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richard
2004-01-24, 22:52
I agree. I would list:

- simplicity (who expects a PC or network manufacturer's product to be
simple!)
- support (I think this is a big differentiator - most folks assume that
there won't be support, and Slimdevices gives incredible support to
everyone, geek or newbie)
- coolness (I think there is a great opportunity to push the elegance
and style of the device)

I think the entry cost is an issue, especially with folks contending at
a lower price with lesser products ... just as it was initially with
handhelds, but that over time that will change.


-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com] On Behalf Of Walter
Williams
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 6:50 PM
To: Slim Devices Discussion
Subject: [slim] Is there future for squeezebox/slimp3 with
thecurrentretail prices?


Well, only time will tell, but many of these "media boxes" from everyone
under the sun (Linksys, Netgear, Creative Labs, etc...) seem like big
companies putting their toe in the water. I believe that many of them
will be discontinued. This may seem like no big deal, but from what
I've read, many of them have unstable, half finished software. I
wouldn't count on many new features being added. Expect perhaps 2-3
software releases before they either lose interest, or replace them with
a new product and discontinue development on the older model.

Consider it a strength or weakness, but SlimDevices is a one product
company, and seems very commited. They have had their share of issues
with the 5.01 software (and SqueezeBox) but they are actively supporting
the product. Never minding the open source nature of the software, what
other company do you know that makes daily releases of software
available?

I can happily say that as of today's nightly release all my open issues
have been resolved. That counts for a lot in my book.

Just my .02.

Walter...



----- Original Message -----
From: "Trevor Tern" <tern (AT) post (DOT) com>
To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 6:22 PM
Subject: [slim] Is there future for squeezebox/slimp3 with the
currentretail prices?


The Netgear device in the list below seems to be equivalent and is
available for USD 150!

Robin.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason" <jason (AT) pagefamily (DOT) net>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 15:52:07 -0700
To: "''Slim Devices Discussion''" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Subject: [slim] Is there future for squeezebox/slimp3 with the
currentretail prices?

> If you can't afford a squeezebox or slimp3 (only $239) then don't buy
> one. You cannot build a comparable device for less money, others have
> tried.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com] On Behalf Of
> brievenbus (AT) zonnet (DOT) nl
> Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 2:28 PM
> To: slimsever
> Subject: [slim] Is there future for squeezebox/slimp3 with the current

> retail prices?
>
> Hi, Before you start a flame session: I love my 'old' slimp3 but would
like
> to
> make some remarks about the current prices.
>
> I tried to make my own cost estimate about what the price of a device
should
> be in the current market. We see a lot of competition coming of
> similar
> devices:
> http://www.rokulabs.com/
> http://www.netgear.com/products/prod_details.asp?prodID=234
>
http://www.pinnaclesys.com/ProductPage_n.asp?Product_ID=1481&Langue_ID=7
> http://www.kiss-technology.com/?p=dvd&v=users
>
> I think many of the owners in this group are the techies(like me) who
> like the opensource/multiplatform feature of a sqeezebox but the who
> cares about
that
> outside this relative small community. In the retail channel this does

> not count (yet?!). When the competing devices hit retail stores their
> numbers grow and prices go down.
> Where does this leave Slimdevices?
>
> My personal cost estimate, I'll 'build' a device from another audio
device:
> Compare a wired only Squeeze box with an external USB sound card,
> replace USB for Ethernet and add a display:
> External USB sound cards start now at 50$ and majority around
100-150.
Add
> a
> display and you have a similar device. Both have remote controls, and
> software running on a PC.
>
> I started thinking about this because the kids would like to have a
> squeezebox as well in their room but the steep price keeps me from
> buying extra devices.
>
> Crazy Idea: for the 300$ of a squeeze box I can buy a Dell Axim with
> Wifi, stream MP3 to that and connect Powered external speakers. The
> kids would love it! (OK, not realistic, this would not live long in a
> kids room and the sound
> quality is different but the prices are comparable).
>
> Thanks for listening.
> Willem Oepkes
>
>
> --
>

