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rodt
2006-02-03, 05:48
I have been using Slim Devices for years, but for the first time I have now run into problems. In fact I have two problems. Both of them occured when I downloade the latest server software.

Problem 1: My old Slimp3 device (on one computer) has become very sluggish when I browse the Music folder. The response used to be virtually instantaneous, but now it takes a few seconds to respond to any key entries, and at least 5 to 10 seconds to respond the the "Browse Music Folder" command.

Problem 2. With my newer Squeezebox 2 (on a different computer) I have also downloaded the latest server. But for some reason, I can't get the server to recognize my music folder which is located at B:\Music\MusicLibrary. When I enter this path, I get the following error message:

Oops - "B:\Music\MusicLibrary" doesn't seem to be a valid directory. Try again.

This is a puzzle - it has been working for years, but has decided to give problems after all this time.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-03, 06:42
There's currently a problem with accented characters in the name of the music directory. You don't happen to have any accents in there do you (I don't see any in this report, but ...)

What the message means is that it couldn't open that directory. Can you open it yourself in whatever operating system you're running?

Is it on the local computer or is it an alias for a network share?

rodt
2006-02-03, 15:56
No, There aren't any accents. The Directory (folder) containing the music is called MusicLibrary, and inside that folder there is a bunch of folders, one for each composer/artist, labeled with the artist's name. One or two of these names might have an accent in them.

The folder is in a Folder called Music on a mapped network drive (Drive B). So the location is B:Music\MusicLibrary.

I can open the folders easily on Windows using "Explore".

Any thoughts on the sluggish response? Years ago, when I started using my (then brand new) SLIMP3, the response to my remote controller was instantaneous. Now it is getting very slow. One problem with the slowness is that sometimes when nothing seems to happen, I end up pressing the button again in case I didn't press it hard enough the first time. Then, both commands are executed and I have to back off.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-03, 16:09
Try the suggestions here:
http://www.slimdevices.com/su_faq.html#troubleshooting-sharedvolume

rodt
2006-02-03, 19:07
Thanks. The \\SERVER\path\ style of addressing works! Now I remember that I used this format about 4 years ago when I first set up my server. But I haven't done anything to it for 4 years and I had totally forgotten. BTW, it would be great if you could open Windows Explorer via the SlimServer and simply browse to the target folder.

But my server is still incredibly slow. Over the years I have doubled the size of my music library, but the server is now at least ten times slower than is used to be, even after having re-scanned my music library. Is there any way to speed up the server? Would one of the old server versions from 4 years back be faster than the new one?

Michaelwagner
2006-02-03, 19:11
BTW, it would be great if you could open Windows Explorer via the SlimServer and simply browse to the target folder.
You could make an enhancement request for that. Do you know how? If not, I could do it and you could join as an interested party.

BTW, it's probably not cool to ask for windows explorer, because the code runs on many boxes that are not windows boxes. But a way of selecting the directory from a display of what's actually on your computer would be good ...


But my server is still incredibly slow. Over the years I have doubled the size of my music library, but the server is now at least ten times slower than is used to be, even after having re-scanned my music library. Is there any way to speed up the server? Would one of the old server versions from 4 years back be faster than the new one?
Some stuff was done recently with performance. Tell us what version you're running now and we can begin the discussion.

rodt
2006-02-03, 20:11
You could make an enhancement request for that. Do you know how? If not, I could do it and you could join as an interested party.


Good idea. I'll figure out how to make an enhancement request and do it.


Some stuff was done recently with performance. Tell us what version you're running now and we can begin the discussion.

I'm running SlimServer Version: 6.2.1 (downloaded yesterday) and my player is using the latest firmware that was indtalled as part of yesterday's download. My server is running on a 1.7 GHz Athalon computer with Windows XP. I very much doubt that my local area network is causing the problem because I use my LAN regularly for a whole range of things (icluding VoIP, and large file transfers) and I know that it is working well, without delays. Using windows explorer, I can browse and open music files in my music library with virtually no delay, so again, it seems that the problem is confined to the Slimserver and not to other parts of my system. I might be wrong, but it seems that the slimserver is having trouble dealing with the large number of files on my music folder (approximately 50 GB of MP3 data).

Michaelwagner
2006-02-03, 21:59
I have about 75Gb of music data, all mp3s, so your collection isn't all that big. I have 3 different computers that run slimserver, depending on where I am and what I'm doing, but the main system is a 1.8GHz P4 with 512MB RAM running Windows 2000.

When I'm out DJing, I use either a 1GHz Dell with 512MB running WinXP or a 750MHz Dell with 128MB.

The latter one has performance problems and I won't do that again, at least not until I get the memory upgraded.

