Accessing Shared Files

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Accessing Shared Files

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13.3. Accessing Shared Files So far in this chapter, you've read about setting up a Mac so that people at other computers can access its files.

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  1. 13.3. Accessing Shared Files So far in this chapter, you've read about setting up a Mac so that people at other computers can access its files. Now comes the payoff: sitting at another computer and connecting to the one you set up. There are two ways to go about it: You can use Leopard's new, streamlined Sidebar network, or you can use the older, more flexible Connect to Server command. The following pages cover both methods. 13.3.1. Connection Method A: Use the Sidebar Suppose, then, that you're seated in front of your Mac, and you want to see the files on another Mac on the network. Proceed like this: 1. Open any Finder window. In the Shared category of the Sidebar at the left side of the window, icons for all the computers on the network appear. See Figure 13-8. Tip: The same Sidebar items show up in the Save and Open dialog boxes of your programs, too, making the entire network available to you for opening and saving files. If you don't see a certain Mac's icon here, it might be turned off, it might not be on the network, or it might have File Sharing turned off. (And if you don't see any computers at all in the Sidebar, then your computer might not be on the network. Or maybe you've turned off the checkboxes for "Connected Servers" and "Bonjour Computers" in Finder Preferences Sidebar.) Figure 13-8. Macs often appear in the Sidebar with model-specific names (MacBook, iMac, and so on). Other computers (like PCs) have generic blue monitors. When you click All in the Sidebar, you see both the icons of individual computers and the icons of network chunks (like AppleTalk zones and Windows workgroups).
  2. POWER USERS' CLINIC What You Can See What You Can See Precisely which other folders you can see on the remote Mac depend on what kind of account you have there: Guest, Standard, or Administrator. (See the previous chapter.) If you're using the Guest account, you can see only the Public and Drop Box folders. The rest of the Mac is invisible and off limits to you. If you have a Standard account, you can see other people's Public and Drop Box folders, plus your own Home folder. (Of course, those are just the factory settings; somebody could have turned on sharing for additional folders.) If you're an administrator, you get to see icons for the account-holder folders and the hard drive itself to which you're connecting. In fact, you even get to see the names of any other disks connected to that Mac. If you, O lucky administrator, open the hard drive, you'll discover that you also the freedom to see and manipulate the contents of the Applications, Desktop, Library, and Users Shared folders. You can even see what folders are in other users' Home folders, although you can't open them or put anything into them. Finally, as described in the previous chapter, there's the root user. This account has complete freedom to move or delete any file or folder anywhere, including critical system files that could disable your Mac. Section 16.9 has the details. If there are more than six icons in the Sidebar, or if you're on a corporate-style network that has sub-chunks like nodes or workgroups, you also see an icon called All. Click it to see the full list of network entities that your Mac can see: not just individual Mac, Windows, and Unix machines, but also any "network neighborhoods" (limbs of your network tree). For example, you may see the
  3. names of AppleTalk zones (clusters of machines, as found in big companies and universities). Or, if you're trying to tap into a Windows machine, open the icon representing the workgroup (computer cluster) that contains the machine you want. In small office networks, it's usually called MSHOME or WORKGROUP. In big corporations, these workgroups can be called almost anything —as long as it's no more than 12 letters long with no punctuation. (Thanks, Microsoft.) If you do see icons for workgroups or other network "zones," double-click your way until you're seeing the icons for individual computers. Note: If you're a network nerd, you may be interested to note that Mac OS X 10.5 can "see" servers that use the SMB/CIFS, NFS, FTP, and WebDAV protocols running on Mac OS X Server, AppleShare, Unix, Linux, Novell NetWare, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista servers. But Sidebar reveals only the shared computers on your subnet (your local, internal office network). (It also shows Back to My Mac if it's set up; see Section 13.5.3.4.) 2. Click the computer whose files you want to open. In the main window, you now see the icons for each account holder on that computer: Mom, Dad, Sissy, whatever. If you have an account on the other computer, you'll see a folder representing your stuff, too (Figure 13-9). Figure 13-9. Without requiring any name or password on the other Mac, you have full access to anything the other account holders have left in their Public folders. (There's a Public folder in everyone's Home folder.) At this point, you're considered a Guest. At this point, the remaining instructions diverge, depending on whether you want to access other people's stuff or your stuff. That's why there are two alternative versions of step 3 here: 3. a. If you want to access the stuff that somebody else has left for you, double-click that person's Public folder.
