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cliveb
2006-01-17, 02:34
I'm a very satisfied SB2 user. The device is superbly thought out, and I sold my high-end CD player a few months ago as a result. But I've noticed one minor downside to this way of delivering music. It's not an SB problem specifically - it would apply to any network music player.

Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was a wall full of CDs in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music, I'd walk up to the rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at random. I'd spot a CD that took my fancy and put it on.

The network player approach is different. Browsing the entire music collection just doesn't work the same way. Sure, you can do a "browse music -> artists" and step through the alphabet, but it just doesn't feel as convenient. I believe the end result is that you tend to pick an album you want to play in advance and put it on. (Note that when the CDs were in a rack, it was also very simple to find a particular album. So it seems to me that the operational paradigm of network players is more restrictive).

Maybe I'm just peculiar and nobody else thinks this. but I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

Vulcanbomber
2006-01-17, 02:44
why don't you use the album cover view on the browser

Bart
2006-01-17, 03:11
Browsing the entire music collection just doesn't work the same way. Sure, you can do a "browse music -> artists" and step through the alphabet, but it just doesn't feel as convenient
I find this a downside too, although getting rid of shelves of CDs makes for a much tidier living room. As I ripped each CD I also scanned the cover, printed it, and put it in a plastic CD envelope. Now I have a large box of CD covers which I can flick through for inspiration. It doesn't work really well because you can't scan the spines, but it is much neater than CDs on shelves.
I cannot use the browser for "album view" because it is so slow and dependent on being able to use a mouse, also dependent on being in front of a PC which I don't want to do in my living room.

Fifer
2006-01-17, 03:13
Nokia 770, browse by artwork, problem solved! You don't even have to get out of your chair. ;)

waldy
2006-01-17, 05:30
Oh for the days of Vinyl, the covers were a decent size then & a pleasure
to own. Won't bore you with the sound advantages either. ..

seriously though, I use musicmagic & my collection is listned to in new and
interesting ways every day, no need to dust off any vinyl covers. As for
the infinite range of music accesible from around the world, in my opinion
its all +++

max.spicer
2006-01-17, 05:37
I still have all my cds out, so browse through them to find an album then tell the Squeezebox to play it.

Max


I'm a very satisfied SB2 user. The device is superbly thought out, and I sold my high-end CD player a few months ago as a result. But I've noticed one minor downside to this way of delivering music. It's not an SB problem specifically - it would apply to any network music player.

Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was a wall full of CDs in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music, I'd walk up to the rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at random. I'd spot a CD that took my fancy and put it on.

The network player approach is different. Browsing the entire music collection just doesn't work the same way. Sure, you can do a "browse music -> artists" and step through the alphabet, but it just doesn't feel as convenient. I believe the end result is that you tend to pick an album you want to play in advance and put it on. (Note that when the CDs were in a rack, it was also very simple to find a particular album. So it seems to me that the operational paradigm of network players is more restrictive).

Maybe I'm just peculiar and nobody else thinks this. but I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

CardinalFang
2006-01-17, 06:05
why don't you use the album cover view on the browser
I have tried this because I like to scan by images rather than text - it's much easier to spot an album from the cover art, but page refresh time is too slow for me. Besides which, the server is not in the same room. I tried using a PSP for the interface, but it slows down the wireless network, so in the end I went back to browsing by name.

My preference would be to flick through album sleeves though, so is this perhaps a case for a video out on future SB's or a way to allow the more advanced all-in-one remotes or a ethernet device to get album art via the SB for browsing?

Paul

danco
2006-01-17, 06:26
On 17/1/06 at 02:11 -0800, Bart wrote
>cliveb Wrote:
>> Browsing the entire music collection just doesn't work the same way.
>> Sure, you can do a "browse music -> artists" and step through the
>> alphabet, but it just doesn't feel as convenient
>I find this a downside too, although getting rid of shelves of CDs
>makes for a much tidier living room. As I ripped each CD I also
>scanned the cover, printed it, and put it in a plastic CD envelope.
>Now I have a large box of CD covers which I can flick through for
>inspiration. It doesn't work really well because you can't scan the
>spines, but it is much neater than CDs on shelves.
>I cannot use the browser for "album view" because it is so slow and
>dependent on being able to use a mouse, also dependent on being in
>front of a PC which I don't want to do in my living room.
>

I prefer CDs, for the reasons given.

For the ones I listen to less often (country, jazz, speech, and a few
others) I have them in one the CaseLogic cases, with the insert
sitting next to the CD. It makes for fairly easy browsing, and a
considerable reduction in space.

--
Daniel Cohen

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-17, 07:15
One key thing the SB can do is make a random mix
of your entire collection - it's like a 10000-disc
CD changer.

