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Omeriah
2008-02-07, 09:44
Dear Logitech and SlimDevices Staff,

In my humble opinion, you are squandering an opportunity. The SB3 and the new Duet are great products. I have spread the gospel about the SqueezeBox to my large circle of friends (if you have read “The Tipping Point”, you could call me a “Connector”) and I would love to get deeper into the SlimDevices world (new controller, Transporter, etc). But I and many of my friends are adamant about running SC7 through an NAS, not through our PCs. In the name of energy efficiency, speed, and performance, having a PC in the middle is just that, an unnecessary middleman that sucks away energy, money, and performance. There are lots of other reasons to run SB3 software on an NAS and I’m sure you know most of them.

Here is where your opportunity is being lost. I have been reading these forums for two months trying to figure out which NAS devices run SlimServer and I am ready to hang myself. I found that, if I were a Linux guru, I could spend many hours installing esoteric software from an independent coder (with no support or warranty) on a Linkstation or a few other NAS devices. I learned that Infrant offered a SlimServer-ready NAS which sounds fantastic but was nowhere near plug and play for consumers. And I learned that in general, SlimServer runs much more efficiently on Linux machines, which all but eliminates my Windows NAS choices. In short, I have no idea what to buy and your company is not helping me at all.

And now that SC7 is required, I am starting all over and finding that the answer to my question is mostly, “Sorry, unless you are a coder genius, stick with your PC.”

Why can’t Logitech make the SqueezeBox and its cousins user-friendly enough for a critical mass consumer audience? I highly respect all the veterans in the forums, and their knowledge of the products is extraordinary. But they are a tiny fraction of your potential audience. What strikes me more is the constant call for help from new users and novices like me. After reading the beginners forum for a month, it’s painfully clear that most users do not understand that they need to run a PC to listen to their music and when they discover this, they have all sorts of problems pulling files from external hard drives. Everyone wants to know what NAS drives work best, and everyone seems entirely perplexed about what to do. The choices for NAS drives are overwhelming and the fact that Logitech/SD hardly says a word about which drives are compatible doesn’t relieve the pain. Plus, the fact that Logitech/SD built a few partnerships and then simply stopped communicating about them makes it all the more frustrating. I read that QNAP offered the TS-209 with SlimServer pre-installed and ready to play. But neither of your web sites say anything about this. Same thing for Infrant. Now I hear that there may be a new module for Infrant, but I didn’t hear this from Logitech, I heard it through the forums which makes me wonder if it’s really true and when it will happen (not to mention the quality and performance of any fix).

I understand that you leave a lot of the “aftermarket modules” to freelancers and software geeks, but why leave it to them? Most of their solutions are not easy to use (although I’m sure they work great for software geniuses). Why not take steps yourself to make SC7 easy enough to install on a handful of NAS drives right out of the box?

The best advice I got from the forums were, “Keep your money in your pocket until hard drive companies start releasing versions with SC7”. But even then, I suspect they won’t be plug and play and they won’t be under any endorsement or even compatibility “wink wink” from Logitech.

Ideally, novices would like to know Logitech’s position on using NAS devices, which ones are best suited, which ones you work directly with, and exactly how to get SC7 on those drives. At the very least, Logitech should communicate regularly to its audience and tell us what you’re thinking. If your current thoughts are, “We’re mulling it over, we’ll get back to you,”, then at least we know you’re not ignoring us. If your current thoughts are, “We’re working with select manufacturers and we’ll let you know when we know”, that’s good information. If you have specific information about new installs coming soon, please let us know. You don’t even have to name names or dates, but we’re all sitting here in the dark, making guesses. Speculating and doing detective work can be fun, but for those of us who just want to listen to high-quality music around the house, we’re not as interested in the game-playing and the corporate secrecy. Help us evangelize your products by telling us about the products!

Yours truly,
Sick-of-reading-about-Linux-installs-and-NAS-pros-and-cons-and-rumors-about-new-SC7-modules

Patrick Dixon
2008-02-07, 09:58
Howabout Windows Home Server then?

Bay City
2008-02-07, 09:59
I too would like a information on using the squeezebox duet with a NAS.
I was leaning towards buying the sonos but when I heard about this I decieded to wait.
Sonos does support use on a NAS and on their web site show you step by step how to set this up and which NAS devices are supported.
I like the looks of the duet controller better than the sono. also much better price, however without support for a NAS I will most likely buy the sonos.

mflint
2008-02-07, 10:04
Waaah, cross-post madness!

bhaagensen
2008-02-07, 10:06
One reason could be that they've been really busy developing a new hardware product line AND server software, which by the way is already a big step towards a more user-friendly product. And they do have an easy existing solution; use a PC.

I'm pretty sure they think out-of-the-box NAS solutions are interesting, and your very long post is a +1 for that point of view together with all other requests for "a better product" .

BTW. No need to double post.

Regards Bjørn

kdf
2008-02-07, 10:06
hrm, I'd vote, but the poll doesn't have a "wish this wasn't a cross-post" option.
-kdf

Shredder
2008-02-07, 10:07
I agree with Omeria.

I currently run SS 6.5.4 on a Thecus NAS. For a variety of reasons, I feel the need to run SC 7.0. However, there is no Thecus module to run the beta. When 7.0 is finally released, I will need to wait for someone (Omega, I beleive is his name) to kindly post that mod an the Thecus wiki. That may take a month or so. There are other issues.

There must be a better and easier way.

andyg
2008-02-07, 10:08
Threads merged, please don't crosspost.

MuckleEck
2008-02-07, 10:20
I don't trotally agree with this long post.

To me a NAS is as it's name implies for storage, I have never and will never try and get a NAS to run programs in any way shape or form. I have setup a small quiet PC as a server which runs SC7.0 perfectly as well as a few other apps, without using much energy and therby staying green(ish).

I feel that Logitech/Slimdevices have had plenty on their plates recently and whilst being able to put SC7.0 onto a NAS device may suit a few people, I would prefer to see a more feature rich product rather than one which has been shoe-horned to fit onto a NAS.

pippin
2008-02-07, 10:24
What would you be prepared to pay if it's a "consumer style device"?

Omeriah
2008-02-07, 10:25
Threads merged, please don't crosspost.

Sorry about the cross-post and the nasty double post. Maybe the thread deities can clean this up? I can't seem to do it even though I posted the original.

Phil Leigh
2008-02-07, 10:44
To me this is pointless. A NAS is half of a crippled PC. I don't want one in my house. If I did, I'd use Windows Home Server.
I just don't get this obsession with a device that can't do half of the things I want to do...like run Moose, MusicIp GUI, EAC, Tag etc...never mind browsing the Internet, email blah blah.
My PC runs 24x7. It goes to sleep and consumes almost no power when I'm not using it (ie 16 hours a day).
I don't want to mess around with variants of Linux(but have no issue with those that do). I want choice and that means a proper computer and a world of software which is generally easy to install and configure.
YMMV

pfarrell
2008-02-07, 10:49
In my humble opinion, you are squandering an opportunity.


IMHO, the title of this thread is inflammatory and biased.

I'll ignore the minor issue that a NAS is just a PC, which seems to constantly confuse folks like the OP.

A good title for a poll:
1) is unbiased
2) says what's its about

So an acceptable title is:
Pool: should a NAS be in the product line?

This thread should have its title changed, or be locked

maggior
2008-02-07, 10:53
What would you be prepared to pay if it's a "consumer style device"?

Personally I'm happy with the way things are. I like the freedom of being able to chose my own hardware and OS to run my slimserver on.

If the the SqueezeBoxes, Duets, Transporters, etc. become very popular, this could be an opportunity for a 3rd party to make a business of setting up pre configured and pre loaded SlimServers - perhaps in mini ITX form factors. I think it would be a fun thing to do, but there certainly isn't the demand for it just yet. Perhaps Logitech feels the same way.

If somebody had listed on EBay a mini ITX box with a 120 GB hard disc loaded with Slimserver or SqueezeCenter ready to go, would you be willing to pay $500-$800 for it? No linux knowledge required! After the cost of parts and room for some profit, this is my ballpark guess of what it would cost.

But even if somebody did that, the customer still has to configure the box for the network and load music onto it. This requires knowledge of how to rip and encode CDs and some networking knowledge. And a separate PC is required for this - you wouldn't be able to rip directly onto the server - it's a consumer appliance. CD ripping is a big struggle for some people too. Many people can't load music on their iPod unless it comes from iTunes!

So, even if such a device were made available, it doesn't address all of the usability issues and pain that some users experience.

Mark Lanctot
2008-02-07, 11:08
To me this is pointless. A NAS is half of a crippled PC. I don't want one in my house. If I did, I'd use Windows Home Server.
I just don't get this obsession with a device that can't do half of the things I want to do...like run Moose, MusicIp GUI, EAC, Tag etc...never mind browsing the Internet, email blah blah.
My PC runs 24x7. It goes to sleep and consumes almost no power when I'm not using it (ie 16 hours a day).
I don't want to mess around with variants of Linux(but have no issue with those that do). I want choice and that means a proper computer and a world of software which is generally easy to install and configure.
YMMV


I was going to do an almost identical rant!

I have no idea why people think they can and "should" install SC on a NAS. That makes just about as much sense to me as trying to install SC in my lawn. You're trying to do something the device was never meant to do. So of course it will be hard and of course it'll never perform well!

I applaud the brave hackers who did manage to bash SS/SC into a NAS, but no one should be under the impression that it's easy, that it'll work well or even that it's the "norm". Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Oh and I don't want to hear any more about saving the Earth and power savings and all that. Don't run a P4 Northwood or (gasp!) a Prescott and take advantage of a modern PC's power-saving functions. Just because modern PCs have 500 W power supplies doesn't mean they use 500 W all the time! And if you really want to save the Earth, look to mini-ITX boards. Some are fanless and use as little as 5 W...

Omeriah
2008-02-07, 11:29
What would you be prepared to pay if it's a "consumer style device"?

That's a fair question, but not necessarily the right one from a business perspective (IMHO). First of all, they are pitching it as a "consumer style device", aren't they? I just don't think it's entirely consumer-friendly.

I think the device itself is fine so I don't think my idea requires a lot of investment in hardware. I think the business folks at Logitech just need to talk to other companies and make it more widely compatible with sister devices (like NAS drives). Maybe I am naive, but that doesn't sound like a big investment. If Logitech or any manufacturer were to charge something to pre-install SC7 on an NAS, I would probably be willing to pay an additional $100.

matthijskoopmans
2008-02-07, 11:32
A NAS is not a Server, but in essence a low spec PC for the sole purpose of managing storage. SqueezeCenter is a server run application. Instead of offering NAS solutions, I could envisage Logitech releasing a package with OS and SqueezeCenter integrated (and managed as a SqueezeCenter offering). Lightweight and ready to run, and with connectivity to your existing network (Windows, Mac, *nix)

If the SqueezeCenter software was used for more than just the SlimDevices products (let's face it, it is still a niche product - nothing wrong with that, but it does not have the numbers of some other Logitech gear) then one could consider a Logitech branded SqueezeCenter server... Basically a small PC with an OS (i don't care which one), with SqueezeCenter installed, and heaps of storage.

With the current market penetration of the SlimDevices (and therefore the use of SqueezeCenter)I don't know if that is a feasible option (yet)...

Mark Lanctot
2008-02-07, 11:39
If the the SqueezeBoxes, Duets, Transporters, etc. become very popular, this could be an opportunity for a 3rd party to make a business of setting up pre configured and pre loaded SlimServers - perhaps in mini ITX form factors. I think it would be a fun thing to do, but there certainly isn't the demand for it just yet. Perhaps Logitech feels the same way.

If somebody had listed on EBay a mini ITX box with a 120 GB hard disc loaded with Slimserver or SqueezeCenter ready to go, would you be willing to pay $500-$800 for it? No linux knowledge required! After the cost of parts and room for some profit, this is my ballpark guess of what it would cost.

I've thought about this, even quite seriously once. I love assembling computers and installing OSes, and with Linux, even better.

