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The Small Dog Apple Blog

Published: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:30:31 GMT


Show Me The Cash!

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:26:22 GMT

My granddaughter Khadija is away at college at Boston University and from time to time she will hit her gramps up for some bucks. I am happy to help, because as I tell Grace, what exactly do I work for if not to help out my granddaughter! But that’s not the story, when Khadija asked me for $20 I asked her how to send it to her and she uses Venmo. That’s what I did but then I told her Apple Cash is coming out and the next time I am only sending by Apple Cash! With the latest release of iOS11.2 for your iPhone and iPad, Apple has activated Apple Cash which is a really easy way to send money to friends and family. It is basically an App for Messages and it works really well. But even better you can just ask Siri. I just said “hey Siri, pay Grace a dollar” and just like that I virtually took a dollar out of one pocket and put it in another. You can connect Apple Pay Cash to a credit or a debit card but if you use a credit card you will be dinged the 3% fee. Use your debit card and there is no fee! But let’s review how to set up and use Apple Pay Cash. Step one is that you have to be sure to upgrade your iPhone or your iPad to the latest iOS – iOS 11.2. To do that, simply go to Settings—->General—->Software Update and check to see if you are current. You do have two-factor authentication turned on, right? You need that for so many features that just about everyone should have it active. If not go to settings—>iCloud—>Password & Security—->Two Factor Authentication and follow the instructions there. Okay, so you have iOS 11.2 and Two Factor Authentication, what now? Now open the Wallet app. At the top you will see a brand spanking new Apple Pay Cash card. Click on that and hit continue to activate your Apple Pay Cash card. This card is really important. This is where you will receive any money that others send to you. It will be stored in your Apple Pay Cash card and can be easily used to send cash to someone else, to pay for goods or services using Apple Pay or you can transfer it to your bank account. Once your digital Apple Pay Cash card is set up, you will be asked to pair a credit or debit card to the new service. I put in one of each but a debit card makes the most sense since you do not get charged the 3% fee. If you put in more than one you will be asked each time to choose which card you want to use, which is another step. Once you have added a card and agreed to the terms and conditions you will be asked to verify the card by entering in a code that will be sent to you automatically. Now, you can add some cash to your Apple Pay Cash card if you wish. That makes sending money a couple clicks easier but it is not necessary. If you click on the “i” button on the Apple Pay Cash card screen you will get your information screen which will tell you your balances, have buttons for adding money or transferring it to your bank, etc. It also has a tab to review your transactions. To send money to a friend you can simply ask Siri in the Messages app, open the App drawer and choose the Apple Pay icon. Remember that both parties must have iOS 11.2 installed for person to person payments to work. So, that means no sending bucks to Android users. When you tap on that icon you will get a pop-up to ask you how much you want to send. Your friend will receive a pop-up to accept. Once you verify the transaction using your fingerprint or in the case of the iPhone X it is super easy – just look at your iPhone and bingo! you have sent the cash. Your friend has instant access to the cash in their Apple Pay Cash card which they can use for Apple Pay or to send on to someone else. If you want to transfer the money to your bank account you tap on Transfer to Bank and then add your bank account’s routing number and account number. These transfer requests can take up to 3 days so they are not instant. You can set up your Apple Cash Card as your default payment in Apple Pay if you fi[...]

The Magic Of The Trackpad

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:51:50 GMT


No doubt at some point in your digital past, you’ve been prompted to provide an ‘e-signature’ on a document. Something these prompts may bring you to a third-party or proprietary website and ask you to click and drag your signature into the specified field. When all is said and done, the hastily jotted scribble may not even be semi-legible. Frustrating.

However, for Magic Trackpad users, there is a shimmering beacon of light to put this madness to an end!

Did you know in the Preview application, in the ‘Tools’ drop-down menu, in the ‘Annotate’ section, there is a submenu titled ‘Signature’. This is every document signers dream menu, the promised land! In the ‘Signature’ submenu, you’re prompted with the option to create a signature. Following the steps brings a window that looks a bit like the Trackpad into view. From here you can click “Create a Signature”, and following this, your Trackpad is now ready to receive your signature with your fingers acting like a pen.

It takes a few tries to master the general ergonomics and flow, but once you’re satisfied with the end-result, click ‘Done’, and now you’re free to move your freshly made and finally legible signature across the document within the Preview app. Sayonara, chicken scratch.

