It’s Bill time again! (it’s always Bill O’clock in my house). I think Bill’s expression here, is a combination of shame and lust. Anyway, on with the whinging about Apple…
I always take delight in posing this quesstion to Mac Monks: “Well if OSX is so reliable and fantastic, where are all the Apple servers then!?” Exactly. There’s only one word in networking, and that word is Windows.
In part one of my iTunes 9 review, I told you how rubbish media sharing was in iTunes 9 and I told you why, but you know what? It doesn’t even matter. iTunes is a great audio manager and a competent audio streamer, but it’s no media-hub. Windows, however, is.
Practical sharing in Windows is so simple, I can cover it a paragraph. Here we go then…
In Windows Vista, Click Start, then open “Computer”. Right-click drive C and select “share…”. Choose “Advanced Sharing” if required and accept and UAC warnings you receive. Select the check-box to confirm sharing, and then click on “Permissions” to control access. I find it acceptable to share “full control” to “everyone”, but there are other choices. Apply the changes, and you’re done. Now let me tell you what you’ve done.
Any wireless or wired device on your network that can access remote media libraries in Windows will see your media and be able to access it. You can use the fantastic Media Center in Windows 7 (or the not-so-ace version in Vista) to whip all your rich media on to an Xbox 360 in an Apple TV — beatingly sophisticated way. Any notebook / netbook / PDA / most everything but the iPhone (at least, out of the box) that’s network capable will have access to your stuff.
Obviously, given this realisation, you might not want to share your whole root drive, but Windows it’s easy enough to share selected or grouped folders exactly the in same way I describe here.
My point is, most people already have the necessary tools to do everything Apple is trying to do with iTunes 9, only Windows is better. With a shared iTunes 9 library, you have to stream to an Apple client, be it another installation of iTunes, an Apple TV, iPhone, whatever. With simple Windows-based file sharing, all you need is a media player that supports the codec (and you do get to choose), and whatever the “something” you have is, to play it on.
With wi-fi on a netbook and VLC media player installed, you could watch your whole media library on the sofa, if you really wanted to. Of course, if you share the folder containing your iTunes library, that works on everything too, with the exception of those evil DRM movies. What was I thinking buying those?
Don’t buy in to the “Apple is easy” bullshit. They don’t know jack about high QOS local networking, and while Mac Monks fumble with iTunes, you should be zapping your media to your player of choice. Apple aren’t rushing to sell you a home server are they? Hmmm, wonder why?
Anyway, I’m all ranted out, but there’s still time for us to take a look at some more clips from this year’s summer blockbuster: “Macworld 2, Return of the Steve”.
I can keep this up all day, you know.