Mac Mini: Time Machine server, bittorrent box

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by kingpikey, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. kingpikey macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2007
    I'm looking for some guidance on setting up a Mini (1.83 CD, 2GB) as a Time Machine server (that I can use to back up my MBP to wirelessly via my network) and I also want to run it as a dedicated bittorrent box. The system I'm replacing is a toshiba laptop running ubuntu with the Azureus webUI. I want some bittorrent client that includes a webUI (hopefully I can just use Azureus here).

    Anyway, and info from those who have done it, or links to some good reading material would be appreciated.

    Just in case it matters, I'm also planning on having the Mini hooked up to my 40" 1080p LCD... which will be turned off every night. I want the Mini to keep running of course...
  2. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    I do the same with the same model Mini for torrents (using Azureus), but I'm not sure there's a way to use it as a Time Machine backup. As far as I'm aware Time Machine will only see one of the following:

    - internal or directly attached drives
    - USB-attached drive to Airport Extreme Base Station
    - Time Capsule drive

    This setup works great for Azureus though using the HTML Web UI.
  3. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Time Machine will also allow backup to any drive accessible on a Leopard-based computer. So, if the mini is running Leopard, it should be OK.
  4. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    You're absolutely right - hadn't realised that. I don't really have a use for it as my backup drive is connected to my AEBS, but it's good to know. :)

    The Azureus side of this is pretty straightforward. I've just installed it and set it to download to an external USB drive - the external drive is faster and it avoids wear on the Mini's internal drive. I usually create an alias to any content I download and place the alias only into the Movies folder. Another alternative is to create an alias to your download folder and place that into your Movies folder.

    With that in place you can browse and play back downloaded content via Frontrow on your LCD - all using the remote.

    If there's anything specific you need help with just shout.
  5. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    The mini is the perfect machine for this purpose. I have one as my TM host for itself and 2 laptops, file server, iTunes server, Apple TV sync point, and usenet SABNZBD server. It's also a very good desktop machine that gets much more use than I anticipated.
    I have a shortcut on my Finder bar to remote control the mini for administrative functions.

    As a bonus, since the mini is built with laptop parts, it's low powered compared to a traditional desktop. To conserve even more power, I have a weekend sleep schedule to shut it down at 12am and wake up at 5pm.

    Apple would do well to repackage it as a headless home server.
  6. bplein macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2007
    Austin, TX USA
    Here's another tip: You can set up the Mini to auto-log in to a standard user account, and auto-start Azureus. Set up Azureus to monitor a given directory (it can autostart a torrent that appears in that directory, see the Azureus options/prefs.)

    Then share out that directory. You can then just drop in torrent files to that shared directory and your Mini will start downloading the files. If that share is also where your Azureus client on your other machine happens to store the Torrent file after download, it's all automated. Just find a torrent you wish to download, and your mini will start DLing it as well. Then kill your download and the Mini will continue.
  7. kingpikey thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2007
    First of all, thanks for the replies... much useful information.

    I already have an AEBS, with an external hard drive connected... Time Machine over the network via the AEBS is horribly unstable... requiring me to constantly reboot the AEBS. Hopefully doing this via the Mini will be more stable.

    Here's what I plan on hooking up to the Mini (along with what I plan on using each for):
    • 200GB Maxtor External (USB 2.0) - Torrent Downloads (I Got this drive for ~$60... not worried about killing it.
    • 500GB Western Digital My Book WDG1U5000 (USB 2.0) - iTunes library (music / movies / tv shows)
    • 500GB Western Digital My Book Home Edition WDH1CS5000N (Firewire 400 / eSATA / USB 2.0) - Time Machine backup

    I guess I plan on using the firewire drive for Time Machine because its my newest drive, and I assume my backups would be safest there.

    Also, is file sharing from Leopard to Windows XP painless? I only ask because my girlfriend's laptop runs XP Pro, and I'd like to give her access to items that were downloaded via Azureus.
  8. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    Great idea. How did you achieve this if I can ask?
  9. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Screen Sharing shortcut

    There are several ways to do this. You can use Terminal commands or Automator, but the easiest way is to simply open Safari and enter the URL VNC://<servername>. This URL will open Screen Sharing to the specified machine. You can quickly create a shortcut by dragging the icon out of the address bar to a folder on your machine (I have a tools folder in my home directory for this). From there you can rename the shortcut, remove the extension and change the icon if desired. Then just drag it the bar in Finder.

    BTW - For the servername I just used the IP. You can set the mini to use a static address with DHCP for gateway and DNS.
  10. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    Very cool! I've been wondering how to do this for ages. I tend to use Remote Desktop, and I hate having to open RD first, locate the server, etc. I've taken your instructions a bit further and added a hotkey to spark so with a single keystroke I'm on the server - perfect!

    Thanks again! :D
  11. twynne macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2006
    London, UK
    As this is on-topic (using Mini as media server), has anyone found a decent app that automatically organises downloaded video content? Given the lack of standards I end up with files all over the place. The only solution I've found is to manually 'clean up' the download directory every so often.

    Ideally I'd like all the video to end up in a common folder with aliases created in the Movies folder so they're easily accessible in Frontrow. It would be great if things could automatically start out in a 'New/Unwatched' folder then get moved to the main folder after viewing.

    I looked at an App called yFlicks recently which on the surface appeared as if it might improve the situation, but on my Mini it just flickered a lot and didn't seem to do much else apart from creating a bunch of folders in my Movies folder and aliases all over the place. It looks like it could be an option if I can figure out what the flickering is about! yFlicks

    Any suggestions? What about Media Central - any experiences good or bad??
  12. ntux macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2008
    And for those (like me) allergic to azureus and still looking for a lightweight bittorent webui, have a look at transmission + clutch
  13. h4ck macrumors regular

    May 26, 2006
    regarding VNC...

    I've been digging around a little bit, and have found some interesting hidden features for ScreenSharing (located in /System/Library/CoreServices/)

    defaults write ShowBonjourBrowser_Debug -bool true

    this will pop up a neat little bonjour browser to discover local machines, as well as a place that you can type an address and 'bookmark' it. very neat.


    defaults write 'NSToolbar Configuration ControlToolbar' -dict-add 'TB Item Identifiers' '(Scale,Control,Share,Curtain,Capture,FullScreen,GetClipboard,SendClipboard,Quality)'

    Will give your screensharing app a very useful and functional toolbar.

    with both of these combined, you've essentially made a poor mans ARD, more lightweight and simple, and functional.

    Another very cool thing i discovered, is that if you create a bookmark using the browser, you can drag that bookmark out on to the desktop and have a shortcut. double click on it, and save the password, and you basically have instant access to frequently used machines.


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