Fourteen members gathered to share their knowledge of home networking at our June 2008 Retired SIG meeting. Len Adler led the discussion. Half of the group reported using the capability of their Macs to wirelessly connect to other Macs; others reported using an Ethernet cable to do so.
Our meeting was nearly ending, and an hour had passed, when the wireless system in the Apple Pi classroom began to work normally, and so we decided to explore the question of whether Macs might communicate and network using only their Airport cards. These are built into all the recent models. Len had been told by a Mac tech support person that you could only do this via an Airport Base Station or similar router. In fact, our test showed that any two users within range of each other could communicate directly and create a network to exchange data. The path for this is on the Airport menu>Create a network. After naming the network, both users need to go to that server under the Finder menu>Connect to Server. That network should appear under the sidebar under "Devices" or "Shared." Each computer's System Preference settings should be set under Internet and Network for Sharing and in order to log on should add a new account with that person’s user name and privileges. The fact that the Mac Genius was incorrect was an insight.
Len also gave several tips from Bob LeVitus. LeVitus, who spends hours a day working with his Mac, prefers keystrokes to mouse clicks. Len found dozens of interesting shortcuts and tips, enough to use in a future Retired SIG presentation. [Editor's note: You can find some tips on using keystrokes with your Mac on page 13 of the March/April 2008 issue of the Washington Apple Pi Journal, in the sidebar entitled "Keyboard or Mouse? You Decide."]
All in all, we had a good time at the meeting, and our insights came from the great interaction of members helping members. We decided to meet next in September, when our topic will be "Television on the Mac" with Neil Ferguson and Nancy Little presenting.