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View Full Version : HELP - Advice on AlienBBC for Newbie required



Jungle
2005-10-26, 10:22
I'm sorry if this topic has been done to death but I can't seem to fathom the instructions for getting AlienBBC working on a Mac running OSX Tiger. So far I have managed to find a copy of MPlayer,the iTunes Lame plugin but the link given for the cook.bundle codecs doesn't seem to work. Also, by the time I have followed the first three instructions, I begin to lose the will to live.

As there anyone out there who has a foolproof and simple set of instructions for getting AlienBBC working or, alternatively, is there any way of getting BBC radio streamed to my SB2?

All help gratefully received.

danco
2005-10-26, 16:43
Unfortunately there is some difficulty. Because mplayer and the relevant codec aren't under the AlienBBC's team's control. So there are a number of different versions, in different places, and they sometimes get moved.

And there are different places for the codec to live on your machine, depending on the version of mplayer.

All I can say is that it's worth persisting. I think the downloads page of the sourceforge entry for mplayer is the best place to look.

danco
2005-10-27, 00:04
To be more specific, go to http://mplayerosx.sourceforge.net/ and then (on the left) to the downloads page, and get the "lastbinary only for Tiger" to get mplayer, and either reallib.zip or one of the ffmpeg binaries to get the cook.bundle codec (and loads of others that aren't relevant).

You may have to experiment with which version of cook.bundle works with your mplayer, and also with where to put cook.bundle (you could always try putting it in several places, on the principle that one place will work and having it also in a wrong place won't cause trouble).

You do need to test that mplayer works ok, as the first bit of checking.

And there are other issues that mya cause problems, but they are fairly easy to deal with.

It is worth persisting. AlienBBC has changed my listening completely.

Jungle
2005-10-27, 12:45
Many thanks for two comprehensive responses but I'm afraid I still fell at the first fence. I downloaded the MPlayer file you suggested but the read-me indicated I needed to use one of the files to replace one from a full installation. Sadly, I wasn't able to find the directory where I was told this file would be. Then there's the location for the codecs - I hope I'm not being really dumb but it seems that, if you install on a Monday and it's an odd day of the month, you need to put them in the /normal/people/dontunderstandthis directory but, if it is a Tuesday, before lunch and an even day of the week, the files go into the /cantfind/thelocation directory.

I am more than happy, if someone helps me through this maze, to sit down and document (and, if possible) script an entire install for AlienBBC - so many people tell me it's great that I *know* I need to persist but, as a Mac newbie and a Squeezebox newbie, I'm finding this really tough going!

danco
2005-10-27, 14:51
Many thanks for two comprehensive responses but I'm afraid I still fell at the first fence. I downloaded the MPlayer file you suggested but the read-me indicated I needed to use one of the files to replace one from a full installation. Sadly, I wasn't able to find the directory where I was told this file would be. Then there's the location for the codecs - I hope I'm not being really dumb but it seems that, if you install on a Monday and it's an odd day of the month, you need to put them in the /normal/people/dontunderstandthis directory but, if it is a Tuesday, before lunch and an even day of the week, the files go into the /cantfind/thelocation directory.

I am more than happy, if someone helps me through this maze, to sit down and document (and, if possible) script an entire install for AlienBBC - so many people tell me it's great that I *know* I need to persist but, as a Mac newbie and a Squeezebox newbie, I'm finding this really tough going!

You got led astray by the mplayer readme file, which is saying something irrelevant to AlienBBC. The things is that there is a version of mplayer with a graphical user interface (the usual kind of menus, etc.), and if you are using that - which you won't be doing for these purposes - you then have to do the replacement business. If you read the README file very carefully, you will see that it is specifically talking about using "mplayer binary" (which is the file you downloaded) in "mplayer os x player", and that is actually a program on its own that some people want to use for various purposes but that is of no concern to you.

Just put your mplayer in /usr/local/bin, as suggested in the AlienBBC instructions.

