Six Great Tips for Homemade Dot Mac Servers
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Tip 3: Disk Image Repository
If you've ever had a piece of software fail on a trip, you know the frustration of not being able to accomplish the tasks at hand. One protective measure is to carry multiple backup CDs/DVDs of your programs with you, but what if they fail, are misplaced, or even stolen? As my own extra security measure, I created a location on my server that contains Disk Images of all my important software. I also run a secure FileMaker Pro web database of all my software serial numbers and company support phone numbers.
It isn't a replacement for using a CD or DVD (primarily because of speed), but it serves as a nice safety net.
Tip 4: Collaboration -- WebDAV
More about WebDAV
WebDAV on OS X -- WebDav support in Mac OS X (Public Beta 1) allows for simple remote management of web content. Here's how to start using it now.
Emerging Technology Briefs: WebDAV -- A brief look at WebDAV -- Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning.
Serve Your iCal Calendars Using WebDAV -- Apple is more than happy to host your iCal calendars via its Dot-Mac service. But you can serve your own calendars, and even have them automatically update subscriber versions, by using WebDAV. Erik Ray shows you how.
With a little bit of Terminal work, you can install and enable the WebDAV components for Apache which will allow you to turn your folders or drives into WebDAV drives. Whether you're an independent contractor, a small or a large company, sometimes you need to collaborate on files with others. What I like about using WebDAV drives on my home server is that most of the imaging and publishing tools I use have support for WebDAV collaborative working. This allows me to specify a location on my server that other people can access to work on the same files. It helps when working with other contractors that I hire to keep things current, foster creativity, and keep me from the added mess of shifting files through Emails.
Another great reason for enabling WebDAV is something I stumbled upon recently. A friend bought a second coffee shop in another town. He wanted to buy another computer and be able to have two people working on the same QuickBooks file in different locations at the same time. According to him, QuickBooks Pro allows you to share network files. Since my friend is familiar with drives, but not handy with IP addresses, by setting up WebDAV on his small Homemade Dot Mac server, they can easily collaborate on the same file in multiple locations, without duplicating the file.
Tip 5: The iPhoto Shuffle
I stumbled onto this when trying to save myself a lot of time doing file conversions. My wife recently scanned 40 slides for a client in Classic mode (there is no OS X driver for our slide scanner), and she needed to supply a batch of high-res scans for archiving and low-res scans so the client could preview them remotely on a web page. She scanned them as PICT files, so we had some difficulty working with them and, of course, they were useless for the Web.
So, I needed to convert all these files and then create a web page for viewing them.
On a lark I imported the PICT files into iPhoto and was able to turn around and export them as JPGs within about two minutes. No macros required. Not only did iPhoto handle all my conversions, it also created an index page with thumbnails and links to the larger images. Two birds, one stone.
Then it dawned on me. Using my home server and iPhoto, I can create archives of images that can be viewed by clients or family in a directory on my web server. You don't need to worry about cryptic URLs created by iPhoto for .Mac, or constantly having to build new index pages. When you export from iPhoto to the web server folder, creating a new directory is as easy as creating a new folder. Why bother creating an index page of all your directories, when they can just view the directories themselves?
Notice the iPhoto directory in my web server folder. Inside you'll find three directories of photos and what that looks like in a browser window. iPhoto creates a nice little index page inside each directory. Note that I also have a movie folder for QuickTime files.
Homemade Dot-Mac: Remote Control
Homemade Dot Mac: Home Web Radio
Homemade Dot-Mac with OS X, Part 2
Homemade Dot-Mac with OS X
Take this one step further and iPhoto also makes it handy to create QuickTime movies for friends and family to view from your server.
Tip 6: The Safari Rendezvous mod
When I first saw that Safari had a bookmark feature for Rendezvous-enabled web sites, I was really excited at the possibility of Rendezvous-based intranet publishing. It also excited me at all the possible uses I could come up with on my own intranet. However, the Apache web server included in OS X does not yet support Apple's new Rendezvous technology. Then I found Eric Seidel's mod_rendezvous.
It's an Apache 1.3.x module that makes all running Apache 1.3.x web servers register themselves with Rendezvous. Once this is done, the Safari Rendezvous bookmarks or any other Rendezvous enabled apps should be able to view them.
Now I'm not sure of every possible use for this, but I will say that small business users and even large companies can utilize this for effective intranet publishing. I'm personally very excited to try a few ideas of my own, and I'm excited to hear of any home uses people can come up with. I'm excited to have some fun experimenting with QT Broadcaster, webcams, and Rendezvous.
Now that I've whetted your appetite, I'm curious to hear what you do with some of these tips. Be sure to post any ideas you might have for this so I can try them out myself.
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