Soon to take the plunge for a whole house move to Mac. Need advice.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Randomizer, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Current situation:
    - 802.11n Router with gigabit wired ports in the basement
    - Router is connected to 8-port gigabit switches throughout the house
    - two PCs, one laptop and numerous other devices included A/V receivers, gaming units, tvs etc connected to the network via lan
    - other devices utilizing wireless
    - my wife and I use iPads and iPhones around the house.
    - we have a new Apple TV3 wired to one of the 8-port switches
    - older printer, not airprint - connected to the lan.
    - older HP Mediasmart server connected to the lan and handling backup duties

    My plan is to make a whole house move to Apple following release of the next iMacs. Here's what a like to do:
    - iMac in my office for myself. Essentially my base station.
    - iMac in my family room for the family. Essentially the base station for my family (wife and kids)
    - My wife and I would continue to use our iPads and iPhones as we do now. Each utilize iCloud and the same Apple id for store purchase but my wife utilizes another (sub?) id for iCloud so that we do not share pix, contacts etc.
    - My router is due for an upgrade and I would like a user friendly backup solution. Thinking Time Capsule would do the trick. May I assume I can swap in the Time Capsule for the current router and it will continue to perform as the previous (connected via lan to various switches etc) and remove the mediasmart server because the TC will handle the backup?
    - printer upgrade to airprint capable
    - I'd like a media server that will handle itunes serving, photo, video and media mgt. I'd also like it to be able to perform as a surveillance / security station and possibly as an ftp server when needed. Does Apple offer a friendly solution for this?
    - I'd like to move to a digital office. Thinking Evernote + a SnapScan scanner will get me there.
    - I'd like the whole shebang to be user friendly. Syncing between iMacs, iPads and iPhones. Security cameras viewable on any of the Apple devices and on the phones when out of the home.

    I know I rambled a bit. Any advice?
  2. macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2011
    What you want to do is very doable, when I switched I replaced the netgear routers with Airport extremes(kept 1 for the 2 xboxes and blu-ray drive to connect to) so I have 3 airport extemes and a netgear router all connecting 3 iMacs(wired) and a MacBook Pro(wired). I don't have a iPad(yet) but iPhones sync without issues and you can share iTunes over the network although we use the same ID for purchases. Email is a breeze. I have several accounts and they all sync on the iPhones, iMacs and MacBook pro with ease and while we have our own emails we also share one so we both get the emails on Macs and iPhones and also good for keeping an eye out on what the kids do as far as email. My setup involves the house and a studio in the backyard and they are wired together(wireless signal only good when the door is open so I had no choice but to wire it. Dug a little trench for the wire)

    As for the printer I recommend the Epson 835. I have 2 of them both wireless and they are reasonable and setup is easy. Awesome printer.

    I wired my iMacs because I edit images on all the macs but keep the images on the one "base station" Mac in the office(use Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt Drive for working files). This keeps the network speed up and a steady 90mbps. You don't have to wire it but I recommend it. Wireless is convenient but slow. I recently did a SSD setup I posted in another post so check that out. I recommend getting your iMac with an SSD(totally worth it). I personally use WD 2TB external HD's on all the iMacs for backups via TM.

    The network is easy to setup and I hope that helps.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2009
    It sounds to me like you've done your homework and already figured it all out. Use Plex as your media server. You are going to have an awesome set up when you're done.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2011
    Only if you're prepared for the serious consequences that are bound to happen.
  5. macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    There are rumors of new Airports as some faster speeds are out there.
    Maybe when the new Mac models come out, they also release new Airports.

    Do not rely only on Time Capsule for back ups, it doesn't manage very feel big file sizes.
    It is recommended to also have some additional hard drives with safe back ups.

    That move requires a serious amount of money.
    I would like to be able to afford all that, if you don't mind sharing, what do you do for a living?
  6. macrumors 68030

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    You don't need to buy a printer that specifically supports AirPrint. What I did was buy a program for the Mac like FingerPrint. I installed the program on my Mac-Mini. I use it with a Xerox Phaser 6280DN laser printer. I can print from my iPad and iPhone to the Xerox printer. Even when the Mac-Mini is sleeping it is no problem to print from any iDevice in the house.

    As far as the Time Capsule, instead you could setup one of the Macs as the backup machine. What I did with my MacBook Pro is I wireless Time Machine backup to the backup HD that is attached to my iMac.

