On our trip to Buffalo this weekend, Kathleen, Jimmy, and I stayed in two Marriott properties that had public WiFi networks. The thing I didn't like about them is that they are wide open networks which means anyone can join and do pretty much anything they want locally.
I have my MacBook Pro setup the way I want to use it when I am on my home office network. This means that I have iPhoto and iTunes sharing enabled, and a public folder available so that my wife can grab files from me or give me files without my intervention. I don't want these services to be advertised an available when I'm on a foreign WiFi network.
I turned off iPhoto and iTunes sharing manually when I went on line at the hotels. This only took a minute or two, but I don't want to have to remember to do it or to think about it. I'm almost positive that I'll forget to turn these services back on in many cases when I get home.
In order to batten down the hatches on my Mac, I need a couple of discrete pieces of software:
- Software to make my Mac "context-aware". The leading choices seem to be Marco Polo and Home Zone. My personal preference is for Marco Polo at the moment.
- Rules to identify when my Mac is at home and when it isn't at home. The easiest way to do this is to detect the MAC address of our Airport Extreme base station.
- Scripts to turn on and off the iTunes, iPhoto, and networking services, based on the context. I probably also want to step up the aggressiveness of the software firewall running on my Mac.