You will surely discover music you had completely
forgotten about this way.

cliveb wrote:
> I'm a very satisfied SB2 user. The device is
superbly thought out, and I
> sold my high-end CD player a few months ago as a
result. But I've
> noticed one minor downside to this way of delivering
music. It's not an
> SB problem specifically - it would apply to any
network music player.
>
> Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was
a wall full of CDs
> in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music,
I'd walk up to the
> rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at
random. I'd spot a CD
> that took my fancy and put it on.
>
> The network player approach is different. Browsing
the entire music
> collection just doesn't work the same way. Sure, you
can do a "browse
> music -> artists" and step through the alphabet, but
it just doesn't
> feel as convenient. I believe the end result is that
you tend to pick
> an album you want to play in advance and put it on.
(Note that when the
> CDs were in a rack, it was also very simple to find
a particular album.
> So it seems to me that the operational paradigm of
network players is
> more restrictive).
>
> Maybe I'm just peculiar and nobody else thinks this.
but I'd be
> interested in others' thoughts.
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Michaelwagner
2006-01-17, 07:20
I too find the slim interface to my music collection "wrong".

I started out using an audiotron, which had roughly the same interface to music. It was too restrictive, so I wrote my own.

The problem, as I see it, is that there are many different ways you want to go "at" your music collection, and any single paradigm is going to be wrong much of the time.

You need the ability to switch quickly.

(a second problem is that the use of a web browser imposes a delay that slows everything to a crawl)

As a hobby DJ, I have found that people remember songs in the damnest ways, and so you have to be able to search for them (fast) in the oddest ways.

I have somewhat solved this problem by writing my own app (in foxpro) to go looking for music. It basically treats the music as an table of artists, song titles, genres, durations, song speeds (because I DJ for dancers, the speed of the song may be important), etc. At the top of each column is a "speed search" box. Typing any phrase into a box on the top of any column restricts the table to any song with that phrase in that tag. So "swing" in the genre speed search box gets me all the ones I categorized as swing in the genre tag, while the same "swing" in the title box gets me "Sing me a Swing Song (and let me dance)" by Ella (and many more, of course). There are also little sort up-down icons, and some more less relevant stuff.

Of course, for the BPM box, typing in a value makes little sense. But there are still the sort up-down arrows.

It took (quite) a while to set up but it works for me, the way I like to look at music. Notice that while album is one of the tags, it's usually not an important one for me. Because I play single songs. In a home setting, you might well want to play whole albums, and there it would be different. That's why this specialized view might not be for everyone.

superbad
2006-01-17, 07:47
(A little OT) Michael, how did you get the tempo value for your songs? Manually? I wanted to add that as a tag so I could sort roughly by song speed. I have tried a few free analyzers, but they all returned really erratic results, possibly because they were written to analyze dance music.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-17, 07:56
MixMeister has a free applet that will "look" at your music and come up with a number.

It has a few problems ... obviously, it's only one number, so if the tempo changes part way through the song, I have no idea what it does.

It also gives BPM to 2 digit "accuracy" - totally useless and a waste of good bits :-)

And for some reason, if you read the tags yourself, it has unicoded them, even though the spec is quite clear that it's supposed to be a bare number. Luckily (I guess) much tagging software will decode the unicode anyways (mine had to be taught, because, silly fool that I am, I trusted the spec). :-)

http://www.mixmeister.com/download_freestuff.html

smst
2006-01-17, 09:00
Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was a wall full of CDs in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music, I'd walk up to the rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at random. I'd spot a CD that took my fancy and put it on.


I've idly wondered about solutions to this in the past, but have ultimately not had the motivation to look more deeply into them. What I'd like to see is a setup involving some form of lightweight portable hardware (or something attached to my CD rack) and a server plugin -- the hardware to be applied to a chosen CD in some way and the plugin to start playing the associated files.

This would restore the tactile component to browsing and choosing a disc to play -- with potential benefits including the ability to queue up several discs. What follows is all speculative, and I've neither implemented nor entirely thought through any of it.

Many (indeed, most commercial) CDs have barcodes printed on the outside. A cheap barcode reader could be used to scan the barcode and trigger playback (or playlist addition). Disadvantage: no good if there's no barcode on the disc!

Most CDs will have unique cover art. Perhaps some sort of optical device (a handheld scanner) could take a picture and use image recognition routines to try matching against known CD covers? This would be complicated, of course (not to mention the fact that the software would have to orientate the image to be square with the x & y axes, and repeat its checks for the 4 possible rotations). Efficient matching might look for rough commonality at first then increase the accuracy to whittle down the choices -- if there's a match at the quick-and-dirty stage, it wouldn't necessarily have to make the harder checks if the disc was assumed to be in the database. I know little enough about image processing that the preceding suggestion may be utterly fanciful. :-) Disadvantage: CDs with no (official) packaging can't be recognised (but this could be mitigated by the use of custom covers which utilise some base design and, say, a large-print 5-digit serial number).