  4. Instantly, the icon for that folder appears on your desktop, and an Eject button appears beside the computer's name in the Sidebar. (You can turn off both of those visual signals in Finder Preferences.) In this situation, you're only a Guest. You don't have to bother with a password. On the other hand, the only thing you can generally see inside the other person's account folder is his Public folder. Tip: Actually, you might see other folders here —if the account holder has specifically shared them and decided that you're important enough to have access to them, as described on Section 13.2.2. One thing you'll find inside the Public folder is the Drop Box folder. This folder exists so that you can give files and folders to the other person. You can drop any of your own icons onto the Drop Box folder —but you can't open the Drop Box folder to see what other people have put there. It's one-way, like a mail slot in somebody's front door. If you see anything else at all in the Public folder you've opened, then it's stuff that the account holder has copied there for the enjoyment of you and your network mates. You're not allowed to delete anything from the other person's Public folder or make changes to them. Figure 13-10. Top: You can sign in to your account on another Mac on the network (even while somebody else is actually using that Mac in person). Click Connect As (top right), and then enter your name and password. Turn on "Remember this password" to speed up the process for next time. The Action ( ) pop-up menu offers a Change Password that gives you the opportunity to change your account password on the other machine, just in case you suspect someone saw what you typed. Bottom: No matter which method you use to connect to a shared folder or disk, its icon shows up in the Sidebar. It's easy to disconnect, thanks to the little button.
  5. You can, however, open those icons, read them, or even copy them to your Mac — and then edit your copies. b. To access your own Home folder on the other Mac, click it, and then click the Connect As button (Figure 13-10). Sign in as usual. When the "Connect to the file server" box appears, you're supposed to specify your account name and password (from the Mac you're tapping into). This is the same name and password you'd use to log in if you were actually sitting at that machine. Type your short user name and password. (If you're not sure what your short user name is, open System Preferences on your home-base Mac, click Accounts, and then click your account name.) And if you didn't set up a password for your account, leave the password box empty. Tip: The dialog box shown in Figure 13-10 includes the delightful and timesaving "Remember this password in my keychain" option, which makes the Mac memorize your password for a certain disk so you don't have to type it —or even see this dialog box —every darned time you connect. (If you have no password, though, the "Remember password" doesn't work, and you'll have to confront — and press Enter to dismiss —the "Connect to the file server" box every time.) When you click Connect (or press Return or Enter), your own Home folder on the other Mac appears. Its icon shows up on your desktop, and a little button appears next to its name. Click it to disconnect. Tip: Once you've connected to a Mac using your account, the other Mac has a lock on your identity. You'll be able to connect to the other Mac over and over again during this same computing session, without ever having to retype your password. In the meantime, you can double-click icons to open them, make copies of them, and otherwise manipulate them exactly as though they were icons on your own hard drive. Depending on what permissions you've been given, you can even edit or trash those files.
