Archive for March 2013

Another Example of Wifi Internet Sharing

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, Mac Tips.

Wow. What a weekend!   Just got back from an amazing Stag party in Ireland.  Interestingly, I had occasion to use the information that I posted about Sharing Your Internet Wirelessly To Other Devices but in a slightly different way.  Let me explain:

This amazing party was held in a location that was very rural and in a house that had no internet connection.  In truth, even the mobile phone signal was pretty poor.  In spots though, it was possible to get a good 3G connection on my iPhone.

One of our best mates, whose relatives own the house and kindly let us use it, was not able to make it as he is based in the US and had too many other commitments.  Of course, we'd all dearly have loved him to be there, so myself and another friend of mine decided that the only option would be to bring him in via Skype at the height of the party, so we could at least interact and show him how things were going!

The problem arose when we tried to get an internet signal in the bar, which was very low down in the house.  There just wasn't enough signal to get a connection to the internet, let alone a connection of sufficient quality to support a Skype call.  Enter the power of the Personal Hotspot!  This is a wonderful feature provided by the iPhone which allows you to create a wireless network directly from your iPhone (Settings -> General -> Network -> Personal Hotspot) and your iPhone's internet connection is shared with any device that connects to that network.

So I quickly ran upstairs, trying to get my bearings and figure out where was the closest point to the bar that I could get a really good 3G connection.  In one of the bedrooms, I found it.  Perfect signal (amazing!) and an internet connection giving me a minimum of 4Mbit download.  Perfect!!  I switched on the Personal Hotspot (with a password so none of the other guests could swipe all the bandwidth) and ran back down to the bar.  We opened up the MacBook Pro and immediately connected to my new network.  Bam!  Internet on, Skype connected and we had a pipeline to the world once again.

At 3am, we opened Skype at the height of the party, called up our mate in California and had an hour long Skype video call where he got to speak to every guest, enjoy some of the live music and generally be on the buzz!  Now that's what I call using technology 🙂

Forcing the Finder to Empty The Trash

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Sometimes when you try to empty the trash in Mac OS X, you will receive a message saying that one or more items that are in the trash are locked or in use and cannot be removed.  You can choose to continue anyway, but those items will remain in the trash, as they could not be deleted.

The first thing you should do, of course, is to check that actually those items are not in use.  Sometimes you may have a document open in Word or some other program and later on you decide to trash the document using the Finder.  Of course, the document is still open in Word so the Finder won't allow you to delete it.  Close the document and empty the trash again and everything should be fine.

However, sometimes there are files in the trash that are simply locked or the Finder thinks they are in use, when in fact they are not.  You don't really care, you want them GONE.  In this case, you can use a neat little trick to force the Finder to empty the trash and delete those items, even if they are locked or in use.  You simply hold down the Option Key on your keyboard while you choose the Empty Trash command from the Finder menu.  If you look closely, when you are holding the Option key and you click the Finder menu, the Empty Trash command no longer has the three dots '...' after it.  This indicates that you will not be prompted during this action.  The trash will be emptied and you will not receive any warnings.  Locked files or those that are in use will be removed.

In case you don't know which key is the Option Key (sometimes also labelled ALT), the following image will show you where to find it on your keyboard:

option_key

How to use your Mac as a personal hotspot

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Sometimes it can be very handy to create your own wireless network right from your Mac.  Why would you want to do that you ask?  To really understand why, you need to know how to use your Mac as a personal hotspot.

On holiday in a foreign country, I had my iPhone with me and my laptop.  Some of my family members also had iPhones and iPads with them.  We were staying in a hotel which did have Wifi access to the internet but it was pretty expensive on a daily basis and was limited to one device at a time.  So I got to thinking.......

I ran down to the nearest mobile phone store and bought myself a local SIM with data for internet access.  That was pretty cheap and gave me 30 days practically unlimited data.  I activated the SIM and stuck it in my iPhone.  Within a few minutes I had internet on my iPhone (I don't use data-roaming for internet, ever).  That was step 1.

I then connected my iPhone to my laptop via the USB cable and within about 30 seconds I now had internet on my Mac.  Great!  Making progress.  Now the final step.  I have a load of wifi devices all queueing up begging for internet.  Family members drooling with jealousy over my internet connection.  So I just created a Wifi network and let them connect via my Mac.  How?  Let me show you.....

First, I went to the airport menu on my Mac and I chose the Create Network... option.  I was then presented with the following window:

create_network

I did, in fact, use security on my connection, but for the sake of simplicity I will leave the security setting on None.  This means that you will not be asked for a password to connect to this network, but in a public place it would be better to enable one.

