I have no idea if it was the intention of the Apple folks, but I just want to say that the greatest party device I have ever encountered this side of the condom is the Apple Mac Mini . I have mine plugged into my tv and stereo in the living room, and I use it as my home base for all things Apple.
I got sick and tired of having these external hard drives attached to my MacBook Pro, having to always connect and disconnect, and I decided to bite the bullet and buy a Mac Mini for the living room to use as my “home base” for the laptop, the iPhone, and the iPad. I love it.
Right now, I have two 1 terabyte external hard drives connected to the mac mini, and that serves as my music and movie reserve for itunes and for my torrent streams from BitMeTv. It’s perfect for everything. When I have a party, I just throw up the mac mini on one of the HDMI ports, and people use my itunes, my spotify account, or youtube, and basically can find whatever they want to listen to. It saves me hours of trying to find things for people, and I just put the wireless keyboard and magic trackpad in the middle of the room and the guests do all the music work. They love it too, and they just take turns choosing songs, and you don’t have to do all the lp/cd changing to make music happen (for those of you who remember scratching your cd’s and watching drunken idiots scrape a stylus across your lp).
Likewise, I have a device to channel all my streamed content, whether it be xfinity or the BitMeTV, the netflix, or whatever else.
Finally, and here is what I love the most- I have a home base for all my apple products. I just have everything sync directly, take advantage of the cloud technology, and my iphone, ipad, and macbook are always on the same sheet of music.
Having said all that, I still think my favorite thing is how it puts all the guests in control of the music and focused on relatively inexpensive wireless keyboard and trackpads, as opposed to mashing buttons on my amp or spilling drinks into my speakers.
So there you have that.
pseudonymous in nc
I bought a two-drive NAS, and it’s a really nice way to consolidate things in a slightly more geeky way — backups, media, whatever digital crap I want to put somewhere in case it becomes useful down the line.
Having also just bought an XBox/Kinect combo — because herself wanted Dance Central — it’s a slightly hinky but surprisingly versatile media player.
Hey – and I don’t think this compromises you in any way – can you take a photo or photos of the setup so we can picture it better?
Am I the only person who is amazed that John can sneak off and write blog posts in the middle of his own parties?
The prophet Nostradumbass
Do you have Lion or Lion Server on it?
You should tell your guests about the Remote App if they have iPhones. If you set it up right, you can have them add songs from your iTunes library to a communal playlist. The more votes a song gets, the higher it gets bumped on the playlist. It’s pretty fucking ninja.
Also, Airplay is pretty amazing if you have a compatible music playing device (your mac mini might apply)
drunken idiots scrape a stylus across your lp
I’m old enough that my first collection was all vinyl, and we carefully duplicated the best new albums to reel-to-reel tape for the “reading copy”. Discwasher. Aftermarket innersleeves for classical and jazz and essentials. Alphabetic on shelf, shelf by category.
It still makes me itch to see a CD without a case.
One of my sisters still plays “records”; I got her a new cartridge for Christmas. Fun to see that the high-end cartridge marketing wars are _still_ crazy after all these years.
A condom is not a party device.
A condom is an after-party device.
I once got into a tiff with a PC bigot who decided to humor me by saying, “OK, can you recommend a Mac that will work as a home media server the way I’m talking about?”
And I told him I honestly didn’t know, because I was too busy using my Macs to create content.
Looks like I know the answer now.
I dunno about the rest of you, but at the parties my friends and I throw, our biggest problem is trying to keep the guests from fiddling with our carefully selected music.
At some point ask me to drone on about my 6.5 hour retro cocktail party mix, built on an arc from Exotica to Swingin’ Jazz, through an Arthur Murray Latin Dance Fantasia, and then back down to Torch Songs by 3am. It’s taken me years to perfect it and one does not want anyone screwing with it.
I am now done flooding the comments.
If your guests have iDevices, make sure they have the Remote app and can connect to your wireless, and that the macmini’s iTunes is configured to play iTunesDJ. No need to even get near the computer to let everyone search and find what music they want to play.
Or in other words freelances +1.
I’m frankly not sure if currently macs support airplay properly. If they don’t now they should some time later this year (and I can say that without getting fired. Yay!).
Amazed? No. Dismayed? Yes.
(OK, now I’m done flooding the comments…)
@LT: See the update.
