I have my iTunes library sync’ed among my three computers using rsync.

– PC with my initial music collection (Win7)
– Synology DiskStation DS210 (tiny Linux-based server)
– Macbook (Mac OSX)

On windows, I installed cwrsync. Then I modified the provided .cmd batch file to push to the DiskStation:

rsync -avz --progress --no-g --chmod=ugo=rwX --delete --exclude='.*' --exclude '@eaDir' "/cygdrive/c/Users/Adam Klein/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/" root@DiskStation:/volume1/Shared/music/Adam

On OSX, I pull the music:

# rsyncs remote music library to local copy

cd ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Music
rsync --iconv=UTF8-MAC,UTF8 -Xavzh --progress --delete --exclude '@eaDir' root@DiskStation:/volume1/Shared/music/Adam/ .

Initially this behaved strangely – unicode characters with accents messed up the sync. It took some googling, but I finally stumbled on the answer. Mac does something weird with UTF8. You need an “iconv” parameter in there (note it in the command above).

You can do this without having to manually enter passwords, if you get your .ssh keys set up correctly.  You create a public/private keypair using ssh-keygen, keeping the private key in your local ~/.ssh/, and appending the public key to the remote ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file.  A post on how to do it is here.

I’ll just add you can probably rsync as a regular, non-root user. But you just have to make sure all the permissions & ownership update correctly.  Things can get a bit screwy between Win7, Linux, and OSX.

I’m moving over to an iMac soon. I wonder whether I’ll give up all this manual syncing for iCloud?

I went to Montreal over the weekend. I brought my iPad, natch.

But when I tried to watch Netflix or listen to Pandora, the apps told me I couldn’t access them from the country I was in.

Observation: Internet ≠ Internet Services

I broke down and bought an Apple TV 2.  And I have to say, it works beautifully.

I can stream to my living room stereo, via Airplay, from my iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch; and from my iTunes instances; and even from my always-on Synology DiskStation (DS210j) server, which I updated to the 3.1 OS beta build with Airplay.  For the Synology DS:  I use the DS Audio Station application, and the DS Audio iOS app as a remote control.  And, Pandora plays via Airplay to the living room as well.  And native Netflix streaming.  And it’s using wireless 802.11N.

A rather pleasant, if restricted, walled garden.  Sometimes pragmatism trumps.

Thumbs up to the Tune-Up app, which has helped me clean and consolidate my digital library.  Totally worth the money.

As I sit here in Jury Duty, I’m trying to figure out how to simplify organizing & playing my digital media content.

For music, I stream audio files stored on my Synology 210j (NAS/server) to my Squeezebox Classic via the SqueezeCenter plug-in, all controlled with the iPeng remote control app.  For video, I watch Netflix streaming via my WD HD TV Live Plus. This setup has worked beautifully so far.  I’d ripped all my CDs to FLAC lossless codec, since the extra bits are worth it for my main stereo. 

Now, my household has filled up with Apple devices: besides my desktop PC and Synology NAS, we have an iPod touch, two iPhones,  two iPads, and two Macbooks. All my non-FLAC digital music on my PC, and my fiancee’s on her Macbook, is mp3s, organized in iTunes. And my content is not just music – it’s mobile apps too. So it seems to make sense to continue to use iTunes to manage my devices and my media content. With Home Sharing and Airplay and the Remote iOS app, Apple is making strides in accessing and playing heterogenous libraries of media content over multiple devices.  But, Apple doesn’t support FLAC.  SHAME ON YOU, APPLE.  Nevertheless, I’ve decided to convert everything to ALAC Apple Lossless (thanks dbPowerAmp!) to be Apple-friendly, so I can manage it in iTunes.

The SqueezeCenter plug-in, however, streams ALAC by transcoding – the Squeezebox Classic receiver does not handle ALAC natively.  The Synology CPU/RAM capability becomes a worry here.  On two separate ALAC streaming tests I did, one worked just fine; on the other, the stream halted and buffered every 5-10 seconds.  But this was before I updated the Synology OS to 3.1.

One thought is to replace both my Squeezebox and WD HD TV Live Plus with Apple TV.  (Sorry WD: there just isn’t a slick iOS remote control for your device. ) With Airplay, I should be able stream from the Synology Audio Station plug-in – which recently acquired the ability to do so, via this beta release – by selecting the Audio Station Media Renderer to be Apple TV.  From the Synology blog:

  • AirPlay Support: AirPlay support in Audio Station’s Media Renderer mode allows you to stream music from your DiskStation to any AirPlay device which could be either a TV or stereo set in your living room
  • iOS Apps(Coming soon on Apple® App Store): DS audio is now enhanced with media renderer support helps you remotely control the music playback from DiskStation to Airplay speakers or any compatible media renderer.

And instead of iPeng, I’d use the Synology iOS app (DS Audio) as a  remote control.

But another thing that bothers me about Apple TV (besides no FLAC support and other media formats that I don’t care about right now) is that it doesn’t support Pandora radio.  I just love Pandora.  But, it seems the Pandora app supports Airplay?  So that would solve that problem.

Come to think of it, it would be killer if HBO GO and the other iPad apps also support Airplay.  I just read that they don’t.  SHAME ON YOU, CONTENT PROVIDERS.

I am just going to stream transcoded ALAC via SqueezeCenter for now.  But Apple TV does seem like it’s getting more attractive.


I thought that perhaps configuring my WD TV Live Plus as a Digital Media Render (DMR) via its uPNP/DLNA compatibility, and then using Audio Station (and the DS Audio app) will give me all the functionality I need – but alas, the WD TV Live Plus does not play Apple Lossless ALAC either – Audio Station would still have to transcode.  Shame on you once more, Apple, for your ALAC-induced headache, and for forcing my hand into buying your Apple TV.  You are a wily one!

Every once in awhile, I’ll stumble on a product that finally fills some long-standing desire, with a unique combination of features and ease-of-use that previous products never seemed to get right.

I’d wanted a Media PC in my living room A/V setup for awhile.  I have a fairly intense setup: a pair of Cabasse Kara speakers, a Bel Canto PrePro and Evo2 Amp, a Marantz BluRay player, a Squeezebox (feeding music from an always-on Synology NAS), and a cute little Logitech 1100 to make it all go-go-go (and most importantly to prevent my setup from reducing my fiancee to tears every time she wants to do something simple).

I didn’t want any of the bulky and/or noisy fat boxes, pre-made or self-built, that ran Windows Media Center or an open source Linux media distribution like MythTV.  And I didn’t want to upload content that had to sit locally on the machine – I wanted to stream it remotely.  I was also not convinced HDMI / HD connectivity on computing devices was up to par.

All those concerns are gone.  The WD box (extended with a Rosewill Wireless USB Dongle) is phenomenal.  I can stream instant Netflix, or access any media on my 1Tb mirrored-raid Synology NAS, and just play it through my living room setup seamlessly.  Since I don’t rip or download movies, I don’t require insane bandwidth, so I’m satisfied with my wireless.

Kudos to you WD.  You have made a loyal customer out of me.

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