High Sierra and iOS 11

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 20:30:03 GMT

The release dates are here for some major updates to Mac OS, iOS 11 and watchOS 4. I have been playing with these throughout the beta period, and I think you’re going to like the new features and changes! What’s New in macOS 10.13 High Sierra and Its Main Apps Although Apple’s eye-catching Desktop image of the High Sierra mountains makes it easy to confirm that your Mac is running High Sierra, the most noteworthy new features are invisible! These changes are aimed at improving your Mac’s performance. But, don’t worry — you’ll find plenty to do in Apple’s apps, and we’ll share our favorite features below. Apple’s invisible, under-the-hood changes modernize the Mac. The new APFS file system significantly improves how data is stored on your disk. It replaces the HFS+ file system, which dates from the previous century. You’ll notice the switch to APFS when you look up the size of a selected folder or duplicate a large file because the operation should run much more quickly. APFS also provides better FileVault encryption and reduces the chance of file corruption. Also new is HEVC, a new video compression standard that will let videos stream better and take up less space on your drive, and HEIF, an image format that boasts significantly better compression to keep photos from overwhelming your drive. HEVC and HEIF have other advantages too, but they’re so embedded into High Sierra (and iOS 11) that all you’ll notice is more space. When you drag images and videos out of Photos, they’ll come out in familiar formats suitable for sharing. Photos 3 In Photos, it’s now easier to browse your photos from the always-on sidebar on the left side of the window. Photo editing is also more streamlined, with the Edit screen now separated into three tabs: Adjust, Filters, and Crop. You can now edit Live Photos! Look at the bottom of the Adjust tab for controls for picking any frame as the static “key” frame, trimming the video, and applying special effects. The most interesting effect blurs the Live Photo by turning the 3-second mini-movie into a single long exposure. Those who are into tweaking photos by hand should check out the new Curves and Selective Color options on the Adjust tab. Or, if you’d prefer that your Mac do the heavy lifting, try the new filters on the Filters tab. Our favorite new feature is more of a fix—when you train Photos to match faces with names, that training will now sync through iCloud Photo Library to your other Apple devices. About time! Finally, for serious photographers, Apple has at long last brought back round-trip editing of a photo in an external app, like Pixelmator or Photoshop. Safari 11 A new Websites tab in Safari’s preferences lets you specify Web sites that should always open in Safari’s clutter-reducing Reader View. This lets you block some ads and auto-play videos, set the zoom level on a per-site basis, and more. We like to tweak these options for the current Web page by choosing Safari > Settings for This Website to open a popover with the necessary controls. And in the “Thank you, Apple!” category, Safari now offers Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP), which limits advertisers’ cross-site tracking of where you’ve been online. We applaud Apple’s continued commitment to privacy protection. Notes 4.5 Notes now offers a capable Table feature and a handy File > Pin Note command that puts the selected note at the top of its list rather than listing it by order last edited. Neither feature is earth shattering, but we’re enjoying both already. Mail 11 Behind the scenes, Mail gets a welcome change you probably won’t notice: according to Apple, message storage now takes 35% less space. More obvious is how Mail revamped its behavior in full-screen view. Instead of the message-composition area overlapping most of the Mail window, the screen splits, and your new message appears at the right. This layout simplifies viewing an older message while dr[...]

Apple Pencil

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:47:43 GMT


I am by no means an artist nor someone who has drawn anything beyond your standard High School art class. However something drew my attention the Apple Pencil, call it intrigue or even memorization of the new slick addition to the Apple line up I could not keep from considering why it was so endearing. Whatever the calling was I finally made up my mind and purchased one of these compelling little stylus, and boy oh boy was I impressed. I had little experience playing with the abilities of the Apple Pencil outside of the store. I have discovered a new found obsession with sketching.

For anyone who has ever drawn with your standard paper and pencil, (as well if you are as nit picky as I am) you will quickly find by erasing multiple strokes several times you quickly create this indent on the paper, an indent that will never go away. This is infuriating! As with any drawing tablet this frustration is elevated when using a computer to render your work allowing easy (Command – Z) undo functionality. There are some intense differences when comparing drawing tablets vs paper and pencil, and many artists strongly dislike the separation between the two. Again, I am no artist and do not claim to have a strong history with any of the options discussed. However I must express my complete and wonderful surprise that was using the Apple Pencil. The fluidity, precision and pencil likeness was unmatched by any expectations I had. Whether it be lightly sketching out the initial point of reference lines or deeply highlighting the final details it feels as though I am sketching on a piece of paper just underneath the glass of my iPad Pro.