(Dealing with ambiguous results in the above suggestion would be easier if user feedback were possible: perhaps a PDA or phone with built-in camera could take the snapshot and also allow user interaction, such as disambiguation within a shortlist, play/add choice, choice of individual tracks...)

RFID: if one could get hold of a number of small RFID tags, one could somehow attach a tag to each CD's packaging. To make this unobtrusive, the tag would need to be small; it may fit nicely between the two layers of the back of a standard jewel case. With hundreds of RFID tags in one place, the reading hardware would need some sort of shielded area in which to wave/swipe/place the desired CD... I think. I don't know much about RFID technology! Disadvantage: cost of tags (barcodes and cover art are inherent in the packaging and require no purchases).

(Another possible use for RFID tags, assuming a reasonable range and ability to determine direction, might be to set up readers at three points in the house and triangulate in 3D the position of a misplaced CD...)

Any other ideas? Any comments on the viability of these suggestions ("it'll never work" is fine, but I'd appreciate an explanation in that case)? The core idea is to read and store some physical attribute of each CD, so that files (or directories, or some other entity representing a CD) may be associated with it. (Aside: a multi-disc set which lives in a single jewel case would likely have all discs associated with a single attribute. A set which had individual discs in their own jewel case, all stored within a larger box, could have individual disc associations as well as the association of the box with the whole set... because the association is not with a disc, but with the box, essentially.)

Cheers,
Steve

cliveb
2006-01-17, 09:19
Thanks to everyone for giving their views on this matter. I wasn't looking for a solution; just making an observation.

For what it's worth, I control the SB2 purely through the standard remote. (Despite the fact there are 6 PCs in the house, none of them are - or ever will be - in the lounge). The CDs are archived in the attic (and SWMBO quickly installed extra furniture in the space that was freed up!), so Max Spicer's solution isn't available to me.

I don't have the facilities to browse by album artwork, but even if I did it simply isn't the same as scanning CD spines in a semi-random fashion: you need to be able to flit about instantly.

My gut feeling is that losing the old way of browsing a music collection is one minor downside I will have to learn to live with. I'm not unhappy about that - the pros far outweigh the cons.

jonheal
2006-01-17, 09:28
I too, run the SB from the remote. I have a computer in the listening room now, but it's being evicted.

When I get around to it, I plan on downloading one of the many frontend tools to SQLLite. Then coming up with a query that will spit out a fairly meaningful listing (with as few columns as possible) of my collection from SB's database. I'll export it to Excel, or something and then print it out and keep it handy. As I add music to the collection, I'll just rerun the query. Getting to music via the remote still takes too many clicks, but I'll at least have a visual reference in front of me to guide my clicking.

Robin Bowes
2006-01-17, 09:53
cliveb said the following on 17/01/2006 16:19:
> Thanks to everyone for giving their views on this matter. I wasn't
> looking for a solution; just making an observation.
>
> For what it's worth, I control the SB2 purely through the standard
> remote. (Despite the fact there are 6 PCs in the house, none of them
> are - or ever will be - in the lounge). The CDs are archived in the
> attic (and SWMBO quickly installed extra furniture in the space that
> was freed up!), so Max Spicer's solution isn't available to me.
>
> I don't have the facilities to browse by album artwork, but even if I
> did it simply isn't the same as scanning CD spines in a semi-random
> fashion: you need to be able to flit about instantly.
>
> My gut feeling is that losing the old way of browsing a music
> collection is one minor downside I will have to learn to live with. I'm
> not unhappy about that - the pros far outweigh the cons.

Clive,

Why not line up all your CDs on a shelf, take digital photos of them,
and stich them all together to make one wide image which you can scroll
across with your head on one side? :)

Or better still, pile them all up and make a very tall image which
scrolls up and down showing you all your CDs.

Of course, in an ideal world, you'd be able to click on the image and
whatever CD you clicked on would play on your SB.

I'm sure some clever person could make a flash app. that does just this.
Well, the first part at least.

R.

--
http://robinbowes.com

If a man speaks in a forest,
and his wife's not there,
is he still wrong?

Michaelwagner
2006-01-17, 10:51
http://woodbutcher.net/swmbo.htm

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-17, 11:12
jonheal wrote:

> When I get around to it, I plan on downloading one
of the many frontend
> tools to SQLLite. Then coming up with a query that
will spit out a
> fairly meaningful listing (with as few columns as
possible) of my
> collection from SB's database. I'll export it to
Excel, or something
> and then print it out and keep it handy. As I add
music to the
> collection, I'll just rerun the query.
>

Or you could use MPEG Audio Collection:

http://mac.sourceforge.net/

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

superbad
2006-01-17, 11:21
Mixmeister is the last one I tried- it didn't work too well on my music really. Maybe I should give Music Magic another try.