  6. Tip: There's one significant difference between working with "local" icons and working with those that sit elsewhere on the network. When you delete a file from another Mac on the network, either by pressing the Delete key or by dragging it to the Trash, a message appears to let you know that you're about to delete that item instantly and permanently. It won't simply land in the Trash "folder," awaiting the Empty Trash command. You can even use Spotlight to find files on that networked disk. If the Mac across the network is running Leopard, in fact, you can search for words inside its files, just as though you were sitting in front of it. If not, you can search only for text in files' names. 13.3.2. Connection Method B: Connect to Server The Sidebar method of connecting to networked folders and disks is practically effortless. It involves nothing more than clicking your way through folders —a skill that, in theory, you already know. But the Sidebar method lacks some advantages of the older "Connect to Server" method of Mac OS X versions gone by. For example, the Sidebar method doesn't let you type in a disk's network address. As a result, you can't access any shared disk on the Internet (an FTP site, for example), or indeed anywhere beyond your local subnet (your own small network). Fortunately, there's another way. When you choose Go Connect to Server, you get the dialog box shown in Figure 13-11. You're supposed to type in the address of the shared disk you want. Figure 13-11. The Sidebar method of connecting to shared disks and folders is quick and easy, but it doesn't let you connect to certain kinds of disks. The Connect to Server method entails plodding through several dialog boxes and doesn't let you browse for shared disks, but it can find just about every kind of networked disk. For example, from here, you can connect to:
  7. • Everyday Macs on your network. If you know the IP address of the Mac you're trying to access (you geek!), you can type nothing but its IP address into the box and then hit Connect. And if the other Mac runs Mac OS X 10.2 or later, you can just type its Bonjour (Rendezvous) name: afp://upstairs-PowerMac.local/. Tip: To find out your Mac's IP address, open the Network pane of System Preferences. There, near the top, you'll see a message like this: "AirPort is connected to Tim's Hotspot and has the IP address 192.168.1.113." That's your IP address.To see your Bonjour address, open the Sharing pane of System Preferences pane. Click File Sharing. Near the top, you'll see the computer name with ".local" tacked onto its name —and hyphens instead of spaces —like this: Little-MacBook.local. After you enter your account password and choose the shared disk or folder you want, its icon appears on your desktop and in the Sidebar. You're connected exactly as though you had clicked Connect As (Figure 13-10). The next time you open the Connect to Server dialog box, Mac OS X remembers that address, as a courtesy to you, and shows it pre-entered in the Address field. • Macs across the Internet. If your Mac has a permanent (static) IP address, the computer itself can be a server, to which you can connect from anywhere in the world via the Internet. Details on this procedure begin on Section 22.1. • An iDisk. An iDisk is a file server, too (Section 18.6.1). The easiest way to bring your own iDisk icon to the screen is to click the iDisk icon in your Sidebar. But what if you're not using your own Mac? What if you're visiting a friend, and you want to bring your iDisk to his screen? In that case, you could choose Go Disk Other User's iDisk —or, if you're a Connect to Server kind of person, type afp://idisk.mac.com into the Connect to Server dialog box. When you click Connect, the Mac asks for your iDisk name and password. Type them in, and after a moment, your iDisk's icon pops up on the desktop. • Windows machines. Find out the PC's IP address or computer name, and then use this format for the address: smb://192.168.1.34 or smb://Cheapo-Dell.
  8. After a moment, you're asked to enter your Windows account name and password, and then to choose the name of the shared folder you want. When you click OK, the shared folder appears on your desktop as an icon, ready to use. (More on sharing with Windows PCs later in this chapter.) Tip: If you know the name of the shared folder, you can add that after a slash, like this: smb://192.168.4.23/ sharedstuff. You save yourself one dialog box. GEM IN THE ROUGH Faster Ways to Connect Next Time If you expect that you might want to access a shared disk or folder again later, take a moment to make an alias of it. (For example, Control-click it and choose Make Alias from the shortcut menu.) Next time, you can bring it back to your screen later just by double-clicking the alias. And if you turned on "Remember this password in my keychain," you won't even be asked for your name and password again. Similarly, if you drag a shared folder into the Dock, you can bring it back to your screen later just by clicking its icon. You can even drag its icon into the Login Items window described on Section 9.16. Now the disk appears on your desktop automatically each time you log in —the most effortless arrangement of all. • NFS servers. If you're on a network with Unix machines, you can tap into one of their shared directories using this address format: nfs://Machine-Name/pathname, where Machine-Name is the computer's name or IP address, and pathname is the folder path (Section 1.2.4) to the shared item you want. • FTP servers. Mac OS X makes it simple to bring FTP servers onto your screen, too. (These are the drives, out there on the Internet, that store the files used by Web sites.) In the Connect to Server dialog box, type the FTP address of the server you want, like this: www.apple.com. If the site's administrators have permitted anonymous
