Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Airport Extreme: best thing from MacWorld

Apple recently announced an iPhone (available in June) and an iTV (good only for Apple downloads) -- and a new wireless lan base station. The last is the best. It's almost available, and it's useful:
Macworld: First Look: Up close with AirPort Extreme

...USB printer and hard drive sharing: Both the current Extreme Base Station and AirPort Express Base Station support printer sharing; plug a USB printer into the Base Station’s USB port, and any Bonjour-capable computer (recent OS X machines as well as Windows computers running Apple’s Bonjour for Windows) will automatically detect the presence of the printer on the network and be able to print to it. This capability is carried over to the new version of the Extreme Base Station, but Apple has added an even better feature: AirPort Disk. Connect a USB 2.0 storage drive—in HFS Plus or FAT32 format—to the Base Station’s USB port, and that drive will be accessible to any computer on your local network via both AFP (Personal File Sharing) and SMB (Windows File Sharing) protocols. Hard drives and flash drives will work, but optical drives will not.

... a new AirPort Disk Utility lets you assign file- and folder-level restrictions to the contents of the attached drive, so each user with permission to access the drive can be restricted to particular files and folders. You can even set up drives to auto-mount on your Desktop whenever you connect your Mac to the network—no more having to use the Network browser or Connect To Server dialog to access your NAS-hosted files.

Finally, if you’ve got a USB printer and a USB drive, or more than one of each, you can simply connect a USB hub to the Base Station’s USB port and then connect those devices to the hub. All of the printers and hard drives will be accessible to the local network, and you can use AirPort Disk Utility to configure access to each drive independently.
You know, this is pretty nice. If I didn't already have an Airport Extreme and an Airport Express I'd buy one. I'd like to see what Apple will do now with the AE ...

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