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Ask TUAW: iPod problems, sharing iTunes, copying DVDs, AEBS, DNS problems and more

Mat Lu

In this round of Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about sharing an AEBS disc over the internet, copying DVDs, sharing one iTunes library between two computers, DNS problems and much more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. When asking a question please include which machine you're running and which version of OS X, as certain answers will vary between different Macs and Tiger vs. Leopard, etc. (we'll assume you're running Leopard if you don't specify). And now, on to the questions!

robnester asks

I've recently bought a new iMac (gotta love the Core2Duo after upgrading from a g5) and created an account for me, and one for my girlfriend. I've got a large iTunes library (~45,000 mp3s) on an external disk and have successfully added them all to my library. I've configured both my iTunes and the iTunes on my girlfriend's account to point to the external drive, but here's the problem: When I add music to my library, it doesn't update hers and vice versa. I mean, it does copy the music to the music folder on the external however, it doesn't add it to the other user's library. How can I set it up so that when either of us add music to our own iTunes, it is reflected in the other's library?

The problem is that each machine account has a separate iTunes Library file located at ~/Music/iTunes. As far as I know, there's not really any way to make it so that you can both access the library at the same time and keep everything synced. You could have both machines accounts use the same Library file (by using a alias from ~/Music/iTunes to an iTunes folder on the external drive containing both the Library file and the xml) but if you both accessed it at the same time it would likely become corrupted.

What you can do is manually add the music with ⌘+O on the machine that's missing the music. The better solution, I think, is not to have her machine actually point to the iTunes library on yours, but rather for you just to share your library to hers with the built-in iTunes sharing. It's true that she won't be able to add music to your library, but could you not just work it out so that you always add music from your machine alone?

Update: Oops. Somehow I completely misread the question, thinking he wanted to share between two machines (I think I just got this question confused with another one I didn't answer publicly). Anyway, to do this just use an alias. In the comments below, Dave points to this article by Chris Breen at Macworld.

Tommy asks

I'm considering shelling out for an iPhone but I really won't be able to deal with the contract since I'm on a irregular income and being a student and all. I heard when you buy an iPhone (I'm in the UK, so it's from O2) you choose your plan through iTunes. If so, is it possible to unlock it before I choose a package, and if it is possible, how do I do it? BTW, I want to use an O2 sim on Pay As You Go. I'm kind of a noob with all this. So a complete walkthrough from start to finish would be nice (even one from another site not as good as yourselves.)

I've never tried this myself, and I can't recommend it. But if you insist this guide at ModMyiFone will get you started.

alex asks

160gb iPod classic. Just noticed this problem a couple weeks ago, I don't know if I just never noticed it before or if is recent. Bught in December so my warranty is up too btw. When playing back music, every so often, the music annoyingly stops for a hard drive read, and after a couple second delay resumes playback. I'm wondering if there is a solution to this problem? I noticed a couple of people posting identical problems on the Apple support forums, but I haven't seen any fixes, or even Apple's acknowledgement of the. I would say it happens roughly every 15 minutes. My music is in Apple lossless, but I've never had this problem with any of my other hard drive based iPods. Did they short change the cache in the 160gb version, software bug, hard drive about to die?

Well first of all, your iPod is still in warranty so you can still take it into an Apple Store. I don't have a solution to your problem, but there is a long thread at Apple Discussions with people having the same problem.

From what I can tell, it's unlikely that your hard drive is about to die. You might try upgrading or downgrading the firmware, but it sounds like this is a known problem. You might see if the problem persist when playing files smaller than 50mb. Otherwise, all I can suggest is taking it back to the Apple Store and complaining.

Paul asks

I have a question about the Apple TV. I have the 40GB option and am currently streaming my content from my Macbook to the ATV. HOWEVER, it seems to me that it is sort of a waste of 40GB to leave it entirely unused. What I would like to do is this: sync all of my movies/tv shows/video media onto the Apple TV (thereby freeing that space up on my Macbook where I will never watch such media anyway) and stream my iTunes, and iPhoto (which is in total 60-70GB) At the moment when I try to do this I can only do ONE or the OTHER i.e. 100% stream or 100% sync - it seems that this is built into the ATV. Has anyone found a work around for this? Thanks!

