TUAW Q&A: Syncing Files Online, CD Ripping, NAS Time Machine

Welcome to another session of Ask TUAW, where we delve into your queries about everything from file syncing services and CD ripping speeds to backup solutions and Twitter applications. Feel free to drop your questions for our next edition in the comments section. Remember to mention your specific Mac model and OS version, though we’ll assume it’s Leopard on an Intel Mac unless stated otherwise. Let’s dive into this week’s inquiries!

tukan asks:

Can I set up my Mac to automatically sync a folder to a server, and then access it online, preferably through an iPhone app? I’ve tried services like box.net and ZumoDrive without auto-sync, and Amazon S3 via JungleDrive doesn’t offer remote file access. Any alternatives?

If you’re looking for seamless synchronization, Dropbox is your best bet. It syncs folders across multiple devices and provides a web interface. Although there’s no dedicated iPhone app, their mobile-optimized site at m.getdropbox.com works well.

Dropbox offers 2GB for free or 50GB for $99/year. Another recommended option is SugarSync.

petey asks:

My work PC rips CDs into iTunes in under two minutes. My iMac and other Macs take 5-6 minutes at best. Is this due to the drive’s read speed, and can I get a faster Mac-compatible drive?

Indeed, the speed of your drive can significantly impact ripping speeds. Check out this article from Macworld for more details. You can upgrade to a faster third-party drive in a Mac Pro. For an iMac, consider a FireWire 800 external CD drive if you’re looking for better performance.

Thargok asks:

I’m planning to set up a FreeNAS server for Time Machine backups.

Is it necessary to format the disks as HFS+, or does Time Machine not require this?

For a comprehensive guide on setting up FreeNAS for Time Machine, take a look at this tutorial and another for ReadyNAS. You don’t need to format the NAS disks as HFS+; Time Machine works with a manually created sparsebundle.

Olivier asks:

Since switching to Mac over a year ago, I still have some Windows habits. I often double-click a window’s title bar expecting it to expand, but it minimizes instead. Can I reverse this behavior in Leopard?

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward way to reverse this behavior in OS X. Unlike Windows, OS X doesn’t have a true “maximize” function. Instead, it uses a “zoom” feature, which adjusts the window size based on content, and this is triggered by the green button.

Jeff asks:

I’m new to Twitter and looking for a good Mac-based client. Any recommendations?

Choosing the right Twitter client often boils down to personal preference.

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Linda is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts. With a deep understanding of Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, Linda offers readers valuable tips, reviews, and news updates. His articles reflect a genuine love for technology and a commitment to keeping the Apple community informed. Linda’s clear and approachable writing style makes complex topics accessible, ensuring that every reader can stay up-to-date with the latest in the Apple world.