Musings of an anonymous geek

December 19, 2004

Airport Express with AirTunes!

Filed under: Apple — m0j0 @ 10:06 pm

I have a Mac at the house. For any mac folks wondering, it’s A dual G4 with the mirrored drive doors. I finally found a really great online source for Mac hardware, bought an airport wireless card for my Mac, installed it (all of 30 seconds, by the way), and proceeded to go buy the Airport Express with Airtunes. Read on for details…

This little gadget fits in the palm of your hand. The way it works is really simple, too, even if you’re a complete technology zero. It gets power by plugging into a wall socket. It also has jacks on it so that you can connect it to your stereo system either via standard RCA-type cables or via an optical connector, which is what I used.

Once it’s plugged in and connected to your stereo, you run over to the mac, open the “Airport Assistant” tool, tell it to find the new device, and then when it does, you give it a name. At this point, you can open up iTunes, select the name you just gave to the Airtunes unit as the destination for the music, and your Mac is now beaming music to your stereo system via the wireless network. It really is absolutely brilliant. It’s what we in the tech industry call a “solution”. This is not random crap cobbled together with duct tape. This is stuff that “just works”. However, there are two things any geek should know about this solution:

1. It won’t beam Ogg files, to my knowledge. I have a mixed collection of 90% ogg and 10% mp3 files. When you tell iTunes to play an MP3 file, it shows that it’s contacting the airtunes unit to beam the files over for playback. With ogg files, iTunes doesn’t even try. This isn’t totally unexpected, since iTunes doesn’t even play ogg files by default, but people should know this.

2. I initially had my wireless network set up with mac address filtering turned on, which will cause the airtunes unit to fail to ever get on the network. For my setup, the easiest way around this was to turn it off, let it discover the mac of the new device, and then add that to the mac filter list. Then I turned mac filtering back on, and all was well with the world.

Once that was out of the way, everything worked wonderfully! I’ve only played about 2 whole songs over the network, but so far I love it!


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