MixMeister has a free applet that will "look" at your music and come up with a number.

RiccardoR
2006-01-17, 11:27
I agree that with Squeezebox and a large collection of CD there is the danger of forget some of them; a physical library of CD is better, You can see them, choose, recognize from the artworks and so on... (browse by artworks isn't the same). But I use another method: with iTunes I print the library so to have a book with the artworks and an index to browse very fast. Other method reported before are very interesting (barcode, electronic tag...)but I think very expensive and hard to realize.
Ciao, Riccardo

tom permutt
2006-01-17, 11:51
Me, too. I bought the Squeezebox to listen to Internet streams in the living room, and I'm happy with it. I've been trying to figure out why I want to rip all my CDs (and, yes, LPs) and play them through it instead of just shoving them in the player. I guess the main reasons are

a. if you like a mixed program of tracks from different CDs

b. if you have more than one Squeezebox with access to the same collection, or a Squeezebox and a portable.

geoffb
2006-01-17, 12:07
On 1/17/06, cliveb <cliveb.21sefb (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> For what it's worth, I control the SB2 purely through the standard
> remote.

I do this also, and know exactly what you mean about wanting to scan
quickly through CDs to see which one 'jumps out'.

One thing that sometimes works well is to hit one of the keys on the
remote while browsing by artist. Hit it 1-3 times, and you end up in
a semi-random place in your collection. Then, either scroll down
one-by-one, or if you have a lot of albums, hold the scroll for a
while.

Assuming you previously sorted your physical CDs by artist name, this
at least simulates walking up your CD storage unit, picking a shelf at
random, and scanning it.

Cheers
Geoff

scalesr1
2006-01-17, 12:29
So, how about exporting the list of album names to a file (a process about
which I know nothing!) then with some careful font trickery, print out
something which looks like all the spines of your CD's - pin this to the
wall in sections and hey presto - random, browsable and inspirational -
finally, grab the remote and play your selection!
-
On a more serious note - I would love to be able to easily 'get at' the data
held by Slimserver in some text file form - if only to permit fine tuning of
all my tags - though I would like to produce some form of catalogue for
perusal. In the mean time I use the web interface to spot inaccuracies like
miss-spelt artists and/or albums that produce duplication etc.

Richard Scales



-----Original Message-----
From: Geoff B [mailto:geoffbon (AT) gmail (DOT) com]
Sent: 17 January 2006 19:08
To: Slim Devices Discussion
Subject: Re: [slim] Re: The only downside I've noticed

On 1/17/06, cliveb <cliveb.21sefb (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> For what it's worth, I control the SB2 purely through the standard
> remote.

I do this also, and know exactly what you mean about wanting to scan
quickly through CDs to see which one 'jumps out'.

One thing that sometimes works well is to hit one of the keys on the
remote while browsing by artist. Hit it 1-3 times, and you end up in
a semi-random place in your collection. Then, either scroll down
one-by-one, or if you have a lot of albums, hold the scroll for a
while.

Assuming you previously sorted your physical CDs by artist name, this
at least simulates walking up your CD storage unit, picking a shelf at
random, and scanning it.

Cheers
Geoff

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-17, 12:32
Doesn't anyone use Random Mix?

Geoff B wrote:
> On 1/17/06, cliveb
<cliveb.21sefb (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>> For what it's worth, I control the SB2 purely
through the standard
>> remote.
>
> I do this also, and know exactly what you mean about
wanting to scan
> quickly through CDs to see which one 'jumps out'.
>
> One thing that sometimes works well is to hit one of
the keys on the
> remote while browsing by artist. Hit it 1-3 times,
and you end up in
> a semi-random place in your collection. Then,
either scroll down
> one-by-one, or if you have a lot of albums, hold the
scroll for a
> while.
>
> Assuming you previously sorted your physical CDs by
artist name, this
> at least simulates walking up your CD storage unit,
picking a shelf at
> random, and scanning it.
>
> Cheers
> Geoff
>

ceejay
2006-01-17, 14:57
Doesn't anyone use Random Mix?



Yes, I'm sure many do - I do, usually selecting one or two genres for it to choose tracks from.

But I wouldn't want it to choose albums for me. Not sure why - but the physical CD selection paradigm which I think many of us are missing contains a critical element of selection. Just glance at a list of 50 album titles and say "that one".

Its hard with the squeezebox.