Without spending all day going into details and further examples, I’ll wrap this up with a final thought. The Apple Pencil is not just for Artists, or people in the field of artistry. If you are someone who draws, sketches, paints or even prefers written notes, the Apple Pencil can be another tool added to the arsenal. Even if you are like me, someone who has never tackled anything artistic but has a nagging urge to create, I highly encourage swinging down to Small Dog and testing out the Apple Pencil. We have one at the counter anyone can test out on one of our iPad demo models and see for yourself what makes it such a unique and diverse product.

AC Rectification

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 19:42:44 GMT

It’s back to usual this week for my article, because I thought of a good topic. I’ve talked many times about AC power and how and why we use it, but many things don’t use AC power. In fact, they can’t. These are things we use every single day. Virtually all digital electronics cannot use AC power directly. It needs to be converted into DC power. Remember that AC means the current is alternating and DC means the current is flowing in one constant direction. Any time you convert electricity from one type to another, or one voltage to another, there will be losses. Nothing is free. Every time you change something about electricity, you have to pay a tax. The goal in electronics design is to minimize those losses. AC to DC conversion is one of the simplest and most efficient conversions we do on a regular basis. DC to AC conversion is also possible (accomplished by inverters). Most of these processes are on the order of 95% efficient or greater. So how do we convert AC to DC? First off, the process of converting AC to DC is called rectifying. Devices that accomplish this task are often called rectifiers. A very common rectifier design is called a bridge rectifier. To understand how they work, we have to recall that AC is a wave. Sometimes it’s voltage value will be positive, other times it will be negative. This doesn’t work for DC since the voltage has to always be positive or always be negative. Rectifiers take the negative voltage swing of the wave and flip it up top so that it’s positive. Now instead of a sine waveform, the output of the circuit will look like mountains. The voltage will always be positive, but it will still vary considerably, from the peak (approximately 170 volts on grid-level 120VAC) to zero and then back up again. How is the voltage rectified? In a bridge rectifier a ring of diodes is used. Recall that a diode only allows current to flow through it in one direction. By arranging the diodes in a ring we can create a “draw off” point for the current where the voltage will always be positive. Instead of being allowed to “pull” the current backwards during the negative voltage swing, the diodes redirect it back to the output point. Of course, this only means that the negative voltages get flipped up, creating the mountain-like waveform I mentioned earlier. This is not good for DC power, so how do we fix it? There are many ways to minimize this issue, but it can’t be fixed perfectly. One way is to use capacitors to buffer the output voltage. Instead of sinking when the mountains go back down to zero, the capacitors prop the voltage up during that period, until the next mountain peak arrives. Depending on the load, this could mean large capacitors to hold the load long enough. Remember also though that AC has a frequency on the order of 50-60Hz. This means there will be around 120 of those mountain peaks every single second, so the capacitors don’t need to hold for too long. The other issue we have to contend with is how to reduce the voltage from anywhere between 120-240VAC to something DC electronics might expect, like 5VDC. For AC to anything, this is actually very easy; we use transformers. A transformer has two sets of wire windings, a primary winding and a secondary winding. The primary winding contains the input current, usually fluctuating AC. This fluctuating current induces a magnetic field that also fluctuates in a metal core that extends from the primary winding to the secondary winding. The changing magnetic field in the core induces a new current in the secondary winding. The induced current will necessarily be greater than the input current if the windings are configured to reduce voltage. The overall power has to remain the same. So if the input were 120VAC at 1 amp (120 watts), and the transformer was reducing the voltage by a factor of two, the output would be 60VAC at 2 amps (still 120 watts[...]

