Chapter 16. Internet Setup & iCloud

As Apple’s programmers slogged away for months to create the Mac operating system, there were areas where they must have felt like they were happily gliding on ice: networking and the internet. For the most part, the internet already runs on Unix, and hundreds of extremely polished tools and software chunks were already available.

There are all kinds of ways to get your Mac onto the internet these days:

  • Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi hotspots are glorious conveniences if you have a laptop. Without stirring from your hotel bed, you’re online at high speed. Sometimes for free.

  • Cable modems, DSL. Over 80 percent of the U.S. internet population connects over higher-speed wires, using broadband connections that are always on: cable modems, DSL, or corporate networks. (These, of course, are often what’s at the other end of an internet hotspot.)

  • Tethering. Tethering is letting your cellphone act as a glorified internet antenna for your Mac, whether connected by a cable or a Bluetooth wireless link. You pay your phone company extra for this convenience.

  • Cellular modems. A few well-heeled individuals enjoy the go-anywhere bliss of USB cellular modems, which get them online just about anywhere they can make a phone call. These modems are offered by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and so on, and usually cost around $50 a month.


    A MiFi is sort of a cellular modem, too. It’s a pocketable, battery-operated, portable hotspot. It converts the cellular signal into a Wi-Fi signal, ...

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