The other two are fine. So tomorrow I'll check what version(s) I'm running on those systems and get back to you. But I think I'm running 6.2.2 on the desktop.

6.2.2 is half way between a beta test release and a stable release ... only small fixes go on it, and (almost) no new code. But some performance fixes went on it recently and they may help you out. I'll check tomorrow and get back to you.

Michael

Michaelwagner
2006-02-03, 22:02
Oh, I almost forgot.

Starting in 6.2.1, under Server Settings / Performance there is an option:
Database Temporary File Tuning (SQLite)
What does it say on your system?

rodt
2006-02-03, 23:22
It says: Use RAM as temporary storage (Faster)

Michaelwagner
2006-02-04, 07:44
OK. That sounds good. How much memory on your athelon?

rodt
2006-02-04, 17:45
224 MB. Perhaps I should get more.

From what you are saying, it seems that I should not see a 10-second delay when scrolling to "Browse Music Library". Looks as if I need to take a good close look at my PC.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-05, 09:21
224MB should be plenty.

You have these problems when you use Browse Music Library?

BML is an odd function. It bypasses the cache and re-reads everything it's showing you from the hard disk again.

It was put there in case the caching subsystem wasn't working properly (more for debugging problems than a "real" method of accessing music.

It's not intended to be the main way of looking at music.

If that is slow, but all the other methods (browse by artist, by album, etc) are fast, then consider defragmenting your hard disk, look at how your hard disk is attached to your system, etc. If all you run on this computer is the slim server, consider changing the "role" of the computer to a server. That will change the amount of memory dedicated to caching files, which may or may not help responsiveness if you are re-accessing the files a lot.

And consider voting for this enhancement:
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2808
Provide function to browse the music folder without the performance impact of cache bypass

If everything is slow, not just BMF, come back and we'll look at other issues.

But it's probably a good idea to defragment your hard disk in either case.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-05, 09:24
Oh, one other thing that can effect BMF performance is how your music directory is laid out. If you have one big happy directory and put all your songs in there, BMF performance will suck, because the OS calls to read the entire directory will be slow, and because the directory itself will be in multiple pieces scattered all around the hard disk (since it grew over time, it grew in chunks in disparate locations).

If you have one directory per artist, with subdirectories of that per album under artist, that should make performance better, but will still take a while if the music was added over time and not defragmented from time to time.

If you have another scheme, tell us what it is.

rodt
2006-02-06, 04:56
224MB should be plenty.

BML is an odd function. It bypasses the cache and re-reads everything it's showing you from the hard disk again.

It was put there in case the caching subsystem wasn't working properly (more for debugging problems than a "real" method of accessing music.

It's not intended to be the main way of looking at music.


This is very helpful information. It explains a lot. Now I see what the problem is! I have about 80 folders in my music library, each one of them corresponding to a composer or a performer, or a group, or in some cases a style of music. These folders have located in them, a series of folders, each representing an album. BMF might not have been intended as the main way for looking at music, but for me it is the way that I like most. It seems to be the most logical and useful way to do things. I have avoided buying other products becaus they do not have BMF (in fact, I always thought that Slim Devices was particularly clever because they *do* include it.

Any other way to browse my music just doesn't work for me because my various MP3 files have all kinds of ways of listing names (eg. Stones, Rolling and Rolling Stones, Glass, Philip and Philip Glass. Browsing by names or by gendres and letting the SlimServer try to sort things out is a mess. The *only* way to browse music, in my view, is using the folders and sub-folders I have set up.

Now I see the problem: There was always a bit of a delay, but as my music library has grown, the probelm has got worse and worse.

I will try de-fragmenting, but I doubt that this is the problem because my network drive, where the music library is stored, contains only the music library.

I will vote to get the problem fixed, but when I tried, I couldn't log in. It seems I need a differnet password for voting to get bugs fixed.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-06, 05:39
I will vote to get the problem fixed, but when I tried, I couldn't log in. It seems I need a differnet password for voting to get bugs fixed.
The bugzilla account is different from the forum account.

You might be able to chose to make them the same, I'm not sure.

You still need to register and create a "new" account, even if you chose to make it the same as the account you use on the forum.

And if you ever change passwords, remember the two aren't related.

dropbear
2006-02-06, 06:16
the next suggestion I would make would be to sort your 80+ folders in alphabetical order. i.e. create 26+ folders (A..Z, 1-9) and then move your current folders into the appropriate folder. I found that this made BMF quicker, but as Michael has said previously, BMF is not very efficient as it bypasses the database.

The only problem I found with this is what folder to put the compilation albums under.

