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View Full Version : What the Squeezebox needs IMHO



Peter van der Landen
2006-03-27, 00:53
I received my 2 SB3's last week and I must say I'm quite pleased. The
Squeezeboxes are finally starting to look as expensive as they are and
the display is a huge functional improvement since I'm finally able to
read it from my couch. My optometrist was making a fortune out of me ;).

My non-nerd friends are finally becoming interested as well when they
see my sleek setup which is no more than a SB3 connected to two Active
Studio Monitors. Less is more...

But when I return to my laptop and try to control my 4 zone
SliMP3/SB1/SB3 setup (yeah, I'm a seasoned user) I see what is perhaps
the most importent reason why the SB isn't ready to be sold in my local
electronics store. The server software is wonderful, but the prefered
way to control it with the web browser is definitely sub-optimal.

Just controlling volume and synchronisation on 4 devices requires
horrible amounts of clicking. The way the playlist display refreshes
creates it's own problems. On FireFox I find that having a constantly
refreshing SlimServer page in the background interferes with filling in
webforms. When I fire up IE instead, I'm annoyed by the constant
clicking that accompanies the loading of a new page. (anyone know how to
turn this off selectively?)

I think this is holding back market penetration. Imagine a smart
frontend client (complementary to the web interface) with a nice mixer
panel that allows the user to easily control his SB's levels. A GUI app
that allows him to synchronizes by simple clicking or dragging and that
allows easy management of player status and playlists. Wouldn't that be
a lot better? It also makes for some nice screenshots on the website.
I'm afraid the current website doesn't do a very good job of explaining
what it is exactly that the buyer receives. A non-nerd music lover
(we're talking 10's or 100's of millions of people here!) would probably
be put off by this webpage:

http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_features.html

Holding off on the technical details, adding a few screenshots with a
GUI app that nicely visualizes an SS network in operation (instead of
the very boring looking web page) would make a huge difference. OK, for
the current userbase the fact that it's in Perl and in Open Source is a
huge bonus (I wouldn't have bought mine otherwise) but most of the
potential customers couldn't care less. In fact it might even frighten
them away because they fear it's complicated and requires knowledge of
scary things like 'Perl'...

I think the Squeezebox is firmly positioned in the top end of the
market. The section where people are willing to spend money on multiple
players that work seamlessly together. In my opinion there's a lot of
room for improvement in that area.

You have a wonderfully mature product that's almost ready to take on a
developing market. Why not take it, before Apple or MS does it and
leaves us nerds with yet another closed proprietary 'standard'.

Regards,
Peter

NWP
2006-03-27, 01:48
When I fire up IE instead, I'm annoyed by the constant
clicking that accompanies the loading of a new page. (anyone know how to
turn this off selectively?)


Go into sounds and remove the "start Navigation" sound under Windows Explorer.

for more detailed instructions: http://www.allscoop.com/tools/IE_No_Click/index.php

they should probably add this to the FAQ - it's really annoying.

autopilot
2006-03-27, 02:24
I can see pros and cons for web interface Vs standalone GUI. But personally, and i think most people here agree, the best thing about using a web interface is the ability to access it via web enabled device, be that an other PC, laptop, PDA, Smart phone, PSP, etc, regardless of OS.

A web interface is easier to quickly update to everytime a new SlimServer version is released. And given that it's fairly easy design a new skin, a more newbie freindly 'simple mode' could be made with limited options. Not something i would want, being a control freak, but i'm suprised no one has done this yet (or have they?). Also, in some ways i think a stand alone program could confuse people more. Lets face it, even the most inexperienced PC users are used to working with web pages now.

Peter van der Landen
2006-03-27, 02:48
On Mon, 27 Mar 2006 01:24:02 -0800, "dangerous_dom"
<dangerous_dom.25bn7n1143451501 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I can see pros and cons for web interface Vs standalone GUI. But
> personally, and i thinmk most people here agree, the best thing about
> using a web interface is the ability to access it via web enabled
> device, be that an other PC, laptop, PDA, Smart phone, PSP, etc
> regardless of OS.


Absolutely, and I don't recommend discarding the web interface
altogether. But as everyone who's ever programmed a web interface to an
application knows, it's hard to make it really user friendly without
resorting to portability-destroying techniques like DHTML, ActiveX and
AJAX and the like. Try running that on your PDA ;)

> A web interface is easier to quickly update to everytime a new
> SlimServer version is released. And given that it's fairly easy design
> a new skin, a more newbie freindly 'simple mode' could be made with
> limited options. Not something i would want, being a control freak, but
> i'm suprised no one has done this yet (or have they?). Also, in some
> ways i think a stand alone program could confuse people more. Lets face
> it, even the most inexperienced PC users are used to working with web
> pages now.

As a web browser is no more than a stand-alone program, I gather they
must've had experience with that first. I find it extremely hard to
believe people would prefer changing webpages via a drop down menu and
change volume by clicking a few numbers (anyone else think that volume
control on the web page is too coarse) than dragging a few adjacent
sliders. I'm an extremely seasoned browser user (I remember thinking
Mosaic was a great new app) but I find controlling my boxes with the
webinterface unnecessarily cumbersome.

