Musicast $18 is an amazingly effective, simple and smart application, but it does come with two health warnings:
1. You will have to open up a port on your router, and
2. There is a “grey” area in my opinion on the legality of certain aspects of the application.
The first point, whilst possibly daunting, is necessary and the developers go to great lengths to allay any security fears that you may have. I was also amazed when they directed me to this site in response to my request for some information on my router. They have a list of commonly used routers on their site, but mine isn’t on the list so I wanted some extra information. I guess I had no real reason to be amazed as this is the benefit and value of the internet, but still I had to smile at the breadth and depth of information that is available these days.
The second point all hangs off your own personal on sharing music that you own. If you want to use the application to share your favorite podcasts with your friends and family I can’t see that as been a problem. If you want to use the application to access your own iTunes library from a remote computer you are using, say at a friends party, then I see that as no different as taking your CD’s to a party. But if you want to give your friends and family access to your library for their own use then that could be a gray area.
OK, so that said, what does the Musicast site say about their product?
“Musicast lets you broadcast iTunes playlists to the internet as a webpage and podcast. This allows you and your buddies to access your music from any web browser, and subscribe to it in iTunes or a RSS reader. You can even access your iTunes music from a mobile device with a web browser or podcast software.”
As such you have a whole range of possibilities:
* Access music from your mobile device (Cellphone, Palm, PocketPC, PSP)
* Share music between computers
* Publish albums as musicasts
* Subscribe to your music from TiVo
* Give friends a better taste in music
* Stream music from your personal weblog using Streampad Music Player
* Create a single musicast feed with all your latest podcast episodes.
I loved the application. The interface was really smooth (but it was designed by the guys that developed Delicious Library which I use all the time) and easy to use
Personally I used the application in a couple of specific ways:
– when I was away from home, I used to access my library and listen to recently downloaded podcasts, so I imagine this would be a great use of your lunch hour
– I logged in from friends houses to play some of my music as theirs sucked!!!
– I gave friends access so they could listen to some new music to help them decide if they wanted to buy it.
I didn’t stream it around the apartment as I have two Airport Express networks set up to speakers so it wasn’t going to better that. I did access it through my PSP and I was really impressed with that function. It isn’t something that I will use as I always have my iPod to hand, but as a back up option it was great, and of course if you don’t have an iPod or want one extra reason to purchase a PSP then it will be of interest to you.
The Typical Mac User Podcast has a great interview with the developer and they have an offer on the price as well that you may want to check out. Funnily enough both Victor and I seem to have had the same idea of using it remotely to access our podcasts.