Having said that, I'm very happy to have traded that function in for all the other ways I now have of listening to music - I'm certain I'm listening to much more music, of a much wider variety, than I did before my SBs arrived.

But we want everything, right? Hence the imaginative ideas appearing in this thread. Since we're all having fun at this, here's my idea.

Album cover art for every CD, in the database: software to put the covers in one of a number of orders (artists, genre, album title, etc): holographic projector to throw these onto some space in front of your armchair (or video projector onto the wall if you're feeling conservative): motion detector so you can use hand movement to scroll through the list: click finger to play.

Any volunteers?

Ceejay

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-17, 15:29
ceejay wrote:

> Album cover art for every CD, in the database:
software to put the
> covers in one of a number of orders (artists, genre,
album title, etc):
> holographic projector to throw these onto some space
in front of your
> armchair (or video projector onto the wall if you're
feeling
> conservative): motion detector so you can use hand
movement to scroll
> through the list: click finger to play.
>
> Any volunteers?
>

Now THAT would be a big plugin! :-D

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Michaelwagner
2006-01-17, 15:44
video projector onto the wall if you're feeling conservative: motion detector so you can use hand movement to scroll through the list: click finger to play.
Much of this more conservative option exists now (but isn't cheap). Many modern projectors allow laser pens to work as mice and feed info back to a USB port as mouse actions.

ceejay
2006-01-17, 15:49
Of course, one of the desireable side-effects of blue sky thinking is supposed to be that it leads to practical ideas as well.

So here is a thought which is most certainly do-able:

- add a "select from random albums" option under Random Play, which randomly selects say 20 albums from the database and puts them in a list, which you can scroll and then select one from. Have a 21st option which says "none of these, find me 20 more".

Edit: slightly clunkier but more powerful - have the album selection optionally qualified by genre?

Ceejay.

JJZolx
2006-01-17, 19:05
I'm a very satisfied SB2 user. The device is superbly thought out, and I sold my high-end CD player a few months ago as a result. But I've noticed one minor downside to this way of delivering music. It's not an SB problem specifically - it would apply to any network music player.

Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was a wall full of CDs in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music, I'd walk up to the rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at random. I'd spot a CD that took my fancy and put it on.

The network player approach is different. Browsing the entire music collection just doesn't work the same way. Sure, you can do a "browse music -> artists" and step through the alphabet, but it just doesn't feel as convenient. I believe the end result is that you tend to pick an album you want to play in advance and put it on. (Note that when the CDs were in a rack, it was also very simple to find a particular album. So it seems to me that the operational paradigm of network players is more restrictive).

Maybe I'm just peculiar and nobody else thinks this. but I'd be interested in others' thoughts.
YES. I couldn't agree more. Browsing just isn't the same and IMO it detracts from the listening experience.

There are some cool things you can do with the software - find and play all versions of "Lush Life", for instance. That's nice, but really more of a novelty than anything. Random play is nice, but only for background music. Saved playlists are powerful, but they're like listening to a taped radio show. Worse, actually - much less interesting. Not being able to efficiently browse a collection, with cover art and fast access to track lists is a major drawback.

But this is really a limitation of the software. I've seen one or two good "browsing" implementations on a computer - a digital Internet jukebox I once saw in a bar, for instance, had a much better user interface, with touch-sensitive alpha slider that was -fast-. I can see SlimServer's web interface getting somewhat better, but it's going to take quite a while and will never approach what can be done with native applications.

As for the remote UI, you can have it. Totally worthless to me. I use it so little I can never even find the remote. A Squeezebox with no display would only be a fraction less useful to me.

ezkcdude
2006-01-17, 20:17
I have the exact opposite opinion to the OP. My CD collection got so big (for me, anyway) that I never felt like taking the time to figure out what to listen to. My stereo basically went silent for about a year. That is, until I learned about the SqueezeBox. Now, with my SB3 and MusicMagic, figuring out what to listen to is never a problem. I can always get an appropriate mix just by picking an album or song that fits my mood. Now, my stereo is constantly playing music. I could go on and on, but hey, I guess I've already done that.

funkstar
2006-01-18, 05:22
right now (SB3s on back order) i tend to listen to new stuff or things at the end of the alphabet as they are easily reachable without steps :)

i like having all my CDs on show though as people are usually a bit surprised when they walk in the room and i like that. Although i an running out of space.

Bart
2006-01-18, 07:51
Here is my solution, as described earlier in this thread.

fuzzyT
2006-01-18, 09:01
cliveb wrote:

> Back in the days when I used a CD player, there was a wall full of CDs
> in a rack. When I fancied listening to some music, I'd walk up to the
> rack and start browsing, often scanning almost at random. I'd spot a CD
> that took my fancy and put it on.

