Submit Response


Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the mac, radio category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Homemade iServe

Alex asks When can we expect an Apple iServe?

Assuming you have a spare OS AirPort-equipped Mac running OS 10.2 lying around, you can expect one this afternoon. It won’t quite provide all the bells and whistles Alex has on his wishlist, and it’s not exactly plug-and-play, but if you take the following steps you can get a nice little ‘digital hub’ thingy running in next to no time, and you don’t need to be a geek to do it (I’m not and I managed). This may not be the very best way of doing things, and it may not work perfectly for you, but it’s what I have set up at home and it does the job.

All the information that follows is only a few Googles away but I’ve not seen it in one place before, so it may be useful to someone. Namely me, when my elderly iBook has one of it’s periodic hissy fits and I have to set everything up again.

If you spot any errors or know of other tips I’ve missed, do leave a comment.

What you need:

  1. Two Airport-equipped Apple Macintosh computers running OS 10.2.x
  2. An internet connection

First, you need to get the two computers sharing your internet connection over AirPort. The computer which will act as your server and backup machine will henceforth be known as One, the computer you use for everything else will henceforth be known as Two. You can, obviously, call them anything you like by setting the Computer Name of each in the Sharing pane of System Preferences. I assume you have an internet connection up and running on One, and that AirPort is turned on on both computers.

  1. Open System Preferences on One, and click on Sharing
  2. Under the Internet pane, click the Start button to switch on Internet Sharing and tick the box to Share your Internet connection with AirPort-equipped computers
  3. The little AirPort signal strength indicator in the Menu Bar should now show an arrow(If you don’t see a little signal strength indicator, open Internet Connect and tick the box marked Show Airport status in menu bar)
  4. On Two, open Internet Connect and choose AirPort from the Configuration drop-down menu
  5. Click the Turn On AirPort button
  6. You should now be able to connect to the internet wirelessly from Two. Cool, isn’t it?

Now, you’ll be wanting to move files between the two computers. So take the following steps on both One and Two

  1. Open System Preferences, and click on Sharing
  2. Under the Services pane, tick the box to start Personal File Sharing
  3. In the Finder, choose Connect to Server from the Go menu (or hit Mac + K)
  4. A dialogue box will appear: choose the Server you wish to connect to - On One, this will be Two, and vice versa - and then click Connect
  5. A login window will now pop up, so log yourself right in. (I’m assuming you have an account on both of your computers. Setting up accounts is, as they say, beyond the scope of this document)
  6. Another dialogue box will pop up, asking you which volume you wish to mount. Choose either your Home directory or the Computer - depending on how you organise your files, the latter is likely to be of more use
  7. Have a look at your Desktops. Each computer should have it’s opposite number mounted as a volume, just like an external hard drive or your iPod

Now you have your two computers talking to each other, and sharing an internet connection. Not terribly exciting. It would be cool if you could plug One into your stereo and listen to all the MP3s on both computers, wouldn’t it? Rendezvous makes this a doddle. Take the following steps on both One and Two.

  1. Open iTunes, then open iTunes Preferences
  2. Open the Sharing pane and tick the boxes marked Look for shared music and Share my music. Enter a Shared Name, ‘One’ or ‘Two’ for example. There are further options, which you can set according to preference
  3. All your music stored on Two is now available on One, and vice versa: look in the Playlist section of iTunes and you should see a new Playlist named according to the Shared Name you set in Step 2

Backing up files is quite important. Not as important as listening to MP3s, but important nonetheless. Here’s how to make sure all your important files are backed up from Two, where you do all your work, to One, where they will be safe and sound. You’ll need a .Mac membership for this, as it requires a copy of Backup 2 Public Beta, although I imagine you can use most other backup utilities to the same effect - before Backup 2 was released I just used the directory mirroring and scheduling functions in Transmit, an FTP client.

  1. If you haven’t already, download and install Backup 2 Public Beta on Two
  2. Open it, and choose Back up to Drive from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click Set, and choose a location in the resulting dialogue pop-up to store your backup file on One
  4. Choose what you want to back up, either using the QuickPicks feature, or by dragging folders onto the Backup window
  5. Click Backup Now
  6. You could repeat steps 2-5 every so often, but you might as well schedule a regular back up: click on the button with a little calendar icon at the bottom of the Backup window, and choose an appropriate time and frequency

Now that you have what the professionals call a Back-up Strategy, you’ll be wanting some files to back up. I find the various peer to peer applications useful for obtaining such files (public domain stuff only, of course) but most of these apps are right clunkers, hogging processor power and memory usage. Since you have two computers, One might as well take the strain while you’re hard at work on Two, so at this point it’s probably worth installing VNC Server on One and VNC Viewer on Two. In tandem, these applications let you control One from Two, so that you can launch any applications you’d rather not have slowing down Two. It’s not the best option out there (that would be Apple Remote Desktop) but it’s free. You could also log in to One remotely using SSH, but if you know how to do that, you don’t need me to tell you how to set up a basic network between two Macs, and stopped reading after the first paragraph.

So far, so handy. For extra silliness (sorry, functionality) you might want to invest in the following optional extras:

  1. A Belkin TuneCast or Griffin iTrip (both illegal in the UK, but widely available on eBay)
  2. A Sony Ericsson mobile telephone or Palm Tungsten PDA, and the Salling Clicker application.

The TuneCast is a fabulous wee device that broadcasts an FM signal when connected to the headphone jack on computer (or iPod, or Walkman, or whatever you might have with a headphone jack). I have mine plugged in to One, with my receiver tuned to the appropriate frequency, so that I can listen to both my MP3s and streamed content from the web on my stereo, and all the other radios in the house.

The Salling Clicker software is similarly fabulous, allowing you to remotely control a whole host of functions on your Mac from your mobile telephone. I use it to control iTunes.

So, there you have it.

Next on my list of essentially pointless networked doodads is a PVR (ie a homemade Tivo) which I’m planning to make using a cheapo PC either running Windows and Snapstream Personal Video Station 3, or (with a lot of help from geekier friends) running Linux and MythTV. I’ll be sure to bore you with the details if and when I get around to it.

Posted at 5pm on 18/09/03 by Jack Mottram to the mac, radio category.
Permalink · Add to

Comments are closed

Comments are currently closed on this entry.

Comments are closed.

Recent Posts