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  1. #621
    Just another SB Fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJZolx View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that it's not just cost, but the overall cleanliness of the design and how that would be seen by the consumer. Having the OS on a card is perfectly fine for a DIY project, but it would be fugly for anything bought off the shelf.

    The Touch seemed to have a pretty reliable and simple mechanism for recovery by the end user, although its implementation was no doubt complex.
    Your average consumer never sees the PCB/guts of the electronics they buy, so it really isn't an aesthetics question as far as the decision to use on-board flash versus card/socket go. It doesn't have to be fugly (in the consumer sense, as opposed the elegance of engineering sense), since you don't have to expose the socket/card outside the chassis.

    There are other reasons to use it, as well, including smaller volume requirement, reduces assembly and test steps on the production line, fewer failure points, lower number of components (which means fewer parts to order, receive, track, pick, etc.), and so on. But having actively participated in the design of more than 50+ products that include an OS, I can confidently say that the decision to use on-board flash versus other methods when space is not a constraint cost is a deciding factor in nearly every case.

    If I were writing the product spec for an open-community platform, I would write it with a socket/card for version 1, because that's the easiest/best approach to create something that can be designed easily, as well as updated easily and reliably. I would want the product to have the maximum flexibility in terms of being repaired in the field, and I think that Triode's suggestions accomplishes that.

    But, I'm not here to argue it. Just giving some advice in an area where I have a great deal of experience.


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  2. #622
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    An SD card could be sent in to a dev for analysis too .

    touch actually has an SD slot for the possibility of fw up/downgrade .

    radio has not hence why don't got new fw that often for Radio .
    A software problems that mangles network conectivity can happen .

    so the possibility of removing the card and reflash it is a good idea .
    And having it inside not sticking out of the box is also a great idea .
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  3. #623
    We have been following this thread for a while. We are looking at an ARM based unit as a multi room extension to a Vortexbox based base system. We have a Wandboard and have been playing with Clive's image - it all works very nicely.

    Up to now, we've not really been overly concerned with having an onboard DAC, but John's carrier board has piqued our interest and would solve some packaging issues with our case design.
    There is the possibility that we could have the boards properly manufactured for our own use in fully built units, and also offer the bare boards to the community at reasonable cost for diy builds.

    Not sure how people feel about this, and there would need to be further discussions with the various contributing parties.. but just putting the idea out there.

    Martin
    Mint Audio

  4. #624
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    An alternative (but not necessaily to the exclusion of an SD card) would be to have bootloader support a network boot and not just Flash or SD. This would be part of wandboard bootloader so it may already be there or on a wish list.

    Some developers (especially when doing a new kernel port) prefer network boot (i.e. where device request image from a local networked server) as it can be quicker and avoids copying images to SD cards for each iteration. It can also avoid problems with different brand/classes of SD cards.

    If network boot is not there now, the advantage of a Wandboard approach is that the SB player development would benefit should another Wandboard developer add network boot to the bootloader.

  5. #625
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpa View Post
    An alternative (but not necessaily to the exclusion of an SD card) would be to have bootloader support a network boot and not just Flash or SD. This would be part of wandboard bootloader so it may already be there or on a wish list.
    I like the idea that the software gets stored on an SD card or something, rather than in a chip. It is serviceable, expandable, cheap. And until you fiddle with the hardware, it makes no difference to the user.
    Perhaps the add-on wifi card with its own firmware could pick the OS from a tftp server on the network in case of disaster or for updates?
    Dual firmware (current, fallback to previous), or even triple (current, previous, factory) could also be a possibility if the wandboard bios (?) knows how to manage that.
    4 SB 3 • iPeng (iPhone + iPad) • SqueezeLite • Squeezebox Server 7.8.1 (Debian 7.5) with plugins: CD Player, WaveInput by bpa • IRBlaster by Gwendesign (Felix) • Server Power Control by Gordon Harris • Smart Mix by Michael Herger • PowerSave by Jason Holtzapple • Song Info, Song Lyrics by Erland Isaksson • WeatherTime by Martin Rehfeld • ShairTunes by StuartUSA • Local Player, BBC iPlayer, SwitchPlayer by Triode • Auto Dim Display, SaverSwitcher, ContextMenu by Peter Watkins.

