Share iTunes, with a catch.
February 23, 2009 7:31 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way for my dad to get access to my iTunes library?

I recently gave my old MacBook Pro to my dad. On a lark, I installed SimplifyMedia and configured it with my account details so that he could gain access to the music on my home media center PC. I didn't really think he would ever do this, I just kind of did it on an impulse - but it turns out he loves the fairly large selection of music and uses it all the time.

The other day he asked me how he could get my music not just on his MacBook Pro but on his home stereo system. I just so happened to have an old Airport Express sitting in my closet, so I took it over and hooked it up to his stereo and configured it to work with his home WiFi network.


Except SimplifyMedia is not really doing it for me - or, more precisely, for him. He calls me frequently to complain - songs cut off abruptly, sometimes my library disappears, sometimes it takes a half-hour or more for my library to fully populate, sometimes songs won't play at all... and SimplifyMedia is a pretty "no configuration" application, so when it doesn't work for him, my only real recourse is to reboot my home server and hope that fixes it.

There has to be a better way.

I know there are lots of programs out there (like Firefly and SuperSync) that can basically take your iTunes library file and serve it up via DAAP, and he could get any number of clients to listen this way.... but he would most assuredly then lose the ability to play to the Airport Express. Outputting to that device seems like a pretty specific to iTunes kind of thing, unless there's a way to set the master sound output to use it.

I've also had great success with the Hamachi VPN. If he installed and configured this and joined it to my "VPN Group" then his iTunes would detect my iTunes library via the built-in sharing feature, and he could simply listen this way. Unfortunately, Hamachi on OS X is a total bastard. The GUI front-end that is put out by a 3rd party is buggy and never really works, and the command line setup and configuration is a little too much for my dad to trudge through. I could set it up for him and configure an AppleScript that initializes the connection at startup, but this seems like a recipe for "only works intermittently".

So I don't know. I feel like there has to be a better way to do this. Worst case, I drive over to my dad's and do some configuration myself, but ideally this would be a solution that doesn't have a huge likelihood of completely breaking down.

Any ideas, MeFites?
posted by kbanas to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can use an ssh tunnel to transport the data and a local Bonjour beacon to get his iTunes to see the tunneled library. See here (but ignore the stuff about mt-daapd).
posted by kindall at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2009

You can use Airfoil ($25) from Rogue Amoeba to send audio from any application to an Airport Express, from a Mac or Windows PC.
posted by indyz at 7:48 AM on February 23, 2009

I have an sftp server set up on Cygwin at home and use SftpDrive on my computer in my office. SftpDrive will mount my home media directory as though it were a local drive, so I can add my music to a local library in any music software I want: iTunes, WinAmp, whatever... A regular scan for new songs is all that's needed.
posted by dsword at 7:53 AM on February 23, 2009

You could always give him a local copy of the music by burning it all onto a few DVDs and putting it on his computer. This probably isn't legal, but according to the music industry, what you're doing is already illegal.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:45 AM on February 23, 2009

posted by snap_dragon at 2:00 PM on February 23, 2009

and...Mojo is free.
posted by snap_dragon at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2009

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