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washburn
2007-07-11, 10:12
Not only is this program missing the most basic functionality, but the information one needs to negotiate its peculiarities is almost never easily available.

For instance, I'm trying to bookmark the stream of a local radio station. How is this done? Who knows?

Slimserver provides a way to enter a URL to listen to. One would assume that on this page there would be some sort of "Add to Bookmarks" button. But no.

Well, fine, so I have to figure out how to do this. Do I add it to "favorites" or to "playlists"? Well "Favorites" sounds more likely, but it turns out that (after searching the web), that no, one must create a one-item "list" for it. Well, ok. Is there a button or box on the "Playlists" menu to enter a URL, or to create any sort of playlist? No. Is there a help menu of any sort to at least tell you how to do this? No. You have to find your way to a slim Wiki or Forum to figure out how to do this. And is the information clearly accessible on slimdevices.com? No. It turns out to be a nightmare to try and track down the answer to this most obvious of questions.

Hopefully with the acquisition by logitech Slimserver will eventully begin to exhibit some elements of basic usability.

snarlydwarf
2007-07-11, 10:20
Why not just use the "Save Playlist" button on the web page once you have started the stream?

Siduhe
2007-07-11, 10:34
Also, the MyPicks plugin is a godsend for saving internet radio stations and accessing them via Slimserver.

Videodrome
2007-07-11, 10:41
The inital learning curve for Slimserver, EAC, FLAC, MP3Tag, Album Art Aggregator, etc., etc. was enough to make me pull what little hair I have left out of my head.

Like you, I quickly grew tired of searching the wiki, the forums, and the websites of the opensource software providers just to figure out how to do some basic functions. I recall I remarked how there was a a mint to be made for someone who could produce a comprehensive guide to setting up a music server with SB. To which someone replied by pointing back to a document on the Wiki. Sorry, but that just does not cut it.

Now that I've got my hands dirty working my way through this, it's not as big a deal as it once was. However, I think there is a very real need for a comprehensive, well written / organized, printable manual that has the soup to nuts on all of this stuff.

Coming from the perspective of a non-computer-savvy guy, I know a lot of people who would have quickly given up setting up a music server with SB based on the sort of needle in a haystack searching required to understand how to get everything working properly.

washburn
2007-07-11, 11:03
Thanks all, for the sympathy and advice. I've managed to get my station saved as a playlist now. There are a few more problems and glitches that I'm tempted to ask about now, but I'd better get back to doing some of my actual work. Anyway, thanks again, and here's hoping the usability of Slimserver improves in the future.

Mark Lanctot
2007-07-11, 11:06
I recall I remarked how there was a a mint to be made for someone who could produce a comprehensive guide to setting up a music server with SB. To which someone replied by pointing back to a document on the Wiki. Sorry, but that just does not cut it.

Gee, you're welcome. What were you expecting?

The documents in the wiki are at least as good as something that could be produced by Logitech themselves. If you can't be bothered reading them, well...

kdf
2007-07-11, 11:15
Quoting Mark Lanctot
<Mark.Lanctot.2tkjin1184177401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> If you can't be bothered reading
> them, well...

There used to be the option to have your entire music collection
burned at tagged for you. But, I guess it was cheaper to complain
than to take that option. It seems to have disappeared from the SD
site. I wonder if that mint was ever made.

-kdf

Pale Blue Ego
2007-07-11, 11:21
Also, anyone can edit the wiki. Once you learn how to do something, create a tutorial so other newbies can easily follow in your wake.

Videodrome
2007-07-11, 11:45
Don't get me wrong Mark, yes there's good information there, it's the navigating up, in and around to get that kernel of information you're looking for that's frustrating. And that's only the Slimserver part of it. Then throw in EAC, etc. into the mix and it's: click [read teeny tiny print] find promising link: click, [ready more teeny tiny print], click two more links, hit print on previous 2 documents... click around some more, make sandwich, read print outs, hmmm.. not found it yet... post desperate cry for help on forum.

