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View Full Version : Yes, SB2 as alarm clock



Mark Lanctot
2006-01-28, 13:12
I have an SB2 and an SB3. The SB3 I'm using as my
primary player, the SB2 I had reserved as a player
to use around a future model railroad in the
basement. It's not because I wanted to "hide" the
SB2, it's that I found it has a greater wireless
signal/range and would work better at a greater
distance through one more floor.

But I haven't put anything in the basement yet and
likely won't for a year or two, so it was in its
box gathering dust.

I just decided I should use it temporarily as an
alarm clock in the bedroom. I had some old
midrange computer speakers I wasn't using, Altec
Lansing ATP3. They're good as computer speakers
but not good speakers in general. I hooked them
up using the analogue outputs with an RCA to
stereo submini adapter cable I had.

It'll mostly be connected to SqueezeNetwork and
used as an alarm clock. I don't have my
SlimServer on 24/7, although I might change this
as the SlimServer alarm functions are much better,
allowing me to turn off the alarm on weekends and
allowing different playlists on each day.

It sounds quite decent with those speakers. Not
an audiophile experience, but those speakers never
sounded so good.

And the gradual volume ramping function should be
nice. I can't stand OTA radio, so I had my old
clock radio set to the buzzer on a very high
volume (I sleep with earplugs). So it may just
prevent a heart attack one of these days!

So despite all the jibes this thing received over
the years, it really *does* make a great clock
radio! :-D
--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Skunk
2006-01-28, 14:02
Here's a link to advice on using $30 tactile transducers (aura bass shakers) under furniture, which you should put under your bed
:)
:)

http://www.audioenz.co.nz/2003/bass-shaker.shtml

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-28, 14:23
LOL!

That would wake me up, and would also work well
since I use earplugs!

Skunk wrote:
> Here's a link to advice on using $30 tactile
transducers (aura bass
> shakers) under furniture, which you should put under
your bed
> :)
> :)
>
> http://www.audioenz.co.nz/2003/bass-shaker.shtml
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Skunk
2006-01-28, 15:27
Also fun in a cheap hotel bed kind of way...



|--------|
| :)+-< |
| |
| :)8-< |
----------

snarlydwarf
2006-01-28, 21:58
my first SB2 went to the bedroom, actually: already had sound in there for the TV/DVD. (Not surround, just plain old stereo, but good enough for watching movies in bed.)

and, yes, I use it as an alarm, though it sits across the room. My 'real' alarm clock I'm too good at hitting the Snooze button on, so it works great.

Of course, then I realized I wanted to listen to music in the living room, hence the 2nd SB2. (And at some point, I'll want music in the office... "turn up the living room volume really loud" is okay since I'm single... but... not the best quality. So, yeah, the SB3 will have to come in here...)

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 08:07
I used it for the first time last night and WOW that display is bright at its lowest brightness setting!!

I have seen others complain about this and never really paid attention but man, it's enough to cast shadows all the way across the room (and it's a pretty big room) and it's even bright enough to read the words on the remote - I was trying to find the BRIGHTNESS button. ;-)

Now in normal use the incredible brightness is one of the SB's great strengths. But as an alarm clock...hmm. I've seen requests to lower the minimum brightness before and never paid attention, now I know exactly what they mean.

With the SB2 it's like you're looking at the room through a low-light camera. Everything's an unearthly shade of green and there are no colours. Perhaps the SB3 would be better - I find it dimmer at its lowest brightness setting. But it would be nice if Slim could check in a darkened room and either lower the minimum brightness or add a 5th level that would be equivalent to a clock radio display brightness. I'll add an enhancement request.

So the SB2 functions as a music player, Internet radio, alarm clock and night light. :-D

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 08:17
add a motion sensor and it could become a brighter nightlight when you get out of bed to go to the washroom ...

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 08:31
It may not even need that at its lowest setting.
I could have easily avoided obstacles in the room
with that amount of light. ;-)

IR detector/emitters can be used as motion
detectors (there's a neat program for my HP48GX
calculator that does this) but not an IR detector
like the SB uses.

