Going travelling, want to use my Mac mini as a media server, what's the best setup?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Carl7, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Carl7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone.

    I'm going on a round the world trip for a year soon and I've just bought myself a Mac mini to manage my media.

    I love the idea of being able to share all of my photos to it from anywhere in the world and knowing my family can simply use their iPad/iPhone to view the photos I upload.

    I also want to use it to download new content whilst I'm away and sync it to my MBA whilst I'm on the road. E.g. Keep my iPod refreshed with new music. Stream movies from it (depending on Internet connection).

    I know I can't sync my iPod classic with the iTunes on the Mac mini but I wanted to just have one iTunes library. If I can mirror my Mac mini from home to MBA then uploading to the cloud from my home internet connection is going to be much better than a connection on the road. So I'm hoping I can somehow upload automatically from iTunes to Google Music and then download the songs back onto my MBA and sync that way?

    Is that going to work? I was wondering if anyone can suggest software (I have read about Plex) that will assist me please. Music and photos are my main concern so I'm hoping there's a solution that will work efficiently.

    I got myself an entry level 2012 Mac mini refurb off of Apple's website which should do the trick and I have an external hard drive to plug into that for additional storage.
     
  2. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #2
    I'm confused. What are you hoping to do with the mac mini that the MBA can't already do?
     
  3. Carl7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #3
    As stated I want to use it as a media server and back up my photos/videos from my travels. I want to constantly run it at home so that when I do upload new content my family can look at all my photos.

    I would also like to connect to it remotely so I can download new content to it and access it e.g. stream videos over my internet connection as opposed to downloading them to my MBA.
     
  4. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #4
    I see, the Mac Mini would stay at home and function as you personal cloud / media server. Is that right? When I first read it, I thought you planned on bringing the Mac Mini with you on the travels to use as external storage, of sorts.

    I've thought about doing something similar actually.

    For streaming movies/music, Plex seems to be a good option but you need to subscribe to Plex Premium to be able to stream the movies / music to other devices over the internet.

    For keeping your iTunes in sync across computers, you can use bittorrent sync. Have them sync up the /Music/iTunes folder, and any change you make should be propagated. I have not tried this, so it might not be super reliable, especially if iTunes is running.

    For photos, I think the best option is actually Flickr. You get 1TB of space for free, you can upload from any device, and you can share the album with anyone and organize the photos however you want. Also noteworthy is unlike other photo sharing services, Flickr preserves the original resolution of the photos and doesn't auto-apply any filters.

    If you insist on using your Mac Mini for Photos as well, I think a simple FTP connection would be best. The only issue I think you might run into is if your home IP address is dynamic.

    Another issue is how to handle crashes. You need to find a way to ensure that if there is a power outage, or a crash, or anything, the computer restarts automatically and launches all the right programs.
     
  5. Carl7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #5
    Yes that's correct. I was hoping I could manage my music, photos and videos on the Mac mini and access content remotely from my MBA. I might add that my MBA is 128GB so not really suitable to store a large iTunes library. I want to fill my iPod Classic with music and keep it up to date as best I can.

    I was going to upload to Flickr anyway, do you reckon it may be best to ditch my idea of the Mac mini and go with cloud storage like Google Drive/Flickr. Then share it that way?

    Hmm I'm not too sure how to set up the FTP upload on a Mac mini.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
  6. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #6
    Yes, I think it might be best to ditch the idea of the Mac Mini and go with a good cloud solution. Maybe a combination of Flickr for photos, Google Drive for files, and iTunes Match for music?

    I mean this in the nicest way possible, but it sounds like your idea was a bit more ambitious than what you know how to do. The particularly telling sign was your statement that you do not know how to set up FTP on your Mac Mini. Not saying everyone has to know, but it's a good yardstick of how advanced someone's IT skills are, ya know? I ask people whether they know how to change a car's oil before giving car advice for the same reason - a yardstick to measure how comfortable they are getting dirty and turning wrenches.

    Good luck and enjoy the trip!
     
  7. Carl7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #7
    That seems like a good idea. I hadn't considered iTunes match to be honest. Can I store my iTunes library in the cloud completely (drop the need for the hard drive to be plugged in) and sync with my iPod classic.

    I guess maybe it was! I have used FTP for years with my web hosting so I'm sure it's not so different.
     
  8. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #8
    One of the uses of iTunes Match is it allows you to have a library of music without having the actual files stored locally on your computer's hard drive. So, after you import a CD, you can delete the local files and download those files again from iTunes whenever you want. To sync music to your iPod, you would have to download those files of course, but it gives you more flexibility as to what to actually keep on the MBA at any given moment.
     
  9. Carl7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #9
    Thanks for that. I don't think that's going to benefit me because I will want to sync all of my music to my iPod classic due to it's large memory size. I would have to download all of my music and then delete it again because I will be syncing it all. Guess it's storing my iTunes library on the HD then!
     

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