Heading Into The Library Stacks

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:52:15 GMT

I remember way back when, that Grace and I would go to the Chicago Public library to “do our homework”. When we actually did some homework the reference section was my favorite. That and looking at the huge microfiche library of old copies of the Chicago Tribune. Did you know that Apple hid a huge reference library in your Mac? You’re probably used to Mac apps using red underlines to mark misspelled words, but did you know that macOS has long included a fully-featured Dictionary app as well? It provides quick access to definitions and synonyms in the New Oxford American Dictionary and the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, along with definitions of Apple-specific words like AppleCare and MacTCP. But that’s far from all it can do. First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. Launch the Dictionary app from your Applications folder and then type a word or phrase into the Search field. As you type, Dictionary starts looking up words that match what you’ve typed so far—you don’t even have to press Return. If more than one word matches what you’ve typed, click the desired word in the sidebar. Notice the lozenges below the toolbar, representing the references that Dictionary can consult, and no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you—Dictionary can look things up in Wikipedia if your Mac has an Internet connection. In short, Dictionary gives you instant access to a dictionary, a thesaurus, and an encyclopedia containing over 5.4 million articles in English alone! You can click a reference’s lozenge to limit your search, or select All to scan all of them. If you want to look up words in another language, or even just British English, Dictionary has you covered, with a long list of other reference works. Choose Dictionary > Preferences and select those you’d like to use. You can drag the selected entries into the order you want their lozenges to appear below the toolbar. Once you’re in a definition, note that you can copy text for use in other apps—always helpful when wading into grammar and usage arguments on the Internet. More generally, you can click any word in Dictionary’s main pane to look it up instantly. If dictionaries had been this much fun in school, we’d have larger vocabularies! Use the Back and Forward arrow buttons to navigate among your recently looked-up words. As helpful as the Dictionary app is, you probably don’t want to leave it running all the time. Happily, Apple has provided quite a few shortcut methods for looking up words: Command-Space to invoke Spotlight, and enter your search term. Select a word, and then choose AppName > Services > Look Up in Dictionary to launch Dictionary and search for that word. This trick should work in most apps, but won’t work in all. If the Look Up in Dictionary command doesn’t appear, make sure it’s enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services, in the Searching category. Last but best, hover over a word or phrase with the cursor and either press Command-Control-D or Control-click the word and choose Look Up “word.” If the app supports it, macOS displays a popover with the definition or Wikipedia article. If you have a trackpad, you can also do a force-click or three-finger tap on the selected word—make sure the “Look up & data detectors” checkbox is selected in System Preferences > Trackpad > Point & Click. Now that you know how to take full advantage of the reference library that Apple has built into macOS, it’s time to get in touch with your inner logophile (feel free to look that one up). [...]

Stay Cool

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:54:50 GMT

Summer officially started this week. Has anyone checked with Mother Nature? Are we sure she got the memo? Seriously, sometimes I can’t tell where we are with the weather. I don’t really mind the hot weather at all, as long as I can do things like jump in a river, or ride my bike. The warmer days had me thinking about an interesting topic that spans a bit more than just electricity and magnetism, but I thought it might be interesting anyway. How do we cool things down? I’ve always been fascinated by this actually. Even as a child, I could understand, heating things up was easy. Fire is easy. Warming myself up in winter with a heavier jacket was easy. Cooling things down is always trickier, and there are several ways to do it. To get a better understanding of how we cool things down, we have to start at the very basics. What is temperature? Actually, what we call temperature is a measure of motion, specifically of atoms and particles. They’re not moving from A to B, but rather, vibrating in place, or in the case of gases, moving around haphazardly. The faster they move, the higher the temperature of the substance. When all motion stops, the substance if brutally cold. So cold, in fact, that it has a special name: absolute zero. Absolute zero is approximately -273.15 Celsius or -459.67 Fahrenheit. We even have a temperature scale that starts at absolute zero, called the Kelvin scale. 0 Kelvin is absolute zero. The motion of the atoms or particles also gives off something called black body radiation. This is simply thermal-spectrum electromagnetic radiation. As such, it’s part of the electromagnetic spectrum I wrote about some time ago. This is how infrared cameras work as well as any thermal imaging camera. With that background in place, it’ll make more sense when I explain certain cooling methods we commonly use. One of the most efficient and effective cooling methods is gas decompression. This is how nearly all refrigerators, air conditioners and heat pumps work. In any gas, the molecules comprising the gas are spaced pretty far apart. When you compress them into a tinier volume of space, the gas will increase in temperature. Is this because the particles are now hitting each other more often and creating more frictional heating? It would be nice if that’s how it worked, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. The simplest way to understand heating of compressed gas is to understand conservation of energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Compressing a gas requires some amount of energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. It ends up going into the gas causing the particles to move faster, which we observe as heat. From a physical standpoint, the gas particles are interacting with the boundaries of their space more frequently as the space containing them shrinks. The most scientifically accurate explanation of the temperature increase is that by reducing the available volume of space, you’re increasing your theoretical knowledge of where each particle is. Instead of being somewhere in a huge volume of space, each particle is now in some much smaller volume. You’re decreasing the entropy of the gas. That knowledge doesn’t come free though. The particles essentially say, “ok, we’ll let you know more about where we are, but in turn we’re going to let you know less about our speeds, because we’re going to move faster.” Whew…all of that. Are you still with me? Hadley, you haven’t mentioned a single thing about cooling yet! Just heating! Yes, but now all the pieces are available. When we compress a gas, it heats up for the reasons stated above, but we can do something with that heat. We don’t have to let the gas just stay hot. This is what refrigerators do. Once they compress a gas, they pass it through some type of heat sink. T[...]

