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NetworkLocation brings WiFi positioning to the Mac

Since the introduction of the 1st-gen, GPSless iPhone and the iPod touch, the WiFi location awareness of those devices has been a continuous source of delight to me -- with the underlying technology from Skyhook Wireless, that brave band of cross-country wardrivers, these handhelds manage to know where they are remarkably well (at least, most of the time). Having the same capability on your Mac certainly seems like a logical next step... and what would you do with that location data?

Maybe you'd like to find your friends or hunt for restaurants with the Loki plugin for Firefox, but the real power of location awareness comes to bear when you can have your Mac automatically act on that information: to optimize your configuration, or change your settings to the appropriate choices for the place you're at.

Enter the newest offering from centrix.ca, the Skyhook-enabled version of NetworkLocation 3.0. This $29 settings management utility (we've covered it before) can perform all the necessary changes to your settings: tweaks to network, email, proxy, sound and screen, or even arbitrary modifications via triggered AppleScripts or Automator actions (much like similar apps Location X or WiLMa). With the connection to Skyhook's database, NL3 can now switch profiles when you're in proximity to a known point, along with the previous options to flip over based on network connection or the presence of a specific device. Plugins add support for launching a VPN connection or changing Entourage or Mail's SMTP config. It's a beautiful thing.

You can check out the gallery for a peek at some of NL3's options. For anyone who uses a portable machine in a large campus or corporate environment and wants to take the aggravation out of changing settings for each spot you sit in, this tool is definitely worth a look.



Since the introduction of the 1st-gen, GPSless iPhone and the iPod touch, the WiFi location awareness of those devices has been a...