How's this hit you?:

http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/CoverFlow.html

Make sure and play the video to get a feel for how it works.

MacOS only, I believe.

Who wants to be a hero and write the Flash version of this for SlimServer?

--rt

dukeinlondon
2006-01-19, 15:18
I use the "play random". It's just like radio, just that's is usually things I like and would probably not put on the player....

Most of my CDs are in caselogics and only the recent and the beautifully packed keep their cases.

Jon
2006-02-15, 19:54
This has been a concern of mine since I purchased my first Squeezebox last month ... I now own four of them, so obviously I am not overly concerned :-)

I am surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned what I am planning on doing, once I finish ripping all of my CDs ... which is, to create a book for my family room (where the CDs are currently kept) containing a catalog of all my CDs, complete with cover art. I'll probably have about 8 albums listed per page, each with cover art, artist, album title, genre, and maybe even all the song titles ... and will sort them by genre (grouping similar genres together) and then artist name. I might even maintain a separate book containing album covers only, with maybe 50 covers per page. Then, whenever I want to search through my collection for something to play, I can just flip through my own personal album catalog.

I am actively searching now for applications that will make it easier to accomplish this (suggestions, anyone?), OrangeCD and Music Label 2006 are the two that look most promising. In my early testing, OrangeCD did a great job overall of pulling in all of the tags and album art, and generating a report containing the basics (including the album art) was easy ... but it is very limited in how you can arrange that report. I have not been able to get Music Label 2006 to correctly read my WMA tags yet, but it appears to have a very powerful report-generating capability (including a seperately priced custom report designer).

What I have not yet figured out is how to keep this book up to date when I get new CDs, without having to reprint the entire thing (or at least the entire genre) ... I am thinking about leaving some blank space on every page, so I can just reprint single pages (for a while, anyway) ... or, alternately, printing supplimental pages as I acquire new CDs, then once a year or so reprinting the entire book.

Again, suggestions for better tools to use, or better ways to keep this book up-to-date are welcome!

Personally, I LOVE the suggestion someone made to select music to play via barcodes on the CDs ... I have a slight twist on that: there is a Squeezebox plugin called DirectPlay that allows you to select an album or track to play based on it's internal database ID. One could create custom barcodes that map to the database IDs ... then "all" that would be left to do is figure out how to have a wireless PDA-attached barcode wand send (via infrared, I guess) the database ID # to the Squeezebox ... hey, this would work nicely with my catalog approach too!

MeSue
2006-02-15, 22:17
For the most varitey of ways for browsing a music collection, J River Media Center for Windows is about the best I have found. But dammit, it doesn't talk to SlimServer. My Workaround is to browse in JRMC, drag & drop what I want into MusicMagic, and send it to the SB from there. I REALLY wish I could eliminate the intermediate step.

I rarely use the remote except to hit sleep and volume.

MrC
2006-02-15, 23:41
I am surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned what I am planning on doing, once I finish ripping all of my CDs ... which is, to create a book for my family room (where the CDs are currently kept) containing a catalog of all my CDs, complete with cover art. I'll probably have about 8 albums listed per page, each with cover art, artist, album title, genre, and maybe even all the song titles ... and will sort them by genre (grouping similar genres together) and then artist name. I might even maintain a separate book containing album covers only, with maybe 50 covers per page. Then, whenever I want to search through my collection for something to play, I can just flip through my own personal album catalog.

I am actively searching now for applications that will make it easier to accomplish this (suggestions, anyone?), OrangeCD and Music Label 2006 are the two that look most promising. In my early testing, OrangeCD did a great job overall of pulling in all of the tags and album art, and generating a report containing the basics (including the album art) was easy ... but it is very limited in how you can arrange that report. I have not been able to get Music Label 2006 to correctly read my WMA tags yet, but it appears to have a very powerful report-generating capability (including a seperately priced custom report designer).



Hello Jon,

I'm actually going to do this with my self-created DVDs with OrangeCD (don't need to for CDs - as we will never use such a book to find/play music).

I agree - the format for printing in OrangeCD is very limited. There is a templating system, and it comes with a template editor, but I have not bothered to try it. Some folks have made some very nice web templates. You might want to look at its DAX editor.

I tried MusicLabel 2005 and 2006. It has serious flaws, and database corruption. I've corresponded with the author several times, and while he is very responsive, doesn't seem to understand the importance of a robust database. After several trials, I gave up on the thing.

I also tried Helium Music manager - it is very good. It was lacking on feature that was critical for me, so I didn't abandon OrangeCD for it. You can customize its reports to your liking.