kdf
2004-01-25, 03:32
as is always the case for bigt companies vs small. its a choice. you support
cheap products, made cheap by virtue of economies of scale, from companies that
can afford to produce a million units. This makes the price low. Or you
support a company that gives service, and a product that is manufactured in lots
of 1000. This alone costs more. Small quantities will kill you if your only
option is to purchase from Digikey. If linksys suddenly came along wanting to
market an exact duplicate of squeezbox, I'm sure it would come out at $150, but
then it wouldn't be form Slim Devices. Just as that super cheap roast you get
from Thrifty Foods isn't the same as the one you get fresh cut at the local
butcher. Its an issue on so many levels. To complain that it is somehow wrong
that the squeezebox costs $300...is oversimplifying on many of those issues

-kdf

Andrew W. Donoho
2004-01-25, 08:00
Folks,

The big difference between SlimDevices and the other, lower cost
products is a difference in architecture. SlimDevices require an active
media server and the other devices do not. (Yes, the other devices do
need a source of files but that is about it. An SMB server is enough.)
None of the low cost boxes will support anything like synchronized
playing over multiple boxes. This is one of the sleeper features of
SlimDevices. It allows whole house digital audio that is much less
expensive than the analog equivalent and is much more flexible. If the
Slim folks add the ability to synthesize the library out of everyone in
the house's individual music library, then, with synchronized playing,
SlimDevices is strongly differentiated from the low cost clone horde.

Furthermore, the evidence of this list is that SlimDevices is building
the single most important market differentiator for a small company -
committed customers/developers. Slim's collaborative development model
is so much more respectful of their customers that even as their market
expands due to being able to sell at lower cost due to higher volumes,
they should be able to have a successful product due to the aggressive
incorporation of customer desires. Contrast that to, say LinkSys or
Sony or Philips, they try to avoid a platform model because it is too
expensive for their channels to support. They certainly want to avoid
depending upon a server developed by another vendor. SlimDevices,
because it has the open base, embraces what customers have. I expect
that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code will fork into a
very polished consumer app focused upon Win XP and Mac OS X and a
"hacker" app for people who want sophisticated media networks. This
will help them manage the platform costs as they enter more mainstream
consumer markets. Fundamentally, when a customer says they want a
feature, SlimDevices has the opportunity to direct them to the hacker
code, which will, most likely, already have the requested feature. In
other words, they never have to say no. They gain a deeper customer
commitment to SlimDevices products. The customer likely gets the
feature they want. Everyone wins.

Good luck, SlimDevices,
Andrew

____________________________________
Andrew W. Donoho
awd (AT) DDG (DOT) com, PGP Key ID: 0x81D0F250
+1 (512) 453-6652 (o), +1 (512) 750-7596 (m)

T
2004-01-25, 08:35
> None of the low cost boxes will support anything like synchronized
playing over multiple boxes.

Not true, the ExStreamer does.

> It allows whole house digital audio that is much less expensive than the
analog equivalent and is much more flexible.

More flexible, yes. Cheaper, no.

Tom

Craig Brannan
2004-01-25, 08:41
On Jan 25, 2004, at 10:00 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:

> I expect that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code will fork
> into a very polished consumer app ... and a "hacker" app for people
> who want sophisticated media networks.

I think this would be a good move...

If I have a complaint about the current development model - it's the
"use the latest nightly build" answer to everything... The problem I
see with this is that say I want to fix/improve the syncing problem
(advertised feature), then I have to download some code that also has
experimental stuff in it to say - optimize the searching for album art,
(not an advertised feature). So in fixing one thing I run the risk of
compromising stability/performance or whatever because of new functions
that are getting added.

Don't get me wrong - I think its great that there's an active community
developing neat new functionality for the server. But as a slim user, I
want the most stable "product" possible as part of my home audio setup.
I don't want my hi-fi to be running on "bleeding-edge" development
grade software.

Maybe core bug fixes should be going into 5.1.x and enhanced
functionality should be being built into an experimental 5.5.x or
something.

Craig.