  9. access —the equivalent of a Guest account —that's all there is to it. A Finder window pops open, revealing the FTP site's contents. If you need a password for the FTP site, however, what you type into the Connect to Server dialog box should incorporate the account name you've been given, like this: yourname@www.apple.com. You'll be asked for your password. UP TO SPEED Hello, Bonjour Throughout this chapter, and throughout this book, you'll encounter rituals in which you're supposed to connect to another Mac, server, or printer by typing in its IP address (its unique network address). But first of all, IP addresses are insanely difficult to memorize (192.179.244.3, anyone?). Second, networks shouldn't require you to deal with them anyway. If a piece of equipment is on the network, it should announce its presence, rather than making you specifically call for it by name. Now you can appreciate the beauty of Bonjour (formerly Rendezvous), an underlying Mac OS X networking technology that lets networked gadgets detect each other on the network automatically and recognize each other's capabilities. It's Bonjour at work, for example, that makes other Macs' names show up in your iTunes program so that you can listen to their music from across the network. Bonjour is also responsible for filling up your Bonjour buddy list in iChat automatically, listing everyone who's on the same office network; for making shared Macs' names show up in the Sidebar's Network icon; and for making the names of modern laser printers from HP, Epson, or Lexmark appear like magic in the list of printers in the Print dialog box. And if you're lucky enough to have (a) a TiVo Series 2 (or later) video recorder for your television, (b) a home network that connects it with your Mac, and (c) TiVo's Home Networking Option, you already know that your Mac's name magically appears on the TiVo screen. This allows you to play your iTunes music, or put on a slide show of your iPhoto pictures, right on the TV. Once again, it's Bonjour at work. It's even more tantalizing to contemplate the future of Bonjour. To quotewww.zeroconf.org, whose underlying technology forms the basis of Bonjour: "The long-term goal of Zeroconf is to enable the creation of entirely new kinds
  10. of networked products, products that today would simply not be commercially viable because of the inconvenience and support costs involved in setting up, configuring, and maintaining a network to allow them to operate." But that's just the beginning. If electronics companies show interest (and some have already), you may someday be able to connect the TV, stereo, and DVD player with just a couple of Ethernet cables, instead of a rat's nest of audio and video cables. For most of us, that day can't come soon enough. Tip: You can even eliminate that password-dialog box step by using this address format: yourname:yourpassword@www.apple.com. Once you type it and press Return, the FTP server appears as a disk icon on your desktop (and in the Sidebar). Its contents appear, ready to open or copy. • WebDAV server. This special Web-based shared disk requires a special address format, like this: http://Computer-Name/pathname. (Technically, the iDisk is a WebDAV server —but there are far user-friendlier ways to get at it.) In each case, once you click OK, you may be asked for your name and password. And now, some timesaving features in the Connect to Server box: • Once you've typed a disk's address, you can click+to add it to the list of server favorites. The next time you want to connect, you can just double-click its name. • The clock-icon pop-up menu lists Recent Servers —computers you've accessed recently over the network. If you choose one of them from this pop-up menu, you can skip having to type in an address. Tip: Like the Sidebar network-browsing method, the Connect to Server command displays each connected computer as an icon in your Sidebar, even within the Open or Save dialog boxes of your programs. You don't have to burrow through the Sidebar's Network icon to open files from them, or save files onto them.
  11. 13.3.3. Disconnecting Yourself When you're finished using a shared disk or folder, you can disconnect from it by clicking the icon next to its name in the Sidebar. 13.3.4. Disconnecting Others In Mac OS X, you really have to work if you want to know whether other people on the network are accessing your Mac. You have to choose System Preferences Sharing File Sharing Options. There you'll see something like, "Number of users connected: 1." (See Figure 13-12.) Figure 13-12. This dialog box asks you how much notice you want to give your co- workers that they're about to be disconnected, and what message to send them before the axe falls. Maybe that's because there's nothing to worry about. You certainly have nothing to fear from a security standpoint, since people from across the network are allowed to access only their own folders. Nor will you experience much computer slowdown as you work, thanks to Mac OS X's prodigious multitasking features. Still, if you're feeling particularly antisocial, you can slam shut the door to your Mac just by turning off the File Sharing feature. Click System Preferences in the Dock, click the Sharing icon, and turn off File Sharing. If anybody is, in fact, connected to your Mac at the time (from aMac), you see the dialog box in Figure 13-12. If not, your Mac instantly becomes an island once again.
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