Michaelwagner wrote:
> add a motion sensor and it could become a brighter
nightlight when you
> get out of bed to go to the washroom ...
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

snarlydwarf
2006-01-30, 08:52
I used it for the first time last night and WOW that display is bright at its lowest brightness setting!!


Hrrm, my eyes are closed when I sleep, so I never notice.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 09:09
Hrrm, my eyes are closed when I sleep, so I never notice.
thick eyelids?

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 09:09
Yes but it's so bright you can almost see it through your closed eyelids! Also I have a hard time falling asleep if it's not totally dark.

I have it literally at the edge of the nightstand, it's about 18" away from my face.

Anyway I've been informed that this is the minimum brightness the display hardware will allow, so I should choose a smaller font, use a coloured filter or move it further away.

snarlydwarf
2006-01-30, 09:18
Part of it may be that mine is across the room next to the TV, DVD and amp... in Huge font, the display is no brighter than my alarm clock. (On the far side of the room because that's where the speakers are, too. Though it might be neat to have a pair of speakers on the bedside tables for a sorta Giant Headphone effect...)

And, yeah, I worked nights 20 years ago, so I long ago learned to adjust to sleeping in bright light.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 10:30
And, yeah, I worked nights 20 years ago, so I long ago learned to adjust to sleeping in bright light.
Me too, well evenings, but I had blackout curtains then. SWMBO doesn't like blackout curtains. Nothing wakes her up, everything wakes me up :-(

gregklanderman
2006-01-30, 10:46
>>>>> Mark Lanctot <Mark.Lanctot.22gh3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> writes:

> Anyway I've been informed that this is the minimum brightness the
> display hardware will allow, so I should choose a smaller font, use a
> coloured filter or move it further away.

The display is grayscale though, right? How many levels are there?
Presumably the text is at the brightest level of gray on the lowest
overall brightness. Can you hack the text to be rendered at a lower
level of gray on the server side and get dimmer text?

greg

kdf
2006-01-30, 10:47
Quoting Mark Lanctot <Mark.Lanctot.22gh3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Yes but it's so bright you can almost see it through your closed
> eyelids! Also I have a hard time falling asleep if it's not totally
> dark.
>
> I have it literally at the edge of the nightstand, it's about 18" away
> from my face.
>
> Anyway I've been informed that this is the minimum brightness the
> display hardware will allow, so I should choose a smaller font, use a
> coloured filter or move it further away.

If you would prefer it totally dark, there is an AutoDisplay plugin
that allows you to set a time for dark and a time for lighting up
again. It is a pinpoint event, so it does tend to not work if you stop
and start the server a lot and the event passes. I had meant to modify
my local copy and post a patch, but my wife ended up preferring it
displaying the time on dim.

-k

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 11:10
This is based on what Dean says here:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2893

What you propose sounds interesting, but I don't
want Slim to take heroic measures to hack a lower
brightness.

Greg Klanderman wrote:
>>>>>> Mark Lanctot
<Mark.Lanctot.22gh3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
writes:
>
>> Anyway I've been informed that this is the minimum
brightness the
>> display hardware will allow, so I should choose a
smaller font, use a
>> coloured filter or move it further away.
>
> The display is grayscale though, right? How many
levels are there?
> Presumably the text is at the brightest level of
gray on the lowest
> overall brightness. Can you hack the text to be
rendered at a lower
> level of gray on the server side and get dimmer
text?
>
> greg
>

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 11:11
Cool but when I wake up in the middle of the night
I'm often curious what the time is.

Also I'm running this off SqueezeNetwork.

Great plugin though, thanks kdf.

kdf wrote:
> Quoting Mark Lanctot
<Mark.Lanctot.22gh3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:
>
>>
>> Yes but it's so bright you can almost see it
through your closed
>> eyelids! Also I have a hard time falling asleep if
it's not totally
>> dark.
>>
>> I have it literally at the edge of the nightstand,
it's about 18" away
>> from my face.
>>
>> Anyway I've been informed that this is the minimum
brightness the
>> display hardware will allow, so I should choose a
smaller font, use a
>> coloured filter or move it further away.
>
> If you would prefer it totally dark, there is an
AutoDisplay plugin that
> allows you to set a time for dark and a time for
lighting up again. It
> is a pinpoint event, so it does tend to not work if
you stop and start
> the server a lot and the event passes. I had meant
to modify my local
> copy and post a patch, but my wife ended up
preferring it displaying the
> time on dim.
>
> -k
>

kdf
2006-01-30, 11:16
Quoting Mark Lanctot <marklanctot (AT) yahoo (DOT) ca>:

> Cool but when I wake up in the middle of the night
> I'm often curious what the time is.
>
> Also I'm running this off SqueezeNetwork.
>
> Great plugin though, thanks kdf.