I do agree with you about the location for the codecs, it is confusing. And I'm not entirely sure which is the best version of the codecs to download, certainly the instructions in the README file are probably incorrect, and you should take a download from the ffmpegX_recommended_bins. I don't know if it makes any difference which download you choose. Only the cook.bundle has any relevance. The README file suggests that this needs to be put in /usr/local/lib/mplayer. Some people have reported success in doing that. I don't exactly know because my version of mplayer is much older and wanted cook.bundle put somewhere else. As I suggested, you can always be lazy and install it in several different places.

So, put mplayer and cook.bundle in suitable places, and then test mplayer, following the instructions about testing (and possibly also following item 3 on the alternative installation notes). This should work, but the BBC have juggled with their streams lately so there could be issues.

Anyway, follow these instructions, and if it doesn't work let us have the log of what happened.

By the way, a working version of mplayer will still throw up error messages (can't find ...) before settling down to play. As long as it does play in the end, there's no need to worry about those messages.

Are you a Unix newbie as well as a Mac newbie? The Terminal (which is a GUI to the Unix underpinnings of OS X) is easy enough to use.

Once you have mplayer installed and playing BBC streams, we can go to the next phase, which is rather easier.

Jungle
2005-10-29, 06:57
All is finally working! I have been loudly proclaiming my genius until my wife pointed out that I had been getting nowhere before Danco's helpful posts so, grateful thanks for all the assistance given.

I am now happily listening to Radio 4 on my Squeezebox and all the other channels I have tested also work well. For anyone not already using AlienBBC, I would recommend trying it.

I will post one more message on this topic - I have kept a log of actions required and file locations used to get AlienBBC working on a Mac Mini running OS X Tiger in a virgin state. Perhaps this may help others who have been struggling to get a working system. Some of the directory locations required didn't exist and I had to search my memory banks for all the 'chmod' stuff and other command line unix commmands I haven't used in years. As Ozzy Osbourne said, "Of all the things in life I've lost, I miss my mind the most"...

Danco, you're a star - thanks for helping me out.

danco
2005-10-30, 03:44
All is finally working! I have been loudly proclaiming my genius until my wife pointed out that I had been getting nowhere before Danco's helpful posts so, grateful thanks for all the assistance given.

I am now happily listening to Radio 4 on my Squeezebox and all the other channels I have tested also work well. For anyone not already using AlienBBC, I would recommend trying it.

I will post one more message on this topic - I have kept a log of actions required and file locations used to get AlienBBC working on a Mac Mini running OS X Tiger in a virgin state. Perhaps this may help others who have been struggling to get a working system. Some of the directory locations required didn't exist and I had to search my memory banks for all the 'chmod' stuff and other command line unix commmands I haven't used in years. As Ozzy Osbourne said, "Of all the things in life I've lost, I miss my mind the most"...

Danco, you're a star - thanks for helping me out.

Glad it's going ok. A detailed log may well be of use to others.

But please note, especially if you are supporting others, that no Unix commands are actually needed. See my instructions on the AlienBBC page.

The kye points where one might try Unix, but don't need to, are the following.

1. To create a directory (subfolder) in a normally invisible directory, Go to Folder in the Finder menu opens a window to *any* folder, even a normally invisible one, and then one can create subfolders in the normal Mac way.

2. To change permissions on a file, Get Info on it and there is a section of permissions.

3. And to edit a file while keeping Unix line endings, use a suitable Mac text editor, such as TextWrangler or Tex-Edit (but *not* Text Edit).

Jungle
2005-10-30, 12:37
Glad it's going ok. A detailed log may well be of use to others.

But please note, especially if you are supporting others, that no Unix commands are actually needed. See my instructions on the AlienBBC page.



You're absolutely right - I went back to the command line because I felt more in control there than I did in the GUI and wanted to see file ownership/permissions in a format with which I felt comfortable. Having then resorted to reading a book on OS X, I found I could do all the stuff I needed in the GUI and could probably have saved myself some hassle in the process.