However my main stumbling points were:

1. Support. I don't want e-mails reading "it doesn't work!"

2. Parts sourcing. Very hard to find parts at a decent price here in Canada, especially if I would be reselling. For that matter, mini-ITX boards and cases seem especially hard to find here.

gorman
2008-02-07, 11:43
I voted yes. Although now that I have finally WOL working properly on my machine I don't need such a solution anymore.

In any case, I agree on the principle: Logitech should have a "Squeezebox-in-a-box" kind of thing, with a self-upgrading NAS coming with preinstalled Squeezecenter.
Pretty soon it will be feasible to do it with 2 redundant 1 TB hard drives. At that point... I don't know, selling a NAS-Duet combo for 600? 700? Would people be interested? Maybe they would, considering what people are forking out for Sonos systems.

That would be the all in one solution that Slimdevices is currently lacking. They could even create one including an amp and speakers (or just an amp), considering that that's an area where Logitech already has many products.

JJZolx
2008-02-07, 11:49
First of all, they are pitching it as a "consumer style device", aren't they? I just don't think it's entirely consumer-friendly.

That's always been a large complaint. Looks like marketing is driving new products in different directions, with a big emphasis on SqueezeNetwork so that consumers don't have to continue to maintain a local server.


I think the device itself is fine so I don't think my idea requires a lot of investment in hardware. I think the business folks at Logitech just need to talk to other companies and make it more widely compatible with sister devices (like NAS drives). Maybe I am naive, but that doesn't sound like a big investment. If Logitech or any manufacturer were to charge something to pre-install SC7 on an NAS, I would probably be willing to pay an additional $100.

Well, there's this guy, who claims to be the largest reseller of Transporters. Actually, you would seem to be the exact consumer that he's aiming for. They stuff two hard drives into a small form factor PC and call it an NAS. He seems a little clueless, though, when it come to the actual product. I'm guessing he's got a seventeen year old kid building the servers and installing the software down in the basement while he does mailorder in the kitchen.

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?topic=49699

http://www.soundsciencecat.com/MusicVault.html

Omeriah
2008-02-07, 12:04
To me this is pointless. A NAS is half of a crippled PC. I don't want one in my house. If I did, I'd use Windows Home Server.
I just don't get this obsession with a device that can't do half of the things I want to do...like run Moose, MusicIp GUI, EAC, Tag etc...never mind browsing the Internet, email blah blah.
My PC runs 24x7. It goes to sleep and consumes almost no power when I'm not using it (ie 16 hours a day).
I don't want to mess around with variants of Linux(but have no issue with those that do). I want choice and that means a proper computer and a world of software which is generally easy to install and configure.
YMMV


I mistakenly emphasized the point about energy savings and that's probably not the meat of it. Simply put, I don't want to have to turn my computer on all the time to listen to music. It's not convenient or user friendly. My laptop sits in my office and my amps and speakers sit in the living room. When I come downstairs on a Saturday morning, I want to turn the amp on and start listening. I don't want to go into the office, wait for boot up, etc. And if I'm upstairs in bed and want to use my wireless controller to turn on the music, I don't want to have to go downstairs to do it. Maybe that leans towards lazy, but I think it leans more towards consumer friendly. You turn your amp on and you start listening. I'm sure in 5 years, we'll look back on that request and say, "uh, yeah, duh!"

I am not saying that we should replace PCs with NASs. I agree, it is "half a crippled PC" and so the PC has its place for certain things. But in this case, it seems like an unnecessary middleman. But if one buys an NAS for the benefit of sharing the files across the network, then it seems like they should be sharable without any additional hardware.

All of that said, I will research Windows Home Server and try to reduce my obsession with putting SC7 on an NAS.

peter
2008-02-07, 12:05
Shredder wrote:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A poll associated with this post was created, to vote and see the
> results, please visit http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43198
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Question: Do you agree with this posting?
>
> - Yes
> - No
> - In the middle
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> I agree with Omeria.
>
> I currently run SS 6.5.4 on a Thecus NAS. For a variety of reasons, I
> feel the need to run SC 7.0. However, there is no Thecus module to run
> the beta. When 7.0 is finally released, I will need to wait for someone
> (Omega, I beleive is his name) to kindly post that mod an the Thecus
> wiki. That may take a month or so. There are other issues.
>
> There must be a better and easier way.
>

Instead of a NAS I'd build a small, power efficient, fanless mini-ITX
system with an intel compatible processor and run Linux on it with some
external harddisks. That way you
end up with a real server with all the advantages of a NAS.

Regards,
Peter

Phil Leigh
2008-02-07, 12:57
I mistakenly emphasized the point about energy savings and that's probably not the meat of it. Simply put, I don't want to have to turn my computer on all the time to listen to music. It's not convenient or user friendly. My laptop sits in my office and my amps and speakers sit in the living room. When I come downstairs on a Saturday morning, I want to turn the amp on and start listening. I don't want to go into the office, wait for boot up, etc. And if I'm upstairs in bed and want to use my wireless controller to turn on the music, I don't want to have to go downstairs to do it. Maybe that leans towards lazy, but I think it leans more towards consumer friendly. You turn your amp on and you start listening. I'm sure in 5 years, we'll look back on that request and say, "uh, yeah, duh!"

I am not saying that we should replace PCs with NASs. I agree, it is "half a crippled PC" and so the PC has its place for certain things. But in this case, it seems like an unnecessary middleman. But if one buys an NAS for the benefit of sharing the files across the network, then it seems like they should be sharable without any additional hardware.

All of that said, I will research Windows Home Server and try to reduce my obsession with putting SC7 on an NAS.

Oh I see... you need "wake on LAN"... that fixes the laziness thing!

Honva
2008-02-07, 13:50
Initially I also had the impression that a stand alone NAS to handle slimserver would be great. However, after looking deeper into the situation, I think a NAS is not the best option.

The reason is: I (and most people) already have a computer, why buy another hardware to do the same thing? Energy consumption is also not a big deal as the computer will be sleeping most of the day when not listening.

I would rather see logitech to focus on improving the SB in
1. more smooth wake-on-lan handling (no need to press power...wait...press power again. Or press power and wait for a good 2 minutes. Should be press power once and auto-connect as soon as server is up)
2. Improving SqueezeNetwork streaming. Currently some radio streams must be played through computer rather than SqueezeNetwork.
3. Make it able to play the audio track of video stream.

Biu

brucegrr
2008-02-07, 14:37
I don't get the NAS thing either.

I am running an Win XP AMD 64 2.1ghz, 2gig Ram, with three hardrives, DVDRW,and midrange video card. Homebuilt with parts from New Egg for less than 600.00

I use it for music and as a file server.(but I can use it as a full fledged desktop computer if I wish) I access the computer with ultra vnc so I can access the drives and run it headless. I also have it hooked up to my 37 inch HDTV and we use it as a pretty awesome game console.

Once again, I don't get the NAS thing. soorrryyy....

pippin
2008-02-07, 14:37
OK guys (no gals here, right?), let me be more specific:
I said "What would you be prepared to pay if it's a consumer style device".
I didn't say NAS, Linux, Server, PC, whatever, I said "consumer style device".
A consumer style device for me means: You don't have to be a programmer or have specific knowledge to use it and it fulfills your requirements. Please list what these are in A) necessary and B) nice to have.
So: how much?

Zaragon
2008-02-07, 16:06
Side stepping Pippin's question for the moment there has been lots of discussions in this and other threads over appliances, NAS with server and other configurations that a number have claimed to be just what the market needs.

I understand that there are NAS boxed that you can buy that have the server already installed. So why aren't those boxes selling like the proverbial hot cakes. If indeed everyone did want one of these then the NAS manufacturers would be 'falling over themselves' to install the software.

In that case why should Slim/Logitech compete? The NAS manufacturers have significant levels of skill in building those boxes that would be expensive for Slim to replicate making them uncompetitive and taking money away from the sound device development which is what they are good at.

Zaragon
2008-02-07, 16:15
OK guys (no gals here, right?), let me be more specific:
I said "What would you be prepared to pay if it's a consumer style device".
I didn't say NAS, Linux, Server, PC, whatever, I said "consumer style device".
A consumer style device for me means: You don't have to be a programmer or have specific knowledge to use it and it fulfills your requirements. Please list what these are in A) necessary and B) nice to have.
So: how much?

Pippin, the 'specific knowledge' bit is the one that makes it difficult to define such a device. The iPod which is a mass market device requires specific knowledge to make it work with iTunes to get stuff onto the box. The nearest to a true, no specific knowledge system that I can think of is something like the Philips Steamium.

The risk that you have to start to address is one where flexibility requires specific knowledge. Reducing the required knowledge means you tend to reduce the features and hence the benefits. That is a little generalised for example taking the iPhone it is quite feature rich and requires no 'special' knowledge to use but you don't get to add your own programs without that special knowledge to hack them so you loose the benefit of the add on functionallity.

Honva
2008-02-07, 18:18
Although I don't agree with a NAS type device for slimserver, I do see an opportunity for Logitech to join venture with other companies though.

A better solution would be to join partnarship with other companies to incorporate the slimserver in their products. Examples are:
1. With Scientific Alantic to produce a Cable PVR with slimserver build in. Then even with cable companies to sell music directly to the box. (what apple was doing)

2. Hard disk DVD recorder with build in slimserver. Users can rip CD directly on the drive. (a 1TB drive could be enough for most users)

3. With Sony to produce a PS4 that has Blu-ray, slimserver, picture station build in.

These are devices that could became "must have" in every home. Logitech will be selling SB for these homes like they are selling keyboards for computers.

Biu

Lesu
2008-02-07, 18:26
Omeriah.
I understand where you are coming from even if most other people don't. You recognise that this format of central server and remote players is going to need to be brought out of the hobbyist realm and into the consumer device arena.
I have been going through this trial by fire of getting the whole system running and it has been great fun getting a Linux machine up and running, installing plug-ins, changing to a new release etc etc. It's far more interesting than buying an adventure game.
However, I am retired, with days to spend on gleaning the required knowledge to operate all this equipment.
I have used a cheap laptop to do all of this, but I'm not happy doing it. It seems a waste of electricity and resources. I'm convinced, as an ex-engineer, that there is a more energy efficient and effective way to achieve the same thing.
I think that Logitech should be leading the way with, at the very least, a recommendation, and possibly a tie-up with manufacturers who can fill this gap.

David Alexander
2008-02-07, 20:21
On Thu, 7 Feb 2008 08:47:25 -0800, Omeriah
<Omeriah.34f6hb1202403001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:

>
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>A poll associated with this post was created, to vote and see the
>results, please visit http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43198
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Question: Do you agree with this posting?
>
>- Yes
>- No
>- In the middle
>------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd vote No if I actually used the web interface to the forum.

But, let's get precise for a moment. What you're really asking for is
a SlimCenter appliance. A small, efficient, dedicated piece of
hardware for the sole task of running SC. Technically, once you hack
SC and other apps onto a store-bought NAS it ceases to be a NAS. It's
a server. A very slow and limited server. You're better off building
a much more capable server using either old parts and technology you
might have lying around or perhaps some of the newer energy saving
systems.

This may sound like silly semantics differentiating between a NAS and
a server, but there's an important difference. The NAS as we refer to
it here is a closed appliance with no official support for installing
SC or any other software. Why should any company producing software
be urged to support their software on such a system, especially when
the appliance in question is so underpowered that it represents an
unacceptable lowest common denominator of performance that must be
considered when making feature and architectural decisions? Imagine
the future SlimCenter that would have significant features either
omitted or made optional just to cater to a class of hacked hardware
that is slower than the average 10 year old PC.

I say it's preferable that Logitech not support store-bought NAS
devices as you suggest. However, I would support the notion of a
Logitech SlimCenter appliance. Something they would have control over
regarding the specs and access to regarding the software. Kinda like
a Tivo. That would be a fine idea even if I wouldn't buy one because
I do happen to have the knowledge to build and configure my own
servers.

erland
2008-02-07, 22:26
I voted "In the middle", the reason being that I don't think we need a NAS that comes with pre-installed SlimServer, but I do think a small computer with pre-installed SlimServer would be of some interest. The difference being that the focus should be on the "computer" part and not on the "storage/NAS" part.

The only reason we even mention NAS is because it is actually a small computer, but the problem with most NAS boxes is that they are focused on storage while they also can act as a computer, but they really hasn't got enough power/performance to do so in a good way. SlimServer/SqueezeCenter really needs more performance to give a good consumer experience.

