Home Server

I listen to a lot of Leo Laporte’s podcasts. I really enjoy all of his work. But listening to his Windows Weekly podcast is becoming more and more difficult.

Leo and his cohost sometimes talk about Windows Home Server. An OEM version of Windows designed to manage the ever increasing notion of having more that one computer in your household. The product does seem to fill a a nitch. But what bothers me is Leo never mentions how Apple is solving this same problem. And how Apple’s solution is much better for the home user.

So what problems is Windows Home Server trying to solve? Mainly aggregation of content. A single place for your media so they can be accessible from multiple computers. It also offers a place for backups to go. Sometimes I think Leo is disappointed in Apple for not offering a similar product.

It is an antithesis for someone to expect Apple to require a server (a separate machine running separate software) for these abilities. If you want to share pictures, you turn on picture sharing in iPhoto, and they automatically appear on other machines in your network. If you want to share music, you turn on music sharing in iTunes and your music automatically appears on other computers in your network. No server necessary. That means no configuration necessary. That is the Macintosh Way.

Apples backup solution (Called Time Machine) is just as simple. Plug in an external hard drive and it asks you if you want to backup to it. No server, no configuration necessary. Sure it is not centralized, but for storage of backups that isn’t even encouraged.