A massive iTunes library is great for pumpin' up the jams at home, but what if you want to take those tunes out on the road with you? If you've got two main Macs, but only your desktop is loaded with all those awesome b-sides, maybe it's time to consider setting up a NAS to get your iTunes library synced across all your systems. While Apple does include a Home Sharing feature, it doesn't work when you're far away from your headquarters.
And that’s where MediaRover comes in: this little piece of software enables you to have your iTunes library sync across your entire home network. So, when you bring your MacBook home, MediaRover will automatically sync with any NAS device on your network.
The other day I was working on my laptop at home while my wife was browsing the web from hers. Our son was in the living room chatting with his buddies and listening to something catchy I’d never heard before. When I asked him for a copy, it took him a while to locate a flash drive, search his library for the tune, load the file onto the drive, and hand it to me so I could add it to my iTunes library. A few minutes later, we had to repeat the process for my wife. I thought “Isn’t this 2010? Shouldn’t there be a better solution to this problem?”
This powerful system comes without a drive, but installing your own is a piece of cake. Of all the NAS devices we tested, the Synology DS107+ promised the most extensive feature list, and the device consistently impressed us with its Swiss-Army-like capabilities on our network. The enclosure ships without a hard drive, so your first task is to install one. The instructions for doing so are simple and easy to follow, and we were plugging the device into our wireless router within minutes. (Disclosure: Synology was kind enough to install a drive in our test model, so we removed it and installed a second drive to duplicate the standard user experience.)
iBackup’s list of default sources includes all the files that most home users will want to save. iBackup’s Spartan interface may give the impression of a featherweight, but looks in this case are deceiving. Although it eschews the slew of options offered by ChronoSync, the application retains just enough power to best Apple’s Backup 3 at running regular network backups. iBackup saves and organizes backup plans as profiles, each of which has its own set of options within the Preferences menu. For network backups, the application can automatically connect to network volumes by IP address, and can automatically disconnect when the backup is finished. Backup profiles can be scheduled to repeat daily or weekly.
We expect a 2.0 product to be deep with features, but the radio SHARK 2 lives on the surface. Digital video recorders radically changed the way people watch TV, so why not apply those tricks to radio? Griffin’s radio SHARK 2 is a USB AM/FM radio tuner that lets you record and play radio content on your Mac. As DVRs do with video, the radio SHARK 2 buffers the audio so you can rewind and pause live shows. But it lacks other important features, such as solid Internet radio integration and dual tuners.