    Someone mentioned Plex as a possibility for your media server, another possibilty would be to use XBMC.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    South Carolina
    Depending on the nature of your document needs, consider Devonthink Pro Office (or whatever flavor suits) instead of or to complement Evernote. There are some threads here on MacRumors about DT you can search for. Oh, I have a SnapScan 1500m - you'll absolutely love that device! In 2 months, I've digitized 4 file cabinets at work. (had some help in the office, but all was done on a SnapScan.)

    +1 to Plex as media server. I had jailbroken AppleTV to stream from my Plex server, but recent ATV software update killed that for me, so I'm using a stock ATV2, BUT it is trivial to start a movie on Plex iPad app, and then airplay to my ATV to put up on the bigger TV.)

    I've also started a double-layer backup strategy. Time machine is my first layer, but then I also use SuperDuper to make bootable image files on a schedule. Store these on external FW drive. I'm probably going to add Carbonite at some time just to off-site the backup as well. Disk drive failure a few years ago resulted in loosing family pics and home movies - while it doesn't really kill you, man, it sure feels bad to loose all that history of your kids.

  8. macrumors 68030


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I suggest ...

    +1 for Plex.

    - Also setup an appointment at the Apple Store ... see if you can bring in your desktop & laptop PC's so that they can migrate your data (correctly: iTunes, iPhoto, and proper user libraries). Many PC users have a horrible habit of saving things on the root of C drive (a big no, no) and these files are forgotten during transfer. Apple Store Genius can also assist with migration and with your Mac purchase take advantage of the free training to get used to OSX (maybe not you but the kids would like it).

    Hopefully this'll help with the ATV2 setup as well and being able to view videos on iPhone/iPad's that you have from the iMac's.

    PS: Welcome to the OSX/iOS fold. It's a big change but you're going to love it.
  9. ATC
    macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    We did something similar a few years ago when we migrated fully from Windows to Macs. Everything you want to do is doable, and while I'm sure you'll have some frustrations early on due to the differences in how things are done between Windows and OSX, you'll be thankful for doing the switch in the long term. My wife and I couldn't be happier now, and I no longer get those tech support calls at work from my wife. :)

    One thing you'll appreciate in the coming version of OSX (Mountain Lion) is that now during the setup process it asks you if you have more than one AppleID so it sets one up for store purchases/iTunes/App Store etc... and another for iCloud (Email, Calendars, contacts, bookmarks etc...). This is great for households like ours where everyone has their own iCloud account but we all share the same AppleID for purchases. Of course you can easily do that too with Lion but the process is so well integrated and seamless in ML.

    The best purchase we had was investing in a good wireless multifunction device (printer, scanner, fax and copier). We picked up a cheap (well under $200) Canon MX870 and it's been awesome to print and scan wirelessly from any Mac in the house. We have it set up under Lion but to my surprise it's been working flawlessly under ML DP2 as well using the Lion drivers. Of course I'm not suggesting you get a Canon MFD as there are many others out there that might be better but a good wireless MFD is priceless IMO.

    Another suggestion if you're trying to migrate from using Outlook to OSX' Mail/Contacts/Calendar, especially if you have a large number of important emails that you'd like to keep, is using a program called O2M (by Little Machines). It was the easiest way to fully migrate data from MSFT Outlook to OSX.
  10. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    A few suggestions, although you seem to have it figured out.

    The Airport Express Base Stations are nice routers; I got one refurb and it works well. But one thing I hate is that you have to use a dedicated Mac application to configure it. Big PITA IMHO. And I'm not a fan of Time Capsules; I'd prefer that my hard drives be separate from my router in case of failure of either.

    I'm going to assume you will continue to use one or more of the PCs. There's probably some software you will need to use on a PC. In the past I might have suggested virtualization software, but if you've already got the hardware, keep it. There are very few security systems available for Macs compared to Windows, so you might want to dedicate the security system to a Windows box. I'd keep the existing HP backup solution for the PCs and for this security system. Use Time Machine and externals or other solutions for the Macs depending on your backup needs (you didn't detail those so can't give much advice).

    I wouldn't bother with an airprint printer. There are plenty of good wifi or ethernet printers around so you don't need to limit your choices. You can also share printers from a Mac. And check out Printopia for your mobile devices; it allows printing and transferring to your Mac network. I'd go with Canon or Brother; they, unlike some others, are fast with Mac support.

