Buffalo LinkStation Mini adds iTunes streaming for iPhones

In the drab world of network-attached-storage (NAS) devices, Buffalo's LinkStation Mini stands out thanks to its palm-sized form factor (due to it using 2.5-inch notebook hard drives instead of the 3.

Buffalo LinkStation Mini Adds iTunes Streaming for iPhones
In the drab world of network-attached-storage (NAS) devices, Buffalo's LinkStation Mini stands out thanks to its palm-sized form factor (due to it using 2.5-inch notebook hard drives instead of the 3.5-inch desktop hard drives that most NAS devices utilize). It has a solid set of features as well, including print-server capability and the ability to stream files to any DLNA-compatible media player. Now the tiny unit is the first of probably many NAS drives that is going to make it easier to access your iTunes library from your iPhone. With a simple firmware update, you can play music and view photos directly from your home computer's hard drive on Apple's cell phone. You enable the Mini's Web Access feature—which gives you remote access to your files via a custom Web address—then surf to the site via your iPhone's Safari browser and access your media there.

A dedicated app would be a tidier option, and if you're looking for an alternative way to stream your iTunes library to your iPhone without dropping a few hundred dollars on the LinkStation Mini, try the (currently) free app SimplifyMedia. In addition to downloading the app from the App Store, you need to download a utility from the SimplifyMedia Web site to install on your computer and then create a SimplifyMedia account. I've just started playing around with it, and it lets me access my tunes around the house using my wireless network without problems. The biggest issue I've found with using it remotely is that there's a noticeable delay in playing tracks due to buffering as SimplifyMedia grabs your selected track. (There's also been at least one major service outage since I've downloaded the app.) Rumor has it that the company may eventually charge for the app, but if it works on a consistent basis, and you can handle the buffering delay, it'll be a far cheaper alternative to paying for an 8GB of drive space on the iPhone.

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