Modern libraries like QT or WxWidgets (I used wxPerl to write my
VideoBox) can easily be used to create interactive intuitive and
user-friendly applications that install and run on Windows, Linux and
OS/X.

Regards,
Peter

Peter van der Landen
2006-03-27, 02:50
On Mon, 27 Mar 2006 00:48:02 -0800, "NWP"
<NWP.25bllb1143449401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Peter van der Landen Wrote:
> > When I fire up IE instead, I'm annoyed by the constant
> > clicking that accompanies the loading of a new page. (anyone know how
> > to
> > turn this off selectively?)
> >
>
> Go into sounds and remove the "start Navigation" sound under Windows
> Explorer.
>
> for more detailed instructions:
> http://www.allscoop.com/tools/IE_No_Click/index.php
>
> they should probably add this to the FAQ - it's really annoying.

Thanks, I never thought of looklng for it there.
A definite candidate for the FAQ IMO.

Regards,
Peter

)p(
2006-03-27, 03:11
Another vote for a good gui app. I find the web interface way to slow for normal day to day use. I want instant feedback. I think moose is a good start but a full gui app supported by slim devices would be a great addition.

peter

autopilot
2006-03-27, 04:14
anyone else think that volume
control on the web page is too coarse

Yeah, i just started using the fishbone skin which allows a finer volume adjustment.

Dr Lovegrove
2006-03-27, 05:35
On 27/03/06, Peter van der Landen <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl> wrote:
>
> I think this is holding back market penetration. Imagine a smart
> frontend client (complementary to the web interface) with a nice mixer
> panel that allows the user to easily control his SB's levels. A GUI app
> that allows him to synchronizes by simple clicking or dragging and that
> allows easy management of player status and playlists. Wouldn't that be
> a lot better? It also makes for some nice screenshots on the website.

This is why I wrote Moose.. It cant control syncronisation (yet) and
admittedly is tied to windows, but for player status and music management
I think it's doing ok..

--
- Dr Lovegrove
http://www.rusticrhino.com/drlovegrove

ezkcdude
2006-03-27, 06:15
On 27/03/06, Peter van der Landen <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl> wrote:
>
> I think this is holding back market penetration. Imagine a smart
> frontend client (complementary to the web interface) with a nice mixer
> panel that allows the user to easily control his SB's levels. A GUI app
> that allows him to synchronizes by simple clicking or dragging and that
> allows easy management of player status and playlists. Wouldn't that be
> a lot better? It also makes for some nice screenshots on the website.

This is why I wrote Moose.. It cant control syncronisation (yet) and
admittedly is tied to windows, but for player status and music management
I think it's doing ok..

--
- Dr Lovegrove
http://www.rusticrhino.com/drlovegrove

Hey, Dr. Lovegrove, keep up the good work on Moose! I love it.

TriodeGuy
2006-03-27, 07:14
Well said Peter, I made a similar point a few months back. A winamp style interface would blow the market up wide for this device.

mherger
2006-03-27, 07:20
> Modern libraries like QT or WxWidgets (I used wxPerl to write my
> VideoBox) can easily be used to create interactive intuitive and
> user-friendly applications that install and run on Windows, Linux and
> OS/X.

Try running these on the PDA aforementioned ;-).

If somebody wants to give me a helping hand on the following:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=912

Simple synchronization is on the todo list, as is internet radio support
and more.

Oh, sorry... I'm writing this on my hotel room's bed. I'm on a skiing
holiday. I'll send you the source to work on as soon as I'm back in "real"
life :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

rudholm
2006-03-27, 09:43
[...]
But when I return to my laptop and try to control my 4 zone
SliMP3/SB1/SB3 setup (yeah, I'm a seasoned user) I see what is perhaps
the most importent reason why the SB isn't ready to be sold in my local
electronics store. The server software is wonderful, but the prefered
way to control it with the web browser is definitely sub-optimal.
[...]


Agreed 100%.

I recently used a Sonos setup and found the only thing I really liked better about it was the desktop UI. The downside is, of course, that you have to have MacOS or Windows to use it (although I suspect it'd run under Linux with WINE). My employer put a PowerBook in my hands, so I used that.

The Slimserver html interface seems to be the common (and only) complaint I hear when I talk to other SB owners. I definitely agree that it is holding the product back.

Web apps can be done well without sacrificing too much in the way of portability. Google Maps and the new Yahoo! Mail are good examples.

A lot of SB owners, myself included, simply avoid using the slimserver interface as much as possible, which is kind of sad considering what a great product the SB is.

alex_london
2006-03-27, 10:22
I suppose the UI could always be developed in Java...

autopilot
2006-03-27, 11:21
A lot of SB owners, myself included, simply avoid using the slimserver interface as much as possible, which is kind of sad considering what a great product the SB is.

Yeah, but is that not the point? The whole concept of this device is to get away from your PC. I just set SS up and forget about it. But then if had more than one SB3, or used something like a PDA as a remote, i would maybe use it more.

