5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 7, 2013 11:21 AM by Scotch_Brawth
Jerry Dammers Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I want to develop a simple system for accessing my files from multiple devices.

 

I heavily use iTunes (190 GB), iPhoto (120 GB) and iMovie (30 GB, but want to do more when I get time).  Additionally, I store lots of old videos on circa 10 portable hard drives (1 TB each), which I access occasionally. 

 

The family use all this content and we currently have a MacBook Pro and are considering buying a new computer - either a new MacBook Pro or an iMac. We also have iPads, iPhones etc and a Time Capsule. We use wireless fibre optic broadband.

 

I don't really want multiple iTunes and iPhoto libraries.  We want all our music and pictures in single master libraries that we can all access and update.

 

As there is seemingly too much data to store on iCloud, we need to find an alternative solution. 

 

My possible solution is:

 

(1) Load my master iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie libraries ("iTPM libs") on a Mac mini

(2) Buy a new MacBook Pro or iMac (probably doesnt matter which)

(3) Link the MacBook Pro(s) and iMac to the Mac mini to access iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie and the master iTPM libs

(4) Plug the portable hard drives into the Mac mini whenever I need to access the video content stored on the portable hard drives

(5) Add "users" to the system (i.e. family members), in the same way you would access a shared server at work

(6) Over time, buy more computers to access the system in the same way

 

My questions are:

 

(1) Is this system feasible?

(2) If so, can I edit the iTPM libs from the MacBook Pro or iMac?

(3) If so, what happens if both the MacBook Pro and iMac are accessing the libraries at the same time? Which takes precedent?

(4) Would this solution be significantly slower than having separate libraries on the different computers?

(5) Is there an alternative approach that might work better for my needs? (which are, after all, relatively straight forward).  When I went to the Apple store they were unsure!

 

Many thanks.

  • Scotch_Brawth Level 3 Level 3 (820 points)

    I heavily use iTunes (190 GB), iPhoto (120 GB) and iMovie (30 GB, but want to do more when I get time).  Additionally, I store lots of old videos on circa 10 portable hard drives (1 TB each), which I access occasionally.

     

    The family use all this content and we currently have a MacBook Pro and are considering buying a new computer - either a new MacBook Pro or an iMac. We also have iPads, iPhones etc and a Time Capsule.

     

    […] We want all our music and pictures in single master libraries that we can all access and update.

    The "update" portion of this is where your problems will arise.  You'd be better to consider your proposed system initially in terms of content "consumption", before getting into the nitty-gritty of editing shared content.

     

    iTunes has the Home Sharing feature built-in, which solves the content consumption issue.

     

    I don't know anything about sharing iPhoto libraries, but this KB article looks useful.

     

    As for iMovie, I think there are two things you want to do: share the raw data (sound effects, music, photos etc.) that are used to create iMovie content; and share the finished results.  Is that right?  I'm not sure how you'd go about doing that, but if you clarify your aims in this regard, it'll help the next person who comes along.

     

    When it comes to updating content, such as adding new music to iTunes or iPhoto, I'd suggest you do it through the Mac mini directly.  This seems the least problematic solution.  You wouldn't necessarily need a dedicated display for the Mac mini - you could use remote desktop or VNC or what-have-you.

     

    As for speed: doing anything across a network is always going to be slower than doing it locally.  But, it probably won't matter for content consumption (though if you're all watching different movies at the same time the drives on the server may struggle, and the wifi bandwidth might be tight).

     

    I hope this represents a good initial response to your query.

  • Jerry Dammers Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Many thanks for your response!

     

    I actually think there is a fourth set of information that I want to share across computers - files and documents, such as Word, Exel etc.

     

    Therefore, there are 4 elements:

     

    (1) iTunes - based on your link to Home Sharing, I think I can achieve what I need without the "master" library sitting on a Mac Mini - in effect, it doesn't matter where the master sits.  In particular, I note that purchases can be dragged into the master library from another computer (if on the same Apple ID) which is helpful.  So, there is a solution for iTunes.

     

    (2) iPhoto - still not clear on how I would achieve this. Whereas Home Sharing directly addresses my needs for iTunes, the info in the link was a bit complicated (for me). Would welcome any further thoughts?

     

    (3) iMovie - you're right that I want to share the "raw data" and share the finished results.  In reality this won't happen too often, as I can share the finished results in iTunes as well (and use Home Sharing).  However, it can take a while to publish finished iMovie content to iTunes, so having the ability to access a "master" library via different devices would still be helpful.

     

    (4) Files & documents - the other content I need to share and be able to edit is personal files and documents. I'm presuming this would be straight forward via the Mac Mini and, if speed is an issue, presumably I could copy them from the Mac mini to the local hard drive of the computer, work on it, and then transfer back when finished.

     

    In summary, it looks like there is a perfect solution for iTunes independent of a Mac Mini but, in theory, the Mac Mini could help with the other elements.

     

    I'm curious that I would have thought this was a common requirement, particularly for families who want to collate and share info in one place, but there doesn't seem to be a simple solution.

     

    Does anybody else have any other suggestions?

     

    Many thanks

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5 (4,075 points)

    Jerry Dammers wrote:

     

    (2) iPhoto - still not clear on how I would achieve this. Whereas Home Sharing directly addresses my needs for iTunes, the info in the link was a bit complicated (for me). Would welcome any further thoughts?

     

    I believe simply doing this will work:

    http://etc.usf.edu/techease/mac/images/how-do-i-share-photos-over-a-network-with -iphoto/

     

     

     

    (4) Files & documents - the other content I need to share and be able to edit is personal files and documents. I'm presuming this would be straight forward via the Mac Mini and, if speed is an issue, presumably I could copy them from the Mac mini to the local hard drive of the computer, work on it, and then transfer back when finished.

     

    This is as simple as just setting up a "document" share

    on the Mini and yes would be straightforward.

     

    Personally, you should work on any material locally and

    then return the modified material back to the server.  Any

    network hiccup, depending on the material being worked on

    and the application, could end up loosing a lot of work.  There

    have been occasions where this has happened to me in the

    past and have learned my lesson.  It may not have happened

    to you, yet.  It only has to happen once and Murphy says it

    will be at the worst possible time on a most critical document.

     

    As for iMovie, I don't have any solution except to say that

    perhaps the solution may be in the form of using another app

    other than iMovie.

  • Jerry Dammers Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Many thanks - looking at the link it seems that Home Sharing works in a similar way to ITunes Home Sharing, which should help.

     

    However, having just tried to set it up between my MacBook Pro (where the master iTunes and iPhoto libraries currently sit) and my iPads, I can't seem to get it to work.

     

    As each iPad has a selection of music and photos sync'd (as their memory isnt big enough to handle the whole library), only those songs and photos show.

     

    How do I get Home Sharing to work such that my iPads can access the whole iTunes and iPhoto libraries? (rather than just those songs/photos that have been sync'd - I recogise that I need iTunes open on my Mac for it to work).

     

    On the other query re files/documents, can I share them between computers now, without the need for a Mac mini?

  • Scotch_Brawth Level 3 Level 3 (820 points)

    On the other query re files/documents, can I share them between computers now, without the need for a Mac mini?

    Does this article help?