OS X: Switching network locations automatically

Once I got my MacBook Air and started to migrate all my data and applications over to OS X, I was wondering how the networking would work in Leopard. (Un)surprisingly enough it works a lot better than on Windows. The cool feature OS X (at least with Leopard) has is “Locations” – in essence you can define different locations (i.e. Home, Internet cafe, Work1, Work2) and within each location specific settings for that location. For example at home I connect wirelessly and print to my Lexmark printer. At my clients I either connect wirelessly or via ethernet and for each client I have different proxy settings.

With OS X it is quite easy to switch locations via the system menu. But why do this manually if you can automate this process (and save a couple of hours of productivity over the year — and not to mention the few scenarios where you believe that the network is down, only to realize that you forgot to switch configurations).

This is where Locamatic comes in:

Pascal Harris from 45RPM Software wrote this little (free tool). Locamatic integrates into the OS X preference pane and automatically changes your network location settings based on which network you’re connecting to, and will even modify printer connections and the Safari Home Page.

I tested Locamatic out with two different wireless LANs (home and work), and switching between the two is seamless. The best part is: I don’t have to open Locamatic again unless I’ve added a new location to my network preferences.

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