I think a box that did something like the following would be of some interest:
- Was able to run SlimServer/SqueezeCenter with satisfying speed, a guess is that we are talking about a box with at least 256-512MB memory and maybe 1GHz processor. This is something that almost none of the NAS boxes have.
- Come with pre-installed/preconfigured SlimServer/SqueezeCenter
- Had a CDROM player and necessary software to allow the consumer to insert a CD and automatically rip it, tag it and put it on the correct place in the music library. There already is a third party prototype plugin in the developers forum that tries to do this.

Now, even though I think a device like this would be of interest, I really don't want Logitech to focus on making the hardware for such device. So I think the best solution would be to establish some partnership with a third party vendor which would provide the box and Logitech could still just focus on the SlimServer/SqueezeCenter software part.

However, the main obstacle for this this device to be a success will be the price.
My guess is that we are talking about a box in a price range a bit below the Mac Mini. The result would be that this will add maybe $500 to the total price of the SqueezeBox system, making it less price competitive compared to solutions from other vendors. I think one of the reasons the SqueezeBox system today feels like pretty cheap is because most people doesn't calculate the computer price into the price of the whole system.

Today most people think of the price for a SqueezeBox system like:
- SqueezeBox device ($299-$399)
- Computer ($0, since they already have a computer)
- Amplifier/Speakers ($0, since they already have a amplifier and speakers)
Total cost: $299-$399

I think one thing that Logitech would like to avoid is to make people think of the price as:
- SqueezeBox device ($299-$399)
- SqueezeBox Server ($500)
- Amplifier/Speakers ($0, since they already have a amplifier and speakers)
Total cost: $799-899

So back to pippins question, which no one seems to be willing to answer:
- What would you be prepared to pay for the device suggested in this thread

mherger
2008-02-08, 00:38
If you want the answer to this thread, go back to posting 27 (thanks
Zaragon!). The question has been answered there.

The rest of this posting is going to be my very personal point on that
never-ending NAS story - please forget me being a Logitech employee :-).

> I don't think we need a
> NAS that comes with pre-installed SlimServer, but I do think a small
> computer with pre-installed SlimServer would be of some interest.

Holy moly... Please tell me what the difference between a small computer
and a NAS is? Why would anyone consider a NAS _not_ a server? Who said a
NAS was power efficient? No, don't. No need to tell. It's been said before:

"NAS" is just a product category which covers SOHO devices as well as
enterprise level machines you don't want to have within ear-shot.

A NAS is a computer. Small (one disk, 100USD) or large (dozens of disks,
several 10k USD). Sluggish or blazing fast.
A NAS is a server, mainly a file server.
A NAS is not power efficient per definition. The more disks, the faster
CPU it has, the more power it will suck.
A NAS is not cheaper than a PC if you expect PC grade performance.
A NAS is not too underpowered to run SC if you buy the right one.

But which NAS is "the right one"? There isn't. There's as little "the best
NAS" as there is "the best car". For some users noise-level is important,
but they don't care about a sluggish web interface. Others want at least
four disks, RAID5 and a minimum of five different networking protocols.

Thus... please (please!) start reading instead of asking. There's all the
information about which of the commonly known SOHO NAS devices is the most
powerful (and power consuming, too!), which is easiest to install, which
comes with SC pre-installed. And how you can turn your own computer into a
NAS.

The question comes up _every_ _single_ day. The reason you feel lost in
the amount of information is due to the fact that the nice people in this
forum answer these questions over and over again. I should probably ask
them to stop being nice ;-).

Would someone be willing to put up a NAS FAQ in the wiki to which we could
refer all these requests?

Now please go back to posting 27 and read it carefully to the end.
Promised? Thanks!

Ah... feeling better now :-).

pippin
2008-02-08, 00:56
Michael, Zaragon,

completely agree that this might be the right answer for the "missing an opp" question.

Still there seems to be a demand for something that is for non-geeks. I get questions of this type every day.
As I said before (and somebody else mentioned it in this thread): If this model is to become mass compatible it has to be more easy.
Would be thinking along the lines of Erdand's configuration. Question remains: how much would people be willing to pay for it?

And: You are completely right: no need for Logitech to provide this. Let's stay out of the closed system corner because that leads nobody nowhere.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 01:06
i do a lot of radio station stuff, and we got an infrant 1100 nv+ (which is rack mountable).

it came with SS pre installed and now it has been bought by netgear, and the new firmware seemed to update not only the NAS, but SS too. it also seems possible to me to update SS without updating the firmware.

we slapped 4 500gig sata drives in it and used xraid, we got 1.3TB.

so, it seems to me to be a nice low energy always on storage server that you can webaccess and so on.

unfortunately i have not and probably won't get the chance to test it with my SB at home, but maybe one day i'll see what the SS is like.

so it seems to me this is a natural and good way to do SS with a SB, as long as the performance on the infrant isn't as bad as its rumored to be.

assuming that its not bad performance, and assuming that one would be bothered to set it up, (granted, thats not easy but its a one time task) i'm not sure what the problem with using a NAS is?

mherger
2008-02-08, 01:16
> Still there seems to be a demand for something that is for non-geeks.

There are solutions which are as simple as uploading a file using a web
interface. If this is too geeky, then don't get involved in digital music.
Ripping a CD is harder.

Michael

pippin
2008-02-08, 01:28
> Still there seems to be a demand for something that is for non-geeks.

There are solutions which are as simple as uploading a file using a web
interface. If this is too geeky, then don't get involved in digital music.
Ripping a CD is harder.

Michael
Sorry, I'm talking about the overall system.
That actually includes ripping CDs, which (as I did already state elsewhere) is IMHO one of the crucial issues keeping it in the "geek" corner.

mherger
2008-02-08, 01:43
> That actually includes ripping CDs, which (as I did already state
> elsewhere) is IMHO one of the crucial issues keeping it in the "geek"
> corner.

Oops... did somebody recently say "please read before posting"? :-/ Agreed
on the ripping part.

Michael

Logan5
2008-02-08, 01:48
I used to own a Yamaha MusicCast which fits a lot of the requirements from the OP. The only downside is like the Sonos, it requires you to use proprietary playback device or clients. However, the main server unit was very slick and also came with a CD drive and one-touch import operation. All in all a very consumer friendly device but hideously expensive at the time.

JJZolx
2008-02-08, 02:03
If this is too geeky, then don't get involved in digital music.

There's the real answer. These systems will remain usable by only a subset of the population. The Squeezebox will never be as simple to use as a CD player, or a radio tuner, or a turntable. Ever. I don't care how hard you try to make a server-less product relying on SqueezeNetwork and all the Pandoras and Rhapsodys and Music Lockers that exist now or in the future. You could shrink wrap a server and put in the box next to the remote control and it won't make the system appreciably easier to use for the average person.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 02:23
i disagree jim...

i do think it is possible to combine all the elements into one fat device and essentially have a jukebox, which as we all know, was popular even for pre-internet era folks, like the 50's!

i think putting a screen on the remote is a step in the right direction.

i know techies love having the server on the computer and being open source and all that, but i for one would rather use this device sans computer. that would mean a remote with a screen, and a separate box that i hook to the stereo, and also on that wishlist would be the ability to map drives where music is on that same box, as well as connect ext storage to it, (so either way, wireless mapped network drives or local ext drives, including flash stuff).

and i do mean a small SB2/3 type box, not a mini computer, no display other than a few LEDs.

also on the wishlist would be an optional TV out on the box to have the menu (and remote) work on the TV and do visualizations. the thing is, such a "fat" SB could be made (as hardware) and still use the basic SS software, it would just be inside it, (and slightly modified to run on the "fat" box).

Robin Bowes
2008-02-08, 02:33
MrSinatra wrote:
>
> we slapped 4 500gig sata drives in it and used xraid, we got 1.3TB.
>
> so, it seems to me to be a nice low energy always on storage server
> that you can webaccess and so on.

It may me nice and always on, but with 4x500Gb drives it will be
anything but "low energy". The lion's share of power consumption in
these devices is always the hard drives, and if you need a lot of
storage then you need a lot of hard drives.

FWIW, my view on this topic is that NAS vs. PC is missing the point.
Everyone has different requirements and priorities and there is no
one-size-fits-all device that will keep everybody happy.

I think there is probably a place in the market for some sort of turnkey
solution that comes with with a reasonably powerful processor and decent
amount of RAM and has SqueezeCenter pre-installed, or is configured to
download it automatically from the Slim Devices website.

I'm not clear that Logitech would be the right people to produce such a
device.

R.

JJZolx
2008-02-08, 02:35
i think putting a screen on the remote is a step in the right direction.

That's really just a step in a different direction. It's convenient, and really a slick interface, but it doesn't give the system any new capabilities and arguably complicates the setup even more.


i know techies love having the server on the computer and being open source and all that, but i for one would rather use this device sans computer.

SlimServer chose their path a long time ago. A relatively dumb device relying on the brains running in very complex server software on a computer that is powerful enough to do the job. Logitech bought into that philosophy and that's where it stands. If the direction changes to some kind of all-in-one device then it will no longer be recognizable as the product it once was. And I expect that few, if any, of the orginal designers and developers would remain with the project. I wouldn't be completely amazed to see that happen, but it will only happen if the current approach completely bombs as a consumer product.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 02:49
a HD uses about 10 watts, not sure what the NAS uses.

the radio station has it always on, but a home user could configure it to power down the drives after so much time.

if you need 1.3TB of redundant storage, it seems to me to be in fact the best low energy way to do it, compared to a full fledged computer.

the thread was about simple ways to do it all in one, and so i think it wasn't pc vs nas so much as how to best answer that question.

i do think though that logitech wants a way to do it sans PC, b/c then u have a device anyone can use, (think tivo) and the only real challenge is in figuring out how to have storage accesible to it, (which i think mapping drives wirelessly or hooking up ext storage via flash or usb solves)

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 02:55
That's really just a step in a different direction. It's convenient, and really a slick interface, but it doesn't give the system any new capabilities and arguably complicates the setup even more.

from strictly a user POV, and i spend a lot of time teaching people, it helps.


SlimServer chose their path a long time ago. A relatively dumb device relying on the brains running in very complex server software on a computer that is powerful enough to do the job. Logitech bought into that philosophy and that's where it stands. If the direction changes to some kind of all-in-one device then it will no longer be recognizable as the product it once was. And I expect that few, if any, of the orginal designers and developers would remain with the project. I wouldn't be completely amazed to see that happen, but it will only happen if the current approach completely bombs as a consumer product.

i don't see it as either or.

in fact, SS on a NAS is very close to being what i'm suggesting. only what i am saying is put SS on the SB itself and map to the storage, instead of storage and SS combined, SB separate.

what i am trying to say is you could give end users a variety of options, and do so fairly simply without changing much.

if slim/logitech doesn't make a tivo type music appliance, someone else eventually will.

bulletmark
2008-02-08, 04:24
SlimServer chose their path a long time ago. A relatively dumb device relying on the brains running in very complex server software on a computer that is powerful enough to do the job. Logitech bought into that philosophy and that's where it stands.
Yes, but that doesn't mean the architecture can not evolve. I'm new here and was admittedly attracted to the squeezebox largely because I am a linux head but I after playing around for a few weeks I think that the architecture could be improved somewhat.

I would de-emphasise squeezecenter in favour of squeezenetwork and put more smarts in the SB/controller (e.g. add a samba client) so the user side computer required nothing more than a dumb file server (e.g. a simple NAS). Everybody has a permanent internet connection now and it would be much easier for SD to concentrate on SN rather than the platform/portability issues that go with SC. The controller hardware is probably powerful enough to support enough intelligence there now (unlike back in the days when the SB was originally designed). The big advantage is that it would become much easier and simpler for the user.