Remind Me Again

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:28:19 GMT

Apple designed the built-in Reminders app as a list-keeping assistant for both macOS and iOS. You can add reminders of any sort to the default Reminders list, or you can create custom lists, like Groceries or Movies to Watch. Plus, if you’ve set up Family Sharing, you also have a shared family list that everyone in your family can access. I can see that being handy if you have kids but I am gonna hide that from Grace because she will fill up my list! Making reminders is easy enough, but they can be easy to lose track of, and you may have to hunt through a number of lists to find any given one. How can you be certain that you won’t forget a particular to-do item? One technique that works well is to add a time trigger to the reminder. Time triggers cause your Apple devices to alert you to the reminder, and as an added benefit, they make it easier to find associated reminders. Say you want to remind yourself to buy tickets to Halestorm’s next concert. To include a trigger in your reminder, you can get Siri’s assistance by mentioning a time in your request: “Remind me to get tickets at 10 AM tomorrow.” Or, when you add the reminder manually, pick a day and time. After creating the reminder, hover over it or tap it, tap the i button that appears, and the option to be reminded on a day. Then, on a Mac, click the preset day and time to adjust them. In iOS, tap Alarm and set a day and time. Unless the specific time matters, pick a general time that’s early in the day, like 10 AM. Because your reminder includes a time, it appears not only in the list where you added it but also in the special Scheduled list. That’s important! Now imagine that it’s first thing tomorrow morning and you’re trying to plan your day. You can either check the Scheduled list in Reminders or ask Siri: “Show me my reminders for today.” Once you see your day’s reminders, you can just do the easy ones, plan them into your day, or reschedule them for another day. Of course, since you’ve assigned a time-based trigger to these reminders, Apple’s Notifications feature comes into play. At the appropriate time, your Apple devices can display an alert that you must dismiss, show a banner that disappears quickly, or play a sound. Reminders can make it easy to remember important tasks, but try these tips if you need help: For reminders created on one device to trigger notifications on another, set up your iCloud account on both devices must have Reminders on. Do this on the Mac in System Preferences > iCloud. In iOS, tap Settings > Your Apple ID Name > iCloud (if your copy of iOS isn’t up-to-date, tap Settings > iCloud). Plus, the reminders must be on a list that’s stored in iCloud. If you use Siri to make reminders, specify the list where those reminders will be added if you don’t speak its name. On the Mac, choose Reminders > Default List. In iOS, go to Settings > Reminders > Default List. Configure Mac notifications in System Preferences > Notifications. At the left, select Reminders and then make your choices at the right. The Alerts alert style is the easiest to notice. Set up iOS notifications in Settings > Notifications > Reminders. Turn on the Allow Notifications switch. For best results, turn on Show on Lock Screen and select Alerts under “Alert Style When Unlocked.” On your iPhone, to see a different Reminders list, tap the “stack” of lists at the bottom of the screen. Remind me again why I need those reminders? Well, since I always have a device handy (literally in the case of the Apple Watch!) it is easy to keep track of my “Honey Dos” and the important stuff, too! [...]

Capture Perfect Photos With Burst Mode

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:26:45 GMT

Have you struggled with getting the perfect photo? How many times have we all struggled with a group photo you have to take multiple times because someone blinked, someone yawned or that toddler in front just wouldn’t stay still? Taking photos of animals like dogs and horses can be equally frustrating. One moment it’s the perfect shot, the next they moved or you just keep snapping that photo at the wrong time.

The more an object for your photo is moving the harder it is to get the perfect shot. Images get blurry, you capture just half of the body or any number of other factors that take your photo memory from frame worthy to trash can bound. I’ve long considered myself an average photographer. I’ve purchased a few high end cameras over the years but I never practiced or used the cameras long enough to understand what the settings really do and why. Thanks to the iPhone I really do look like a better photographer than I really am!

Professional photographers shooting sports or even wildlife have been using burst mode features on their cameras to take photos in quick succession for decades, but it typically meant this feature also went along with a very expensive camera set up. Film cameras required a motor to advance the film quickly enough, but now everything is digital. A burst mode simply needs enough processing power and storage space to record frame after frame. Your iPhone or iPad has this capability and is incredibly easy to activate burst mode.