What I have not yet figured out is how to keep this book up to date when I get new CDs, without having to reprint the entire thing (or at least the entire genre) ... I am thinking about leaving some blank space on every page, so I can just reprint single pages (for a while, anyway) ... or, alternately, printing supplimental pages as I acquire new CDs, then once a year or so reprinting the entire book.

Again, suggestions for better tools to use, or better ways to keep this book up-to-date are welcome!


Without having duplicates or blank spaces, there will be no way for you to insert a CD into the middle of your catalog, and not reprint pages. You could of course have tabbed alphabetic sections, A, B, C, ..., and then you'd only have to reprint from the inserted CD for that section.

Jon
2006-02-16, 05:45
I agree - the format for printing in OrangeCD is very limited. There is a templating system, and it comes with a template editor, but I have not bothered to try it. Some folks have made some very nice web templates. You might want to look at its DAX editor.

Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware of the templating system. The "Classic Review Page" template is close to what I want, I think I'll try messing around with the DAX editor to see if I can use this template as a base to create exactly what I want.

PAUL WILLIAMSON
2006-02-16, 07:08
I'm working on something now like this based on the new MySQL
structure. I figure it will be of little consequence to reprint the
whole thing once a month.

Paul

Pale Blue Ego
2006-02-16, 07:14
On a more serious note - I would love to be able to easily 'get at' the data held by Slimserver in some text file form - if only to permit fine tuning of all my tags - though I would like to produce some form of catalogue for perusal.


2 suggestions are MPEG Audio Collection:

http://mac.sourceforge.net/

And SQLite Database Browser

http://sqlitebrowser.sourceforge.net

jth
2006-02-16, 08:29
I'm currently working on enhancing the support script for the
DirectPlay plugin to output PDF files with cover art included.
I'm not sure how to handle customization of the output - it is
probably easiest to include a few sample templates to choose from.

Right now as long as you're not removing music and performing
a full rescan, the database IDs of albums and tracks tend to
stay the same, so one thing I'm looking at is an option to
print only albums added from a certain date. This will allow
you to add pages to your book rather than reprinting everything.

I've also got proof-of-concept code working to 'fix' the database
renumbering issue by using a fingerprint of a track rather than
slimserver's ID number. This is going to take a while to see the
light of day though.

smst
2006-02-16, 09:07
What I have not yet figured out is how to keep this book up to date when I get new CDs, without having to reprint the entire thing (or at least the entire genre) ... I am thinking about leaving some blank space on every page, so I can just reprint single pages (for a while, anyway) ... or, alternately, printing supplimental pages as I acquire new CDs, then once a year or so reprinting the entire book.

Again, suggestions for better tools to use, or better ways to keep this book up-to-date are welcome!How about using trading card polyethylene pockets? Here's what I mean:

http://www.avery.com/us/Main?action=product.HierarchyList&node=10210902&catalogcode=WEB01

Figure out the dimensions of a card, and make templates accordingly (if your software allows it). You'd probably have to print several items per page and then use a guillotine or scissors to slice them up, but then you've got movable entries which you can rearrange without re-printing. Sturdy paper would be a good idea, but not too thick if you want to place two back-to-back.

One of those cards could show a cover image in the top half (not quite up to the side margins), with artist/title/year in the bottom and room still for that all-important barcode. Consider also having small icons along one edge to convey certain simple information; for example, a small box which is usually empty but displays "VA" for compilations, or five outlines of stars, some of which are filled in according to some rating. (I imagine that trading cards, particularly from CCGs like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh etc, will be able to inspire other useful layouts.)

Tracks could be listed individually on the rear of each card if desired (but of course you'll then be halving your capacity).

Consider leaving one empty slot on each page to make incremental updates easier; as time goes on the amount of padding space will decrease and you'll need to do the occasional full re-arrange (with new padding).

You could print multiple copies of each card, for inclusion in different sections or binders which are ordered differently (by artist, title, genre, year...).

An alternative to the 9-card pocket above is this 10-card pocket intended for business cards (so the cards would be a different shape):

http://www.avery.com/us/Main?action=product.HierarchyList&node=10210933&catalogcode=WEB01

I think that something which could hold index cards would be nicer (probably only 4 or 6 per page, but more real estate per card). Or follow the example earlier in the thread and buy sheets which will hold CDs and inlays -- say, a 2x2 sheet with two discs in the left column and two 5" cards in the right to list metadata. (Depends whether you want all your discs in this book as well!)

Finally, bear in mind that the database ID is subject to change on a full rescan, which is why I originally suggested using a disc's own barcode (and creating your own for those without one). I've typed all my CDs' barcodes in as metadata already, but the prospect of getting all that information may seem a little daunting...