Let me put it to you this way, when my brother-in-law asked me about setting up a whole house music system, I shared my enthusiasm for my (just acquired) Squeezebox and how it was exactly what he was looking for. Now this guy is an Army Colonel (Ranger) and has degrees from West Point and Harvard; so he's no dummy. But as I started to talk about set up, he said it sounded like too much trouble and that he did not have the time to fool with it. It then dawned on me that, even if I did some basic set up for him, I would probably rue the day I recommended the SB. Because I can assure you, in lieu of a manual, he wouldn't bother with the wiki, or the forums. If he couldn't find an immediate answer, he'd just pick up the phone and call me. Or he'd get frustrated and get rid of it.

Let's face it, in terms of expectations regarding ease of use, set up and quick answers to questions / problems, he represents about 90% of the market out there.

Mark Lanctot
2007-07-11, 11:57
You do have a point Videodrome. Apparently a common practice among major manufacturers now is to give their product to test users WITHOUT a manual and see if they can figure it out. I don't think an SB3 could fall into this category, unfortunately.

I'm just not sure what the solution is. All music needs to be ripped to be played, and Logitech would be well-advised not to try to reinvent the wheel with ripping and tagging since other programs do this so well.

But there are many products that come with (usually crappy) proprietary rippers - most portable MP3 players, for example, so who knows?

Videodrome
2007-07-11, 12:01
Also, anyone can edit the wiki. Once you learn how to do something, create a tutorial so other newbies can easily follow in your wake.

I'm being brutally honest, but as much as I love audio, I just would never see myself taking time to produce a tutorial or edit the wiki. Heck, I feel guilty how much time I spend on these forums! (I really should get back to work :-))

I remember seeing a statistic on how many people lurk vs. post on web forums. Don't remember the exact number, but the posters are miniscule in comparison. Using that as the yardstick, think how many fewer would contribute at the level of providing content like that, and you're talking a very small percentage of users. Therefore, any knowledge transfer from the bulk of users is going to be almost non-existent.

JJZolx
2007-07-11, 12:05
Don't get me wrong Mark, yes there's good information there, it's the navigating up, in and around to get that kernel of information you're looking for that's frustrating. And that's only the Slimserver part of it. Then throw in EAC, etc. into the mix

While I agree with what you're saying about SlimServer missing some basic funtionality, you can't really expect it to deal with how you rip your music. That's just a basic fact of life when dealing with this type of device and application. There are easily dozens of ways you can rip CDs to make them available for SlimServer (or any other computer-based music playback system). Plus you can simply purchase and download them from many online music stores. That can't all be addressed and documented in the context of using SlimServer.


and it's: click [read teeny tiny print] find promising link: click, [ready more teeny tiny print], click two more links, hit print on previous 2 documents... click around some more, make sandwich, read print outs, hmmm.. not found it yet... post desperate cry for help on forum.

If you're refering to the usability, format and (lack of) readability of the SlimDevices.com WIKI, I'm with you there too. It's horrible. The content is pretty good, but the presentation sucks.


Let me put it to you this way, when my brother-in-law asked me about setting up a whole house music system, I shared my enthusiasm for my (just acquired) Squeezebox and how it was exactly what he was looking for. Now this guy is an Army Colonel (Ranger) and has degrees from West Point and Harvard; so he's no dummy. But as I started to talk about set up, he said it sounded like too much trouble and that he did not have the time to fool with it. It then dawned on me that, even if I did some basic set up for him, I would probably rue the day I recommended the SB. Because I can assure you, in lieu of a manual, he wouldn't bother with the wiki, or the forums. If he couldn't find an immediate answer, he'd just pick up the phone and call me. Or he'd get frustrated and get rid of it.

Reading some other audio forums, it's plain that many people _have_ tried and given up on SlimServer. It's just not a mass-consumer application. You have to be willing to put some energy and a fair amount of time to get it working satisfactorily. As enthusiastic as I am about the product and software, I'd only recommend it to a few people I know.


Let's face it, in terms of expectations regarding ease of use, set up and quick answers to questions / problems, he represents about 90% of the market out there.