Pete

Pale Blue Ego
2006-02-06, 08:00
If your tags are a mess, and it seems they are, then the slimserver database is going to be 2 or 3 times the size it should be. You might actually have 1000 different artists, but the slimserver will think you have 4000 different artists, because you have "Rolling Stones" listed as "Stones", "Rolling Stones", "The Rolling Stones", "Rolling Stones, The", "Rulling Stoned", etc.

Same with album names, same with Genres. You probably have hundreds of different Genres in the database, but you really may only need 40 or 50.

There are tagging programs that can re-tag your files according to the file structure. Organize your music into something like:

Genre/Artist/Year/Album/track# - songtitle

file structure, then tell your tagger to use that to write the tags. Once this is done, the tag database will be a lot smaller and you'll be able to find what you want without having to use the "Browse Music Folder" option every time.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-06, 08:06
Yes, I was thinking about that as I drove the kid to work. BMF is a good short-term solution. The enhancement request is a good long term solution. A good intermediate term solution would be to fix your tags.

This has the advantage that memory won't be used up listing every variation of the rolling stones as a separate artist.

For taggers, some people like tag & rename. Others like mp3tag. See:
http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToTagging
for more suggestions.

Michaelwagner
2006-02-06, 11:29
From your original posting, it sounds like you're driving your two players (a SLiMP3 and a Squeezebox) from different computers. Is this so? If so, why (or are they in different buildings)?

rodt
2006-02-06, 20:04
Thanks guys, I appreciate the attention you are giving me. This is a very civilized forum!

I will try re-tagging, but call me old-fashioned, I like BMF. It gives me great flexibility (e.g. I can put compilations in a folder called "compilations", and in cases where I have multiple recordings of the same Mozart symphony, say, I can keep them in completely different places if I want to.) Browsing the Music Folder is like browsing my PC folders - logical and easy to follow. Incidentally, I have 240 main folders (not 80), about 1000 sub-folders, and about 10,000 songs in the sub-folders.

BTW, my wife refuses to use the Slim devices. She insists on browsing through racks of CD's in plastic boxes. looking for covers that she recognizes. She is pretty hard-line on refusing to use Slim - Slim Devices will need to make some fairly substantial product changes before she comes around.

I live in Australia, where "the living is easy". I have my Slim2 device in my home, and my old Slimp3 in a little house by the ocean, where we often go on weekends. The Slimp3 at the beach runs off a PC and an external hard drive with a copy of the 240 folders. The Slimp3 has exactly the same problem with painfully slow BMF.

snarlydwarf
2006-02-06, 20:40
I will try re-tagging, but call me old-fashioned, I like BMF. It gives me great flexibility (e.g. I can put compilations in a folder called "compilations", and in cases where I have multiple recordings of the same Mozart symphony, say, I can keep them in completely different places if I want to.) Browsing the Music Folder is like browsing my PC folders - logical and easy to follow. Incidentally, I have 240 main folders (not 80), about 1000 sub-folders, and about 10,000 songs in the sub-folders.


I know what you mean about BMF... I use it quite a bit myself.

Consistent tags are nifty, though, especially if you have a good feel of your artist: I love right-arrowing in a song, finding other albums by the same artist and then inserting those in the
playlist.

It does take a ton of work, Musicbrainz helps, but it won't be perfect, and then depending on how obsessed you get you may have to go back and tweak more.


BTW, my wife refuses to use the Slim devices. She insists on browsing through racks of CD's in plastic boxes. looking for covers that she recognizes. She is pretty hard-line on refusing to use Slim - Slim Devices will need to make some fairly substantial product changes before she comes around.


Is it the album art? The Nokia770 skin on a handheld (after you tag everything and get cover art... this starts getting to be a big project..) may help on that.

rodt
2006-02-07, 17:47
Is it the album art? The Nokia770 skin on a handheld (after you tag everything and get cover art... this starts getting to be a big project..) may help on that.


Yes, its the album art. But a Nokia770 won't solve the problem. What my wife wants (an I understand her point) is the ability to scan her eyes across an array of album artwork and to pick one by eye. Current technology (including the Slim products) really can't do this. Ultimately, some kind of high definition but reasonably compact display is needed. And it has to be fast - the eye can move quickly!

Michaelwagner
2006-02-08, 06:39
Yes, its the album art. But a Nokia770 won't solve the problem. What my wife wants (an I understand her point) is the ability to scan her eyes across an array of album artwork and to pick one by eye. Current technology (including the Slim products) really can't do this. Ultimately, some kind of high definition but reasonably compact display is needed. And it has to be fast - the eye can move quickly!
I understand this point of view. I put many of my CDs into case logic binders. Sometimes, when I don't know what I want, exactly, I can flip through the CD art to find something that fits my mood.

I think the only way we could do something similar is with the web interface ... the display on the unit itself hasn't a hope of doing this.