    Media serving is a whole mess in itself. And as I said, I'd keep the security system separate and get something for the older PCs you have. Ironically it's easier to find iPhone apps to view security systems than to find Mac software. Plex is great; I agree with that. The Mac OS itself has a lot of sharing built in: photos, movies, etc. So you may not need much more of anything. If you have gaming consoles, DVRs, etc I'd highly recommend Playback by Yazsoft; it makes your Mac stuff available on those platforms. Ditto with the file sharing; it is very easy within your LAN. If you need to go further, Yazsoft also has ShareTool (essentially SSH so you can share your bonjour services over the internet securely as well).

    Scansnaps are very popular for Mac office use. I'd agree with looking at Devonthink Pro Office as well; they might have a bundle with the scanner. One thing about it, though, is that it isn't a TWAIN scanner, which can make a difference to some who use certain graphic software, for instance. I use a Canon P150M as a sheetfeed; it can't do the volume of the ScanSnap but it's super portable (runs off just USB power) and super easy to use, and amazingly quick for the price.

    I dunno what your business is, but you might consider making sure it is rather self supported. I've had friends who had to transition from a shared family setup to an offsite office and it was a BIG pain. You might even consider Lion Server. It's cheap, and designed for situations like yours. Still requires some knowledge, but you've obviously got that. It could make managing all this easier, and give you room to expand. The way things are going those kids will probably have offices in your home as well :D
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Great info everyone! Much thanks. I am really looking forward to the transition.
    A few questions and a few answers:
    - I took a look at Plex. It appears to not work with AppleTV (at least not jailbroken) - or to make it irrelevant to a degree. Is this correct? I see the ability to serve iTunes but isn't that somewhat redundant in that it replaces iTunes in a number of ways?
    - not quite sure on the backup scenario. Currently - all PCs and a laptop back up to an HP MediaSmart server. It's an older version running Windows Server V1 meaning it contains the popular drive extender feature providing multi-disk redundancy. To the dismay of many, Microsoft dumped drive extender with the release of Server V2 and all support for V1 will end next year. I am going to have to do something. I like the simplicity of Time Capsule although it does not provide multi-disk redundancy. Not to mention that it appears to be a strong router. Can I simply sub this into my network for the current D-Link router? One response mentioned using multiple Airport Extremes. Why multiple?
    - The MediaSmart contained an iTunes server and a photo server as well. Each would serve to the PS3 or the X-Box clients on my network. I never did set that up and with the impending move and upgrade will not. I like the AppleTV 3 interface better than accessing via the PS3 or X-Box. My wife and kids do as well. I would like to continue to use it but housing all of the media on an external. Doesn't look like Time Capsule will do this so I would need something else - another NAS?
    - Home security. I like the Logitech security camera system but the software is windows only. The recording is self contained within the camera and accessible via app for iPad & iPhone. ZyXel seems to have a camera line with 720p resolutions that look promising. Not quite sure how home security would weave into this setup.
    - Mountain Lion seems like it will be very supportive of multi-icloud id with shared store id. We do want to share calendars though. I am hoping this will be possible. I know I can do it using Google Calendar if I need to but I may want to go iCal only.
    - All of my itunes, video, audio, docs etc are on non-C drives.
    - I am hearing about Apple support for the new gigabit wireless standard 802.11ac within next release of Time Capsule and Airport Extreme. Hardware support within clients would be needed as well.
    - I do realize that this will be costly. I plan on moving in steps but fairly quickly. iMacs would be first. With this I need to figure out how I can store and maintain my media server because I want to move iTunes library only once. Router upgrade next - to Time Capsule unless talked out of it.
    On this note - would it be recommended that I look to move my iTunes library off my PC to something external now and if I do will it be accessible by the iMacs out of the box once I get them and set them up?
  12. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    Yeah, Plex is kinda what you'd get if you don't have Apple TV. But it also serves more stuff than Apple TV. If you look at the various plugins you'll see where the big differences are. ATV is solidly within the Apple closed box; they've expanded to Netflix and some other stuff, but they're not as diverse as Plex. There's a lot more out there than iTunes, and it's changing all the time.

    Again, I'd go with the current PC backup for your PCs. As you use the Macs more just use TM with them, and preserve the old PC backup. I assume you've got archives of stuff there you wanna keep.

