Network a Mac with Windows

25 09 2007

Recently I decided I would connect my external hard-drive to a PC in my house so that I could access my music over the network as opposed to connecting it to my Macbook everytime I wanted to access music or movies. Lucky for me it’s incredibly easy to share files over the network between Windows and OS X:

  1. Enable Windows Sharing on the Mac Apple > System Preferences > Sharing > Check Windows Sharing
  2. Share a folder or a drive in Windows by right clicking > Properties > Sharing > Check Share Folder
  3. On the Mac, open up Finder and click on Go > Connect to Server…
  4. Enter smb://<your windows pc hostname>
  5. Now you can connect to any shared folder on your Windows machine, but how do we make sure it stays mounted? Simply go to Apple > System Preferences > Accounts > Logon Items > Add the shared volume

That was painless. For all tech readers this isn’t because Mac’s rule, its because of the Samba protocol which enables you to network different operating systems. Samba is now a part of Apple, but lets not forget its open-source roots.

I Am The Automator

21 08 2007

Automator on OS X is sick. I’ve setup a few handy workflows that make my life a little bit easier. The less clicking I do, the happier I am (just check out my Firefox setup, I enabled time activated tabs). Here are some Finder Plugins via Automator Workflows that I created:

1. Copy to iTunes

This basically copies any folder(s)/file(s) you’ve selected and copies it to your iTunes Library. It then removes the original copy because who wants to have two copies of the same music? Saves a few clicks here and there.

2. Group

Sometimes when I have a lot of files that are related to each other and scattered across my desktop I tidy things up by grouping them into folders, this turns out to be a three click process. My Group plugin will automatically move selected files into a folder that you specify, which can be created on the fly or already existing.

Download the zip here.

If you want Finder to recognize these, drop them into Library > Workflows > Applications > Finder. I am the Automator. Hasta la vista baby.

iEatBrainz – Automatically Tag Your MP3 Library By Sound

1 08 2007

Sure there are plenty of MP3 tagging programs out there. Most of them even check Amazon or Google and fix your tags for you. What sets iEatBrainz apart from the rest is that it actually submits your track to the EatBrainz music database and verifies you have the right song. It does acoustic sound matching so if you have an mp3 cryptically titled 01.mp3, iEatBrainz will figure out its really Black by Pearl Jam and rename it accordingly. Another high quality app by Jay Tuley the author of CD To which I reviewed in my last post.

Set Your Terminal To Your Current Finder Window

31 07 2007

Ever since I’ve been exposed to the terminal I can’t go back. I found a handy open source app called >CD to…(weird name) which sits in your Finder toolbar. This means you can be browsing some folder directories deep, and when you click on the >CD To… icon it will open up your shell and point you to the directory you are in. Very useful for those Mac users who want to get their hands a little dirty.

Corripio – Complete Your Music Collection in iTunes

30 07 2007

I am somewhat of a perfectionist/completionist. I need to have album art, formatted tags, and lyrics for my music collection. Unfortunately you need an iTunes Store Account to automatically grab album art in iTunes which is not right. Corripio is an open-source app for your Mac that does all of this for you with a click of a button. You can go through your entire library and actually EMBED album art, and lyrics into the MP3 itself so if you ever decide to ditch iTunes for another media player you don’t lose all of that hard work. Now when I’m using CoverFlow, I am flipping through actual album covers, not just blank squares ;).

Wake Up and Smell The Concrete – You’re Using Open-Source

11 07 2007

I would like to point out that no matter which operating system you may be using, we all have reaped the benefits of open-source. Believe it or not, there is a little bit of free software goodness in all of us:

Windows Users

  • I’d say browsing the internet is a must these days. Did you know that the TCP/IP stack in Windows is based off of the original code that was licensed by BSD?
  • Firefox is clearly gaining new ground on Internet Explorer’s turf. The Mozilla Foundation is all about the open-source baby.

Mac users

  • The entire OS X operating system is based off of the Darwin kernel which, surprise surprise, is a UNIX variant.
  • KHTML is the engine that renders web-pages in Safari. Yup, another gift given to you by the free software foundation.
  • Have you ever printed out a report on your Mac? You just used CUPS which is the Common UNIX Printing Service.
  • Apple has plans to ditch Microsoft and go completely with Open Office in the near future. It just feels better to be using open standards no?

Linux Users

  • Do you even have to ask? The entire operating system and included applications are all open-source.

The Web

  • Whenever you visit a website like Digg the content is automatically updated and generated for your viewing pleasure. Chances are its running on the LAMP stack – Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP, check check check and check for open-source.
  • Google is my best friend. They also run Linux clusters so you get your search results in under a second.
  • Developers pay attention, Java is the most popular enterprise platform, and Sun just opened up its source for our hacking pleasure.
  • Whenever you blog on WordPress, or Drupal just know it was built using open source tools, and licensed under the GNU.
  • When I want information I go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia runs off of the open-source software MediaWiki which is also under the GNU.

Electrical Devices

  • Intel based computer’s have open source drivers. This means compatibility for everyone.
  • Set-top boxes like TiVo are using open source software to get you goodness on the big screen. MPlayer anyone?

As you can see open-source is all around us. The points I have mentioned are nowhere near the extent and true caliber of what open source delivers to us on a daily basis. Please enlighten me with your thoughts.

Kiba Dock – OS X Style Dock Bar For Linux

18 06 2007

I don’t know why this is, but it seems everyone who has made the switch from Windows to Linux has this fascination with the OS X dock. I too am guilty of this, and have found a very good dock, called Kiba which has the same features as the OS X dock, except it includes a physics engine. What’s a physics engine? Instead of going into details check out the video below:

Eye-candy. Bragging rights. Now in order to run Kiba Dock note that you must have a compositing window manager, like Beryl, active or else the dock will look very ugly with no transparencies or masks. Lets get to the install though (Ubuntu 7.04):

1. Press Alt+F2 and enter the following command:

gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

This is the list of repositories Synaptic can download from.

2. Add the following lines to the end:

deb feisty eyecandy
deb-src feisty eyecandy

This tells Synaptic the above repositories will be added

3. Add the key for the repositories

wget -O- | sudo apt-key add -

This line authenticates a repository with a key, so you can ensure it is a trusted source.

4. Open the Synaptic Package Manager, and mark the following packages for installation:

kiba-dock, kiba-dock-dev, kiba-plugins

Kiba-Dock should appear under Applications > Accessories. If you’re anything like me, you will spend 15 minutes of your day bouncing icons off of the edges of your screen.