That sounds about right. I doubt, though, that the 10% of the public that _could_ deal with SlimServer would see any need for a Squeezebox, so the potential market is much smaller.

Videodrome
2007-07-11, 12:21
While I agree with what you're saying about SlimServer missing some basic funtionality, you can't really expect it to deal with how you rip your music. That's just a basic fact of life when dealing with this type of device and application. There are easily dozens of ways you can rip CDs to make them available for SlimServer (or any other computer-based music playback system). Plus you can simply purchase and download them from many online music stores. That can't all be addressed and documented in the context of using SlimServer.


You're right, I am throwing in some technology outside SlimServer, but looking at things Holistically, it's hard to divorce the two in terms of setup for the end user because it all ties together in terms of actually delivering a streaming music system.

I'm not sure what the easy answer is (therein lies the mint I told you about), but for the vast public, I think they'd be looking for some sort of launch disc they can pop in their computer that walks them through set up, covers some options for ripping, has screenshots, hyperlinks, FAQ, troubleshooting tables, etc. You figure if TurboTax can walk the masses through a tax return, there has got to be a better solution for the comparatively few, and more technologically savvy, folks out there who would have an interest in a product like SB.

amcluesent
2007-07-11, 14:04
>click [read teeny tiny print] find promising link: click, [ready more teeny tiny print],<

Ctrl++ and Ctrl+- will alter the font size used in your browser.

>I'm not sure what the easy answer is (therein lies the mint I told you about)<

Well, previous posts have discussed the 'noob premium' charged by Olive, Sonos, Arcam, Fortuna etc. to provide a ready-to-use system. Some people will be happy to pay $1500 and up over the SB3 for the convernince and never approach the limits of these systems vs. the slimserver.

Then again, it wasn't so long ago that digital pictures were the preserve of the dedicated few and now we all snap away and photoshop the results.

>has degrees from West Point and Harvard; so he's no dummy<

But some people, no matter how "smart", just don't have the mental model of how engineered systems work and end up being frustrated as they can't figure out the principles and consistently apply those to the specific. Every program seems 'new' and baffling, when they are all just variations on the same pattern.

Videodrome
2007-07-12, 06:53
...but ultimately, I guess it begs the question: what is Slim Devices' business model for SB? Especially since the acquisition by Logitech.

If it is to sell to a niche market of dedicated, inquisitive audio / computer geeks who have the time and interest to coble together the system, then they're there; and the product delivers in spades.

On the otherhand, if Logitech wants to appeal to the masses, these issues would likely prove impediments to competing with the big dogs.

Just so my whining is not taken out of context, let me state unequivocally that I love, love, love my Squeezebox and building the music server has been fun -- despite the documentation issues -- because my mind gets off on those sorts of things.

But I also look back to my days in high-end audio retail and cannot help but draw comparisons to products that sold to similarly niche markets because the user interface was too challenging for most customers. Anyone here remember the Mapleknoll turntable?

erland
2007-07-12, 08:45
The weakness (and strength) with SlimServer is that there is just too many options. Even though I personally like to have all the options, the situation is going to be hard to handle if more non technical users are starting to use SlimServer.

I would say that a big improvement for these users would be to suggest ONE ripping program that is suitable and provide a step by step guide of how to use it. An important point is that the selected software must be easy to use, but it doesn't have to give the optimal audio quality on the rips. Most of these users won't care about the difference in audio quality. I guess that what I'm saying is that something like iTunes or Windows Media Player would be preferable to EAC. The instructions can be focused on Windows only, Linux and (and maybe Mac) users can be expected to do more work.

I would still like to be able to use other ripping softwares than the suggested, but I can then expect to do some more work to get a perfect setup.

I might have missed something regarding SlimServer itself, but every time I have setup it on Windows it has been Next->Next->Next->Finish and then start using it, so unless I have missed something I don't think SlimServer itself is the problem. The problem is that a lot of different programs needs to be used to get a working setup.