It isn't actually oe of mine. I don't connect to squeezebox all that
often, as it does the whole disconnect thing, then you DO get max
brightness as it flounder for a connection. My area is saturated with
wireless nets (8 that aren't mine show in my viewer). Strangely, I do
have one box sitting right on top of the microwave just for fun. While
it does bounce randomly, it seems to withstand the microwave being used.

-k

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 11:38
My area is saturated with wireless nets (8 that aren't mine show in my viewer).
I'm on the 18th floor and I can see 6 nets (one, curiously enough, calls itself Free Access Internet (or some such) but is WEP encoded).

Anyways, the next closest one after mine is at least 40dB lower S/N ratio, and the ones thereafter considerably lower still. None-the-less, my wireless disconnects at least once a day. I have no idea what causes it ... I don't run the sniffer continuously, so it's possible that the guy next door has a 100 WT home-boosted WIFI setup whose startup surge knocks everything down. I don't know what it is that's doing it.

Or maybe it's the guy a few weeks back with the small nuclear power station running his antenna booster :-) :-) :-)

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 11:40
Mark: How about pulse width modulation? If you did it in the SB itself, you could turn the display on and off 100 times a second and vary the pulse width to get essentially an infinite number of brightnesses.

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-30, 11:54
Sounds good, but I don't have the skills to do
this and it would probably have to be a firmware
thing.

As I indicated, I don't think Slim should go to
heroic measures to do this.

Michaelwagner wrote:
> Mark: How about pulse width modulation? If you did
it in the SB itself,
> you could turn the display on and off 100 times a
second and vary the
> pulse width to get essentially an infinite number of
brightnesses.
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 12:13
it would probably have to be a firmware
thing.
Yes. You aren't going to be able to do pulse width modulation from the server. Just *way* too slow.

Bill Burns
2006-01-30, 15:19
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> I used it for the first time last night and WOW that display is bright
> at its lowest brightness setting!!
>
> I have seen others complain about this and never really paid attention
> but man, it's enough to cast shadows all the way across the room (and
> it's a pretty big room) and it's even bright enough to read the words
> on the remote - I was trying to find the BRIGHTNESS button. ;-)

For the SB1, the remote is the perfect size, when balanced on edge in
front of the display, to completely hide it.

You'll need a higher-tech solution for the SB2/3.

--
Bill Burns
Long Island NY USA
http://ftldesign.com

ceejay
2006-01-30, 15:31
For the SB1, the remote is the perfect size, when balanced on edge in
front of the display, to completely hide it.

You'll need a higher-tech solution for the SB2/3.



A book ?

Ceejay

ezkcdude
2006-01-30, 15:31
If the display is too bright, maybe just use some kind of neutral density filter, like you would for a camera lens.

pfarrell
2006-01-30, 15:41
ezkcdude wrote:
> If the display is too bright, maybe just use some kind of neutral
> density filter, like you would for a camera lens.

There is no need to have it be good quality.
Any high school stage will have burned out 'gel' for the
lights, Get some, put them on the display.

You can buy them for not a lot more money at any
Guitar Center. And of course, any party store,
theatrical supply shop, etc.


--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Michaelwagner
2006-01-30, 17:51
Any high school stage will have burned out 'gel' for the lights, Get some, put them on the display.
And with this method, you can make the slim display any colour you want.

bglad
2006-01-31, 04:23
how about an enhancement to turn off the display a minute after you've set the sleep function? from that state, hitting any key should reactivate the display

Gatchers
2006-01-31, 05:41
From my experience of using these displays back in the days of writing fruit machines many years ago, the displays are kind of controlled by their own firmware which allows brightness setting, etc, but you don't have low enough level access to PWM the brightness level properly yourself.