What this does is actually create a new wireless network that any wireless device can connect to.  But for now, it only gives access to my computer.  What I want is for those devices to be able to connect to the internet through my computer.  Bring on Step 2!

Next, I hit the Apple Menu in the top left corner of your screen and chose System Preferences followed by the Sharing panel.  The I selected Internet Sharing in the list on the left hand side.  At this stage, you will see a popup list on the right which says "Share your connection from:".  In this list, you need to select iPhone USB which is where you are getting your internet connection from right now.

Below this popup list, you will see another list which says "To computers using:" - in this list you need to choose Wifi.  Finally, click the little checkbox to the left of Internet Sharing in the left hand list to activate Internet Sharing.

What you have now done is you have created a wireless network which any wireless device can connect to and you have bridged that with your iPhone's internet connection through the USB port.  Now all you have to do is go to any of your wireless devices such as iPhones, iPads and laptops and choose the wireless network that you selected above.  The next thing you know............. you're on the internet!

I successfully used this method to simultaneously connect 5 wireless devices to the internet via my iPhone's 3G connection provided by the SIM I bought locally and it worked beautifully for the 5 days that we spent there.  So there you have it.  Now you know how to use your Mac as a personal hotspot.  I love my Mac 🙂 And my iPhone of course!

Apple Airport – Wifi on Mac OS X

Posted by on in Uncategorized.

In Mac OS X, we have a simple way to enable and disable the wifi, as well as to connect to a wifi network.  If you look in the menu bar on your Mac, that's the bar that runs along the top of the screen with the various menus which relate to the currently active application, you will see the Airport symbol.

airport_offThe symbol looks like this is Airport is turned off.

airport_onThis is what the symbol looks like if it's on and connected to a network.

airport_openClicking on this icon gives you various options, such as to turn wifi on and off, to select an available network and some other options.

Where you see the padlock, you can tell that the wireless network has a security key (i.e. a password) that you must enter in order to be able to connect to this network.  In older versions of Mac OS X, the padlock was not shown in this menu.  If you select a wireless network and it asks you to enter the password or security key, then you know that it is locked.

Generally, you will want to connect to your own wifi network at your home or workplace.  To do this, simply click the Airport icon in the menubar and look for the name of the network that you wish to join.

Click the name of the network and wait.  If it is secured with a password, which most networks nowadays are, then you will be presented with a window which asks for the password for that network.  Enter the password and click the Join button.

airport_enter_passwordYou have a couple of other options on this window.  Firstly, you can click the Show Password button which will show you what you are typing, instead of the default which is to show bullets, so that someone looking over your shoulder can't just copy your password.  Secondly, the Remember This Network option (which is selected by default) will remember the password you enter, so that the next time your Mac will be able to automatically connect to this network without asking you for the password.  Usually, you will want to do this.  If not, just uncheck that box.

Once you have clicked the Join button, you will notice that the bars of the airport icon start to move, as it searches for the network and attempts to connect.  When a successful connection is made, the icon will change to the icon shown above (Airport On), with some or all of the bars in black.  The number of bars that display in black on the icon indicate how strong the signal is.  If you have all 4 bars in black, the signal is excellent.  This will change from time to time as the signal strength increases or decreases.

You can disable wifi on your Mac completely by simply clicking on the Airport icon in the menu bar and choosing the Turn Wifi Off option.  This will disable your airport card until you choose to re-enable it.  To switch it back on, just do the same thing - but this time the option will say Turn Wifi On.

There is one more very important thing to know, which many people have problems with and don't know how to solve.  What happens if you have connected to a network and it all works fine and the password is saved for future connections to that network - and then someone changes the password for the network?  One indication that this has happened can be that the Airport icon shows an exclamation mark (!).  This basically means that you are connected to the network, but you have no IP address.  Without an IP address, you can't really do anything on the network.  There are other reasons why this can occur, but most commonly it's because your Mac has the wrong password saved.  This can be because you entered it incorrectly (yes, sometimes it will accept a bad password, but you won't be able to go online), or because someone has actually changed the password for the network you are trying to access.

In order to be able to re-enter the password, you need to remove the saved password that the Mac has on file for that network.  This is relatively simple to do.  First, go to the Airport icon in the menu bar and select the option Open Network Preferences. This will take you to the Network pane of the System Preferences window as shown below:

system_prefs_networkMake sure you have clicked on Wifi in the list on the left, then you need to press the Advanced button towards the bottom of the screen. You will then see this window:

airport_networksThis window list the networks that are saved on your Mac.  To remove the password for any network, simply click the network name in the list and click the "-" symbol below.  This will remove the saved password for that network.  Click OK and then reconnect to the network as you would to any network for the first time.  You should be asked for the password again and provided you enter the correct password, you should be connected!