Marco Polo Makes your Laptop Smarter
I have this problem. When I bring my laptop from home to work or to any other location, my computing needs change. At home, I have an unrestrictive wireless connection that I can do anything I want on. At work, I have an 802.11x protected connection which runs through a proxy and doesn’t let me do things like download IMAP mail freely or run a multi-protocol IM client. Additionally, I have a different printer at home than at work. And on and on and on.
It’s really not that big of a deal to manually “change locations” via the Apple Menu, but I’ve always wanted a way for my laptop to just sense where I’m at and do the right thing automatically. A few days ago, a colleague at work, Paul Oremland, told me about a utility called Marco Polo which does just that. It’s really great. Now when I walk into the office and open my laptop, my location is switched automatically, certain applications are magically launched, and my printer is set to the correct device.
The application is great in that you can have it trigger off a whole host of conditions, such as wireless networks in the area, USB devices that may be attached, and even ambient light! You can even use fuzzy logic to combine these conditions and take action when they are all present.
The folks that developed Marco Polo call it “context aware computing”. I like it.
You can download Marco Polo for free here (oh and it’s open source). Happy location switching!