Friday, February 11, 2011

My Apple Airport Express Works!

Warning: Geek stuff ahead.

About 2 years ago, my then colleague was showing off his new iPhone and mentioned how he was using it to stream music wirelessly from his computer upstairs to his hi-fi set downstairs using his iPhone as a remote. Since I have converted quite a lot of my CDs into mp3s, I thought it would be great to be able to do just that when I shifted into my new house.
So began the process of looking for a house. Then looking for my hi-fi set. Then looking for the cabinet. Then setting up my wifi connection. And finally, reading up on materials related to the Apple Airport Express. Even though I shifted jobs, I emailed this techie ex-colleague of mine who was kind enough to email me materials to research on.
When the Apple Online Store had the sale a couple of weeks ago, I decided to purchase one. I mean, I had everything in place! When it arrived, I was so excited with my new toy and promptly went home to try to install it.

However. It was the most complicated thing to install and the people whom I tried getting help from, the various staff from Apple Support and the technical guy at Machines (Apple dealers in Malaysia), they all were stumped upon telling them I didn't have a Mac.

For many days I rushed home from work to call to get help. I was told to get a wireless card for my desktop to read the Airport Express. Then in finality, I was told to buy the Airport Extreme for twice the price just so to make sure it connects! Finally, I decided to bring it to my usual computer shop who gave it one look and said, "I don't know how to help you since even the Apple folks can't!". In the end, I decided to return the item before my first 14 days to return the item expired.

When I tried to return it, Apple Malaysia asked me to try calling the Apple Support again for one last try. Tried yesterday but was too late, it was past their closing time for their Level 2 Seniors (as the Junior staff apparently are not trained for such a complicated case). So I tried again today. 

After talking to a Shawn for an hour, I am elated to say that it is now streaming music wirelessly downstairs. Except, I need to now look for the correct wires to connect it to my amplifier. Fingers crossed, my amplifier would be able to stream this.

According to Malcom Gladwell's book Outliers, this is the reason why I do well in Maths. I'm amazed at my tenacity at this.

Hmm... I'm not sure if I should write down what we finally did to make it work since I couldn't find support online. Ok, skip the next part since this is just for my records and if anyone else Google's this:

Hardware: PC Desktop Windows XP linked to my wifi modem via ethernet cable and the Airport Express
Software: Install the Apple Utility software given in the CD together with the Airport Express; iTunes later on for storing and playing songs; Remote apps on iPhone for as your remote control.
Purpose: To stream music wirelessly from my computer upstairs to my hifi downstairs.
  • Connect the Airport Express to the desktop via ethernet cable.
  • Plug in the Airport Express and wait until light blinks amber.
  • Open Apple Utility on the desktop and wait for it to detect the Airport Express.
  • At the bottom of this screen there's two options: "Manual" and "Continue".
  • Okay, this part I actually set up the Airport Express using the "Continue" button which is to join an existing wireless network. I had to use the "Manual" option because I didn't know what type of security my internet provider has for my setup so first try was wrong.
Anyway, it then connected to the existing wifi and voila! 

I brought the Airport Express downstairs (without the ethernet cable), connected it to a set of laptop speakers, connected my desktop back to the wifi modem via ethernet cable and launched iTunes. Selecting the Airport Express connection from the bottom right icon with a rectangle and an arrow, I randomly clicked any song AND IT STARTED PLAYING. I can now almost close this chapter after 2 years. Just the wires now and praying my old amp wants to recognize this or not.


Ron said...

so do you have to dock your iphone onto your amplifier downstairs to transmit the frequencies from your computer? I personally cannot stand the sound of MP3 format which is why I'm so obsessed by expensive CD players!
I also read that book "Outliers" partially - I found it interesting but also rather depressing in a way!

Kau Sern said...

no, i don't have to dock my iphone. so i can be in the kitchen with my phone and control what song i want to hear and the volume from the speakers in the living room.

i'm not expecting the sound to be great but at least i can now hear my many mp3s from my computer.

outliers - yeah, so it's not really about how hard you work sometimes or how smart you are. and that there is no fairness or equality.

jo said...

crap, i forgot i was using kau sern's laptop.

Kau Sern said...

Look ma, I married a geek!

Walk On said...

I think you can work for Apple liao. I don't understand so many things in this post. Techie sial!

jo said...

yish... it just so happens i am trying to do something uncommon with the hardware i have.

jo said...

i've just set the wires up to my amp and as you said, ron, the sound isn't as clear as listening directly from the cd.

oh well, it's still ok if i don't listen so carefully. happy that i can finally stream music wirelessly!