Finally, Shared iTunes Music

Here’s the setup, which has been on hold for many months: an iBook in the living room, hooked up to the stereo system; an old iMac in the basement, newly outfitted with a big hard disk that holds 5.5 GB of music; an AirPort wireless network to join them (plus my PowerBook upstairs, but that’s not directly related to this story). The idea is that the iMac, which is Kim’s, can double as a music server anywhere in the house thanks to the wireless network. However, I’ve had a bear of a time making it reality, for various reasons. What I wanted was what Steve Jobs showed off at the August Macworld Expo in 2002: easy, Rendezvous-facilitated music sharing in iTunes. It never came about, and I haven’t had much luck with various other half-solutions (such as iCommune).

Today, Apple released iTunes 4, which incorporates music sharing via Rendezvous. After installing it on both machines, I turned on sharing in the iMac’s iTunes preferences, and it just works. Well, almost. The iBook plays a few seconds, has to rebuffer, plays a few more, rebuffers, etc. Crap. There goes the show.

But all is not lost. The AirPort is an AirPort Extreme base station, which recently got a firmware upgrade to version 5.0.4. Although the release notes say that it fixes problems with French base stations and with the network dropping off entirely, the firmware miraculously fixed my little problem too. Now, the iBook is streaming music without a hitch. I’m a happy listener, finally.

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