Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop Network
Here is how you can remotely control AirPort Express with your AirPort equipped Powerbook. First, download the SlimServer software (free, open source) and install it on your main machine which runs iTunes and has your MP3 collection on it. Follow the installation instructions to get it running.

When the server is running, enter http://localhost:9000/stream.mp3 into iTunes on your main machine. If it doesn't work right away, open your Browser and enter http://localhost:9000 to see the browser interface of the SlimServer. There should be a pop-up menu at the top of the page where you select your main machine as host for streaming music. Have another try with iTunes. When everything is running, select the AirPort Express station in iTunes where you would like to have your music playing. Check the "Network" control panel of your main machine and write down its IP address. It should be something like 192.168.1.123, where 123 will be different (of course, if you've set up your own IP numbers, they may be totally different).

Grab your AirPort-equipped Powerbook or iBook, enter the address http://192.168.1.x:9000 in your favorite browser, and you should be able to access the browser interface of the Slim Server running on your main machine. Now go to the room where your AirPort Express is playing, sit next to it with your PowerBook, and control the streaming music with Slim Server. This software not only lets you start, stop and skip tracks, it also lets you search for artists, albums and songs which are managed in playlists.

My friends have been deeply impressed...

[robg update: Yea, I goofed ... I completely overlooked the use a shared library feature, as noted in multiple comments below. However, I'll leave this hint up as evidence that yea, I make mistakes every once in a while :). ]
    •    
  • Currently 2.00 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (2 votes cast)
 
[35,713 views]  

Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop | 21 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: aws6000 on Nov 22, '04 10:29:16AM

You can also use BrowserTunes which accomplishes the same thing but the UI isn't as nice.

http://homepage.mac.com/markburgess3/browserTunes/download.htm



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: bjackson on Nov 22, '04 11:10:05AM

Or use VNC or remote desktop.....

---
Brian Jackson
b.k.jackson@mac.com
http://www.brian-jackson.net



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: mania on Nov 22, '04 11:01:55AM

you can also load your music on your powerbook and avoid all the hassle.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: artistry on Nov 22, '04 11:28:43AM

Can't you just launch iTunes on the laptop and share your main music library? That's what I do - works a treat!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Not to mention...
Authored by: Anonymous on Nov 22, '04 12:18:11PM

The Slim Server doesn't stream Protected AAC files to a SlimMP box. Does it on an Airport Express?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: ronalcasid on Nov 22, '04 11:35:10AM

These hints seem really convoluted. If you have both desktop machine and a laptop you simply enable iTunes sharing on your desktop. Select the shared library from iTunes on your laptop and stream to the Airport Express. It doesn't easier than that.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: Fofer on Nov 22, '04 11:36:07AM

Wait a second. Just wait one second now. Why is this tip necessary?

Your music is on a desktop Mac, near a stereo with an Airport Express. You have a wireless PowerBook from which you'd also like to access said music, and play it through to the stereo. (Perhaps you've got too much music to copy onto the laptop, and/or perhaps you want a "central depository" to organize the family's music library and sync everyone's iPod to... that's cool, no worries.)

Why not just enable iTunes sharing on the desktop? The music library then nicely and automatically shows up in the "Source" column on the remote PowerBook's iTunes, and then you can select the Airport Express as the audio output. No SlimServer needed, no jumping through hoops.

I know it works, because I do it all the time.

What am I missing here?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: Fofer on Nov 22, '04 11:39:06AM

Heh - three posts at the same time all with the same realization.


"My friends have been deeply impressed..."

Methinks the tipster needs more discerning friends. :-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
You're missing the point
Authored by: rsnyder on Nov 22, '04 12:29:20PM

Those of you who don't understand the post are missing the point.

Think of it like Sailing Clicker for a machine out of bluetooth range, where your powerbook is the phone. (BTW, you can use WAP browser with BrowserTune so you can use your wireless networked PDA).

Let me try to explain how I use this software.

I have a desktop system in the basement with about 500GB of drive space. My family's music collection is all on that system. We sync our iPods to that system.

My stereo in the living room is connected to one Airport Express, and a pair of amplified speakers are connected to a second Airport Express in my bedroom.