    I prefer separate router/disk. You'd only need one Airport Express Base Station as far as I understand your setup. I also like redundant backup, which for me means both network backup and using an external on each Mac. The AEBS should fit right in, but has some idiosyncracies depending on how you wire up to the internet, etc. It's just different, but mostly in the interface.

    Since you do have Xbox, etc. again I'd highly suggest Playback. Then you'll be able to see your photos, videos, and anything else on your Mac network on the consoles. Very cool. IPhoto and iTunes all have home sharing to other Apple devices, so you don't really need anything separate for them...just Playback if you want to send to non-apple stuff. I connect much of my media to an external attached to my AEBS (NOT Time Capsule). Works great. And acts as a backup from my individual Macs.

    Keep security separate (and BTW, when you do get burglarized and need the video, it will be on your stolen Macs at the burglar's house...keep away from that scenario).

    Lion Server might be nice for you if you wanna share calendars and contacts, although certainly Google will work. It does make it easier to keep work and home stuff separate though, and somewhat easier to administer.

    If I were you I'd start with the Macs, and just integrate them into your existing network and get used to what they can do. Then add backup solutions. And finally the new router. No need to move things around now; get used to the capabilities of the Mac OS first because it may affect what hardware you get and what you do with it.

  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Another question for the Apple experts as I transition. My media library is large. Video, music, photos etc. I am running out of space on my PC hard drive and wanted to offload my itunes library plus all other media to an external that would be Mac friendly. I understand Mac prefers a different hard drive format. How can I do this?
  14. macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005

    I would connect via gigabit ethernet and transfer through shared folders.
  15. macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2007
    I just had a couple of small suggestions, although you have it figured out.

    Great job using one "master" apple ID for purchases from iTunes store/mac app store. Then use another one for iCloud syncing. That's exactly what you want to do. I wish more people did this.

    Since the iMacs are not mobile, I would consider a simple USB drive at each computer for time machine, no need to complicate it by using a time capsule for backups. Besides, ideally you want twice the internal hard drive for time machine drive.

    Buy Printopia mac app (not on the app store, but you can google it) once you get your mac, it turns any printer into an AirPrint printer. I use it, it works great printing from my ipad/iphone, and allowed me to keep my printer instead of junking it for a new AirPrint one. (Of course, when the older stuff dies, just buy an AirPrint model.)

    For FTP server, I think it is included in the lion server app, but there may be better solutions. I think FTP is also not considered the most secure format anymore, but I am sure others can help you with that better than I can. Also, you can hold off until mountain lion is released, and then purchase the server portion if needed (as long as they are separate apps like lion.)
  16. macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2012
    why would you say that?
  17. macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2012
    I do pretty much the same thing. You and your wife should have separate/individual accounts. You should have a third 'family' account for shared resources and store purchases. Under no circumstances should you ever be able to access your wife's personal resources and vice/versa. Only your lawyer/executor should be given the login information for your personal accounts.

    If you permit your children to utilize e-mail for personal correspondence, I would recommend that they use sub-accounts of the family account, so that both you and your wife have access to sensor/sanitize/supervise.

  18. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    Either a Mac Mini with usb 3.0 (the new ones supposedly will have usb3) with a drobo usb 3.0 so you have multi disk expandable storage, or a NAS for your library, the synology's have an itunes server as well.

    Something from the 8 bay DS1812+, to a 2 bay DS212 , it also has DNLA along with the itunes server.
  19. macrumors member

    May 14, 2012
    Sounds like a healthy marriage you have there.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2012
  21. macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2012
  22. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    Sounds a bit like me, I'm waiting for new iMacs because I have 3 daughters limping along with 3 eMacs! All airport and 10.5 but hard to keep going for teenagers.
    I'm going to put the ole 17" iMac from kitchen to the upstairs family room, my i3 iMac in the kitchen, and I'm getting a loaded up 27" or whatever is equivalent. When the 21" with USB 3.0 get to the refurbs-I hook 3 up for Christmas presents for the kids.

    I suggest some airport expresses-I have one hooked to the home theater, another to the whole house receiver for the built in speakers, and a third to a separate B&W laser printer for the kids.

    Brother has a app out to print to some of its printers directly from your iPhone and iPad.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2012
    Its nothing like you. You have macs and airports. This person only has iPhones and iPads.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    I have a whole house of Mac. plus 2 iPhones and 2iPads. My point was to help him think about expresses for special purposes and other printing capabilities.
  25. macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2010
    No kidding

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