The secret hidden trick to using burst mode on your iPhone or iPad is less hidden than you might realize and it’s likely you activated the feature a times without even realizing it. Rather than pressing the shutter button once, just hold it. The longer you hold it down, the more burst photos you will get. You’ll hear a distinctive and continuous sound of the shutter quickly taking photos.


Your iPhone can capture 10 frames per second, so just 2.5 seconds of photos can turn into 25 in burst mode. Sometimes the only challenge to burst mode is sorting through all of the photos and selecting the ones that you want. Do note that Photos appear stacked when your looking at them. When you select the photos you will want to then look for the word “select” so that Photos will then display all of the images caught during your burst.

Once you have hit “select” and start to look through all the photos you will see the typical circle image in the bottom right hand corner. As your going through the images simply tap on the circle for any photo you want to keep, it will then display in blue. Once you hit the Done button you will then be asked if you want to keep just the favorites you selected or if you want to keep everything. I normally keep just the ones that I have selected as my favorites.


One warning. If you use iCloud Photo Library or My Photo Stream to sync photos between devices it might take some times for all the photos in the burst shots to move from iPhone to Mac. Whoops, one more! If you are using My Photo Stream to transfer photos to your Mac only those photos that you’ve marked as a favorite will transfer. To set it so entire bursts transfer automatically, open Settings > Photos & Camera and enable upload photo bursts.

Give bursts a try this summer, you never know what unexpected photo moments you might end up discovering.

It's A Mesh

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 18:07:32 GMT

Most of you probably have a single Wi-Fi router that might be an Apple Airport Base station or the DSL or Cable modem provided by your internet provider. Your router might be in one corner of your house, or like me down in the cellar. By the time your Wi-Fi signal finds its way up to the other corner of the house you may find that the speed is slow and your signal is not particularly reliable. The solution to this has been to add an extender or something like the Apple Airport Express to extend the network. That works but it can be a bit complex to set it up so that you have reliable signal. With Apple apparently exiting the wireless network router business (the Airport Extreme was last upgraded in 2013) it is time for a new paradigm in home networking. Enter mesh networking. A mesh network could solve most, if not all, of your Wi-Fi problems. It’s basically a system of multiple Wi-Fi stations that work together to blanket every corner of your home with a strong, reliable Wi-Fi connection. Unlike your cable modem router or Airport Extreme that loses signal the farther you are from it, mesh nodes piggyback on one another to create a continuous wireless link throughout your home, making dead zones rare. Mesh networking has these advantages: Using fewer wires means it costs less to set up a network, particularly for large areas of coverage. The more nodes you install, the bigger and faster your wireless network becomes. They rely on the same WiFi standards (802.11a, b and g) already in place for most wireless networks. They are convenient where Ethernet wall connections are lacking They are useful for Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) network configurations where wireless signals are intermittently blocked. Mesh networks are “self configuring;” the network automatically incorporates a new node into the existing structure without needing any adjustments by a network administrator. Mesh networks are “self healing,” since the network automatically finds the fastest and most reliable paths to send data, even if nodes are blocked or lose their signal. Wireless mesh configurations allow local networks to run faster, because local packets don’t have to travel back to a central server. Wireless mesh nodes are easy to install and uninstall, making the network extremely adaptable and expandable as more or less coverage is needed. How does a a mesh system work? First, you connect a primary base station to your broadband modem via ethernet cable from the modem to the primary base station. Then, you connect satellite stations or nodes in areas where you might get weak coverage. These nodes can be connected to ethernet if you have your house wired for ethernet but who does that anymore? Otherwise, they plug into the wall for power and gain their signal wirelessly. Let’s say your primary base station is downstairs in the kitchen, and you have a satellite station in the upstairs bedroom. When you are in the bedroom and watching Netflix on your MacBook, the primary base station retrieves the streaming data and bounces it to the satellite station, which then beams it to your Mac in the bedroom in what’s known as a hop. Importantly, in addition to expanding your Wi-Fi range, a mesh system helps your device automatically connect to the strongest station as you move around in the house. When you’re in the kitchen, your iPhone will automatically get its signal from the station there; when you move to the bedroom, your iPhone will seamlessly switch to the station there. We sell the Eero mesh network and there are also similar systems from Google, DLink and others. Eero is very easy to set up with their iPhone app which will walk you through setting up an account and adding nodes around the house. The app mo[...]