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View Full Version : When it works, it works ... when it doesn't ...



jonheal
2006-05-12, 04:56
I won’t go so far as to say the Squeezebox is not “ready for prime time,” because 99% of the time, it works fine and I love it. But on those occasions ... it is certainly not ready for the unwashed masses.

Several weeks ago, I posted about an experience I had where I believe the firmware in the SB became corrupted, the main symptoms were: play would stop after the first song on an album, and, text would appear superimposed on the analog VU meters. That one took me four or five hours (including a call to Slim support that went nowhere) to fix.

Last night, I had another dose of quirkiness. I am in the process of rebuilding the machine on which Slimserver runs. This involved installing a new motherboard, and then reloading everything from scratch.

At the point I was ready to install Slimserver, the only things I had loaded were:

• Windows XP Professional (and all current patches)
• Driver for my M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card
• McAfee 10
• Passwords Plus (password management database)

I should also mention that I gave the machine a new IP number. I don’t use DHCP. Everything around here has a fixed number in the 192.168.1.xxx range.

I installed Slimserver 6.2.2 and thereafter found myself in the situation where Slimserver would not start — the icon in the Notification area just blinked endlessly. I thought I remembered reading how this sometimes happens, the solution being to uninstall and then reinstall. So, that’s what I did. I had a previous experience loading Slimserver where it errored-out during the install complaining about not being able to find a Perl something or other, so to be on the safe side, I also installed a recent build of ActiveState Perl before attempting to reinstall Slimserver (although it shouldn't be necessary, right?).

This time, Slimserver started properly. An hour later, or so, my collection had been catalogued. I went upstairs to try out the Squeezebox, and found it in a state of needing networking setup. I worked my way through the screens adding the SBs IP number, the subnet mask, the gateway’s IP number, and then the DNS server’s IP number. Once that number had been entered, I hit the Right button one more time, and the SB froze for a few moments, then the screen went black for a few more moments, and then I was presented with the screen telling me to set up networking again. None of the settings I had just entered were retained. So I went through the process again … about ten times. I frowned and cussed, and then tried the usual things: unplugging the device and plugging it back in again; holding the Add key down for a “Factory Reset;” I even tried unplugging my router for a minute or so. This is a WIRED SB, by the way. (I have enough trouble without adding wireless voodoo to the mix :-)).

As a last resort, I uninstalled 6.2.2, restarted the machine, and then installed 6.2.1. Still, Slimserver and the SB still could not find each other. I began to wonder if the port on the router was bad, or maybe the cable. So, I unplugged the SB, took it down to the basement where the computer running Slimserver resides and plugged it into another port on the router. This time, success!

I took the SB back upstairs and plugged it back in, and everything was still working fine. I suppose that it just needed to remain unplugged for “a while,” and the time it took to physically carry it downstairs allowed for sufficient time to pass.

I think that this is the kind of problem that a computer neophyte would find overwhelmingly vexing.

Patrick Dixon
2006-05-12, 07:20
And yet, I have a client with 6 SB2s in a multiroom type setup that has been up for about a year - and they love it. They're not geeks, and so they don't f-around with it, they just download/rip music and play it.

cliveb
2006-05-12, 07:21
I don't have any insight into the specific problems you've had, but I will just mention that ethernet switches can sometimes get themselves into a state where specific machines simply don't work. I've got a laptop which for some reason just stopped connecting into the home network. I took it upstairs and plugged it into a different switch (on the same LAN), and it was fine. After trying different ports on the downstairs switch (including the port that another machine which was working fine was connected to), I eventually concluded that the patch cable was bad, but replacing it didn't fix things. Eventually, power-cycling the switch fixed things.

I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.

jonheal
2006-05-12, 07:23
And yet, I have a client with 6 SB2s in a multiroom type setup that has been up for about a year - and they love it. They're not geeks, and so they don't f-around with it, they just download/rip music and play it.
F-ing around can be a problem ;-)

jonheal
2006-05-12, 07:27
I don't have any insight into the specific problems you've had, but I will just mention that ethernet switches can sometimes get themselves into a state where specific machines simply don't work. I've got a laptop which for some reason just stopped connecting into the home network. I took it upstairs and plugged it into a different switch (on the same LAN), and it was fine. After trying different ports on the downstairs switch (including the port that another machine which was working fine was connected to), I eventually concluded that the patch cable was bad, but replacing it didn't fix things. Eventually, power-cycling the switch fixed things.

I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.
I did reboot my router. I'm confident this was a Slimserver/Squeezebox quirk.

My post was rhetorical, for the most part. I fixed the problem myself (or it fixed itself), so ... whatever.

I only offer the observation that for a device to be TRULY ready for mass consumption, it must be about as foolproof as a toaster. Now for a device as complex as the Squeezebox, that may be a practical impossibility.

Anyway, Slim Devices may not be aiming for "mass consumption," although I'm sure they'd like to sell as many boxes as possible :-)

aubuti
2006-05-12, 08:25
I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.
Perhaps related to this, I've found that since I started using SBs about 4 months ago, rebooting my router/switch has gone from being a rare event to something I have do more often. I've wondered if streaming FLACs -- wired, wirelessly, or both -- is exposing weaknesses in the router itself (a Netgear WGR614v3), that aren't an issue with ordinary computer use.

davep
2006-05-12, 08:33
If it is of any relevance I will relate my recent experience with a new iPod. First of all I got a new iPod because my original one (iPod mini) went on the fritz after about a year of usage. The new one (iPod Photo 30MB) was connected to the WinXP Pc which has been used for syncing mp3s to the old iPod for many months but the iTunes here refused to recognise the new one at all. XP could see it as a removable disk but iTunes just ignored it. Despite several hours of trying everything I could think of - reinstall iTunes, factory reset iPod, sacrificing a small goat, etc - I gave up. I did get a copy of iTunes on my laptop to recognise it but even that was not immediate and required a certain amount of f-ing around. Trouble is the music is stored on the desktop so I have to pull everything across the network into the laptop and out onto the iPod.