You can tap out great tunes with them though, they make a nice zing noise.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-31, 07:14
the displays are kind of controlled by their own firmware which allows brightness setting, etc, but you don't have low enough level access to PWM the brightness level properly yourself.
Good point, now that I think about it. I seem to recall that it's an "intelligent" display.

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-04, 12:50
A brief update.

The screen brightness was really getting to me. I changed it to small font, which helped. But then I realized that in order to dim the brightess even further I simply had to have less pixels on.

Well, who needs the date for an alarm clock? I also wanted to add some sort of alarm indicator, but when you use the SlimServer as opposed to the SqueeezeNetwork alarm you have this.

I'm trying to learn perl but it's been very frustrating so far. I wanted to write a plugin from scratch but it's so confusing I just decided to modify the DateTime plugin to do this.

All I've done is remove the date and move the time to the top line. The second line is blank. There's no text for the small font size, the regular font size is very small but the large font size is quite readable from a few feet while not being too bright.

It's a trivial change and I'm sort of embarassed by it, but if it helps anyone else, you're more than welcome to try it. It should be as stable as the DateTime plugin, the changes made to it were really trivial. It currently only works with EN and FR as those are the only two languages I know.

Eventually I'll add some real functionality to it but that'll entail actually learning perl. ;-)

Also I'll entertain suggestions for a proper name!

stinkingpig
2006-03-04, 13:04
Mark Lanctot wrote:
....
> I'm trying to learn perl but it's been very frustrating so far. I
> wanted to write a plugin from scratch but it's so confusing I just
> decided to modify the DateTime plugin to do this.
>
....

Slimserver is a tough place to learn -- I do fairly well in Perl, but
it's quite complex, and I haven't been able to make any headway in it
the few times I've taken a stab at something. I'm lucky to have two
hours in a row to work on a side project like this, and Slimserver is
not the kind of project that awards that level of hacking unless you're
able to take advantage of the CLI to make your project work.

--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip Since 1996

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-04, 13:18
Slimserver is a tough place to learn -- I do fairly well in Perl, but
it's quite complex, and I haven't been able to make any headway in it
the few times I've taken a stab at something. I'm lucky to have two
hours in a row to work on a side project like this, and Slimserver is
not the kind of project that awards that level of hacking unless you're
able to take advantage of the CLI to make your project work.


I guess it's several things:

1. Perl doesn't quite work like most of the languages I've learned (BASIC, Pascal, Fortran, QBasic, VBA). It's more modern, more web-aware.

2. The Internet resources out there really suck. They leap from simple "Hello world" examples right into a full dissertation of every command. There's no in-between. I'm used to a simple progression of how to print something on the screen to looping to user input. It stops right after looping - I don't see a way to create user input via a prompt. Getting data from a file seems to be well documented though. Frustrating.

3. Perl is extremely modular. There are so many CPAN modules it's mind-boggling. This also discourages learning how to do these things from scratch - CPAN has them all for you.

It's good mental exercise though, so I'll keep at it.

Malor
2006-03-04, 18:49
Just FYI Mark..... in Unix, "everything is a file"... except, of course, when it's not :)

To talk to the user in a simple way, open standard input as a file and get lines from it. Likewise, you print to standard output.

This is primitive and ugly, but it should work for simple stuff.

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-04, 19:00
Just FYI Mark..... in Unix, "everything is a file"... except, of course, when it's not :)

To talk to the user in a simple way, open standard input as a file and get lines from it. Likewise, you print to standard output.

This is primitive and ugly, but it should work for simple stuff.

Hmm. It's just really confusing.

In BASIC and FORTRAN, you can have the program pause with a prompt for user input. This makes learning the languages easier - you can enter custom strings and values.

I'm still in the early stages with perl, but at this point in the process I would have already seen something about how to do this...

Malor
2006-03-04, 19:45
Open standard input, as a file, for reading. Open standard output for writing. It's possible perl may have automatically done some or all of this... I'm NOT a perl expert by any means.