Dan Sully
2004-01-25, 11:57
* Craig Brannan <craig (AT) brannan (DOT) com> shaped the electrons to say...

> If I have a complaint about the current development model - it's the
> "use the latest nightly build" answer to everything... The problem I
> see with this is that say I want to fix/improve the syncing problem
> (advertised feature), then I have to download some code that also has
> experimental stuff in it to say - optimize the searching for album art,
> (not an advertised feature). So in fixing one thing I run the risk of
> compromising stability/performance or whatever because of new functions
> that are getting added.
>
> Don't get me wrong - I think its great that there's an active community
> developing neat new functionality for the server. But as a slim user, I
> want the most stable "product" possible as part of my home audio setup.
> I don't want my hi-fi to be running on "bleeding-edge" development
> grade software.
>
> Maybe core bug fixes should be going into 5.1.x and enhanced
> functionality should be being built into an experimental 5.5.x or
> something.

Having a separate development branch is a possible idea.

However, please remember that the Squeezebox product is only a few months
old, and there is a lot of active development going into it. One can't
account for everything on an initial ship of hardware or software.

Expect an official release Real Soon Now.

-D
--
They're techno trousers, ex-NASA, fantastic for walkies!

kdf
2004-01-25, 14:38
Quoting Craig Brannan <craig (AT) brannan (DOT) com>:

>
> On Jan 25, 2004, at 10:00 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:
>
> > I expect that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code will fork
> > into a very polished consumer app ... and a "hacker" app for people
> > who want sophisticated media networks.
>
> I think this would be a good move...
>
> If I have a complaint about the current development model - it's the
> "use the latest nightly build" answer to everything...

I feel pretty lame saying it too. But, I tell myself its much better to offer
it than to say , 'this issue is under review by the developers. Expect it to be
fixed in the next server release, expected....someday'. More than one company
has given me that response, only to result in a new release never coming to
pass. It could be split into fix and feature streams, but then that doubles the
workload for developers, most of whom are basically volunteers, who then have to
apply patches twice and maintain even more copies of the server. I currently
have 6 myself: cvs, work-in-progress, patched, a nightly build, windows exe
install, and windows perl install. I've had up to 4 nightlies going at some points.

Of course, its a totally valid complaint. But like any, there is another side
to it :) Its bad now, mainly because so much has been going on. it will slow
down greatly as v5 becomes more mature.

-kdf

-kdf

Andrew W. Donoho
2004-01-25, 16:12
On Jan 25, 2004, at 09:35, T wrote:

>> None of the low cost boxes will support anything like synchronized
> playing over multiple boxes.
>
> Not true, the ExStreamer does.


Actually, the ExStreamer is not a low cost box. It requires a custom
server, not just an SMB share. Its IR remote costs extra. Yes, it still
costs less than the SqueezeBox and it offers less - only 320 kbps MP3
decoding. Competition is a beautiful thing but lets make sure that we
are comparing like goods.


>> It allows whole house digital audio that is much less expensive than
>> the
> analog equivalent and is much more flexible.
>
> More flexible, yes. Cheaper, no.


I don't know where you are pricing your analog systems but to put an
audio system that has both individual room control and can sync for
whole house audio is significantly more expensive on a per room basis
than a SqueezeBox, amplifier and identical speakers per room.


Andrew

____________________________________
Andrew W. Donoho
awd (AT) DDG (DOT) com, PGP Key ID: 0x81D0F250
+1 (512) 453-6652 (o), +1 (512) 750-7596 (m)

Roy M. Silvernail
2004-01-25, 16:45
On Sun, 2004-01-25 at 18:12, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:

> Actually, the ExStreamer is not a low cost box. It requires a
> customserver, not just an SMB share. Its IR remote costs extra. Yes,
> itstill costs less than the SqueezeBox and it offers less - only
> 320kbps MP3 decoding. Competition is a beautiful thing but lets make
> surethat we are comparing like goods.