There's plenty more I could say (and there are compromises which would have to be accepted) but I don't read most of the posts here because they are too long so I'm not going to make the same mistake ..

peter
2008-02-08, 05:14
bulletmark wrote:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A poll associated with this post was created, to vote and see the
> results, please visit http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43198
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Question: Do you agree with this posting?
>
> - Yes
> - No
> - In the middle
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> JJZolx;266955 Wrote:
>
>> SlimServer chose their path a long time ago. A relatively dumb device
>> relying on the brains running in very complex server software on a
>> computer that is powerful enough to do the job. Logitech bought into
>> that philosophy and that's where it stands.
>>
> Yes, but that doesn't mean the architecture can not evolve. I'm new
> here and was admittedly attracted to the squeezebox largely because I
> am a linux head but I after playing around for a few weeks I think that
> the architecture could be improved somewhat.
>
> I would de-emphasise squeezecenter in favour of squeezenetwork and put
> more smarts in the SB/controller (e.g. add a samba client) so the user
> side computer required nothing more than a dumb file server (e.g. a
> simple NAS). Everybody has a permanent internet connection now and it
> would be much easier for SD to concentrate on SN rather than the
> platform/portability issues that go with SC. The controller hardware is
> probably powerful enough to support enough intelligence there now
> (unlike back in the days when the SB was originally designed). The big
> advantage is that it would become much easier and simpler for the
> user.
>

I would strongly disagree, so apparently what you call improvement is a
rather subjective matter.

Regards,
Peter

m1abrams
2008-02-08, 06:07
from strictly a user POV, and i spend a lot of time teaching people, it helps.



i don't see it as either or.

in fact, SS on a NAS is very close to being what i'm suggesting. only what i am saying is put SS on the SB itself and map to the storage, instead of storage and SS combined, SB separate.

what i am trying to say is you could give end users a variety of options, and do so fairly simply without changing much.

if slim/logitech doesn't make a tivo type music appliance, someone else eventually will.

You understand putting SS on the squeezebox would require a heck of a lot more hardware for the squeezebox itself. This would greatly increase its cost, size, power consumption and make it a poor audio device itself. Most likely would require active cooling due to the increase in power requirements or being extremely large. Both of these 2 items would make it not ideal for many users. If I wanted a computer in my audio rack I would do just that put a computer in my audio rack, NOT buy a squeezebox. But I certainly do not want such a device in my audio rack. Or next to my bed, or in my kitchen, or in my garage, etc. See where I am going. The beauty of the SB is it is a thin client and can easily fit in so many locations.

Really what is so hard about having a small computer somewhere in your house dedicated to music storage and serving? You can build a power efficient (relative) computer with decent storage for under $500 depending on your storage requirements. Then just leave this thing on 24/7. If you think a prebuilt NAS is any different as far as power consumption you would be wrong. And for setting it up, I believe there is a Slimserver install disk that install linux and slimserver for you to make it simple.

schatzy
2008-02-08, 07:09
if slim/logitech doesn't make a tivo type music appliance, someone else eventually will.

Others already do. But are you willing to pay the price?

Request Audio
http://www.request.com/products/musicservers.asp

Starting at $2500.00 up to over $18,000 and that is only for the server you must still buy a monitor (touch screen prefered)and other accessories. And these have fans so thery are not totaly quiet.

Yamaha
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/MusicCast/

Start at $1999.00

Olive
http://www.olive.us/home.html

Start at $1099.00 to $4000.00

I could build a very nice totally quite server with Linux, two 500GB drives and get a few SB3 or Duets for these prices and have a system that is easily upgradeable.

Schatzy

jmack
2008-02-08, 15:54
IMHO, the title of this thread is inflammatory and biased.

I'll ignore the minor issue that a NAS is just a PC, which seems to constantly confuse folks like the OP.

A good title for a poll:
1) is unbiased
2) says what's its about

So an acceptable title is:
Pool: should a NAS be in the product line?

This thread should have its title changed, or be locked

I agree the title is not the best, but this is one of the most informative threads I have read. The responses have answered many of the questions I have on the subject of NAS. For example, I had no idea that an NAS was simply a PC. Dah!!!
As a novice on the NAS issue, I spent may hours searching various threads & still had many questions. Most of them have been answered here. So change the title, but please don't lock it!!!

Lou1z
2008-02-08, 16:21
i've been convinced for years that every house will have a server running in it eventually.
vm is really coming to the forefront with intel etc now supporting vm's.
a server running multiple os's, email,remote access, remote control for the house, media etc is surely the way to go. throw your raided disks in etc and you beat a nas anyday.
i'll be sticking with this route. i had a nas a long time ago and it's redundant now due to my vm server.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 16:36
You understand putting SS on the squeezebox would require a heck of a lot more hardware for the squeezebox itself. This would greatly increase its cost, size, power consumption and make it a poor audio device itself.

first of all, the box wouldn't need the green screen anymore, and thats the most expensive part by far (so we're told).

consider what the ipod touch can do for $299

are you saying a simpler device isn't then possible?


Most likely would require active cooling due to the increase in power requirements or being extremely large. Both of these 2 items would make it not ideal for many users.

i don't agree that is the case.


If I wanted a computer in my audio rack I would do just that put a computer in my audio rack, NOT buy a squeezebox. But I certainly do not want such a device in my audio rack. Or next to my bed, or in my kitchen, or in my garage, etc. See where I am going. The beauty of the SB is it is a thin client and can easily fit in so many locations.

imo, it would not have to get much larger at all. but you are also missing the point...

i said a VARIETY of options... meaning, this could be one of them. and it is exactly what i would want.

no reason you couldn't still have what you wanted as well. variety, spice of life.


Really what is so hard about having a small computer somewhere in your house dedicated to music storage and serving?

for one thing, its annoying to need to have one on. for another, portability. for a third, needless complication and use of computing and network resources. etc... for some its great, for others its not.


You can build a power efficient (relative) computer with decent storage for under $500 depending on your storage requirements. Then just leave this thing on 24/7. If you think a prebuilt NAS is any different as far as power consumption you would be wrong. And for setting it up, I believe there is a Slimserver install disk that install linux and slimserver for you to make it simple.

i think you've missed my point.

but what if i had such a "fat" box nd just hooked up an ext drive to it... then i have no need of a NAS or a computer at all.

that would be good for me.

and yes, i also realize this idea offend the audiophiles who think they could perceive some taint to the digital output if it was all in one fat device, ...well, i, like most people, am not so clean as to be able to notice, so agin, not an issue.

i'm not asking you to buy one, i'm asking slim/logitech to consider some ALTERNATIVE products, based on the same ideas.

jmack
2008-02-08, 17:18
It seems to me that Slim Devices at one point did offer an NAS for $1500 or some ridiculous price? What ever happened to that & why was it so expensive?

radish
2008-02-08, 19:11
first of all, the box wouldn't need the green screen anymore, and thats the most expensive part by far (so we're told).

So you start with essentially an SBR @ $150 and add at least a few more hundred.



consider what the ipod touch can do for $299

are you saying a simpler device isn't then possible?

What's an ipod got to do with it? They're entirely different devices. A dedicated SC box needs a lot more processing power, a lot more memory and a LOT more storage than a touch - it does a completely different job.

You seem to think that combining a PC and a SBR into one box will somehow cost substantially less than the cost of the PC plus the cost of an SBR, or that the resulting device will somehow be simpler, smaller, quieter or more power efficient. I don't see how that can be the case.

m1abrams
2008-02-08, 20:08
first of all, the box wouldn't need the green screen anymore, and thats the most expensive part by far (so we're told).

consider what the ipod touch can do for $299

are you saying a simpler device isn't then possible?

Yes that is what I am saying! SC does much more than an ipod. An ipod can NOT transcode on-the-fly. That alone is what makes the hardware requirement high.





for one thing, its annoying to need to have one on. for another, portability. for a third, needless complication and use of computing and network resources. etc... for some its great, for others its not.

If you have a box as you describe do you not think it would take as long to boot as a PC? It would, so you either leave it on all the time or wait for it to boot. No better off than you are now. I think the part you miss is what is needed to do what the SC can do. I am not an audiophile btw, however I understand hardware rather well and know what can and can not be done with current processing power. If you make it small it will need active cooling, if you do not want active cooling you will need to make it larger. Well you could make it small but if someone jammed it into a small media rack chances are it will fail quickly.

Omeriah
2008-02-08, 21:02
I wrote the original impassioned plea here and I have to think everyone for replying and boiling down all of the useful information (still difficult to parse, but I suppose as boiled as it's going to get). I have learned a lot, though not quite enough to make a decision!

Three things to add:

1. Many people asked why one would want an NAS which is just "half a crippled PC". One of the key reasons I want an NAS over a PC is that I can store all my files, photos, videos, music, and more on the NAS and it's *network-attached*. Anyone in the house can access anything on the NAS whether they listen to music on their headphones or look at pictures on their PC or stream MP3s to the SB -- all at the same time. I don't think you can do this with a PC. But since I'm a business guy, not a tech guy, I could be wrong!

2. Michael from Logitech made a good point and suggestion. He said that the reason all of us novices and non-Linux heads are lost in the forums is that the questions about NAS come up every single day and they get answered over and over. So there is an enormous amount of information but none of it is tied together and some of it is contradictory. He asks if anyone would be willing to post an NAS FAQ in the wiki. **This would be fantastic is someone would oblige**.

3. And finally, an overlooked reply from Slim Devices Director of Engineering was posted in the Beginners Forum in answer to my yelp of frustration. He wrote:
"Without getting into specifics, I can say that support on multiple third-party NAS drives is a high priority for us. I feel your pain. Message received."

Bravo for communication!

aubuti
2008-02-08, 21:32
1. I don't think you can do this with a PC. But since I'm a business guy, not a tech guy, I could be wrong!
Yes, you're wrong. You can do it with a pc, and depending on the application, setting up a pc is likely easier and definitely more flexible than a NAS (and this is coming from someone happily running SC7 on a LinkStation...). Just boot the pc, attach it to the network (just like the other PCs on the network), turn on file sharing, and leave the pc on.


So there is an enormous amount of information but none of it is tied together and some of it is contradictory. He asks if anyone would be willing to post an NAS FAQ in the wiki.Actually Michael's first suggestion is to "read instead of asking," because as you say, there already is a ton of information. This is a pretty good start: http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?SlimServer

In the end, I think your quest for NAS-based Squeezecenter is at odds with your plea for a "user-friendly" Squeezecenter. It's not impossible, but I doubt it would make everyone happy either. I'm glad SD is looking into it, but I have to imagine they feel a bit chastened from their earlier venture into NAS partners (the $1500 Infrant).

EnochLight
2008-02-08, 21:37
...Anyone in the house can access anything on the NAS whether they listen to music on their headphones or look at pictures on their PC or stream MP3s to the SB -- all at the same time. I don't think you can do this with a PC. But since I'm a business guy, not a tech guy, I could be wrong!

Yep, you're wrong. Again, as a NAS is a crippled PC that can't do *HALF* the things that a full fledged PC can do... all of the things mentioned above can be done on a PC and then some.

erland
2008-02-08, 22:25
As Michael said back in post #33 (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=266916#post266916), a NAS IS a PC.

A NAS can do everyting a PC can and a PC can do everything a NAS can, it just depends on which NAS or which PC you get.

The main difference between a NAS and a PC is which functionality they focus on.

- A NAS typically focus on being good at providing a lot of storage for all devices connected to the network. Many NAS boxes also makes sure that the stored data is safe for hardware failures through automatic backups or RAID support.

- A PC typically focus on being good at providing computing power and memory.

In my opinion SlimServer needs both storage(for the music files) and computing power/memory(for encoding and browsing speed). If you get an expensive NAS you can often get both storage and enough computing power/memory. However, my belief is that for most people with a medium sized music library, a PC will provide enough storage and computing power/memory to a lower price than a NAS.

However, I have a feeling the above isn't the reasons why most people on these forums look for NAS boxes, I think most people that looks for NAS boxes on these forusm does it because they want a small, silent, low power device that is cheap. I'm not sure a "NAS-like" solution is the best solution for SlimServer if these are the things you look for. SlimServer really needs some computing power, or more specifically it needs more memory than what the cheap NAS devices provides.