In summary, your instructions were spot on, especially when combined with those on the AlienBBC page. My steps were as follows:

1. Get a copy of iTunes Lame as detailed on the AlienBBC installation notes. This was an easy installation from

http://www.blacktree.com/apps/index.html?iTunes-LAME/index.html

1. Get mplayer. Go to http://mplayerosx.sourceforge.net/ and select 'Download files' on the left of the page. An long list of files is presented and I selected:

download lastbinary200505ONLYFORTIGER.zip

This downloads a Zip file, the contents of which is a folder called LASTBINARY200505. Inside this, there are only two files I bothered with - mencoder and mplayer - which I moved to /usr/local/bin. There is a README in the zip but the instructions in this don't concern you for AlienBBC. If the folder /usr/local/bin doesn't exist, you can easily create it from within Finder in OS X by right clicking and selecting 'New Folder'.

3. Download the Reallib library (Reallib.zip) from the same downloads page where I got mplayer (http://mplayerosx.sourceforge.net/). Inside the zip file are a mulitude of files, including the cook.bundle referred to frequently. I moved all of the files to /usr/local/lib/mplayer - again creating the directory first.

4. The last download was AlienBBC itself. Because I am running version 6.2 of Slimserver, I downloaded

http://www.x2systems.com/alienbbc/alienbbc_0.99.linux.tar.gz

I put the resultant Alien directory into the following path under my home directory: library/slimdevices/plugins.

5. I tested mplayer by opening a terminal window and typing
'mplayer -playlist http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/shows/rpms/radio2/paul_jones.rpm'

Although I got a couple of errors, everything seemed to work OK and the show started to play. Interestingly, if you have put the codecs in an unexpected directory - this is where you will find out - mplayer will name the directory it expects to see the codecs). Some people reported that they needed to change permissions to get mplayer to work. This wasn't the case for me but, if things aren't working at this point, it could be worth setting the group to 'admin'.

6. Lastly, I stopped and restarted Slimserver on my machine and then checked that AlienBBC was showing as a Plugin. Having verified this, I then tried my Squeezebox and verified that AlienBBC was showing in the list for Internet Radio. All the raadio stations I was expecting showed in the list and I was able both to select live streams and also (deep joy) to go back to Radio 4 broadcasts from the past week. Just to check everything wasn't a fluke, I rebooted my Mac to ensure everything still worked. It did.

For reference, all of the above was carried out on a Mac Mini running OS X Tiger with 512MB RAM. I hope it may be some help to anyone else trying to get AlienBBC working.

danco
2005-10-30, 12:50
That's a nice detailed account. Should help a lot of people. But you may have omitted a point or two.

2. /usr/local/bin is definitely the best place for mplayer. But some of us (it may depend on the setup) had to edit mplayer.sh in order for it to find mplayer in that folder.

I think your point 3 is missing something, though. Surely you didn't put the codec(s) straight into /usr/local/lib. I would ecxpect (from the README for mplayer) that they went into /usr/local/lib/mplayer, the last being a directory that you had to create.

Also, your point 6, when everything went ok. I (and several others) had to alter the permissions on mplayer before it would work. Though I couldn't really understand why this was needed (I had to set the group to 'admin') and not everyone seems to need this.

Jungle
2005-10-30, 13:00
That's a nice detailed account. Should help a lot of people. But you may have omitted a point or two.

2. /usr/local/bin is definitely the best place for mplayer. But some of us (it may depend on the setup) had to edit mplayer.sh in order for it to find mplayer in that folder.

I think your point 3 is missing something, though. Surely you didn't put the codec(s) straight into /usr/local/lib. I would ecxpect (from the README for mplayer) that they went into /usr/local/lib/mplayer, the last being a directory that you had to create.

Also, your point 6, when everything went ok. I (and several others) had to alter the permissions on mplayer before it would work. Though I couldn't really understand why this was needed (I had to set the group to 'admin') and not everyone seems to need this.

Changes now made - you were (as ever) right about the location of the codecs and I have also noted the potential for permissions problems with mplayer.

Hopefully we can now both leave this topic - I have a wealth of radio stations to keep me occupied. Thanks so much for all your help.

Neil Sleightholm
2005-10-31, 14:30
Jungle, thanks for this. As none of the AlienBBC developers have Mac's we reply on the Slim community for the details of installing on this platform. I have added your instructions to the Mac installation instructions.

Neil