UPDATE: This setup worked for me for about three days, then suddenly iTunes couldn't find any of my music. I got a horrible sinking feeling after clicking on track after track only to be greeted by the ugly error that my music couldn't be found and "would I like to find it?" Ugh. For more see AirDisk and iTunes problems.
If you're a MacBook/MBP user like me, you're probably always filling up your hard drive. It's a constant battle for space with me, delete something to make room for something else. Archive, backup, purge, repeat.
And with a new penchant for playing with my new Sony HDR-HC7 HD camcorder and iMovie, hard drive space becomes even more of a premium. So I decided to do something drastic - I deleted my 60GB iTunes library from my hard drive today.
No, I haven't completely lost my mind. I just decided to act on an excellent tip that I found on TUAW.com called Use your iTunes library over AirPort Disk. The little nugget is loaded with vitamin wonderful and if you own one of Apple's new snappy Airport Extreme Base Stations (AEBS) - the 802.11n variety - then it behooves you to give the tip a try.
Essentially it involves moving your iTunes library to an external USB hard drive that you then attach to the AEBS. The new AEBS allows you to use the built-in USB port for hard drive sharing also called "NAS" or Network Attached Storage. Then all you need to do is to edit the iTunes advance preference to point to the library's new location.
Important: Before you delete the local iTunes library, make a backup of the entire iTunes folder in a safe local.
Two things to consider:
1. The AEBS only has one USB port. If you want to use a USB printer and a hard drive with the AEBS you'll need to use a powered USB hub. One tip: stay away from the Belkin 4-port USB 2.0 hub that Apple sells, it doesn't work.
2. Deleting your local iTunes library on a portable means no iTunes when you're away from you home network. This can be easily remedied by connecting your iPod when you want to listen to tunes away from home. The other thing you can do is create an additional iTunes library (mine is called "iTunes Local") on your local hard drive and just keep a few CDs of your favorite tunes in it, just in case. To switch libraries, hold down the option key when launching iTunes.
Migrating your iTunes library to an AirDisk is a great way to save a lot of space on your local hard drive. Give it a shot!