But there is really no rights or wrongs here, for some people a NAS device is the best solution for SlimServer. This is especially the case if you need a lot of storage for other things than the music files for SlimServer.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 23:26
i agree erland, it just DEPENDS.

i don't see why variety is so hostily met, (not necessarily in this thread, but in general)


So you start with essentially an SBR @ $150 and add at least a few more hundred.

maybe, maybe not.

it would depend on what SS features you kept. if u kept all of them, then it would depend on the cheapest parts needed to run all those features onboard is.

remember, i am not advocating internal storage for the device for music. but rather, the ability to map drives or connect cards/usb stuff.


What's an ipod got to do with it? They're entirely different devices.

no duh. the point is it is a very complex device that does many complex things for $299

if apple can do it, logitech can.


A dedicated SC box needs a lot more processing power, a lot more memory and a LOT more storage than a touch - it does a completely different job.

i would argue its more specialized, and a touch screen, OS and browser, wifi etc...

my point is you could specialize the hardware in a fat box to do the specific tasks SS does.


You seem to think that combining a PC and a SBR into one box will somehow cost substantially less than the cost of the PC plus the cost of an SBR, or that the resulting device will somehow be simpler, smaller, quieter or more power efficient. I don't see how that can be the case.

no, i am saying a box that doesn't need a computer at all and that can access external storage (via whatever method) is for me, a great product, and i would be willing to bet, is for other people too.

tivo sold me a box (i gave to my parents) that cost $100 plus the $300 lifetime service. the tivo does not need a computer EVER. the tivo has onboard embedded internal storage (something i haven't advocated for in this thread), and has a remote and interfaces with the TV.

the only thing missing from it to serve as my analogous example, is a color screen on the remote. this was 2 or 3 years ago i gave them this. $400.

MrSinatra
2008-02-08, 23:36
Yes that is what I am saying! SC does much more than an ipod. An ipod can NOT transcode on-the-fly. That alone is what makes the hardware requirement high.

that happens to be a feature i don't need...

but again, u can specialize hardware, you don't have to use a general purpose CPU and then some OS and app to do this.

if they can sell a transporter for over a 1000 they can sell a fat box for $400 (or whatever) that puts SS in the box.


If you have a box as you describe do you not think it would take as long to boot as a PC?

thats not NECESSARILY true.

again it depends on the HW.


It would, so you either leave it on all the time or wait for it to boot. No better off than you are now.

at what point did i say i am concerned with power on times?


I think the part you miss is what is needed to do what the SC can do. I am not an audiophile btw, however I understand hardware rather well and know what can and can not be done with current processing power. If you make it small it will need active cooling, if you do not want active cooling you will need to make it larger. Well you could make it small but if someone jammed it into a small media rack chances are it will fail quickly.

i don't understand this negative defeatism.

i do not believe that a chip designed to transcode on the fly would need active cooling. i do not believe that a device that could boot and run off of internal flash memory (think embedded SD type card) along with specialized cpus for its tasks and so on is so impossible.

Lou1z
2008-02-09, 00:36
a nas can't do everything a pc can do!!
it's a very limited pc designed to serve files using common file sharing methods.
you will be limited by the nas ie processor, memory, slots etc to what you can do. nas's can be expensive and are certainly more expensive in terms of what they can do compared to a pc.
as i said before, watch the pc world this year for virtual servers. they are coming of age. M$ is releasing virtualisation with 2008 server. vm server is free.
this gives you the ability to run multiple os's (multiple xp's if you want) within the same hardware box.
just think about the power saving there! the latest intels are very green, hardly any heat from the core duo's and hardly any power.
now you can run your server and your desktop from one pc. you can serve up files over the internet, remote access anywhere in the world etc etc.
raid is easy with them. backups is easy with them. so a nas? nah..... tooooo limited!

mflint
2008-02-09, 03:25
a nas can't do everything a pc can do!!
Yep, true.

But I don't *want* my NAS to do everything a PC can do. If I'd wanted that, I'd have bought another PC.

My NAS runs SlimServer, handles network printing for my other machines, downloads podcasts, performs automatic backups to rsync.net (http://www.rsync.net/)*, is my Subversion server, and other stuff besides.

I don't see the relevance of your virtualization argument, even though I concede you're correct that 2008 will be its big year. True there are potential power savings if one can run multiple virtual machines on a single physical box, but that physical box still consumes power.

In the context of listening to music via a Squeezebox, I'd rather have a 15 watt NAS running, than have a virtualized (or even non-virtualized) Microslop O/S running on a machine which consumes ten times that.

Horses for courses mate! A single headless low-power box does it for me. :-)


* rsync.net is very much recommended, by the way

gorman
2008-02-09, 04:26
a nas can't do everything a pc can do!!
it's a very limited pc designed to serve files using common file sharing methods.
you will be limited by the nas ie processor, memory, slots etc to what you can do. nas's can be expensive and are certainly more expensive in terms of what they can do compared to a pc.
as i said before, watch the pc world this year for virtual servers. they are coming of age. M$ is releasing virtualisation with 2008 server. vm server is free.
this gives you the ability to run multiple os's (multiple xp's if you want) within the same hardware box.
just think about the power saving there! the latest intels are very green, hardly any heat from the core duo's and hardly any power.
now you can run your server and your desktop from one pc. you can serve up files over the internet, remote access anywhere in the world etc etc.
raid is easy with them. backups is easy with them. so a nas? nah..... tooooo limited!I am kind of surprised by this type of reaction. Nobody is taking away or proposing to take away your capability of running SqueezeCenter from a PC.

I think, though, that the OP has a very good point. There has to be, and there is the need to find, a solution that would put the awesome music listening power that Slimdevices solutions grant to music lovers that are not tech-savy enough.

I look at Sonos prices and I read here that they are quite successful, so a market for a higher priced solution exists.

Maybe today is too soon for it to be priced correctly, but in a year's time? 2 GB of RAM, 2 TB of space, a fast enough processor for whatever transcoding needs and to be capable of serving music to, let's say 6 boxes around a house... maybe a CD drive to automate the ripping and tagging process. I think this could be doable for less than $600.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I would love for something like this to exist, so that I could give it as a gift to my mother.

Phil Leigh
2008-02-09, 05:17
I am kind of surprised by this type of reaction. Nobody is taking away or proposing to take away your capability of running SqueezeCenter from a PC.

I think, though, that the OP has a very good point. There has to be, and there is the need to find, a solution that would put the awesome music listening power that Slimdevices solutions grant to music lovers that are not tech-savy enough.

I look at Sonos prices and I read here that they are quite successful, so a market for a higher priced solution exists.

Maybe today is too soon for it to be priced correctly, but in a year's time? 2 GB of RAM, 2 TB of space, a fast enough processor for whatever transcoding needs and to be capable of serving music to, let's say 6 boxes around a house... maybe a CD drive to automate the ripping and tagging process. I think this could be doable for less than $600.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I would love for something like this to exist, so that I could give it as a gift to my mother.

The point is that ripping and tagging are hard to PROPERLY automate. You can NEARLY do it, but in the end you will need a PC or at least something with a keyboard. Most (all?) turnkey solutions that grab tags from the Internet have this issue. It matters a lot to some people (eg me!). At this point the NAS/single box unit to me becomes an annoyance. Now I need a PC and a NAS...so I'll just stick with the PC.

I think if you aren't 100% fussy about sound quality and tags and plugins, a single box solution like the Sonos etc is OK.

I don't think this is the "slim" market that Squeezebox etc is aimed at.


However, if the "single box unit" had the ability to run EAC, Connect to the Net, edit tags, install plugins, do scheduled external backups etc then yes...oh look...it's a PC/Mac!

radish
2008-02-09, 11:18
First off - please check your quoting MrSinatra, I didn't say half the things you've attributed to me.

That aside...



no duh. the point is it is a very complex device that does many complex things for $299

if apple can do it, logitech can.


I'm sorry, but this is just idiotic. You seem to be comparing things because their both "complex". My car is a complex device, my DVD player is a complex device, and a 747 is a complex device. Yet, somehow, they end up costing very different amounts of money. Why? Because they are DIFFERENT complex devices which do DIFFERENT tasks. An ipod shares very little common functionality with a server. Here's one example, just for kicks. Do a search on your ipod, watch how it takes up to a minute (in my experience) to return the results. Now do the same on SC and watch how it takes typically less than a second, even though it's searching (in my case) a vastly larger collection.



i would argue its more specialized, and a touch screen, OS and browser, wifi etc...

Indeed it is more specialised. And in this case, that allows them to save money. It doesn't do most of the things that SS does, and so it doesn't need the power that SS does. A Mac mini has an OS, browser and wifi, and in fact you can run SS on it just fine. Costs more than a touch though...why is that? It doesn't even have a screen...



my point is you could specialize the hardware in a fat box to do the specific tasks SS does.

And my point is you couldn't. As I suspect neither of us are in a position to build such a device commercially I don't think we'll get much further, but I would point to the simple lack of such a device on the market as evidence that it isn't as easy as you seem to think it is. In my experience if something's easy to make and there's huge demand, someone has already made it.



no, i am saying a box that doesn't need a computer at all and that can access external storage (via whatever method) is for me, a great product, and i would be willing to bet, is for other people too.

So it's magic? It can somehow run software and do all this stuff and yet not be a computer? You don't seem to be understanding that pretty much everything in your house with a power cord is a computer of some kind, they're just more or less powerful and more or less general purpose.



tivo sold me a box (i gave to my parents) that cost $100 plus the $300 lifetime service. the tivo does not need a computer EVER.

Tivo does not need a computer because it IS A COMPUTER. It's a low powered one for sure, with a couple specialist chips for things like video encode/decode, but it's a general purpose computer running a general purpose O/S (linux). It also doesn't have enough memory or CPU power to run SS, and the hardware is sold at a subsidised price because of the subscription.

Lou1z
2008-02-09, 11:20
who said microslop. mine is running vmware on a jeos (nix). the point i was trying to make was i think the days of a nas (as its defined) is limited.
sure, a nas is probably good enough at the moment for most users but as time goes on and home become more automated, a nas will fall by the wayside and a universal server (or something to that effect) will ultimately rule.
a nas that does print serving isn't really a true nas, is it? its more in line with a universal server as i've been on about.

Robin Bowes
2008-02-09, 12:10
radish wrote:

[an attempt to hold a rational discussion with MrSinatra]

radish,

If you look back at previous threads, you will see that MrSinatra
doesn't let trivial issues like facts get in the way of his opinion.

He sees things the way he sees things, and will swear blind that black
is white rather than concede his position.

R.

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 13:09
radish and robin,

no need to resort to personal attacks.

and you guys need to concede the tivo point.

no duh its a computer. the point is the hardware does a lot of the tasks instead of software doing it.

what is so hard to get?

you act as if it is impossible to specialize chips to do tasks SS currently does in software. its called hardware acceleration... instead of transcoding for example taking place in software, it is done in the hardware. the chips aren't general purpose as in a normal computer, but designed specifically to run SS.

get over your defeatism.

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 13:29
First off - please check your quoting MrSinatra, I didn't say half the things you've attributed to me.

That aside...

i'll be sure to never make that mistake again!


I'm sorry, but this is just idiotic. You seem to be comparing things because their both "complex". My car is a complex device, my DVD player is a complex device, and a 747 is a complex device. Yet, somehow, they end up costing very different amounts of money. Why? Because they are DIFFERENT complex devices which do DIFFERENT tasks. An ipod shares very little common functionality with a server. Here's one example, just for kicks. Do a search on your ipod, watch how it takes up to a minute (in my experience) to return the results. Now do the same on SC and watch how it takes typically less than a second, even though it's searching (in my case) a vastly larger collection.

no, wrong. strawman. i am saying that if you were to specialize the hardware to do SS in a fat box it could be comparable to an ipod touch, but not b/c the tasks are the same.

such a fat box couldn't do what an ipod touch does, b/c it would be specialized to do different thigs, but it would cost in the same neighborhood imo. if apple can do it, so can logitech.


Indeed it is more specialised. And in this case, that allows them to save money. It doesn't do most of the things that SS does, and so it doesn't need the power that SS does. A Mac mini has an OS, browser and wifi, and in fact you can run SS on it just fine. Costs more than a touch though...why is that? It doesn't even have a screen...

sarcasm, the last refuge...