I’ve got a similar setup. Mac Mini to the tv and stereo. I’ve got a 4 bay Synology NAS that only takes 2.5″ drives. Small and silent. Gig Ethernet to the wireless shoves the video and audio around the house quite nicely.
For a better interface, hang an AppleTV off your tv and point it at your Mini. Better menus and you can drive it all with an iPhone/iPad.
I splurged on a Sonos, and I love it. Connects to iTunes and any/all the services I subscribe to. I have one unit in my living room, one in my family room, and one in the bedroom (ba-chika-BOW-WOW), and you can play something different on each one if you’d like. And you can drive it all from either their PC or iOS apps, all of which are free.
Expensive, but I love it.
@John Cole: So cool. Thanks.
Oh – I see, the TV has the music listed, so they just use the keyboard to go through it. That is too fucking cool.
“Airplay is pretty amazing”
This, big time. I can stream anything in my iTumes library (over two terabytes of music) to my iPad or iPod Touch anywhere in the house or the back yard. Now all we need is for Apple to make the mobile devices work with high resolution audio files.
I ditched my Sonos and got a Logitech Squeezebox Touch so I can stream my hi-res files.
@burnspbesq: Damn, that’s quite an investment to ditch, at least imo.
There are so many options out there these days, but no “perfect” solution yet.
I still have it all on a shelf in my office (two bridges and two ZP 90s, plus a Cambridge Audio DACMagic because I didn’t like the sound coming out of the analog outputs of the Sonos). I’ll get around to selling it all at some point, when I need cash for some other toy.
There are surely other sites to read about this, but there is a Mac virus amongst us.
Hey, that’s what I’ve got — a Mac Mini (going through a DVI->Component converter for the usual pathetic wiring reasons) with 2 x 2 TB disks, one being a time machine backup of the other.
It holds all my DVDs (ripped by handbrake), I can rent iTunes movies, do NetFlix, Hulu, and random web sites (funnyordie, youtube, &c). I’m thinking of getting a blu-ray to connect to it, but I think it might just be easier to buy movies from iTunes, strip their protection so I can play them from VLC, and then use handbrake to drop them to a reasonable size (3.5 GB for a movie is still a bit high for me).
What keyboard+track pad do you use?
Why would the Cartridge Wars ever stop? As long as there are two options, fanatics will have disagreements over them.
About the time Cole was partying I bought a new cartridge. A Denon DL-110 moving coil. 2 weeks ago I bought a Shure M97xE for another ‘table. I didn’t play vinyl for years. Then I needed to fix up some turntables to give to family members. I went through the stacks of defunct tables here and got 7 or 8 of them running. Actually, 10 of them now that I think of it. I’ve been spinning vinyl every day and loving it. It’s not for everyone but having a turntable lets me enjoy the stuff out of my vinyl collection that I still feel like hearing. Take five, with little clicks and pops sounds just right.
For parties I have a B&O 4004 turntable that I modded with a RF remote control. This ‘table is all electrically controlled and you never touch the arm. With the little controller, from anywhere within 400 yards I can start, stop, lift and move the arm back or forward. It works great. If I’m out in the kitchen with Zeppelin 3 playing and Stairway comes up I can smoothly move past it without touching the turntable. It’s overkill, but we lazy people will go to a lot of trouble to avoid having to to things manually.
Someone isn’t getting the good party invites.
Cole, I don’t see a turntable anywhere. I guess I should leave my vinyl copy of Rare Earth waterboarding “Get Ready” for twenty-two minutes at home?
Weird. I have a copy of Get Ready and Willie Remembers (bought for the weird cover) leaning against my desk. Not gonna play them, just really an odd coincidence. Okay, I’m stepping away from teh internets before something REALLY freaky happens.
Wow. You are quote the little party Nazi. Do you make your guests drink a carefully selected and chemically crafted schedule of drinks to be decanted to the precise line in uniform glasses? Make sure all jokes are told to an exact rhythm and laughter is at modulated duration, intensity, and volume to crescendo 5 minutes before the party is over?
If I ever get an invitation to a party on Camazotz, I’ll know it’s from you.
Cool. Now all I need are some friends.
Stairway is on Zeppelin 4. Also, it’s at the end of the side, so you wouldn’t really “move past” it.
Technically correct (I suppose, never had the LP) but I think we are beginning to see why you might not have friends. (See #28)