Videodrome
2007-07-12, 08:49
I think you nailed it.

Pale Blue Ego
2007-07-12, 09:46
I'm pretty sure a lot of early Squeezebox buyers were people that already had a library of digital files and most already had home networks. The Squeezebox just fit their needs perfectly as the missing piece of the puzzle, and they were already well-versed in ripping, tagging, and network issues.

Now, for the guy who hears how great it is to have his whole CD collection at his fingertips, and orders a Squeezebox not quite knowing what to expect...I admit it can be overwhelming.

But, a lot of the uncertainty can be overcome by installing and testing Slimserver and Softsqueeze before buying. Also, in the days between ordering the SB and actually taking delivery, the buyer should be able to get a decent handle on ripping and tagging, so that a portion of his CD collection will already be digitized when the SB is hooked up.

I agree that the SB in its present state isn't a seamless experience. Apple has done a better job with the iPod, and that's because the player interface is simpler, and iTunes is well-integrated and easy to use.

Probably to capture the masses, Logitech will have to offer a dedicated Windows software suite that handles ripping, tagging, player configuration, updates, and library management.

desertrat58
2007-07-12, 11:05
Erland states what is essentially the difference between the Windows and Apple/Mac/iPod/iTunes worlds.

Apple is plug and play, as long as you don't want to upgrade your computer or use a variety of software, and perform only
a relatively limited set of functions. This is why the iPod and iTunes work so well for so many. Macintosh computers that are more powerful and flexible carry price tags more akin to engineering workstations than to PCs.

A Windows PC will always be cludgy in comparison, because it is a true computer, which can be used for anything. A windows PC is not a one trick pony. Thousands of software programs exist, with a multitude of choices for every application. Hardware upgrades are simple. All at half (or even less) the price of Macs.

Slimserver wants to address Windows, Mac and Linux users. It is not a one-trick pony, and therefore will never be as smooth in operation as a stand alone CD player or a closed-system server.

Logitech simply cannot devote itself to Windows only music fans. A large percentage of music rippers are Mac and iPod users, so Slim must address these folks also. We all, therefore, cludge along. I get the impression that Slim may spend too much time trying to satisfy Linux users at the expense of Windows functionality and esthetics.

I have said before that the look of SlimServer is just plain ugly, and has an amateurish feel to it. Come on, resizing windows is a joke, and why can't I make unwanted columns disappear? Why does the interface have to run through a web browser, which then limits the look and feel of a program? I spent $2000 for a wonderful sounding Transporter, but could not recommend this device to friends who are not tech savvy. Not that there is anything better out there, however.

Videodrome
2007-07-12, 12:06
[QUOTE=desertrat58;214026]Erland states what is essentially the difference between the Windows and Apple/Mac/iPod/iTunes worlds.

Apple is plug and play, as long as you don't want to upgrade your computer or use a variety of software, and perform only
a relatively limited set of functions. This is why the iPod and iTunes work so well for so many. Macintosh computers that are more powerful and flexible carry price tags more akin to engineering workstations than to PCs.[QUOTE]

That's a critical perspective you bring to the discussion. I would never buy an Apple product, for some of the reasons you addressed -- and others I won't go into here -- but they certainly set the bar pretty high for simple user interfaces. Accordingly, I think many consumers would walk into a product like SB expecting the same plug and play effortlessness and get exasperated if it took much more work than setting up their iPod. Is that an unrealistic and unfair expectation? Probably so.

snarlydwarf
2007-07-12, 12:39
That's a critical perspective you bring to the discussion. I would never buy an Apple product, for some of the reasons you addressed -- and others I won't go into here -- but they certainly set the bar pretty high for simple user interfaces. Accordingly, I think many consumers would walk into a product like SB expecting the same plug and play effortlessness and get exasperated if it took much more work than setting up their iPod. Is that an unrealistic and unfair expectation? Probably so.

