essentially just XML files.

Centralizing Mac client and iOS device management in a single tool makes a great deal of sense. It allows administrators to visualize and work with user, group, device, and Mac policies in a single interface. That eliminates a lot of redundancy and makes it easier to avoid and troubleshoot mistakes.

Profile Manager has two other big advantages over Workgroup Manager. Being web-based, Profile Manager allows IT professionals to administer Mac client and iOS device management from virtually any computer or device they want. A Mac admin workstation is no longer required.

The second bit advantage is that Apple developed a self-service portal for users as part of Profile Manager. That means an administrator can create the needed profiles and associate them with user accounts, Macs, or iOS devices (or groups of them) and users can enroll whatever devices they want to use for work. Any settings, apps, or restrictions are then propagated without no further effort on the part of IT.

Some enterprise services are still there, but somewhat disguised. One example is RADIUS authentication. RADIUS is a network service that allows users to connect to Wi-Fi networks using the username and password. That makes life easier for users, but it has a lot of value as a security tool because there is no single password that is shared with everyone who uses the network. In the Advanced Administration guide, RADIUS is referenced, but its initial reference is described as “Manage Wi-Fi” – that’s something easily missed if you’re looking for the name RADIUS.

In the end, the story of Mountain Lion Server may not be about Apple hobbling of its server platform by removing its enterprise capabilities. Instead, it might be about how Apple has taken those capabilities and created a new interface that makes them much more accessible.

Source: Apple

from Cult of Mac

Safely Move Keychain Files From Your Old Mac To A New One [OS X Tips]

Copying files to a new Mac? Perhaps one of them newfangled MacBook Pros? While most of us use Migration Assistant to move our files from one Mac to a new one, it may not be an option in your particular case. I’ve definitely wanted to move just the bare minimum of files over to a new Mac before, and today’s tip should help with just that.

The Keychain is a place to store passwords and login information, and it’s fairly easy to move your Mac’s Keychain to a new one. Here’s how.

Start on the Mac you want to move the Keychain file from and hit Command-Shift-G to get the Go To Folder text field. Type in the following path to go to your Keychain folder:

Once there, copy the file named login.keychain using whatever method you find best. You can copy it to a flash drive, external hard drive, or what have you. Just remember that this is sensitive information, so don’t go emailing it.

Take the file over to the new Mac and open Spotlight with a click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right or by hitting Command-Space on your keyboard. Search for Keychain Access in Spotlight and launch the app when it appears as your Top Hit.

In Keychain Access, choose Add Keychain from the File menu. Browse to the file you copied from the old mac, whether it’s on a USB stick or a folder on the new Mac. Click on the Add button and the new Mac will import the Keychain data right to your new Mac computer. If you feel like testing it, head to a web page or use an app that you typically use Keychain to unlock or login with.

Be sure to securely delete the file you copied over to the new mac from your thumb drive or whatever you used. Secure Empty Trash in the Finder menu is your friend for doing this.

Got an OS X tip? Need help troubleshooting OS X? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.

Via: OS X Daily

from Cult of Mac

Penn State MacAdmins Conference Videos Available – Great Mac/iOS Resource For IT Pros

Penn State MacAdmins Conference 2012 videos are a goldmine for Mac IT Pros.

If you’re an IT professional charged with rolling out Macs and iOS devices to employees in your company or students in your school, the Penn State MacAdmins Group has a wealth of new resources for you.

The group puts on an excellent annual conference for Mac and  iOS administrators and IT professionals each year. The sessions cover just about everything you might need to know when it comes to developing a solid strategy for deploying and managing Macs and iOS devices in schools or business. Sessions are led by IT professionals with a solid background in Mac and iOS technologies. Real world experiences with the tools and processes involved are discussed along with tips, tricks, and advice.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, however, you can view the sessions online.

Recordings of 36 sessions from this spring’s conference are now available on the group’s YouTube channel or through iTunes U. Where relevant, slide decks are downloadable from links embedded in the videos.

The sessions cover a wide range of topics including OS X command line administration, Lion Server, automating deployment processes using a range of tools, iOS deployment and management, Apple Remote Desktop, migration strategies, case studies, and a roundtable discussion to name just a few.

In all, there are nearly 45 hours of material and all of it is available for free.

The group has already announced that next year’s conference will be held May 22nd – 24th 2013 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA.

Of course, if you want even more free and low-cost Mac and iOS IT information, check out our guide to Apple IT resources.

Source: Penn State MacAdmins 

Image: Penn State MacAdmins 

from Cult of Mac

TinkerLearn Promises To Help You Easily Learn iOS Development

Until now, it’s been relatively difficult to make an app for iOS without a considerable amount work learning how to write code. Mysterious Trousers, the developers of apps such as Calvetica Calendar and Dialvetica Contacts want to change all of that with a new tool they call TinkerLearn. In a nutshell, TinkerLearn helps you learn code with real example apps.

To use TinkerLearn, you’ll need Apple’s Xcode software, which is available for free in the Mac App Store. With Xcode installed, you’ll download a real, working application that you can tinker with. As you make changes to the app, it’s easy to see what you’ve changed.

