Share Your Media with iLife

Share Your Media with iLife

It hasn't been updated in the proverbial coon's age, but iLife is still one sweet suite.


Before there were Web 2.0 sites like Flickr and Photobucket, there was iLife ($79, The software, which comes with all new Macs, allows you to share your media - primarily iPhoto images and iTunes library contents - over a home or other network. (And if you have a .Mac account, you can turn iPhoto albums into slideshows and share them with friends and family by selecting your album and choosing Share > Photocast.) Here’s how to share media over a network - where all of the family Macs can use a communal iPhoto library, for example. You can also follow similar steps in iTunes (or see "Liberate Your iTunes Libraries") for the total media-sharing experience.


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1. Choose Your Host Mac


Consider which Mac is up and running most often, and which has the most disk storage available. If you've got an AirPort Extreme Base Station capable of attached storage, house your libraries there for maximum uptime. Otherwise pick a Mac that's almost always on.


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2. If You Build It, They Will Come


Perform this step only on the Mac on which you plan to host the shared libraries. Open System Preferences' Sharing pane. If File Sharing isn't enabled, check the corresponding box to turn it on. Now, to turn an existing library into the new, shared library, drag an entire iPhoto Library folder from its current residence (/Users/username/Pictures) into the Shared User folder (/Users/Shared). Keep in mind that everybody has full-access privileges to this folder, so if Junior decides to alter family history by deleting all photos of "the incident" at his 16th birthday party, you can't stop him—unless you’ve backed up those photos on an external drive. To start with a new, empty iPhoto library, hold down the Option key while launching iPhoto, and when the alert pops up, select Create A Library, and then save the new library in the Shared User folder.


If you’ve got a large family network with lots of servers, jot down the name of the Mac hosting your media.


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3. Start Your Sharing, and Mind Your Manners


That's all there is to it. The only real hang-up is that if one user has the shared library loaded and iPhoto running on his or her Mac, others won't be able to select that library. But you can create multiple libraries in iPhoto (or in iTunes). To pick the default library to load, hold the Option key while launching iPhoto (or iTunes), and follow the prompts to select the library you want. iTunes even lets you switch libraries while the app is running, via iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > General. The only way to switch libraries in iPhoto is to quit the application and relaunch it while holding the Option key.


Hold the Option key when launching iPhoto and click Choose Library, then pick your poison.


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BONUS TIP #1: Another Way to Share Your Photos


Open iPhoto > Preferences and click the Sharing tab. Set the Share My Photos and Look For Shared Photos boxes to taste, and select how much of your collection to share - keeping in mind that sharing a multigigabyte library can asphyxiate your network and make iPhoto launch excruciatingly slowly for others on the network who've set their iPhoto preferences to look for shared photos.


iPhoto’s thumbnail previews are innocuous enough—but not so much if you share them by the thousands.


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BONUS TIP #2: Get Creative with Kuler


Perfect for designers and creative types, kuler ( helps you devise and share new color combinations and browse schemes conjured up by others. To generate a scheme, click Create, choose a rule like Monochromatic or Complementary, drag the spokes on the color wheel, and then fine-tune with the sliders. Schemes can be downloaded directly from kuler into Adobe apps (free registration is required). You can also view the most popular color themes in kuler’s Dashboard widget, which you can find in the site’s Links section. - Michelle Delio


Visit kuler when you need some color in your life.




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