Jon
2006-02-16, 10:07
How about using trading card polyethylene pockets? Here's what I mean:

http://www.avery.com/us/Main?action=product.HierarchyList&node=10210902&catalogcode=WEB01


This is a good idea ... I was originally planning on using CD sleeves (for example, http://www.sleevetown.com/cd-binders.shtml) and my original CD covers, but at only 4 per page, times 800 CDs, I was worried that I'd have too many books. 9 per page seems much more reasonable ...

Robin Bowes
2006-02-16, 13:06
jth said the following on 02/16/2006 03:29 PM:

> I've also got proof-of-concept code working to 'fix' the database
> renumbering issue by using a fingerprint of a track rather than
> slimserver's ID number. This is going to take a while to see the
> light of day though.

It's probably worth bringing this to the dev list and discussing.
Persistence of some id across DB scans would be great, but it's not easy.

Some options:

1. Fingerprint - difficult to make unique. Can change if tags change
(unless you only fingerprint the audio part of the file

2. Something from the filesystem, e.g. inode. - difficult to make
platform-independent; can change if file moved

3. Writing a tag to the file containing the Slimserver ID, e.g. TXXX
comment in ID3, SLIMSERVERID in flac, etc. - only works for physical
files (not streams, etc.), requires write access to music library.

I suggest you head over to devel and discuss it there.

R.

kefa
2006-02-16, 15:49
Okay so this depends on being willing to browse album art, but here goes...I download all of my album art from amazon etc. Being a fan of flac I of course like to keep the original images as large of possible and intact (if only I could download the vinyl covers!). Then, to make my library as easy as possible to browse, I set the number of items per page to greater than the number of albums I have - e.g. approx 500.

Problem is, that even if you set the thumbnail size to something small like 100 the browser chokes as it tries to load in and rescale 500 big images simultaneously...well, here's the trick...

I download the original images in to each directory with the filename source.jpg. I then use the following (linux) script to scan the music directory and create rescaled cover.jpg images with a size of 100x100.

find /home/kefa/music -type f -name source.jpg -print | while read path
do
echo "$path"
folder=`dirname "$path"`
cd "$folder"

djpeg source.jpg | pamscale -xsize 100 -ysize 100 | cjpeg -outfile cover.jpg
done

Hey presto, now if you set the thumbnail size to 100 you can hit the 'Browse Artwork' link and after about 10 secs all 500 album covers have loaded up and you can seamlessly browse all of your album covers.

JJZolx
2006-02-16, 16:29
Then, to make my library as easy as possible to browse, I set the number of items per page to greater than the number of albums I have - e.g. approx 500.
That's a sure recipe for disaster. :)

Actually, it will work well if your server can serve up the page in a timely manner, and more importantly, if your browser can render a page that large.


Problem is, that even if you set the thumbnail size to something small like 100 the browser chokes as it tries to load in and rescale 500 big images simultaneously...well, here's the trick...
SlimServer 6.5 (and also 6.2.2? I don't remember...) now automatically generates and caches thumbnail images rather than serving the resized orginals on the browse artwork pages. It works surprisingly well.

I've found that a bigger annoyance with very large artwork is on the album page where it's displayed full-size. An image of 500 or 700 pixels square doesn't work at all on this page and just gets in the way. I've filed an enhancement request to be able to have SlimServer resize large artwork in the same way mentioned above for thumbnails. Vote for it here:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2988

bradesp
2006-02-17, 10:02
For the most varitey of ways for browsing a music collection, J River Media Center for Windows is about the best I have found. But dammit, it doesn't talk to SlimServer. My Workaround is to browse in JRMC, drag & drop what I want into MusicMagic, and send it to the SB from there. I REALLY wish I could eliminate the intermediate step.

I rarely use the remote except to hit sleep and volume.

Have you seen any noise over at the Media Center forums about possible implementation of a plug-in for SB to work with Media Center? That would be awesome for me since that's what I use now as my jukebox.

MeSue
2006-02-17, 13:51
Have you seen any noise over at the Media Center forums about possible implementation of a plug-in for SB to work with Media Center? That would be awesome for me since that's what I use now as my jukebox.
Seems like there are quite a few people who use both, but no plugin as far as I know. I agree it would be awesome. I keep hoping...

kefa
2006-02-18, 02:07
SlimServer 6.5 (and also 6.2.2? I don't remember...) now automatically generates and caches thumbnail images rather than serving the resized orginals on the browse artwork pages. It works surprisingly well.

I've found that a bigger annoyance with very large artwork is on the album page where it's displayed full-size. An image of 500 or 700 pixels square doesn't work at all on this page and just gets in the way. I've filed an enhancement request to be able to have SlimServer resize large artwork in the same way mentioned above for thumbnails. Vote for it here:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2988
ah, damn it, you guys are one step ahead. vote submitted!