Also note that the ExStreamer server, while Java, is very
Windows-centric. They also don't ship it with source, and I didn't see
the sources on the Barix website. (the server startup banner says the
server is GPL)
--
Roy M. Silvernail is roy (AT) rant-central (DOT) com, and you're not
Never Forget: It's Only 1's and 0's!
SpamAssassin->procmail->/dev/null->bliss
http://www.rant-central.com

dean
2004-01-25, 21:03
Hi Andrew,

On Jan 25, 2004, at 7:00 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:
> SlimDevices, because it has the open base, embraces what customers
> have. I expect that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code will
> fork into a very polished consumer app focused upon Win XP and Mac OS
> X and a "hacker" app for people who want sophisticated media networks.

Our goal now is to do both at the same time. We do have a custom
platform-specific user interface for both Windows and MacOS X that
leverages the web interface.

Can you give some more details about what, in your mind, would make our
software be more polished?

-dena

T
2004-01-25, 23:15
> Also note that the ExStreamer server, while Java, is very
> Windows-centric. They also don't ship it with source, and I didn't see
> the sources on the Barix website. (the server startup banner says the
> server is GPL)

The server soft IS available from their website, but I use SlimServer with
mine.

Tom

Roy M. Silvernail
2004-01-26, 04:05
On Mon, 2004-01-26 at 01:15, T wrote:
> > Also note that the ExStreamer server, while Java, is very
> > Windows-centric. They also don't ship it with source, and I didn't see
> > the sources on the Barix website. (the server startup banner says the
> > server is GPL)
>
> The server soft IS available from their website, but I use SlimServer with
> mine.

Yes, I know the server is available. That's how I determined that it's
Windows-centric. I said the *source code* isn't readily available.
--
Roy M. Silvernail is roy (AT) rant-central (DOT) com, and you're not
Never Forget: It's Only 1's and 0's!
SpamAssassin->procmail->/dev/null->bliss
http://www.rant-central.com

Andrew W. Donoho
2004-01-26, 07:16
Tom,

If you are going to go trolling in a mailing list, then you should
keep your comments on the list. Fundamentally, your comments below
discredit your observations.

On Jan 26, 2004, at 00:13, T wrote:

>> Actually, the ExStreamer is not a low cost box.
>
> At 2/3 the price of a Slimp3, it is.

Have you included the remote? Also, the distinction between a low cost
box is really tied to the need for a server that is more complex than
an SMB share. That makes it a more expensive box than the ones we are
discussing.


>> It requires a custom server, not just an SMB share.
>
> I use SlimServer, so for me the server needs are identical.


This is a curious example of "free rider syndrome". You slam the price
of a competing product then use their open source software. You are
using something that the vendor allows but are underestimating the cost
of your chosen solution. Clearly the ExStreamer guys have made poor
software and you have chosen something better. Congratulations for good
taste. From my reading of the ExStreamer documentation, they may or may
not support synchronized streaming to multiple boxes. If not, then we
are not comparing similar items.


>> Yes, it still costs less than the SqueezeBox and it offers less -
>> only 320
> kbps MP3 decoding.
>
> Which is what I need.


That may be but you made an implicit assertion that the products were
implicitly comparable. The ExStreamer falls significantly short of
SqueezeBox capabilities.


>> Competition is a beautiful thing but lets make sure that we are
>> comparing
> like goods.
>
> I'm comparing based on my needs.


As I said above, your implicit assertion of price comparison of like
products. The ExStreamer meets your needs but is lower cost for
multiple reasons. It is not a comparable product.


>> I don't know where you are pricing your analog systems
>
> I have a Revox multi-room system that I acquired bcak in the days when
> I
> worked there.


So you are comparing an employee purchase price to retail. That is not
a fair comparison.

Both of your assertions have important qualifiers that indict the
validity of ExStreamer as a comparable product with either low cost
boxes or SqueezeBox. Let's compare based upon independent criteria not
just personal situations.

