The Geekcast #122
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Microsoft announces Microsoft Surface. Microsoft on Wednesday introduced Microsoft Surface, code-named "Milan," more than five years in the making and the first in what the company hopes will be a long line of "surface computers." The Microsoft Surface tabletop PC, for which the company has created both the hardware and software, is controlled entirely through touch with no mouse or keyboard. To paint, people can pick up a paint brush or just dip their fingers in virtual paint cups. Sharing photos is similarly intuitive. A stack of pictures can be easily sorted through and shared. To resize a photo, just stretch two fingers apart. Pivot the fingers and the image rotates. More than one person can be interacting with the computer at a time. Although consumers will be able to touch it later this year, most won't be able to buy a surface computer any time soon. The expensive components required to allow multiple users to touch the device simultaneously give it a price tag approaching $10,000. As a result, Microsoft isn't targeting homes initially, though it hopes consumers can own their own Milan within three to five years. For now, Microsoft is focusing on getting the products into public spaces in the hospitality arena--hotel lobbies, restaurants, and casinos, to name a few.
Apple Introduces 160GB Apple TV for $399. In a press release announcing YouTube videos for Apple TV, Apple also reveals that they will be introducing a 160GB Apple TV for $399. Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available through the Apple with a 160GB hard drive will be available now for a suggested retail price of $399. The YouTube feature for Apple TV will be available as a free software update in mid-June.
Dell laying off 10% of its workforce. Today Dell announced that they're planning to layoff nearly ten percent of the company's workforce according to the BBC. The BBC doesn't get specific about where they'll be job cuts, but we all hope that the cuts don't come from tech support and customer service departments, as they are already looking bad in public opinion.
Test A Geek: Enjoy 3 more trivia questions.
How To: How to Add Music To Your Ipod Without Itunes
Many people I know who are thinking about buying iPod's love the unit but aren't too keen on working with iTunes. While it is a fantastic program, it does use more memory than we would like and the interface takes a little bit of getting used to; especially if you're not a mac user. Many people also believe that it's only for buying music and they have no idea that it's also a jukebox. For anyone looking to go a different route than using iTunes, these programs are for you.
What you’ll need:
First, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to enable your iPod as a portable hard drive. You can do this via startup key commands. Check your manual for more information. Once you’ve got that done, you’re ready to soup up your iPod.
Sync music and movies with Floola.
Floola is a freeware, cross platform application that lets you copy music and videos to and from your iPod from and to any computer. Floola lets you sync both audio and video to your iPod, which is a must for anyone with a video-capable iPod. Floola is actually capable of doing a lot more - like managing your music, playlists, and artwork, finding and removing duplicate songs, integrating with Last.fm, and playing your iPod’s music on a computer.
However, the important thing is that with Floola you can add music and videos to your iPod from any computer, and all it takes is a simple drag-and-drop. That means you’re no longer locked into any one computer or iTunes library. You can add music or videos to your iPod from a friend’s computer just as easily as from your own. And since Floola is cross platform, that means that you can put the Windows and Mac versions of Floola on your iPod and add songs from either a PC or a Mac.
To install Floola on your iPod, just download the OS-appropriate version and drag the app to your iPod. Double-click it and you're ready to go.
Foola is available for free from www.foola.com
Sync podcasts to your iPod with MyPodder.
MyPodder is a freeware, cross platform program for downloading podcasts directly to your MP3 player. Although Floola claims to support podcast downloading and management, people have reported having trouble getting the podcast feature to work. When dealing with podcasts, MyPodder is by far the more robust solution.
In order to use MyPodder, you’ll need an account with the Podcast Ready web site. Then just follow along with the instructions for installing MyPodder to your iPod. After it’s all set up, you can run MyPodder off your iPod on any computer to update your iPod’s podcasts.
The current version of MyPodder does a great job of adding your downloaded podcasts directly to your iPod as it downloads them, so you don’t even need to use Floola to add those downloaded MP3s to your iPod. You can manage all of your podcasts from MyPodder.
You can download MyPodder at http://www.podcastready.com/download.php
Play your iPod’s music on your computer with Pod Player.
When you’re not listening to your music on-the-go on your iPod, you can use the freeware application Pod Player to playback your music on any computer you plug your iPod into.
Pod Player is available from http://www.ipodsoft.com/site/pmwiki.php?n=podplayer.Homepage
Ask A Geek: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Hack: Mac tip: Sync iPhoto libraries across multiple machines.
Please note that the full instructions have edits to them at the end and the commands shown through the steps may not work correctly. Please reference the original article for any updates and corrections. As always, backup your data in case you make a big mistake. Losing digital pictures without recovery can be devastating!