The sad reality is that the more you lock customers into "Well, use our software, nothing else will work" mode, the easier it is to control things. Actually, true of hardware too: its why Apple has traditionally had less "driver problems" than Windows machines. If you only have to support a handful of video cards, life is much easier than supporting every Nvidia chipset in a thousand knockoff products that are "almost" the same as the real nvidia reference board...

Part of the complexity of Slimserver is that it tries to be open and flexible. The complexity of tags, for example, is part of this. Slim doesn't have the "do it our way or it won't work" power (nor do they seem to have the willpower to force it).

This makes software more complex, more prone to odd interactions, etc. It is a hard problem to fix and is more related to the attitude of "use what works best for you" than anything else... and I don't want to lose that part.

JJZolx
2007-07-12, 12:59
The sad reality is that the more you lock customers into "Well, use our software, nothing else will work" mode, the easier it is to control things.
...
Part of the complexity of Slimserver is that it tries to be open and flexible.

Yes, flexible with respect to platform and minor extensibility through plugins. But at the same time you're very much locked into using only "our software, nothing else will work". So maybe not so flexible.

snarlydwarf
2007-07-12, 13:34
Yes, flexible with respect to platform and minor extensibility through plugins. But at the same time you're very much locked into using only "our software, nothing else will work". So maybe not so flexible.

Hrrm? SlimProto is well documented. You can write your own software if you want. Nothing is stopping you.

It is not just plugins: there is a huge amount of flexibility on how you lay out your music on your drive for example. Personally I think it is boneheaded to have files like:


/music/Tickle-Me-Elmo/SoundtrackToSesameSt/01 Tickleme.mp3
/music/CookieMonster/SoundtrackToSesameSt/02 Eatme.mp3


For ages, that worked, mostly anyway, as long as you set the name in "Commonly used titles"... which in itself is another goofy thing ("why do I have to enter it here?" "because how else will it know it is the same album?")... and then there is the whole interaction with the TCMP flag from iTunes...

All of that stuff could be vastly simplified if SlimServer insisted it was a musicmanager like iTunes or WMP. "I will put the files where I want, and if you move them around, I will do weird things". But that authoritarian nature is not how SlimServer works: it tries to be comfortable with everyone's ripper, with everyone's weird tags, with whatever strange layout people want... which is what makes the whole scanning and database complex.

erland
2007-07-12, 15:39
Yes, flexible with respect to platform and minor extensibility through plugins. But at the same time you're very much locked into using only "our software, nothing else will work". So maybe not so flexible.

Hrrm? SlimProto is well documented. You can write your own software if you want. Nothing is stopping you.
I think this is a bit theoretical, unless I have understand it wrong.
As I understand it the firmware of the devices is very tightly connected with an exact SlimServer version, the firmware is not open source and cannot be distributed by anyone else than Logitech. As I have understood it, this also means that the details of the SlimProto implementation will vary between different firmware versions and different hardware types.

The result of all this is that if you made your own client product available, that used SlimProto, it would probably mean a lot of work to keep that product in sync with the firmware and hardware releases. This is especially the case since you aren't allowed to distribute the firmware your self, unless I have misunderstood the licensing terms.

Now, I'm not complaining here, it is great that SlimProto is open and documented. I'm just saying that the reason no one has made their own server product is probably because it isn't worth the trouble, you would probably spend a lot of time keeping it update with changes in SlimProto.


It is not just plugins: there is a huge amount of flexibility on how you lay out your music on your drive for example. Personally I think it is boneheaded to have files like:


/music/Tickle-Me-Elmo/SoundtrackToSesameSt/01 Tickleme.mp3
/music/CookieMonster/SoundtrackToSesameSt/02 Eatme.mp3


For ages, that worked, mostly anyway, as long as you set the name in "Commonly used titles"... which in itself is another goofy thing ("why do I have to enter it here?" "because how else will it know it is the same album?")... and then there is the whole interaction with the TCMP flag from iTunes...

All of that stuff could be vastly simplified if SlimServer insisted it was a music manager like iTunes or WMP. "I will put the files where I want, and if you move them around, I will do weird things". But that authoritarian nature is not how SlimServer works: it tries to be comfortable with everyone's ripper, with everyone's weird tags, with whatever strange layout people want... which is what makes the whole scanning and database complex.

