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Tom Briant

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Night Rant ala Dvorak (John, not Antonin)

MobileMe is going away, so hasten to download your old tax files!

Attention, all Mac users using MobileMe! If it hasn’t penetrated your thinking yet, you need to download your old tax files and whatever else you stored on iDisk, because it’s going away Saturday the 30th.

Your iWeb sites will go away, too. Time to find another hosting solution. NOW!

In other news, Google has labored mightily and brought forth a…7” tablet with 1280 x 800 resolution, 8 Gb of memory, and no cellular option. They intend to sell it for $199. The only way the iPad dies is if it chokes while laughing so hard at yet another vaunted “iPad killer.”

Google wants to compete with the Kindle for the low-end, low-margin tablet market. They hope to recoup the losses incurred producing and selling this gadget through your consumption of their hosted media and their bombardment of your eyeballs with ads, ads, ads.

Is it just me or do you also feel disappointed that Google didn’t come out with something awesome. Another tablet for media consumption is okay, but I expected more from them. Has “Do No Evil” been replaced with “Meh, we’ll settle for mediocre”?

Looking for an iTunes Server

No, I cannot find a better iTunes server than iTunes itself. Folks, this topic of a media server has bugged me. I mean, I live in a tiny condo so it’s not that important that I have music served from a central computer to the master bedroom, the living room and the kitchen. And the patio, playing music for guests waiting for their salmon burgers while drinking red wine. I just wanted to see if I could do it.

And the answer keeps coming back that no one has produced a program that can serve up media as well as iTunes Home Sharing does. Oh, sure, the Twonky software embedded in my spiffy new MyBook Live 2TB NAS will serve up music. As long as I pour the music together without folders into the designated Shared Music, it works.

And Twonky does connect to all my music clients. It connects to iTunes and to Linux’s Banshee and Rhythmbox. I don’t know about Amarok. Let me know in the comments.

Playlists in Twonky are another thing. It only works with static playlists and only occasionally. I’ve tried to set up static playlists exported from iTunes as .xml and .m3u and .txt files. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I have to dump all three formats of playlists into the Shared Music folder to get the Twonky to recognize them at all.

And no Smart Playlists, one of the really nice features of iTunes, for Twonky.

So if you want to set up an iTunes music server, my advice is to use iTunes. The current version 10.6.3 works fine with Windows XP Home on a 10 year old Pentium IV 2.8 Ghz computer with 1.5 Gb of memory.

As for a Web server for iTunes, I can recommendPulptunes. It works with iTunes’s central database to put your .M4a and .mp3 files up on the Web for playback. I’ve used the Windows and the Mac versions with no problems. Pulptunes is written in Java.

Pulptunes does have a Linux version, but you would face the problem of editing that itunes.xml file to get it to work with Linux.

Don’t forget that MacValley WON’T MEET ON JULY 4TH. Our July meeting on the topic of FaceBook and the Twitter is on Wednesday, July 11th.

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