And my point is you couldn't. As I suspect neither of us are in a position to build such a device commercially I don't think we'll get much further, but I would point to the simple lack of such a device on the market as evidence that it isn't as easy as you seem to think it is. In my experience if something's easy to make and there's huge demand, someone has already made it.

by that logic no one would ever invent or even evolve anything.

whats with you guys? whats so wrong with the idea of having another logitech/slim product that combines SS and SB into one fat device? (and i'm not even asking for embedded internal storage for music)

if tivo can sell me their unti for $400 and it has storage and can handle TV (which is much higher bw) and etc... surely slim and logitech could do a fat box.


So it's magic? It can somehow run software and do all this stuff and yet not be a computer? You don't seem to be understanding that pretty much everything in your house with a power cord is a computer of some kind, they're just more or less powerful and more or less general purpose.

yep, magic. more sarcasm.

did i EVER say that what i am proposing is NOT a computer?

STRAWMAN.

i said what i am proposing wouldn't NEED a computer, and it wouldn't.


Tivo does not need a computer because it IS A COMPUTER.

no duh. lay off the strawmen.


It's a low powered one for sure, with a couple specialist chips for things like video encode/decode, but it's a general purpose computer running a general purpose O/S (linux). It also doesn't have enough memory or CPU power to run SS, and the hardware is sold at a subsidised price because of the subscription.

like i said, $400 total, hw and subscription. nothing else is ever paid.

i didn't say i want tivo to run SS. i am saying a fat box could do more in hardware, less in software, do it without a "normal" rpm type HD, (flash, etc) and cost a lot less than a transporter, and within range of a highend SB.

again, i am not saying lets replace the entire current slim line of products, i am merely suggesting that such a product would definitely serve a certain segment of the population.

i really don't understand the hostility to the suggestion.

snarlydwarf
2008-02-09, 13:36
and you guys need to concede the tivo point.

no duh its a computer. the point is the hardware does a lot of the tasks instead of software doing it.

Then Tivo is a very bad example. It -is- made from general purpose hardware, and you could (assuming Tivo let you have source code) build the same thing from a commodity PC with a TV card. It is a very stripped down PC running Linux.... with some nice software. The hardware of Tivo is not exciting at all, and is made from off-the-shelf components easily available in the PC world in quantity 1.

There are no secret "specialized chips" that run TIVO's OS: it's Linux. The TV receiver/decoders are common on cheap video cards.

There is no such thing as a chip that is optimized for SS any more than a CPU chip has Windows or Linux or MacOS builtin. That is not how computers work.

To design such a chip would cost quite literally millions of dollars, which you would never recoup. (Which is why we are stuck with the cruddy x86 design with "enhancements".... starting over is expensive.)

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 13:48
i mentioned the tivo to answer the transcoding question.

currently transcoding is done in software yes? you could do mpeg video in software too, but its done in chips now.

my point is that some of the functions that SS does in software that the naysayers say demands what is essentially a full computer, i say could be done by specialized chips.

other than transcoding, i admit i don't know what functions u would need a chip for to keep the exp acceptable, but i don't think speed of the search function is a huge deal in this situation, or would be that slow to begin with anyway.

snarlydwarf
2008-02-09, 14:04
sarcasm, the last refuge...


the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded?

I am not sure how Dostoevsky fits into this....



if tivo can sell me their unti for $400 and it has storage and can handle TV (which is much higher bw) and etc... surely slim and logitech could do a fat box.

Because last I checked, the database needs for even 100 TV shows saved on your TIVO is a lot less than the database needs for 20000 or more songs.



i really don't understand the hostility to the suggestion.

Because people who have actually priced the components needed know the real costs.

A NAS box is going to run to $400 or more if you give it anywhere near the CPU needed to run a stripped down slimserver....

Add in the cost of the actual player portion, and you are talking pie-in-the-sky pricing.

Sure, CPUs keep getting cheaper, but the demands placed on them get to be more, as well, and at the present, the typical NAS box does not have the performance most people would want. Why do you think Logitech could make a NAS box with sufficient power cheaper than everyone else, in fact, for an incremental price change of $100 on the player...

Not likely at all.

Zaragon
2008-02-09, 14:10
Take a look at it this way what functions do the slimserver/SB do that would need to be replicated in hardware.

1. Transcoding from IP to audio via various codecs.
2. Database search
3. Web serving
4. File serving
5. IP communicating

The SB already does 1 so no need for a specialist device to do this the DSP chips already do it. 5 is already done in specialist chips so they are available for integration.

Right so items 2, 3 and 4. These are really useful functions that are used throughout the IT world. If these could be done in hardware then this would be fantastic as databases are used extensively.

OK so does Oracle or IBM produce a specialist hardware chipset that handles database searching/interaction. Unless someone knows better they don't and IBM having chip manufacturing capability would be able to do it if they wanted to. In fact they both use high performance general purpose processors.

There are hundreds of websites served around the world. How many of these use a hardware device. Even webservers embedded into simple devices like routers use general purpose microcontrollers.

Finally file serving. A NAS is a specialist file serving box so how many are driven using a specialist device. Most seem to be driven using a general purpose microprocessor.

So the point being that some very big companies would benefit enormously from specialist hardware that could perform such core functions. Now if Oracle, IBM or others can't do it then what chance does Slim/Logitech have.

snarlydwarf
2008-02-09, 14:22
i mentioned the tivo to answer the transcoding question.

currently transcoding is done in software yes? you could do mpeg video in software too, but its done in chips now.

And MP3, Ogg and FLAC are done in software on the SB... so? With more memory, the SB could transcode, but that really isn't the bulk of the CPU usage on most systems.



my point is that some of the functions that SS does in software that the naysayers say demands what is essentially a full computer, i say could be done by specialized chips.

It could be done by existing chips on the SB if it had more memory. But again, that isn't where the vast majority of users see problems.



other than transcoding, i admit i don't know what functions u would need a chip for to keep the exp acceptable, but i don't think speed of the search function is a huge deal in this situation, or would be that slow to begin with anyway.

It would be.

O(n) searches of 20,000 tracks is painful.

Databases have indexes.

Tracks are searched by Artist, Composer, Name, Album, Genre, Year.... all of those need indexes. Some entries have multiple genres and artists and composers...

Ever tried to run a database of any size with no indexes?

There is no "database chip". Even for large complex databases like the NYSE with obscene transactions per second, they can not just plug in the magic database optimizer chip and get better performance: they upgrade CPU and RAM and IO speed.... All using stock components common to most 'server class' machines.

Add in the number of database queries needed to render the web interface, and the IO speed needed to do that, and again you have problems (which is why many NAS users say it drags if they use the web front end).

"Specialized" hardware only works in very large scales (hundreds of millions of MPEG decoder chips are sold that have nothing to do with Tivo: they show up in DVD players, PC video cards, etc.)

tedf
2008-02-09, 17:40
Others already do. But are you willing to pay the price?

Request Audio
http://www.request.com/products/musicservers.asp

Starting at $2500.00 up to over $18,000 and that is only for the server you must still buy a monitor (touch screen prefered)and other accessories. And these have fans so thery are not totaly quiet.

Yamaha
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/MusicCast/

Start at $1999.00

Olive
http://www.olive.us/home.html

Start at $1099.00 to $4000.00

I could build a very nice totally quite server with Linux, two 500GB drives and get a few SB3 or Duets for these prices and have a system that is easily upgradeable.

Schatzy

I think Schatzy's got it right. I made the happy decision to get an SB3 after nearly popping for one of the Olive appliances that does a lot very well:
1. Small box
2. Functions as a CD player plugged into your hifi
3. Automatically asks whether you want to rip any CD you insert to become part of your permanent collection on the enclosed hard disk
4. Rips to FLAC (or MP3) without any further ado
5. Provides access to your entire collection with a menu like SB's

It's a real consumer appliance. Drawbacks that drove me to SB3 plus as-yet-unresolved mass storage:

1. No built-in backup
2. Very expensive for the amount of storage
3. Provides access to my FLACs right where I station it, but does not serve any other location
4. Not as versatile a CD player as $180 Oppo (doesn't do SACD, DVD formats)
5. Not the greatest audio quality when used as a CD player

The SB3 does what it does very well. I am currently running SlimServer on my main PC and having a ball. But I really need a box with more capacity that can serve the SB3 regardless of what I'm doing on my main PC [sometimes intensive sound recording applications that do not appreciate a whole lot of extraneous activity going on at the same time].

I have not yet achieved the functionality of the Olive product, because I do not have a dedicated storage device. For all the reasons that have been voiced in this thread about the NAS approach, I figured I would either add a Linux or Windows system as a server. The Linux approach is very appealing but I don't have the time for another hobby just now and, regardless of what anyone else's mileage may be, that looks like a real undertaking, valuable, to be sure, in terms of learning, but very time-consuming for someone who last dealt with Unix in 1982. Ubuntu looks great; I've speeded through Ubuntu 7.10 Unleashed [a great introduction], studied the Slim Devices forums, and believe that is a great approach for those who already have the knowledge or can devote the time. But my real priority is to deal with the back end to my SB3 quickly and return to enjoying music as quickly as possible. So, I am presently leaning toward a HP Mediasmart Microsoft [yes, ugh] Home Server appliance precisely because it is dumbed down to the appliance level [with some very clever home network backup capabilities, a fabulous form factor, room for 4 drives, etc.]. I am completely lacking in kneejerk anti-Redmond attitudes. [Microsoft SQL Server is a brilliant piece of work. Microsoft Word will never get fixed.] I have watched a couple of people on the forums struggle with problems implementing Slimserver on the HP unit, but they appear to have been resolved when, for example, a defective switch got replaced.
The Linux approach may still win me over; but I don't see anyway to put together a box with parts from Newegg that approaches the incredibly compact formfactor of the HP with room for four drives. The ability of a Linux box to do a whole lot more than serve files to my SB3 (and possibly Duet to come) and my network of PCs isn't relevant to my needs.

I readily admit that the HP is pricey ($750 with 2 500gig drives) but it looks like it would take a couple of hours to set up (upgrade RAM to 2 gig), load Slimserver or SqueezeCenter, plug and go. The automatic backup networked PCs and automatic duplication (like RAID in function but simpler and in some ways better, IMHO) are icing on the cake.

Anyhow, I've found this thread very interesting. I wish I could join the Linux crowd this year, but I can't really spare the time. [I am gonna replace that router with one that will support DD-WRT though.]

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 21:17
the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded?

I am not sure how Dostoevsky fits into this....

ha, funny. i was actually thinking "of a scoundral" by lisa simpson.


Because last I checked, the database needs for even 100 TV shows saved on your TIVO is a lot less than the database needs for 20000 or more songs.

good point. but the issue really is scanning, right? meaning creating the index?

b/c it seems to me that a search for the name of a band say, in a created DB, doesn't require too much processing power. and that would also depend on how fast u had to have it. in my case, i almost never use the search function.

i could see where scanning is a procession issue, but if allowed to run during "down times" again not that big a deal, let it take time.


Because people who have actually priced the components needed know the real costs.

A NAS box is going to run to $400 or more if you give it anywhere near the CPU needed to run a stripped down slimserver....

i realize you probably haven't read the whole thread, but i am NOT advocating music storage on the device. in my proposed device, which is despised apparently, i would like the SB and SS combined, so it was truly independent of other computers and so it was portable, and so i could recommend it to technophobes.

music storage would be mapped or on flash / usb or on the net.


Add in the cost of the actual player portion, and you are talking pie-in-the-sky pricing.

Sure, CPUs keep getting cheaper, but the demands placed on them get to be more, as well, and at the present, the typical NAS box does not have the performance most people would want. Why do you think Logitech could make a NAS box with sufficient power cheaper than everyone else, in fact, for an incremental price change of $100 on the player...

Not likely at all.

well i didn't suggest that. so, i don't.

all i'm suggesting is a fat device. maybe the constraints of hardware are such that it would impact performance, or cut out certain features all together, but impossible? super expensive? i don't think so. i think if slim/logitech wanted to, this is something they could do, and all i'm doing is SUGGESTING it, and trying to identify the benefits and situations or market where it might be appealing.

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 22:06
thx for the reply, i found this very interesting. you'll have to forgive my lack of accuracy when i air my ideas, i'm not as advanced as many others here, nor am i careful to be precise as i need be. i'll explain:


Take a look at it this way what functions do the slimserver/SB do that would need to be replicated in hardware.