  6. #626
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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch1970 View Post
    Dual firmware (current, fallback to previous), or even triple (current, previous, factory) could also be a possibility if the wandboard bios (?) knows how to manage that.
    The Allwinner A10 chip (which is used on many android dongle/media player) supports boot from NAND, SD and USB which makes it hard to brick. IIRC it is the bootloader that makes this possible. So an important part of this project are the current capabilities of the bootloader. If it support multiple boots now, then there is no issue. If not then the upgrade and how to fix bricked system procedures need to defined. Ideally source code for bootloader would ensure non-tech user friendly procedures can be developed.

    I don't like the idea of a separate wifi card unless the sources are available or there is a user community because if there are problems with it (and typically these will be discovered when player gets used by a wide number of users) if may be hard to get it fixed if dependent on a single vendor.

    If a custom bootloader is developed then there is the issue of how to update the bootloader. Some similar SoC ARM based systems require the use of OTG USB port, special USB drivers and SoC vendor supplied PC based applications and this can cause problem for user who not have the "right" PC os (e.g. typically 64 bit Windows)

  7. #627
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSwenson View Post
    Hmm, interesting. The module has an OTG port which theoretically could be used as a "USB device" commonly refered to as "gadget" mode.
    If this actually works it might not be too hard to have Gen1 have the host port go to a HUB, and the OTG port actually goto an OTG jack so it could be used as a DAC with another computer.
    Sounds promising - thanks for looking into it!

  8. #628
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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch1970 View Post
    I like the idea that the software gets stored on an SD card or something, rather than in a chip. It is serviceable, expandable, cheap. And until you fiddle with the hardware, it makes no difference to the user.
    Perhaps the add-on wifi card with its own firmware could pick the OS from a tftp server on the network in case of disaster or for updates?
    Dual firmware (current, fallback to previous), or even triple (current, previous, factory) could also be a possibility if the wandboard bios (?) knows how to manage that.
    I suspect this discussion is all moot now as the cpu module we are looking at has flash on a card... Whether the user sees this or its entirely hidden from them will depend on the maturity of the solution we ever get to...

  9. #629
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    Wandboard

    Hi,
    I have been following this thread for a while and first of all I would like to express my congratulations for all yours big efforts on the Squeezebox Replacement Project. As I have decided to get a dual wandboard,I would like to know where can I get the John's carrier board from.
    OK now I am off to place the order for the wandboard
    Many thanks.
    Primary system: Squeezebox Touch/Wandboard Quad with CSOS F19 R8, iPengHD/Squeezepad on iPad3, Rega DAC, Virtue Audio One, Cambridge Audio Azur 640C V2, Mission M34i.
    Secondary system: Wandboard Dual with SoA, Orange Squeeze on Nexus 7, Little Doc DAC I, Little Dot III, AKG K 702.

  10. #630
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    Quote Originally Posted by mintaudio View Post
    We have been following this thread for a while. We are looking at an ARM based unit as a multi room extension to a Vortexbox based base system. We have a Wandboard and have been playing with Clive's image - it all works very nicely.

    Up to now, we've not really been overly concerned with having an onboard DAC, but John's carrier board has piqued our interest and would solve some packaging issues with our case design.
    There is the possibility that we could have the boards properly manufactured for our own use in fully built units, and also offer the bare boards to the community at reasonable cost for diy builds.

    Not sure how people feel about this, and there would need to be further discussions with the various contributing parties.. but just putting the idea out there.

    Martin
    Mint Audio
    If you're suggesting a pre-built unit that could support the Squeezebox system, I'd be all over it. I don't mind a bit of DIY, but if you offer something that takes most of the guessing or trouble shooting out of it, please count me in. I'm not very price sensitive, either. If it has decent features for under $300, you could have a real winner on your hands.

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