I have a powerbook that is usually nearby, but not always open (batter life and such). The beauty of SlimServer and BrowserTunes (which I use) is that I if I want to start, stop, or skip or repeat songs, I just open the laptop, go the url for my basement BrowserTunes server, and do so. I can also look for a specific song or play a song list without having to 1) keep my powerbook open the whole time, or 2) go down to the basement to make the changes on the music server.

The second piece that I do need to use is VNC or ARD to take control of the downstairs machine to change the Airport Express that iTunes is pointing to. It would be great if one of these servers added support for changing the Airport Express output.

I know that I could use ARD and VNC to do all of the above, but the web browser is a thiner client and is always open on my powerbook. Also, if someone else is using the downstairs system, I can use SlimServer or BrowserTunes to surf my music without taking the mouse out of their hands or bringing iTunes out of Hiding--except when I need to switch the Airport Express.

So cheers to the original poster, and cheers to the people who have the time to develop such nifty software. I will have to take a look at SlimServer.



[ Reply to This | # ]
You're missing the point
Authored by: Fofer on Nov 22, '04 01:02:26PM

No, actually, I think it's you who is missing the point of the detractors to particular hint.

Yes, in YOUR case, you might appreciate SlimServer since it allows access to your music library from any web-enabled device. But that's old news and has been around for a long time.

This tip was submitted as a way to allow a wireless PowerBook to playback music that's located elsewhere, via iTunes. The tip discusses making the desktop music accessible to the PowerBook via SlimServer, which in turn is streaming back to the desktop's Airport Express. Convoluted indeed, especially when Apple's software works just fine in this scenario - as is... with no hoops to jump through. It works fine and interaction is instantaneous (unlike the web front-end solution, which has a multi-second lag.) It also has no problem with Fairplay protected iTunes music store purchases.

That said, I am glad that all of these options exist. They allow for lots of flexibility and fun innovations for everyone.



[ Reply to This | # ]
You're missing the point
Authored by: rsnyder on Nov 22, '04 01:19:23PM

I am not sure where you get the multi-second delay from. In my scenario, using BrowserTunes, it works quickly with no perceptible latency.

Being someone who is looking for a solution in this space (I shelled out for an EyeHome, have a Sailing Clicker license, and purchased two Airport Expresses), this type of software gets me much closer to what I want (the ability to keep the computer in the computer room and play the music in the living room and bed room) than most anything I have tried.

Does everyone have the same requirements? No. However, if someone else has found something that gets me closer, I am all ears.



[ Reply to This | # ]
You're missing the point
Authored by: sjk on Nov 22, '04 02:02:55PM
Btw, it's Salling Clicker.

[ Reply to This | # ]
You're missing the point
Authored by: Fofer on Nov 22, '04 11:00:26PM

Well I haven't tried BrowserTunes, but I know I experienced lags from SlimServer when controlling it from a web browser, having to refresh the web pages, and streaming it to another computer running iTunes... *especially* on a WAP enabled cell phone! (My beloved Treo smartphone doesn't support 802.11x, and I'm not sure it will.) It simply did not have the responsiveness of a Bluetooth PDA with Salling Clicker ... or, say, a PowerBook with iTunes and a shared library. I just couldn't get behind the idea of using a web interface to casually browse through and enjoy my music library. Even one additional second here and there is annoying when I want to "scrub" through a song or audiobook. I needed something more elegant. Something easy and immediate.

That said, whatever works for you and makes you happy...

It seems like you are interested in learning about alternative mechanisms though. I agree, Salling Clicker is way cool, and I love the visual feedback on the PDA's screen, allowing me to browse playlists and see what's upcoming. So why not consider increasing your Bluetooth's range?

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/how2/article/0,20967,714017,00.html

This is a project I'm considering for my new iMac G5, whose primary focus will be that of home media server.
(I'm not sure how an external USB Bluetooth dongle would work with a machine that had internal BT preinstalled, so I specifically ordered a stock machine.)