TinkerLearn walks you through the code, helping you understand what is going on. You can buy a variety of lessons such as Buttons, Tips, Shapes, Browser, Todos, and Events, ranging from $1.99 to $5.99. Each lesson helps you learn a new skill, and one  is included for free.

To see exactly what TinkerLearn is all about, Mysterious Trousers has a promotional video you can take a look at:

Source: TinkerLearn Via: AppAdvice

from Cult of Mac

Mixdown And Share Your Musical Genius With GarageBand for iPad [iOS Tips]

Sounds sweet, right?

Recording a musical masterpiece with GarageBand for iPad is fairly straightforward, especially when using the “smart” instruments together to layer a song together. However, if you don’t get the music out of your iPad, no one will hear it. If no one hears it, how will you know how amazing it is? Let’s take a look at some basic mixing and sharing features of GarageBand for iPad.

When you finally finish recording your Smart Bass, Smart Drums, Smart Keyboard (and, yes, Smart Strings as in the screenshot above), and Smart Guitar parts, it’s time to mix that baby down and then get it out to the rest of the internet.

Open the song you’ve been working with this week and tap on the Track button in the upper part of the screen, just to the left of the transport controls (the start from bar one, play, and record buttons). You’ll then be able to see the multiple tracks you’ve recorded. They’ll all be green, as the smart instruments in GarageBand are MIDI performances controlled by software, not recorded samples, which would be blue colored.

If the volume sliders are not visible like the screenshot above, swipe on one of the instruments to the right, and the sliders will appear. Hit the play triangle at the top of your iPad’s screen, and then move the sliders left or right for each track until they sound right to you. Drums, especially the snare, should be loudest, along with any melodic instruments you want your listeners to pay attention to. The other harmonic instrumentation, like soft strings or padded out synths, can be quieter, just to set the mood. The important thing is to have dynamics – make sure not all the instruments are playing at top volume – unless that’s the effect you want, of course.

Soundcloud Options

Once you’ve mixed to your heart’s and ear’s content, it’s time to share your music with the world. Tap on the My Songs button in the upper left. This will take you to the song browser, where you will tap on the Edit button in the upper right. The rectangular previews of your song files will start the iOS wiggle. Tap on the song you want to share, and then tap on the familiar iOS sharing button, the one that looks like a square with an arrow popping out to the right of it.

Your options here are to share to Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud, iTunes (where you can import your tracks into GarageBand for Mac as well as Logic, a more professional audio package), or send via email. You’ll need logins for each of the services, of course, in order to send your music there. Login with the required service credentials, tap through the various options buttons, including quality of compression in the options for internet services like SoundCloud.

And bam! You’ve just recorded, mixed down, and shared some music created by your very own self, right from your iPad. For a look at what someone who obviously can play an instrument can do with GarageBand, I offer you this, your moment of zen:

from Cult of Mac

Record A Potentially Award-Winning Podcast With GarageBand [OS X Tips]

GarageBand is not only a full featured recording studio, a highly capable MIDI synth station, an electronica musician’s dream, or a place to record full songs without a day of music lessons. It’s also fantastic software for podcasting. GarageBand makes creating a podcast easy and fun.

Back in the heady days of the early 2000s, I recorded and distributed a podcast of my own, called The ANC Podcast. It was a short internet radio show that focused on local music in Anchorage, Ak, where I had recently relocated to. I spent some time working on the craft of creating a podcast, and let me tell you, GarageBand makes it much easier than it really has any right to be. Most of the podcasters I know use a Macintosh and GarageBand to get their internet audio show on, including the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose, The Portable Podcast, and The Touch Of Gaming Podcast, just to name (drop) a few.

To start your own GarageBand media empire, launch GarageBand ’11 on your Mac and create a new project. If you’re already in GarageBand, choose New from the File menu, then click on New Project from the project browser window. Click on Podcast from the available options, then the Choose button, and then name/save your podcast episode – GarageBand will open up it’s podcast-y goodness to you.

GarageBand will open with a special template just for podcasting, with a track pre-populated with sound profiles for a Male voice, a Female voice, and a track for jingles. On the right, you’ll see the media browsing pane. Click on the loop browser button (far lower right corner, looks like a loop of tape) to bring up the jingles, stingers, and sound effects browser. When inserted correctly, these will make your podcast sound more like a professional radio show than a basement recording. Not that there’s anything wrong with recording from the basement.

Click into the male or female voice track, depending on your voice type, and hit the red record button. Speak into your built in or external microphone naturally and normally, and record your content. Head over to the loop browser pane, and click on Jingles. Garageband has several to choose from, and categorizes them as Cinematic, Country, Electronic, Jass, Orchestral and more, so you can find just the right mood to set at the beginning of your podcast. Once you choose a Jingle, drage it to the left side of GarageBand, into the Jingles track.

Now click on Stingers. These are the little sounds that come in under audio titles, or between sections of a podcast. Find one that fits your podcast theme, and drag it over in the appropriate place underneath the tracks already containing music. A new track will be created, called Stingers.

Building your podcast with just these few components will take your podcast to the next level. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next podcast to be featured in the new app for iOS? Either way, you’ll have a ton of fun making a podcast with GarageBand, and it will help you focus on content, not on audio engineering. Though, of course, that will help, too.

Let us know how it goes in the comments below.

from Cult of Mac