This flexibility is perfect for me, but my feeling is that it will cause problem when trying to push SlimServer to the mass market.

As you say, SlimServer will never be as easy to use as iTunes or WMP as long as it doesn't act as a musicmanager. However, I don't think converting SlimServer to a music manager would be the right choice, mainly because this would be a lot of work and before it was finished the market would probably have moved in another direction.
But I think it is reasonable that Logitech recommends or even bundle a single ripping/music manager application that is simple to use. The advantage of this is that they can provide exact instructions, they also have the chance to collaborate with the third party vendor to make this application integrate with SlimServer as tight as possible. iTunes is probably one choice, but the DRM issues with AAC and the fact that Apple is a competitor to Logitech might make this complicated.

Today they recommend over 10 different ripping applications (on the wiki) and doesn't provide detailed instructions for any of them how to best setup and use them with SlimServer.
The situation is exactly the same regarding music file structure, several different approaches is explained. The wiki might be the correct place to describe these options, but I think there should also be an instruction for the mass market where the choice of which application to use already has been made by Logitech. This way the user doesn't have to learn the best way to do things, he/she can just trust that Logitech knows what they are doing and already has made the correct choices for him/her about how ripping/music management best is handled together with SlimServer.

I think the same principles could also be applied to server hardware, I'm not sure the best way is to recommend that people use their desktop computer for running SlimServer. Why not recommend a good small/silent third party server hardware which is suitable if you like to run SlimServer on a 24/7 server. This way that server hardware could be combined with a preinstalled SlimServer and maybe also ripping/music management software, this way the end user wouldn't have to be troubled with that part if he chooses this path. I guess this hardware partly already exist (QNAP?), so it's just a matter of recommending it and describing how to best use it also for ripping/music management.

washburn
2007-07-12, 18:35
Well, I'm just the hapless n00b who started this thread, so I'm no expert on any of these matters. But one nice idea (that I see has been occasionally mentioned in the Forums here) would be to work-up a server interface that makes use of Songbird. Still in development, Songbird (opensource, XUL) seems like a ready solution from a usability standpoint (very easy and slick to use). Perhaps it could even be bundled to come with an encoder, etc.

(Now...if only I could fix my squeezebox so that I didn't have to reset it at least once a day...)

Siduhe
2007-07-13, 00:54
There's been a fair amount of talk on these forums about "splitting" the development path into two. Keeping the "fully featured, change anything you want, will work with most particular structures" Slimserver for those who want to play and customise, but also offering a "restricted funcationality, you must sort your music in a particular way, but looks great and is easy to use" interface.

I appreciate we're talking about more than just an interface in this thread, but I think it's all part of the same debate. SD don't comment on upcoming developments, but the Jive screenshots released earlier this year suggest it's on their minds.

What always strikes me though, when we have this discussion, is that someone inevitably pops up and says, "but I want both - I want to have my music the way I have it and Slimserver must work round it, it has to do everything the other version can do, and it has to look great and be easy to setup". Speaking personally, I'm just not sure that level of expectation can be satisfied.

I'm not referring to anyone in this thread, and goodness knows that Erland has done far more than most in developing functionality for Slimserver with his plugins, but I think the first step would be some consensus on what the "all in one" package needs to offer for the mass-market in order to succeed.

erland
2007-07-13, 01:28
I appreciate we're talking about more than just an interface in this thread, but I think it's all part of the same debate. SD don't comment on upcoming developments, but the Jive screenshots released earlier this year suggest it's on their minds.The interface is not the big problem IMHO. Sure, it is doesn't have all the bells and whistles but it works. When you have finished setup SlimServer, it is easy to browse and search your music and select what to play. Sure making playlists is a bit more user unfriendly, but I don't think we should expect Jive to solve that. As I have understand, Jive will just make it possible to have a graphical remote control. Logitech has already stated that it will not be the optimal solution for a full blown PC application. I think Jive should be seen as a replacement for what you do with the standard non graphical remote today, not a replacement for the stuff you do with the web interface today.