Andrew

____________________________________
Andrew W. Donoho
awd (AT) DDG (DOT) com, PGP Key ID: 0x81D0F250
+1 (512) 453-6652 (o), +1 (512) 750-7596 (m)

Andrew W. Donoho
2004-01-26, 07:32
On Jan 25, 2004, at 22:03, dean blackketter wrote:
> On Jan 25, 2004, at 7:00 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:
>> SlimDevices, because it has the open base, embraces what customers
>> have. I expect that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code
>> will fork into a very polished consumer app focused upon Win XP and
>> Mac OS X and a "hacker" app for people who want sophisticated media
>> networks.
>
> Our goal now is to do both at the same time. We do have a custom
> platform-specific user interface for both Windows and MacOS X that
> leverages the web interface.
>
> Can you give some more details about what, in your mind, would make
> our software be more polished?

Dean,

As you know from our other communication, I am a new user and have not
yet received my SqueezeBox. Until I can actually see the dynamic system
that is your hardware/software product and not just the server software
I have now, I would prefer to reserve comment. I will answer your
question after I've had the system for a week or so.

My comments were driven by a very common business pattern that
common/commodity functions packaged in a "closed" way will help you
reduce your support costs. As long as you make sure to support your
higher end, open software, then you can have the best of both worlds -
a high volume/low cost product and a high value, customizable product.
The main difference between the two versions of software is: how easy
is it for a consumer to get into trouble and break your app? Your
support costs will provide you the verdict on how "good" your polished
interface is... There is always a balance between complexity of
interface and product value. Your challenge will be to manage that
balance. Having two versions of server software may help you manage
balancing this issue.


Andrew

____________________________________
Andrew W. Donoho
awd (AT) DDG (DOT) com, PGP Key ID: 0x81D0F250
+1 (512) 453-6652 (o), +1 (512) 750-7596 (m)

dean
2004-01-26, 08:14
Ok, thanks for the explanation.

We really are trying to make Squeezebox and SlimServer as easy as
possible to set up and use for non-technical users, while providing as
many tools "under the hood" for our power users to tweak, extend and
improve the product. It's not an easy thing to do with open source
software, but so far I think we're doing a pretty good job. (Arguably
better than our competitors in this area.)

That said, I'm sure there's room for improvement. Feedback is always
welcome about how we can make the out-of-box experience better for all
of our customers, technical and non-technical.

-dean



On Jan 26, 2004, at 6:32 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:

>
> On Jan 25, 2004, at 22:03, dean blackketter wrote:
>> On Jan 25, 2004, at 7:00 AM, Andrew W. Donoho wrote:
>>> SlimDevices, because it has the open base, embraces what customers
>>> have. I expect that at sometime in the future the SlimServer code
>>> will fork into a very polished consumer app focused upon Win XP and
>>> Mac OS X and a "hacker" app for people who want sophisticated media
>>> networks.
>>
>> Our goal now is to do both at the same time. We do have a custom
>> platform-specific user interface for both Windows and MacOS X that
>> leverages the web interface.
>>
>> Can you give some more details about what, in your mind, would make
>> our software be more polished?
>
> Dean,
>
> As you know from our other communication, I am a new user and have
> not yet received my SqueezeBox. Until I can actually see the dynamic
> system that is your hardware/software product and not just the server
> software I have now, I would prefer to reserve comment. I will answer
> your question after I've had the system for a week or so.
>
> My comments were driven by a very common business pattern that
> common/commodity functions packaged in a "closed" way will help you
> reduce your support costs. As long as you make sure to support your
> higher end, open software, then you can have the best of both worlds -
> a high volume/low cost product and a high value, customizable product.
> The main difference between the two versions of software is: how easy
> is it for a consumer to get into trouble and break your app? Your
> support costs will provide you the verdict on how "good" your polished
> interface is... There is always a balance between complexity of
> interface and product value. Your challenge will be to manage that
> balance. Having two versions of server software may help you manage
> balancing this issue.
>
>
> Andrew
>
> ____________________________________
> Andrew W. Donoho
> awd (AT) DDG (DOT) com, PGP Key ID: 0x81D0F250
> +1 (512) 453-6652 (o), +1 (512) 750-7596 (m)
>
>
>