If that's not your bag, check out Keyspan's new remote, it comes with an IR adapter that plugs into your Airport Express' USB port:

http://keyspan.com/products/usb/urm17a/



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: thoughton on Nov 22, '04 01:58:49PM
This hint isn't as redundant as it seems at first glance. RSnyder realises this. Having a slow powerbook myself I can appreciate the value of remotely controlling your iTunes computer and not having the music stream via my powerbook and eating up 15% of my CPU (not to mention pauses in the music if my CPU usage hits 100%).

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: threeve on Nov 22, '04 02:48:56PM

Enabling shared libraries is such a short sighted solution that it points out you don't fully understand the problem. Yes, it does *work*, but accomplishes something completely different. Sharing essentially streams the music TO the laptop, which you then redirect to the Airport Express. The OP wants the music to still come from his server. His is a decent solution, but I believe there are other iTunes remote control solutions that would accomplish the same thing.

Please, understand the problem before you go ranting about solutions.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: leisuremonkey on Nov 22, '04 07:19:53PM
I use another method for doing this. Its a cool little app called nettunes. I have all my music on my desktop, upstairs. My laptop is usually downstairs, along with my stereo (connected via airport express). Through the use of nettunes, I can control the music from either mac, through the familiar iTunes interface. It's awesome.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: Fofer on Nov 23, '04 01:12:37AM

Well truth be told, there is another scenario where tips like this might come in handy... I've got speakers in every room of my house, all plugged into one central audio receiver in my living room. And that's where my media center iMac is, with 80 GB of music. (Connected by USB -- this JVC receiver actually has a USB port for audio input.)

So sometimes I really do want to remotely control iTunes, and not access the music library locally or broadcast to AirTunes.

Indeed everyone's got different situations, different gear, and different tastes. That's the spice of life and all of these options just help us all in different ways.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: rgray on Nov 23, '04 02:48:43PM

Rob, I'm not sure what the apology is about... The point here is NOT to use shared stuff isn't it. To say you goofed sort of denigrates the fact that someone worked out a unique way of handling an idea. I like the nettunes approach here in carrying off an idea I hadn't even thought of - notebook as remote... very cool.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: Numbski on Nov 24, '04 11:05:23AM

I stand by the author on this one. This hint is INCREDIBLY useful.

I'm not a totally mac household. In fact I have 3 old iOpener boxes running very stripped down versions of Linux on them. I am getting an airport express for christmas (santa snitched) and it will go in my bedroom along with one of the iOpeners, and some nice speakers. When I want to listen to music, I can control the music via SlimServer to play upstairs. Very nice indeed.

I'm also understanding that I can use IceCast in order to listen to online radio broadcasts. So there. :P



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: garethhk on Nov 25, '04 09:07:38AM

Thanks for the useful tip.
Is the functionality restricted to AirPort Extreme equipped machines?
Just wonder if a WiFi PDA (Palm / PPC) can control the streaming as well with a browser on it.


Gareth



[ Reply to This | # ]
Remotely control AirPort Express with a laptop
Authored by: MacHound on Dec 19, '04 01:04:49PM

SlimServer works poorly for me. The problems I am having are:

1. Whenever I pause MusicPlayer, then begin Play again, iTunes forgets to send the audio stream back to my Airport Express even though AX remains checked in the output menu in the right lower corner of iTunes. The sound comes out of my laptop speakers upstairs instead of the stereo downstairs.

2. MusicPlayer and Softsqueeze controls are very quirky. Sometimes when I press the play / stop / pause buttons there is a 3-5 minute lag before anything happens; other times the buttons don't seem to work at all. This quirkiness occurs regardless of whether I am logged into the squeezebox server via localhost (on my PowerBook 17 1.33MHz upstairs running iTunes 4.7 & OS 10.3.4) or from my remote computer (OS 9 desktop computer in family room near stereo). Most times I have to reopen the stream in iTunes after pressing 'Play' in MusicPlayer or Softsqueeze -- which totally defeats the purpose of running SlimServer if I have to run upstairs each time to reopen the stream.

3. SlimServer never updates its available tunes information after I remove music from iTunes: the missing songs still remain in the left pane of the Squeezebox player, even though the songs are no longer available for playback. Quitting and restarting iTunes doesn't fix this. Turning off and restarting SlimServer doesn't fix it either.

Is this the kind of behavior others are seeing? If not, what am I doing wrong?



[ Reply to This | # ]