1. Transcoding from IP to audio via various codecs.
2. Database search
3. Web serving
4. File serving
5. IP communicating

The SB already does 1 so no need for a specialist device to do this the DSP chips already do it. 5 is already done in specialist chips so they are available for integration.

interesting, someone else in this thread said the opposite. i have no idea who is right, but i suspect its you and even if not, surely its possible anyway, so moot.

so as you said, 1 and 5 not an issue.


Right so items 2, 3 and 4. These are really useful functions that are used throughout the IT world. If these could be done in hardware then this would be fantastic as databases are used extensively.

OK so does Oracle or IBM produce a specialist hardware chipset that handles database searching/interaction. Unless someone knows better they don't and IBM having chip manufacturing capability would be able to do it if they wanted to. In fact they both use high performance general purpose processors.

here is where i mis-spoke. i understand that what you are saying is correct.

what i was first talking about was saying that transcoding could be done by special chips, and u say it already is.

when other issues were raised, i meant to imply that chips could accelerate perl or whatever functions, bring them to some degree into hardware.

to whatever degree they can't, then we get into the price-performance-features equation, and i understand some things would be different or even cut out.

considering how powerful small chips are, i think it would be possible to do this. i admit, i'm not an expert, but again, this is a suggestion, not a command.


There are hundreds of websites served around the world. How many of these use a hardware device. Even webservers embedded into simple devices like routers use general purpose microcontrollers.

yes, but the webserver is in a chip. if a router can do it, then at least the interface of SS could do it.

again, the question would be a list of what specific items SS would need substantial horsepower for, and from there, which ones could and couldn't be done with relatively small, relatively cheap, passively cooled chips.


Finally file serving. A NAS is a specialist file serving box so how many are driven using a specialist device. Most seem to be driven using a general purpose microprocessor.

i don't know why its gotten lost in translation, but i am not suggesting a fat box / nas device. i am suggesting only a fat box, meaning SB/SS combined.

now, if you mean SS will have file tasks to whatever storage it connects to, i don't know how strenuous that would be, but if the index was on internal flash, i would think it would be quite rapid.


So the point being that some very big companies would benefit enormously from specialist hardware that could perform such core functions. Now if Oracle, IBM or others can't do it then what chance does Slim/Logitech have.

interesting i did a websearch b/c i was curious and there's a lot of research about doing just this, some of it quite old.

to reiterate, i meant a GPC but one that had been tailored to accelerate the needs of SS to whatever degree practical.

AGAIN EVERYONE, i'm just suggesting the idea. lets say it isn't possible today, then my Q would be, how far off is it until you could put SS in the box with SB retaining most of the features and performance at a reasonable price?

smc2911
2008-02-09, 22:07
ha, funny. i was actually thinking "of a scoundral" by lisa simpson.
Didn't Lisa Simpson say that "prayer" was the last refuge of a scoundrel rather than "sarcasm"? The original quote was Samuel Johnson who said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Anyway, having read most of this thread, I think it has wandered down some semantic and technical side alleys (albeit interesting ones in some cases).

On the semantic side, there is the debate about what is or is not a "computer" (i.e. PC, NAS, Tivo, etc). I think we can all accept that just about any of devices discussed here (real or hypothetical) are "computers" and in many cases "general purpose computers". However, when our less technical friends and colleagues talk about whether or not a SB or any other music system requires a "computer" they would generally mean their PC. Since in many cases they barely know how to use this PC (and it's probably full of trojans anyway), there can be advantages to having a dedicated piece of hardware for their music system. For example, I have a number of colleagues who own the Sonos and while I am sure that the ZonePlayer is actually a computer, they wouldn't see it that way. For these kinds of users, installing SlimServer/SlimCenter on a NAS would be just as unsuitable as on a PC (not because of the pros/cons of a NAS discussed here, but because they wouldn't be able to do it). Personally, I love the SB and the flexibility of SC, with its ability to tweak, customize, install plugins etc, but I know that doesn't suit everyone. The starting point for the original SB made a lot of sense: since most people already have a PC and router, take that as given and create a "slim device" music player. However, there are many people who find even that too tricky. The direction Logitech is going with the Duet suggests to me that they do want to produce a product for this segment of the market rather than leave them to Sonos. SqueezeNetwork notwithstanding, as I understand it there is still the expectation that people will still run SC (could be wrong there). I do think that there is a place for a fully pre-packaged Logitech music-server "box" that comes with SC and storage, and I'd argue that this should probably be separate to the SBR (although maybe it could have one SBR built in and then you could add more SBRs around the house).

Here's where the technical discussion comes in: how much would such a box cost? I'd have to defer to others on this question and course experts/hobbyists/enthusiasts like myself could certainly always build something cheaper, but that's not really the point. I doubt I would buy such a box myself, but I know others who would. As an anecdotal example, I have a colleague who is currently renovating and is looking for a music system. I have been advocating the SB, but I may be unrealistic: several months ago I sold him my iPod (I was upgrading to 160G from 80G) and he still hasn't attempted to work out how to get music onto it, instead he just listens to the music already on there. For him the perfect music system is one that someone from the hi-fi shop sets up and "just works". A pre-configured SB server could be just the ticket, but instead, sadly, he's likely to spend more, get a Sonos and just listen to Rhapsody.

So, I agree with the OP that there is an opportunity out there for Logitech, although it's to tap people who aren't like me. I'm happy with what I've from SlimDevices already.

MrSinatra
2008-02-09, 22:33
sorry to post three times in a row, but i wanted to answer this and ask questions too...


And MP3, Ogg and FLAC are done in software on the SB... so? With more memory, the SB could transcode, but that really isn't the bulk of the CPU usage on most systems.

the last guy said it is done in SB. you say it isn't but could be. i don't know, but i suspect that one way or another, this could be done, with more ram, special chips, whatever... in other words, transcoding doesn't seem to be the roadblock to my fat device, and we all seem to agree on that, (and thats really all i'm concerned with on that point).


It could be done by existing chips on the SB if it had more memory. But again, that isn't where the vast majority of users see problems.

i'm not suggesting there are problems with transcoding as it is done now, i was answering a criticism of my proposed fat device.


It would be.

O(n) searches of 20,000 tracks is painful.

Databases have indexes.

Tracks are searched by Artist, Composer, Name, Album, Genre, Year.... all of those need indexes. Some entries have multiple genres and artists and composers...

Ever tried to run a database of any size with no indexes?

right, and so perhaps on a fat device you have just a few indexs u use.

as i said, i don't search normally, i browse, and i realize thats also similar to a search but anyway...

like i said, i could see scanning taking a long time. i think that would be acceptable. as to using SS, that would have to be quicker. maybe the answer there would be just raw horsepower in the chip, and that gets into issues regarding how much HP u need to run mysql and what those chips cost, heat, and just what performance is acceptable.

interestingly as an aside, i know the infrant stuff takes a beating here, but it does work, just not fast enough. i'm not suggesting though we use nas hardware or anything like that, but i did mention it to the infrant rep here, and he said they are working on the code to make it faster.

now, maybe thats BS, but if he succeeds to the point where people agree its usable, that would imo, be a nice light at the end of the tunnel for my proposal, meaning there are ways to optimize code to get it to work with lower class hardware.


There is no "database chip". Even for large complex databases like the NYSE with obscene transactions per second, they can not just plug in the magic database optimizer chip and get better performance: they upgrade CPU and RAM and IO speed.... All using stock components common to most 'server class' machines.

Add in the number of database queries needed to render the web interface, and the IO speed needed to do that, and again you have problems (which is why many NAS users say it drags if they use the web front end).

"Specialized" hardware only works in very large scales (hundreds of millions of MPEG decoder chips are sold that have nothing to do with Tivo: they show up in DVD players, PC video cards, etc.)

right right... i agree with all that. i was just thinking that if you had a device that kept the DB info on fast flash type memory/storage and/or even then loaded that into ram meant just for DB index info, it would be pretty quick.

as far as i know, SS when on your computer only keeps the indexs on HD for reference, and only when pulling a querie do the indexs and results of the querie enter ram. i could def be wrong, but i just think a solid state device could do this good enough.

peter
2008-02-10, 00:02
MrSinatra wrote:
> i mentioned the tivo to answer the transcoding question.
>
> currently transcoding is done in software yes? you could do mpeg video
> in software too, but its done in chips now.
>

AFAIK (they don't sell Tivo's here) there's a crucial difference. The
Tivo only plays its own recordings and it's not very hard to put in
specialized hardware chips for one video format. The SB/SC combo is
expected to support a huge range of codecs. In that scenario it makes
sense to use software decoding on the player for the most popular
formats and transcoding on the server for the rest. Also, it's hard to
predict what new formats will gain popularity. You wouldn't want your
player to become obsolete (well, in fact, some companies would to force
you to buy new hardware) so it makes perfect sense to use transcoding in
software.

When I bought my SliMP3 the FLAC format did not exist, but now it
happily plays (transcoded) FLAC files for me.

Regards,
Peter

peter
2008-02-10, 00:17
smc2911 wrote:
> The direction Logitech is going with the Duet suggests to me that they
> do want to produce a product for this segment of the market rather than
> leave them to Sonos.


It doesn't say that to me at all. The Sonos had two things on the SB:

A Simpler to setup for dummies
B Much cooler remote with built in display

The SB OTOH is much more flexible and powerful (IMHO at least) and
integrates well into an existing computer network (which I and many
others already have, and more people will have in the future).

SD couldn't really fix 'problem' A without losing some of that power and
flexibility. People like me wouldn't want them to, we want that power
and flexibility! But the cool Sonos remote made me hesitate, I did want
that remote. Now I have it and the Sonos has no more advantages to me.

History learns that people in the long run always tend to go with the
most flexible and powerful solutions. Many companies have tried to sell
dumbed down computers. Historically, most of them have failed. If I were
runnig SD I probably wouldn't want to go down that road.

That they chose to create a similar remote tells me that they didn't
want to go the other route.

Regards,
Peter

smc2911
2008-02-10, 03:41
Judging from quotes like these from Michael Valera from Logitech:

We're cheaper, support more music formats, support more online services, our DAC is just as good or better than the Sonos, we work with your current wireless lan, and did I mention that we cost less too?
and

We're cheaper, support more music formats, support more online services, our DAC is just as good or better than the Sonos, we work with your current wireless lan, and did I mention that we cost less too?
I think that Logitech are indeed trying to take Sonos on in their market. And why not, they've got the better product at a better price. All power to them! It'd be crazy to ignore that market, but it doesn't mean that they need to ignore those of us who are happy to tweak our server set-up. We can still do what we like even if they do decide to offer a more shrink-wrapped solution for the more technically-challenged users.

slwiser
2008-02-10, 05:22
I can't even get it working as a simple streaming service. I am not a technical novice either. The system keeps stopping before the first album has played. It may require only restarting or rebooting by unplugging the unit, reseting the audio chip or reseting back to factory resets which requires all information to be re-installed. I have removed almost every plug-in in SqueezeCenter without any success. Logitech support is clueless.

So as long as they can keep selling these unit to the unsuspecting public they have no interest in getting anything right in my opinion.

I am becoming a "dis-connector" so to speak for those around me for the Squeezebox as a music server. As an opportunity to be frustrated all the time then it works well.

smc2911
2008-02-10, 05:25
Judging from the other thread you started, it sounds as though your problems are with the wifi rather than SqueezeCenter (so disabling plugins won't help too much). Wifi problems are very frustrating, but the SlimDevices developers have put a lot of work into dealing with as many different routers as possible.

m1abrams
2008-02-10, 06:05
I can't even get it working as a simple streaming service. I am not a technical novice either. The system keeps stopping before the first album has played. It may require only restarting or rebooting by unplugging the unit, reseting the audio chip or reseting back to factory resets which requires all information to be re-installed. I have removed almost every plug-in in SqueezeCenter without any success. Logitech support is clueless.

So as long as they can keep selling these unit to the unsuspecting public they have no interest in getting anything right in my opinion.