The Apple TV has built-in support for syncing and streaming from the same library. However, you can't do what you want to do. If you delete the video content from the MacBook it can't be synced to the Apple TV. In other words, syncing is just that. So if you sync the videos and then delete them from the MacBook, then they'll be deleted from the Apple TV the next time you sync.

climbingcolorado asks

I'm running a new 20" iMac, 2.4GHz and 10.5.2. I've ripped my personal DVD collection for iPod syncing and whatnot. The other night, my wife and I went looking for a DVD to watch, and realized we'd lent the disc to a friend. How can I get what's on my iMac to my TV. I think I just simply want to duplicate a DVD, but iDVD took 7 hours to write one. Looking for a solution other than AppleTV. The TV is a 8yo Sony WEGA flat screen model. I'm guessing, due to its' age, is analog and standard def. I have component, RCA and S-video ins as options. I know I can hook my 12" PBG4 up thru mini-DV to it's video RCA and stream across my network. This way I'm wireless, as opposed to running a cable across my living room to my TV. What about just duplicating a DVD, in general?

In your particular situation, I would copy the video file to the PowerBook and connect that to the TV. You can get an adapter ($19) for your 12" PowerBook to S-video. (Your TV is definitely not high definition).

The problem with duplicating a movie DVD is that it's encrypted. So to read the disc you'll need something like FairMount which will perform a realtime decryption when you copy the VIDEO_TS folder from the disc to your hard drive. You'll then need a burning application like Roxio Toast to do the actual burning.

mathmonkey asks

I use for all my accounts, but use gmail as my outgoing SMTP server, so all my outgoing mail goes through there. I CC or BCC all replies to that account for archiving. Is there a way to set a rule for all my replies to emails coming to to be CC'ed or BCC'ed to

Yes, in the Composing tab of the preferences just choose "Automatically Bcc: (or Cc:) myself"

For Next Time asks

I wanna make my Time Capsule's disk accessible over the internet but I have a dynamic IP address. Is there a way to do this using only the Time Capsule/Airport Utility settings? (That is, without having a separate, always-on Mac running on the network, running a blob of dyndns software that alerts dyndns whenever my IP address does a switcheroo?) Ps I'm a newbie at this kind of trick so apologies if I'm misunderstanding something simple in here.

Cycomachead asks

I've got a similar question... I've AEBS Gigabit ethernet and I've got a spare USB drive which I'm using for wireless storage-mainly for fun, can I access this from the web? What do I need? I assume I need to do some port-forwarding, but what ports? I've got a host name at DnyDNS and I've tried putting it into AirPort utility, but it didn't work. I'd like to be able to access the disk in a web browser if possible to download files or through and FTP client.

The AEBS does not have a built-in DynDNS client. However, I would point out that the dynamic IP address assigned by your ISP probably does not change that often, particularly if you're on a cable modem. So you could run the DynDNS client on your Mac (set to report your external IP, of course) and just hope that when you want to hit the AEBS over the internet your address hasn't changed since the last time your Mac was running.

The AEBS does not have a built-in web-server or FTP server so you cannot access its disk over the internet by those means. It supports SMB and AFP shares, however, which should be accessible from either a Mac or PC.

Jim asks

I am not sure if this is a Mac related problem, but I seem to be having DNS issues lately. I have Road Runner and my browser (Firefox, although I have confirmed that Safari is acting the same way) seems to get stuck on "Looking Up" and "Transferring." This just started a few days ago and Time Warner says it is not a problem on their end. I have tried to flush the DNS cache, but nothing changed. I have heard that OpenDNS is a possible solution, but I have security concerns about using them. Even though that may be a viable solution, I am wondering why this has happened all of a sudden. I have a 20" iMac 2.16 GHz running Leopard if this helps at all. I have also confirmed that closing other programs that use an internet connection do not help in any way. Any solutions or suggestions?

I have no idea why it just started happening. However, if you've tried OpenDNS does the problem go away? If so the problem would seem to be with the DNS servers. What you might do if you don't want to keep using OpenDNS is try putting Road Runner's DNS servers directly into your Network Settings (the same way you do for OpenDNS).

alvareo asks

how can i tell mi iPod touch in which order I want the photos in cause i have tried dozens of times changing the photos names, etc., but I can't figure how to tell mi iPod i want a certain picture to go first, a certain picture to go second...

The order is determined by iPhoto (or Aperture). You just need or order the photos how you like in iPhoto and that same order should be reflected on the touch.

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