The point of this story is that even the mighty iPod, which is meant to be the ultimate plug and play gadget aimed at use by non-geeks, can hit snags which even a self confessed geek cannot actually correct. Checking the Apple forums later I find that my problem is actually quite common and, as far as I can see has no single, simple solution.

davep

Kyle
2006-05-12, 08:35
I won’t go so far as to say the Squeezebox is not “ready for prime time,” ...

Well, I'll say it. While it's a wonderful device, and I love it, I would not think of recommending it to someone with just average computer aptitude unless I could help them set it up. I can't think of a single one of my close friends who would not be totally lost if I gave them a brand new SB3. I've gotten quite an education getting to the point where my CDs are ripped to flac, arwork is in each folder, and I have two working Squeezeboxes. I've enjoyed the process, but I don't think the average consumer would be willing to spend anywhere near the hours that I have put into things. Geeks, yes, and audiophiles, maybe. The average joe, I don't think so.

mrtaber
2006-05-12, 08:38
I ran into that exact problem with my iPod(s) over the years (on Mac and on Apple machines). Finally, when I decided to go FLAC, I sold the iPods (including a new 60Gb iPod-with-video). But yes, plug-in-play, *sometimes*, even for the mighty iPod.

Mark

nicketynick
2006-05-12, 08:54
sacrificing a small goat, etc -
davep

You didn't try whacking yourself in the forehead with a hard board????

Sorry - couldn't resist - I giggle every time I see that avatar.;-)

davep
2006-05-12, 08:59
As a 100% flac house as far as SB feeding goes, I was actually toying with the idea of moving to iAudio and getting the ability to play my flacs without the hassle of maintaining a parallel mp3 directory for iTunes as I do now. Also the iAudio is supposed to work well with Linux, which would be another plus for me. But somehow the perceived "trustworthyness" of the iPod and the investment already made in accessories like car charger and iTrip, etc, swayed me back to the iPod.

davep

davep
2006-05-12, 09:01
You didn't try whacking yourself in the forehead with a hard board????

Sorry - couldn't resist - I giggle every time I see that avatar.;-)
Glad you like it - I wasn't sure anybody would recognise it but maybe there is some kind of natural affinity between SB users and Python (!)

davep

joncourage
2006-05-12, 19:42
Switches and routers maintain databases of connected devices in their RAM (MAC address tables, ARP caches) and those tables can become corrupt and require a reboot of a specific device (usually that will take care of it) or of the entire network infrastructure (thereby forcing a complete re-convergence of device location information and pathing). Sometimes you have to leave a device powered off for a bit to completely clear the corrupted/incorrect data in memory. Doesn't happen often, but can be a tricky one when it does.

Also, device IP address conflicts can be a tricky bitch to suss out, and manually setting addresses rather than allowing DHCP to deal with it causes this type of problem with some regularity (I've had times I'd swear on my life that addressing was good only to discover later I was wrong).

DHCP can also foul up, and I'm not sure the DHCP servers sitting in a $60 WAP or internet router are going to be the most consistent for correct addressing.

The question that would seem to remain to some degree is why the SB *seems* to be more sensitive to this sort of stuff (or is that more perception and we're just more used to rebooting PCs 1000 times when they're quirking out?). Dunno.

pfarrell
2006-05-12, 19:54
joncourage wrote:
> Also, device IP address conflicts can be a tricky bitch to suss out,
> and manually setting addresses rather than allowing DHCP to deal with
> it causes this type of problem with some regularity (I've had times I'd
> swear on my life that addressing was good only to discover later I was
> wrong).

This is often more than just tricky to find. Fixing it is usually trivial

DHCP (and its precursors) were invented because fixed IP addresses
are essentially unmanageable once the number of computers gets "large"

> DHCP can also foul up, and I'm not sure the DHCP servers sitting in a
> $60 WAP or internet router are going to be the most consistent for
> correct addressing.


I run two DHCP servers in my house, with the servers assigning
fixed TCP/IP addresses by MAC, and my SqueezeBoxen (and laptops with
wired and wireless) having two separate mappings.

With this, I have had zero problems in ages, except
when (and not if, but when) I get the two dhcpd.conf files
out of sync.

I believe that IPv6 was going to fix this about a decade ago.

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

mshievitz
2006-09-06, 13:12
The latest iteration of Mcafee Privacy Service prevents SoftSqueeze from running correctly. (The underlying culprit is McAfee's Proxy service)
Follow the steps below To correct this condition and resume your enjoyment of streamed softsqueeze music.

You can perform the following steps to stop McAfee Proxy Service.

1. Click on the Start > Run.
2. Type in SERVICES.MSC and click the OK button.
3. Locate 'McAfee Proxy Service' in the list.
4. Right-click 'McAfee Proxy Service' and choose Stop.

Now, you can try to access SoftSqueeze and see if you are able to access the music.
If you are able to access the music then you can start the McAfee Proxy Service service. (if required, it will probably restart after softsqueeze connects)

1. Click on the Start > Run.
2. Type in SERVICES.MSC and click the OK button.
3. Locate 'McAfee Proxy Service' in the list.
4. Right-click 'McAfee Proxy Service' and choose Start.

I hope this helps everyone. Enjoy.

kdf
2006-09-06, 13:21
Quoting mshievitz <mshievitz.2dqbyz1157573701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> The latest iteration of Mcafee Privacy Service prevents SoftSqueeze from

ok, got it the first dozen times. please stop posting it to every
thread that is related to connection problems.

thank you
-kdf