Adventures in Consumer and Business Multimedia

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How To: Host Your iTunes Library On One File Server, Manage It From Multiple Computers

For the last few months I was interested in creating a central iTunes library so my family at home didn’t need to rely on the one computer that contained all of our music.  Moving all of our music and corresponding image art and ratings to our existing Synology file server on our home network would be the best solution for us – it would be centralized, have more than enough space to grow, and have the disk redundancy my laptop lacked.  This solution of centrally locating the library would allow any PC or Mac on our home LAN running iTunes to connect to it and manage it seamlessly as if it were local to the computer.
iTunes from a file server
The one small downside with this configuration is that the laptop would no longer have music stored on it, so that library would be inaccessible outside of my home network, but thats why we have iPhones and iPads.  Anyway, when our laptop containing all 250GB of music recently ran out of space it was the push I needed to figure out exactly how one relocates an entire iTunes library.  The following is a step-by-step walkthrough of what I did to successfully make this all happen.

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July 9, 2012   1 Comment

Vintage Game Night

Dr. Sheldon Cooper, GOG.com, and Kickstarter inspired me to consolidate my old games onto a 20GB Windows XP virtual machine at home for the semi-weekly pleasure of enjoying “Vintage Game Night.”  I’m not sure what Sheldon used to play older games, and despite still owning an IBM x286 and a Dell x386, both running MS-DOS 5 and 6, I went the more practical route.  To start, DOSBox (a x86 DOS emulator) allows many older games to play easily on newer machines.  I choose Windows XP just to avoid any complications with 32-bit vs 64-bit, the need for 256 colors, and Windows 7 in general is still too new to be sure.  I loaded up what I have in my apartment from Sierra Online (how I miss you) and was playing King’s Quest in fewer than 5 minutes.  Just install DOSBox, launch it, and mount your logical drive – easy.

GOG.com has several classics available for under $10 so I was able to fill in the gaps to my own collection.  They also use DOSBox bundled with the software that mounts your drive automatically, so its pretty seamless – just click and play.  Its been years since I played Zork and I never played the Wing Commander series so those are great additions to buy when I’m ready.  I did lay down the cash for the entire Tex Murphy series when I saw it – such a great series that was ahead of its time.  The cool thing about GOG.com is the lack of DRM and the TLC they give these games – maps, manuals, and even wallpapers, where applicable, are itemized in the download section of each game available – sure beats playing $10 for a game on eBay that is likely scratched and missing those needed accessories.

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June 11, 2012   1 Comment

A Few Tips For Your Online Security

The frequency of web sites, e-mail accounts, and domain names getting stolen seems to be increasing among my circle of acquaintances.  These instances have lead to defacement of people’s blogs and, much worse, identity theft.  It’s an ugly business, but a serious one as hacking has become a billion dollar business to cyber criminals that typically starts with exposed targets like your e-mail address.  Social engineering, phishing, and brute force attacks are most common to get your personal account information.  That being said, if you have a presence online you should get familiar with securing the basics for a few minutes, or else risk the hours and days of struggling to reclaim what was stolen.

Below are some tips to provide readers with a clear understanding that, if applied, can make it much harder for online criminals to affect you.

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June 9, 2012   1 Comment