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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition by David Pogue

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File Sharing: Three Ways

When you’re done wiring (or not wiring, as the case may be), your network is ready. Your Mac should “see” any Ethernet or shared USB printers, in readiness to print (Chapter 9). You can now play network games or use a network calendar. And you can now turn on File Sharing, one of the most useful features of all.

In File Sharing, you can drag files back and forth between different Macs (or even Windows PCs) on the network, exactly as though the other computer’s folder or disk is a hard drive connected to your own machine. You can see the idea in Figure 15-2.

The thing is, it’s not easy being Apple. You have to write one operating system that’s supposed to please everyone, from the self-employed first-time newbie to the network administrator for NASA. You have to design a networking system simple enough for the laptop owner who just wants to copy things to a desktop Mac when returning from a trip, yet secure and flexible enough for the network designer at a large corporation.

Clearly, different people have different attitudes toward the need for security and flexibility.

That’s why OS X offers three ways to share files, striking three different positions along the Simplicity-to-Flexibility Spectrum:

  • The easiest way: AirDrop. This feature is dreamy—if there are other people in your house or office who have wireless Macs running Lion or later. Imagine this: You open the AirDrop folder, where you see everybody else’s icons. To give someone a file, you drop its icon ...

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