Original article: http://www.bettnet.com/blog/index.php/weblog/comments/mac_tip_one_iphoto_library_to_rule_them_all/
If you’re a Mac user whose family has several computers and you all want to share all your digital photos, you’ll want to check this out. If you have more than one Mac in your house, sharing pictures can sometimes be difficult. iPhoto has a great feature that allows other users on the network to get at the photos on your Mac. The downside is that the Mac would have to be running iPhoto whenever someone wants the photos.
Now the main component of this hack is to have a spare Mac as a file server. You can keep a duplicate of your photos on the server, run iPhoto on the server, and then others can access those all they wants.
First, you needed a simple way to synchronize the photos from the main Mac to the server. One Mac should be the primary repository for photos. To do this we will use the Unix terminal command ‘rsync’.
(Warning: If you’re not familiar with the Terminal program, take some time to familiarize yourself with some simple tutorials online. It’s a powerful program that if misused, can do damage to your data. You’ve been warned.)
Your first stop should be an excellent tutorial at Lifehacker.com which covered using rsync when backing up files between a Mac and a PC. Here we’re doing something a little different.
Open the application “Terminal” in your “/Applications/Utilities” folder. At the command prompt, type the following:
rsync -azv --delete --exclude '.DS_Store' /Users/domenicbettinelli/Pictures/iPhoto
That is the rsync followed by a series of switches and parameters. The exact syntax doesn’t matter, but here’s what some of it means. In the block of -azv, the first time you run the command, you change the “v” to “n”, which sends it as a dry-run, telling you what files would have been sent and/or replaced if it had been an actual sync. The --delete parameter tells the server to replace any changed files on its hard drive with the files from the primary Mac. The --exclude '.DS_Store' ignores those invisible little OSX files that are in every folder and don’t need to be copied.
The parameter /Users/(your name)/Pictures/iPhoto_Library_1/ is the path to the original iPhoto library on my primary Mac and firstname.lastname@example.org:/Volumes/Neptune/Pict
ures/ is the path to the folder on the server.
(This bit—email@example.com:—is found by opening “System Preferences” and selecting “Sharing” then clicking on the “Services” tab. Now select the check box next to “Remote login” and you will have enabled ssh, which I explain below.)
The first time you run the rsync command with the -n switch, you should look to make sure everything appears correctly.
*******Make sure that you do not have any spaces in your source or destination addresses. This could cause rsync to delete lots of data.***********
When you run this command, you will be asked for a password. This is the password for the “dombett” account (or your equivalent) on the server. Remember it.
Now, once you’re sure everything is good, run the rsync command again, but this time replace the “n” in “-avn” with “z”. At this point, the sync will begin and depending on how many photos you have, it could take some time. Be patient. The first time is the longest and after this, it should go very quickly unless you add tons of photos or makes lots of edits to your primary iPhoto library.
The next step is to automate the rsync to update every night. For this we use a built-in Unix utility called cron. But to put a nice easy-to-use face on it, download a utility called Cronnix. It offers a means by which we can have the Mac run a regularly scheduled action, whether it’s opening an Applescript or launching an application or, in this case, executing a Unix command.
Click on “New” and then on the “Simple” tab. Paste the rsync command you’ve been using into the “Command” box. Then put in the time you want the command to occur. If you want to happen every day, click the check boxes for “Day of month”, “month”, and “Day of week”. The checked box means “every”, as in “every day.” For hours and minutes, enter the time you want the command to be executed each day (using a 24-hour clock). In my case, I want the sync to occur each night at 11:30 pm.
Click on the “New” button, then click “Save” and quit. Now every evening at 11:30 pm, my iPhoto library will be synchronized with the server.
Passwordless ssh logins
There’s one problem though: Every time it runs, it will ask for the server password, meaning you would need to be there to enter it. Don’t worry; we have a solution in the form of passwordless ssh logins.
For the purposes of this tutorial, this is what ssh is. Entering that command in the terminal allows you to take control of another computer as if you were sitting in front it instead of your own, which is what we’re doing with the rsync command. Pretty powerful stuff, which is why they don’t make it easy for you to let just anyone come in and muck about in your system’s innards without being an authorized user. So what we’re going to do is tell the server that when it sees an ssh connection from this one computer, to accept it without demanding a password.
Here’s how to do it. In Terminal, type cd ~, Return, then cd .sshand Return. Next type ssh-keygen -t dsa and Return. Assuming you’ve had no error messages so far, at the next prompt type scp id_dsa.pub firstname.lastname@example.org:~/.ssh/Palantir_dombe
tt_id_dsa.pub, replacing email@example.com with the ssh info for your server we got up above in the rsync section. As for Palantir_dombett_id_dsa.pub, you can replace Palantir_dombett with your primary Mac’s hard drive and your user account. This is the public encryption key file for ssh.