But still, even if Jive should solve more things that I think it will, it will still not implement the ripping/media manager functionality.


What always strikes me though, when we have this discussion, is that someone inevitably pops up and says, "but I want both - I want to have my music the way I have it and Slimserver must work round it, it has to do everything the other version can do, and it has to look great and be easy to setup". Speaking personally, I'm just not sure that level of expectation can be satisfied.It's just a matter of stating that you can't have both. There is a good reason why Microsoft and Apple has chosen to have less options in their media manager applications compared to SlimServer. The advanced users (like myself) obviously want to have all these extra options, but I think the mass market targets will accept a more hard coded solution.

I think there is a tendency for open source software in general to have more options than needed, I know this is the case with my own plugins and I also think it might be the case with some stuff in SlimServer today. If you like to target primary advanced users all these options is a great selling point, but for the mass market they will only cause problems and a lot of support cases.

In the short run, I think the major part that is missing is the ripping/media manager stuff, and that doesn't really conflict with the existing SlimServer functionality. So a better integration/instruction with some ripping/media manager software doesn't have to mean that we have to remove any options in SlimServer. It's just a matter of stearing the mass market buyers into the right path so they don't have to learn what all the advanced options means.
However, in the long run, I have a feeling this also means that SlimServer needs to remove some options because it will take to much time to test and support these if only a small percentage of the users use them.


I think the first step would be some consensus on what the "all in one" package needs to offer for the mass-market in order to succeed.Exactly!
As an example, today a lot of time is spent fixing and implementing features that IMHO has a lot less priority for the mass market target than making a good integration with a ripper/media manager. I suspect the reason for this is that no one has actually put down that list of "must have" features. What we need is some kind of roadmap with major features needed during the next 1-2 years.

But this is of course Logitech decision, I don't think they have actually stated yet that the mass market is the primary target. It's just something that we all suspect since that seemed like the logical step after the Logitech/SlimDevices merge.

Skittler
2007-07-13, 02:53
So a better integration/instruction with some ripping/media manager software doesn't have to mean that we have to remove any options in SlimServer. It's just a matter of steering the mass market buyers into the right path so they don't have to learn what all the advanced options means.

I agree, but that's a big challenge. It may be easier (and let's face it, more profitable) to dumb-down SlimServer so it is easily used by non-experts in IT and/or digital music.

The ideal situation would be some sort of "Simple/Advanced Mode" option for SlimServer. The documentation - a separate Wiki section perhaps - for the Simple Mode should assume no IT/networking/PC knowledge whatsoever beyond what you need to log in and read email - it really should be that simple. It should be step by step in non-technical language. The ripping/tagging would be a problem, but I'm sure that there could be an associated Simple guide to ripping/tagging that does not need EAC for example.

The current Wiki is a bit of a mess but you can find everything you need if you're willing to search long enough. Many, many people will not do so though - most Ranger Colonels for example :) The Advanced options still need to be there - I'm really enjoying finding out what Erland's plugins can do for me for instance, but most mass market users will probably never use anything other than the basic SlimServer functionality.

Finally, I think a simple guide to using SoftSqueeze is essential. I've had several people wanting to know more about the SB3 once they've heard/seen it, so I have shown them how to use Softsqueeze, and I fully expect them to be SB3/Transporter owners soon. It is not easy for them to start from scratch though, and (as Pale Blue Ego said) using Softsqueeze for a while with even a small collection of ripped music gives them great peace of mind before actually ordering a Squeezebox.

Mark Lanctot
2007-07-13, 06:12
Today they recommend over 10 different ripping applications (on the wiki) and doesn't provide detailed instructions for any of them how to best setup and use them with SlimServer.

erland, I agree with most of what you say, but might I point out:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?EACBeginners

EAC is intimidating, but this is a series of step-by-step instructions. Sadly, yes, even this is seen as too much these days.