Stream your iTunes from home

Want to listen to your iTunes music at home from work, a coffee shop, etc?

It takes two steps: setup an SSH tunnel and forward zeroconf (‘Bonjour‘) traffic.

If you do it my way everything is already installed on your Mac and, especially nice for you corporate folks, doesn’t require admin privileges.
Windows users, you’re not necessarily SOL but Windows doesn’t ship with what you’ll need.

I use this technique on Snow Leopard, but I think it will work on Tiger and higher.

  • Enable SSH on your home computer.
    System Preferences->Sharing->Remote Logon
  • Enable iTunes Sharing.
    Preferences->Sharing->Share my library on my local network
  • Still from your home computer, browse to 192.168.1.1 (or whatever your router runs on) and enable SSH port forwarding if you haven’t already. This technique definitely won’t work without this step.
  • Protip: Optionally, register your public IP with a free Dynamic DNS service so you only have to remember a single domain name.
  • At your work machine, go to a terminal and use the following two commands:
    dns-sd -P "myTunes" _daap._tcp. local 3689 localhost 127.0.0.1 &
    ssh -N -f homeComputer -L 3689:localhost:3689

    The -N means non-interactive, the -f means go to the background.
    The -L xxx:hostname:xxx enables a tunnel on the iTunes sharing port (3689).
    homeComputer is your router’s public IP address, or the domain name you hopefully setup earlier.

  • To clean up when you’re done, you can run a
    killall ssh dns-sd

Finally, if you’re cool enough to keep your music on a Linux machine, you can also use this technique with Firefly formerly (mt-daapd).

Finale 2010 fail

I either must really, really not be the target audience, or Finale 2010 for Mac is underwhelming to the point of sucking. Last week was my first time using Finale since 2003 in music class, and my install lasted about 10 minutes before going straight to the trash.

It feels like a Microsoft product of the late 90s – scattered, intractable UI with backwards compatibility concerns taking form as an innovation hindering albatross. The UI is almost exactly the same as I remember the OS 9 version being, with the same Carbon era UI quirks. They embraced OS X by lamely Aqua-fying a few buttons. It seems like the developers value backwards compatibility and user familiarity with all of the Finale quirks to the point of being uncompetitive with modern music software. Maybe the legions of Finale users fiercely resist any attempt at change. And granted, Finale is among very few competitors when it comes to music notation. But what a travesty. My sympathy goes out to the many musicians out there that have no choice but to use this.

I’ll be sticking with Ableton. GarageBand, the same one that came free on my Mac, is fine for those few notation-needed occasions.