At the next prompt, type ssh 10.0.1.187: (use your server’s IP address) and Return. Your prompt should change slightly to reflect the fact that you’re now in control of your server. Type cd ~, Return, cd .ssh, Return, cat Palantir_dombett_id_dsa.pub >> authorized_keys (replacing it with the name of the actual public encryption key file you just generated.)
To quit the ssh connection to your server type ~. (tilde-period).
At all prompts for your password, enter your server password. If you’ve come this far without errors, you’re now set up for passwordless ssh logins. The next time the rsync command runs, it won’t ask for a password.
Automating iPhoto on the server
Of course for all this to work properly, iPhoto must always be running on the server, but when a sync occurs iPhoto needs to be restarted to recognize that its library has changed. It would be a real pain to automate everything else, but have to remember to go to the server everyday and quit and relaunch iPhoto. Happily, this can be automated too.
Open a text editor on the server, whether TextEdit or TextWrangler or TextMate or BBedit or what have you. Type the following into a new window:
osascript -e 'tell application '"iPhoto"' to quit'
osascript -e 'tell application '"Finder"' to delay 20'
osascript -e 'tell application '"iPhoto"' to activate'
What this little file does is run a batch of Unix command that call Applescript from within the Unix environment to quit iPhoto if it’s running, wait 20 seconds to give it time to quit, and then restart it. That’s it.
Save the file as “restart_iPhoto.sh” to your /User folder and then open Terminal. You need to turn this text file into an executable script so type chmod u+x ~/restart_iPhoto.sh and hit Return.
From the prompt, type restart_iPhoto.sh and Return. This should quit iPhoto (if it’s running), pause, then launch it again. Now to set up a schedule.
You could download Cronnix to this computer too, but here’s the Unix way of manipulating cron. In another text file, type the following:
#minute hour mday month wday sh
30 01 * * * sh /Volumes/Neptune/restart_iPhoto.sh
Substitute your own path/to/file.sh. Save the text file as “restartiPhotocron”. Now, back in Terminal, type crontab /Volumes/Neptune/restartiPhotocron and hit Return. Type crontab -l to make sure that it went in correctly and you’re all set. Now, ever day at 1:30 am, the server will quit and restart iPhoto. Because this will run two hours after the rsync, this gives plenty of time for all the copying to be finished first.
The last step is to turn on Sharing in iPhoto on the server. First, you need to open a hole in the firewall for iPhoto to see through, so open up “System Preferences” on the server and then click on “Sharing”. This time, click on the “Firewall” tab. Check the box next to “iPhoto Bonjour Sharing.” Quit “System Preferences” and switch to iPhoto.
Click on “Sharing” and then select “Share my photos”. In my case, I chose to share all my photos (may as well since you copied them all over there), and then set my shared name to “Server’s photos”. You can require a password for access if you want.
Go back to your other Mac, open up iPhoto, and if you have “look for shared photos” set in your preferences, you should see “Server’s photos” in the source list.
Epilogue and final thoughts
With a little experimenting, I’m sure this method could be adapted for iTunes and other programs that keep a library of files and share them out.
I’m also sure that some of these steps are a bit of kludge and that an experience Unix and/or scripting guru could clean my method up a lot (after he shakes his head in disgust at this mess). On the other hand, I had fun figuring this out on my own and learning quite a bit in the process, which is half the reason I do it. (The other half is that great feeling of satisfaction knowing that you were able to go from “I wish I could…” to “I did it!” )
Any comments, questions, and most importantly corrections and advice would be greatly appreciated in the comments below.
Update (Apr 9, 07 11:20 pm): I think the rsync command I'm using needs to be adjusted a little in order to ensure that it's syncing everything in the folders of the iPhoto library. This should work: rsync -azv --delete --exclude '.DS_Store' /Users/domenicbettinelli/Pictures/iPhoto
ures. You have to take the trailing slashes off the source and destination. The other problem I've encountered is if a user is still sharing the library, the program on the server won't quit. I need to find a way in Applescript to make it quit, which I'm sure is possible even if I have to resort to the brute method of a kill command.
Update (Apr 10, 07 5:14 pm): Jason advises in the comments that we should add the -E attribute to the rsync command in order to make all the proper Mac OS X metadata gets copied as well so that it would take this form: rsync -azvE --delete --exclude ‘.DS_Store’ "source" "dest"http://www.bettnet.com/blog/index.php/weblog/comments/mac_tip_one_iphoto_library_to_rule_them_all/
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