Administrating your Mac Mini Plex media machine

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by VirtualRain, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I've got my Mac Mini setup in the living room, but now I'm struggling with the best way to remotely administer it.

    I want to be able to keep Plex running should anyone, including myself want to sit down in front of the TV to use it for something, while also being able to log in to it from another machine to administer the BT client or back-end files.

    Is there anyway to do this seamlessly?

    I'm currently running screen sharing but if I forget to restart Plex when I'm done with the remote management, it's less than ideal if someone turns on the TV.

    Is there any way to improve what I'm doing?
  2. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    Ooooh ooh! Pick me! Pick me!

    This will be fairly long:

    Step 1: Get Transmission ->
    Step 2: Get Port Forward ->
    Step 3 (optional): Get SABnzbD+ If you use Usenet ->
    Step 4: Launch Transmission. Go into preferences (I think) and enable the web interface. Check which port Transmission is using (default is 9091). As seen here. Make sure to set up a login and password.
    Step 5: In Port Forward, set it up to forward port 9091.
    Step 6: Go to your other computer. Type in your favorite web browser:


    You can replace 9091 with whichever port is being forwarded in step 4 and 5. Enter your login and password.

    Step 7: Paypal Capt Crunch money because he's totally sweet.
    BONUS! Step 8: Go to and follow it's instructions to get a nice url for your dynamic ip. You will download some software which will route a nice url (such as to your dynamic ip. What will this do? This will allow you to use the URL and you will be able to control Transmission FROM ANY COMPUTER IN THE WORLD.


    That's right! Any computer on the internet!

    I was so happy to have gotten this to work. Now, I share my happiness with you. I set up all my downloads at home while I'm at work and they are waiting for me when I get home.
  3. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Hmm... that sounds like a good way to remotely administer BT downloads, but I also need to login and rename movie folders for Plex to ingest them, and other mundane tasks.

    I also don't need remote access over the internet, just on my LAN.
  4. pj- macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2008
    You might want to look into getting a programmable remote control that will turn plex on only when the tv is on and set to the mac mini input, and turn plex off otherwise. Even at idle, plex is doing things in the background that are increasing the mini's power consumption.

    For adding/removing/moving files around, you can just turn on file sharing on the mini in the "Sharing" system preference pane, tell it what folders to share, and then the mini will show up in finder on your other computer as a "Shared" location. The account you use to connect will of course need proper privileges to access the folders. If you connect as an admin, you can even remotely install apps by dragging them to the applications folder.

    If you need to actually use the desktop:

    1. Create a second account on the mini
    2. Enable fast user switching in System Preferences -> Accounts -> Login options
    3. Download vine server ->

    4. Install vine server on the new account, and add it to login items so it starts automatically, then run it ( you may have to do a little tweaking of the port or display number )

    5. Download Chicken of the VNC on the computer you will be controlling from -> ( If you can get screensharing to connect to vineserver you don't need this, but I can't )

    6. Run CotVNC, it should find the vine server, connect to it and you're done

    You may have to change some permissions on files/folders of the main account so the secondary account can access them.

    Here's the end result:

    Window titled "pjm mm" is screen sharing with plex account, window titled "pjremote" is CotVNC remotely controlling the second account.

    I generally use the web control for transmission, but lately it seems like it won't add torrents over 1gb, so I have to add them manually with screen sharing.
  5. JBaughb macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2008
    I typically use screen sharing but you can also just use finder to move around/rename files over the network. That's the easiest way for me while Plex is running. If you're interested in managing BT downloads you can download the transmission plug-in for Plex. Its basic but works.
  6. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I think I figured out a decent solution to starting/stopping Plex everytime someone uses the TV... thanks to the Harmony remote...

    I've programmed the Harmony remote to quit Plex on exiting the media center activity and to start PLEX on initiating the media center activity. This ensures that Plex is always running when someone needs it and similarly it's not consuming CPU cycles when the TV is off.

    This way, I can simply use screen sharing for managing the BT client and finder for moving files around and don't need to worry what state I leave things in when working remotely.

    I also found a good way to make a desktop drive alias on my Mac Pro to the Firewire media drive on the mini...

    After creating the alias as outlined above, uncheck the "Connected Servers" option to avoid duplicate icons.
  7. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    The rest can be done by the Finder. Just connect to your Mini via the Finder and manipulate as you like.
  8. mankymanning macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2008

    I tried this but whenever I switched back into the first account to run plex in screen sharing then I could no longer log in to account number 2 though VNC. This is with snow leopard...anyone else had this?
  9. mankymanning macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2008
    I managed to get it working kind of, I can VNC into the "admin" account just fine but when I do Plex on the "view" account freezes. The scrolly bar stops moving and it won't respond to input. Only once I disconnect the "admin" VNC session does it come back to life...
  10. dhartung02 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2007
    Little Rock, AR
    I get this exact same problem. Has anyone come up with a way around this? I would like my plex session to remain running, hooked to the tv undisturbed, with a second session available that i can log in and manage things. I havent found a good way to handle this though.

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