Kyle
2006-03-27, 11:39
Has anyone used Meedio with their Squeezebox? Apparently there is a new plugin. From the Meedio website, it looks like a great-looking GUI, but I'm not sure exactly how it functions. It also appears there is a free and paid version. Does anyone know how they differ? I currently use Moose and find it to be a great improvement as a "slim" interface, but Meedio is very attractive visually.

Richie
2006-03-27, 12:24
> Robocopy seems to be a great way to automate backups, and thanks to
> dangerous dom, I have a script that will either perform the mirror or
> the backup function. But I want to be sure I understand what these two
> functions do. The way I understand it, backup will copy every file from
> the source onto the destination that is not already on the destination
> but will not delete any files at all. Mirror will make an exact copy
> of the source onto the destination and delete any files on the
> destination that are not on the source. Does either of these functions
> ever make changes to the source files?

No, the source files will always be unaffected. If you specify the
source and destination the wrong way round or specify the wrong
destination with the /MIR option the results can be catastrophic.

> Now, if I add files only to the source then it seems like either
> function will do the same thing. Is that correct?

Yes, provided you only add files. I occasionally move some files
around, in this case the /MIR option will delete the original copy and
recopy the moved files to their new location.

> If I change some genre tags on the source, will both mirror and backup
> make those changes on the destination? How about MusicMagic/IP codes
> saved to the track files?

Yes, provided the file timestamp is updated robocopy should see the
changes. However some tag editors, such as Tag & Rename, have an
option not to update the timestamp. In this case robocopy would not be
aware that the file has changed. I've never used MusicMagic so I don't
know if it updates or preserves the files timestamp.

Richard

Steve Baumgarten
2006-03-27, 14:03
Kyle wrote:

> Robocopy seems to be a great way to automate backups, and thanks to
> dangerous dom, I have a script that will either perform the mirror or
> the backup function. But I want to be sure I understand what these two
> functions do. The way I understand it, backup will copy every file from
> the source onto the destination that is not already on the destination
> but will not delete any files at all. Mirror will make an exact copy
> of the source onto the destination and delete any files on the
> destination that are not on the source. Does either of these functions
> ever make changes to the source files?

No, the source files are never modified in any way, moved or deleted.

Well, actually there are options you can give that will move the source
files/directories rather than copy:

/MOV : MOVe files (delete from source after copying).
/MOVE : Move files and dirs (delete from source after copying).

But as long as you don't specify those options, the source files aren't
touched.

> Now, if I add files only to the source then it seems like either
> function will do the same thing. Is that correct?

Yes. The difference between the two is that /mir will cause files in the
destination directory *that are no longer in the source directory* to be
deleted. That is, the detination directory becomes an exact mirror of
the source directory.

> If I change some genre tags on the source, will both mirror and backup
> make those changes on the destination? How about MusicMagic/IP codes
> saved to the track files?

Yes to both. Any kind of a change to a file will cause the file to be
copied to the destination folder.

SBB










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Michaelwagner
2006-03-27, 18:09
I'm writing this on my hotel room's bed. I'm on a skiing holiday.
So why are you inside typing instead of outside skiing?

mherger
2006-03-27, 22:28
>> I'm writing this on my hotel room's bed. I'm on a skiing holiday.
> So why are you inside typing instead of outside skiing?

Avalanches and bad weather. Looks like we won't do the big summits this
week :-(

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

catdna
2006-04-04, 00:12
Has anyone used Meedio with their Squeezebox? Apparently there is a new plugin. From the Meedio website, it looks like a great-looking GUI, but I'm not sure exactly how it functions. It also appears there is a free and paid version. Does anyone know how they differ? I currently use Moose and find it to be a great improvement as a "slim" interface, but Meedio is very attractive visually.

I've used it - because I wrote the plugin ;-)

The SlimServer plugin for Meedio basically acts as a replacement front end for the SlimServer web interface (controlling players, building playlists etc).

Meedio does come in a free (express?) edition and a paid for edition - I've never used the 'express' version so I don't know if the plugins will work with it (I'm suspecting not).

Cheers

Chris

Listener
2006-04-04, 13:45
Good title for a thread.

> But when I return to my laptop and try to control my 4 zone
> SliMP3/SB1/SB3 setup (yeah, I'm a seasoned user) I see what
> is perhaps the most importent reason why the SB isn't ready
> to be sold in my local electronics store. The server
> software is wonderful, but the prefered way to control it
> with the web browser is definitely sub-optimal.

I agree.

> But personally, and i think most people here agree, the best
> thing about using a web interface is the ability to access
> it via web enabled device, be that an other PC, laptop, PDA,
> Smart phone, PSP, etc, regardless of OS.

I certainly don't agree with this. How about providing a command line interface and nothing better to make development easier and to make it possible to operate SB from a one line display?

Threads appear here regularly about the inadequacy of the web interface. The same response always appears: we love the philosophy of a web interface UI. SS needs a well designed UI not a doctrine.

Bill