There's a function that gets a line from a file. Use that function on your new filehandle. That pauses, waiting for a line to be complete... ie, the user hits enter. (or control-D, the Unix EOF character).

Process that line. Print results to standard output.

Repeat if necessary.

In BASIC, you had:

INPUT "Give me a value",A$

I can't give you the exact perl syntax because I don't use it much, but you do it in two steps:

Print "Give me a value" to standard output;
Get a line from standard input.

This is actually an extremely powerful way to think about the problem, as is nearly always the case in Unix. This means that you can run your program just as easily from a file as from a user. Script up some test cases, dump them in a file, and redirect from that file to standard input. Your program neither knows nor cares that it's actually talking to a file, to a network socket, or to another program. It's just input.

Many of the conventions will seem very strange, coming from microcomputer languages, but there's good reasons for most things.

Perl is a rather ugly language; I don't care for it much. If you're trying to learn enough to work on SlimServer, you're stuck with it, but if you just want general Unix scripting, many people prefer Python. Or you can just use bash... the shell itself has a very powerful, albeit somewhat arcane, script language.

You might look through the O'Reilly books. Remember that when you learned BASIC and FORTRAN, you probably bought books to do it. Documentation, sadly, must often be paid for, even when the program itself is free.

stinkingpig
2006-03-04, 21:54
Malor wrote:
> Open standard input, as a file, for reading. Open standard output for
> writing. It's possible perl may have automatically done some or all of
> this... I'm NOT a perl expert by any means.
>
....

here's an example program to play with:
http://www.monkeynoodle.org/comp/landesk/deleteusers

--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip Since 1996

rudholm
2006-03-05, 11:05
A brief update.

The screen brightness was really getting to me. I changed it to small font, which helped. But then I realized that in order to dim the brightess even further I simply had to have less pixels on.

Well, who needs the date for an alarm clock? I also wanted to add some sort of alarm indicator, but when you use the SlimServer as opposed to the SqueeezeNetwork alarm you have this.

I'm trying to learn perl but it's been very frustrating so far. I wanted to write a plugin from scratch but it's so confusing I just decided to modify the DateTime plugin to do this.

All I've done is remove the date and move the time to the top line. The second line is blank. There's no text for the small font size, the regular font size is very small but the large font size is quite readable from a few feet while not being too bright.

It's a trivial change and I'm sort of embarassed by it, but if it helps anyone else, you're more than welcome to try it. It should be as stable as the DateTime plugin, the changes made to it were really trivial. It currently only works with EN and FR as those are the only two languages I know.

Eventually I'll add some real functionality to it but that'll entail actually learning perl. ;-)

Also I'll entertain suggestions for a proper name!

The reason the SB3's display is dimmer and whiter (less green) than the SB2's is because of a purple-tinted filter in front of the display. Have you considered applying 3M automotive glass tinting laminate to your SB2? They come in many darknesses and colors. I'm sure you could find one that is just right for your needs. A carefully applied laminate would look perfect.

Also, the AutoDisplay plugin is easily modified to set the brightness to 1 rather than 0. See this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=21484&highlight=%22line+271%22
The latest versions of AutoDisplay have fixed the "single-shot" behavior, now it will dim whenever you are in the dim time of day even if your server was off or your SB was busy playing music during the transition time. I think it polls every minute to check if it is within the dim time of day rather than making the adjustments only at the beginning and end of the period.

I sleep with a SB3 on my nightstand and find that brightness level 1 is perfect --not bright enough to be irritating, but bright enough for me to read the time in the middle of the night if I want to.

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-05, 11:29
Thanks for the suggestion, but with the modified DateTime plugin I made, the brightness and time legibility (with font sent to large) are perfect now.

What would be interesting is to modify AutoDisplay to not only dim the display at a set time, but convert it to the text I'm using in ModifiedDateTime, no date, time only on top line, large font, 1 brightness. At other times of the day, DateTime would be as normal at normal brightness/font size.

However I'm not in the room when I'm not sleeping, so it wouldn't be to help me, but it might be something cool for me to develop anyway, to give this plugin some real functionality.