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Mac OS X has been rewritten from the ground up, and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard New Features highlights all of the most important and user-relevant aspects of this release. Experienced instructor and lifelong Mac user Garrick Chow introduces current Mac users to the improvements in the latest OS. While not a complete overhaul of the operating system, this update does address a fair number of internal systems and external user features. Garrick explores all of these updates, including enhancements to the Finder and the Dock and a completely revamped QuickTime player. He shows the wealth of improvements to built-in applications like Safari, Preview, iChat, and Mail, and explains the updated 64-bit support within Snow Leopard.
Another slight interface tweak you will find in Snow Leopard is found under the AirPort menu. As before, you will see a list of wireless networks both open and password protected, although all of these are password protected, that your Mac is within range of. New to Snow Leopard is the signal strength display that appears next to each network so you can easily see which one has the best signal. So looking at this I can see that both chownet and lyndaeast_wireless have a fairly decent signal, while mm1 and MM4 have a pretty weak signal. You will also get visual feedback when you turn AirPort on for the first time.
You will see each of these little bands light up in sequence letting you know that AirPort is scanning for wireless networks in your area. And as a sidebar, another under the hood improvement of Snow Leopard is that it now reconnects to wireless networks much quicker after waking your Mac up. So there is the list of networks near me and their signal strengths. Of course, these days it's getting harder and harder to find an unprotected wireless network let alone two or more to choose from, but it's still nice to have some visual feedback on which network will give you the strongest signal. I can see this being useful in a hotel or conference center where you may be surrounded by several wireless network access points each with the same name.
Having an idea of each access point's signal strength will make it possible for you to connect to the strongest signal. In any case, this is a simple feature that I feel should have been added long ago, but it's nice to find and see it here in Snow Leopard.
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