I am becoming a "dis-connector" so to speak for those around me for the Squeezebox as a music server. As an opportunity to be frustrated all the time then it works well.
As the other poster above stated. If you are using wifi, stop using wifi and see if your problem is resolved. Streaming music (particularly lossless) is a good bit of bandwidth for a wifi connection. If going wired solves the problem then you can focus on correcting your wifi issues. If not using 802.11G then upgrade, if you already using 802.11G then try swapping channels. Also if you have 2.4GHz cordless phones some will flat out destroy your wifi abilities, I had one Panasonic 2.4Ghz phone that anytime the phone was in use the wifi was completely gone. Microwaves also play havoc with wifi.

Zaragon
2008-02-10, 07:03
MrSinatra, so if I understand correctly you are suggesting a device that performs similar functions to the Slimserver software done in a dedicated box or in a Squeezebox. To reduce cost and simplify operation it would have reduced functionallity.

Your target audience for this is, I believe, people who are not PC literate or who chose not to want a PC running. PC being losely defined here as a general purpose desktop (or server) computing running various common operating systems.

Now I believe one of the things that you suggested was that it didn't need to be indexed as this could be done on another computer. Thinking in terms of your target audience then this doesn't address the needs of those which are not PC literate because you need to specifically generate indexes everytime something changes. Storing music elsewhere to where it is used take some knowledge to setup. Have a look around the forums at the messages from people using network attached storage who can't get indexing and/or playlists to work because the mount points are different on different computers.

So the question that you then have to ask is indexing important enough or can I leave it out all together. Indexing is important for speed and actually the slower the device the more important indexing becomes.

Now the database itself takes some processing so do we need the database. Without it you wouldn't have the indexing (slight exageration here). You can access music on the SB now through browsing by file structure. Without the database though you lose all the additional ways to access music. The way in which you manage your music library then becomes vitally important to your enjoyment. Do you want to build a music manager into this device?

Broadly speaking, the database is a form or music manager just one which is more flexible than a file structure based manager. Yes you can manage the library on another computer and there are programs already there to do it. This though would be detrimental to the non PC literate audience. And given the many discussions on even tagging for audiophiles with classical collections is may be very difficult.

What else might you not need. Well you probably don't need the web interface at all. But doing so would mean that the SB remote would be needed to enter relevant information such as the location of the music. Although you can do it, I don't think that it is particularly a user friendly way of entering long strings of text even for PC literate computer junkie never mind the target audience. OK so there is an argument for a PC setup application.

What about ripping and tagging. As this is potentially built into an SB or a similar form factor device it won't have a CD drive which is probably a good thing since this would increase the processing requirement. For this we need a PC.

Tagging. Tagging is either inherent from where you store the music (back to the music manager) or is information stored within the file/database. If we have done away with the database then we just have the file. Automated tagging doesn't always work very well, for myself only about half the CDs I have came up with the right track information either directly or in the seach list that taggers bring back. I'd guess the more modern the CD the more likely you are to get correct tags (excluding genre etc).

OK rather than go on more. Deciding what functionality to leave out is a very difficult choice especially when you have already got it. How much can you leave out without affecting the enjoyment of your target audience. I also suspect that audiophiles and none PC literate people are two completely different audiences.

In practice I suspect what you would end up doing is building a small form factor general purpose computer with solid state storage and then tailoring an operating system to it. Probably something like a linux variant on a rewritable storage medium. Irrespective of what hardware acceleration I personally can't see another way of achieving a workable solution.

What I would conceed however is that if they did it then they would have extreamly tight control over the system operation. This is great for support terrible for flexibility or choice.

If you want to think a little outside the box consider what you would need to do to get an off the shelf PDA to act as the server. It already has may of the qualities that have been suggested, small form factor, low power, quiet etc. It even has a built in screen/keyboard for easier integration.

Lou1z
2008-02-10, 07:03
just adding to the above.....
it is wise scanning your environmental to see what is happening around you. if your wireless is operating on say chan6, you certainly don't want next door's doing the same. competing channels degrade the signal considerably. decreasing the power on the access point to avoid overlap can also help.

peter
2008-02-10, 08:40
smc2911 wrote:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A poll associated with this post was created, to vote and see the
> results, please visit http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43198
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Question: Do you agree with this posting?
>
> - Yes
> - No
> - In the middle
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Judging from quotes like these from Michael Valera from Logitech:
> mvalera Wrote:
>
>> We're cheaper, support more music formats, support more online services,
>> our DAC is just as good or better than the Sonos, we work with your
>> current wireless lan, and did I mention that we cost less too?
>>
> and
> mvalera Wrote:
>
>> We're cheaper, support more music formats, support more online services,
>> our DAC is just as good or better than the Sonos, we work with your
>> current wireless lan, and did I mention that we cost less too?
>>
> I think that Logitech are indeed trying to take Sonos on in their
> market. And why not, they've got the better product at a better price.
> All power to them! It'd be crazy to ignore that market, but it doesn't
> mean that they need to ignore those of us who are happy to tweak our
> server set-up. We can still do what we like even if they do decide to
> offer a more shrink-wrapped solution for the more
> technically-challenged users.
>

Sure, lower price, more flexibility and better features. Sounds like a
great deal if you're a little tech savvy. I don't mind if they make it
more user friendly, but that usually comes at a cost. I think they did
pretty well on the new Duet setup. That went very smoothly.

Regards,
Peter

snarlydwarf
2008-02-10, 13:27
In practice I suspect what you would end up doing is building a small form factor general purpose computer with solid state storage and then tailoring an operating system to it. Probably something like a linux variant on a rewritable storage medium. Irrespective of what hardware acceleration I personally can't see another way of achieving a workable solution.

Agreed 100%.

The "missing piece" is, IMHO, a reasonably spec'd Linux box with a very stripped down OS.... but then we're back to describing basically a high-power NAS box with some custom code for "insert a disc and have it rip automatically" and a pretty configuration front end. (Leaving out the front end would be bad, I am not sure the target audience would like to learn about rippers and encoders on their PC.)

In short, the same sort of box as a NAS, but with better CPU and RAM specs than most, and some pretty simple custom software.

Of course, this is sort of what Sonos has, and I am not sure how many Sonos users end up ripping music and how many just use Rhapsody... my bet is that most still just use Rhapsody.

Which brings us to another problem: people here are not normal. My parents would never ever spend even $300 on a music player, and they brought me up in a music-listening household... but it is just not as crucial to them as it is to me.... they are probably far closer to 'normal' than I am...

So you're still talking about a very very small audience.

Seperating the "I want" ideals from "what would the average guy in BestBuy want" is very hard, and I don't think most people here realize that their tastes and values differ greatly from the way most people listen to music, and that most people really don't care about anything but Top40.

smc2911
2008-02-10, 13:47
Of course, this is sort of what Sonos has, and I am not sure how many Sonos users end up ripping music and how many just use Rhapsody... my bet is that most still just use Rhapsody.Anecdotal evidence only, but certainly Rhapsody is the approach adopted by Sonos users I know. Not for them is the lovingly painstaking ritual I have: EAC (rip) -> Foobar2000 (replay gain) -> Picard (retag) -> mp3tag (tidy tags, eg for multi-disc sets) -> MusicIP on linux (scan into library) -> SC (ready to go!).

luuk
2008-02-10, 16:41
I don't trotally agree with this long post.

To me a NAS is as it's name implies for storage, I have never and will never try and get a NAS to run programs in any way shape or form. I have setup a small quiet PC as a server which runs SC7.0 perfectly as well as a few other apps, without using much energy and therby staying green(ish).

I feel that Logitech/Slimdevices have had plenty on their plates recently and whilst being able to put SC7.0 onto a NAS device may suit a few people, I would prefer to see a more feature rich product rather than one which has been shoe-horned to fit onto a NAS.

I couldn't disagree more. How many PCs would you have me spread about the house? Although I still run Slimserver on my PC I am seriously considering getting a NAS, because when the PC is engaged on complex tasks like heavy indexing or the like, the performance of SlimServer suffers. A dedicated machine would be much more elegant. If SlimServer also became DNLA compliant it would be even better.

Lou1z
2008-02-11, 02:49
and that is where a vm comes in, i think. go to vmwares site now and you will see a precofigured linux os running sc7.
i'm running a quad with 8gb & 64bit and its running multiple os's without struggling and sc7 is on 1 of them.
power consumption isn't that much considering what its running as processor heatsink is fanless. just 4 hard drives going but that's what you would have in a nas more than likely.
if your pc is on most of the day, then i'd definetely discount a nas. however, if its only switched on for a fraction of the day, maybe a nas is the way to go. however, by its very nature, it is limited and you can bet that most users would want it to do what a pc does in the end or thereabouts.
and we'll probably all look back and laugh in years to come at what are pc's as we have one big wonderbox that we'll all take for granted tucked away in the cupboard somewhere!

jjanis
2008-02-12, 03:08
Although Zaragon (see post No 87) already touched it, I wander how comes the discussion hasn't turned (yet again) to the SlimServer Light, or whatever you want to call a much less power hungry version of the software with a stripped down functionality.

That would be The solution for a NAS based server.
Not everyone wants to have all the bells and whistles Squeezecenter is offering (I don't. And I don't care about SqueezeNetwork or iTunes :) )

However, 2 points must be conceded: one, Logitech in _not_ going to develop a stripped down version of SlimServer; two, NAS manufacturers will _not_ be producing cheap NAS'es with powerful processors/lots of RAM.

So, lots of fuss about nothing. You can't have your cake (functionality) and eat it (combine it with a cheap NAS).
I'll admit, I was also very much tempted, but managed to fight it down :)
So I'll suggest the power-savers to start looking for an old P3 box running Ubuntu (or something)/SS 6.5.4 + other software you want it to, with passive-only cooling, no display, no CD-ROM, no nothing (except for the initial configuration). Dump it in a basement. Add as many NAS'es as you like, do all the ripping/tagging etc. on another (WinXP?) machine.
That's it. OK, full scan will not be very fast, but start it when you go to sleep, and next day, when you come back from work, it'll be done. Response times should be +/- OK even with P3.

Before you ask: no, I haven't put it together myself as yet, but I am going to as I am running out of disc space in my current configuration, and an upgrade is inevitable.

JJanis

amey01
2008-02-12, 03:24
Yes, I agree. I too, have recommended Squeezeboxes to many of my friends and family. They are truly fantastic products!

HOWEVER, if they didn't have me set it up for them (and provide a fix here and there) they would have no chance! That is, absolutely no chance. They don't want to know about (and nor should they have to know about) downloading SlimServer, what version of Windows they run, what patches are required, etc.

I am a degree-qualified IT professional. You should not have to be a degree-qualified IT professional to use Slim Devices products. Even some things are beyond me - such as trying my hardest to get SS working on Solaris.

At the end of the day, we buy Squeezeboxes/Transporters so that we can listen to music - not so that we can sit in front of a computer coding/mainipulating software!

My suggestion would be that SS is shipped with a NAS, preinstalled and ready to work out of the box.

smc2911
2008-02-12, 03:59
My suggestion would be that SS is shipped with a NAS, preinstalled and ready to work out of the box.I'd qualify that by say "optionally, at an additional cost". That way, those of us who do want to sort out their own server (either on an existing machine or have the fun of building the custom, super-quiet linux box) still can while still providing an option for the less tech-savvy. This would beat Sonos at their own game, while still keeping the rest of us happy. It would certainly expand the market for my evangelism!

Now this may, of course, be in the works already as Logitech/SD (quite sensibly) will not comment about future products in the pipeline.

lucas72
2008-02-12, 04:04
I use QNAP-109 as a NAS where I self installed SS (6.5.4 by ProgessiveAV) which is also shipped preinstalled by QNAP-UK for the lazy people ;)

I'm happy with that, works great. It's fanless, does have hard-drive spindown when not in use. Those are the major features I think are good to run SS. The QNAP support is great and reactive. New features happen really often.

Why ask more? Probably because most of the people here is divided in two (major) branch: geek, who want all features working at glance even those they will never use AND newbie which doesn't know anything about 'puters.

Why do ppl actually like Slimdevices (I actually do LOVE slimdevices! ;) ). Because it's a brand new - well designed - geek way to listen music, it's not that expensive and it's very flexible platform.
I listen music in FLAC format. Search button do search (lazy search plugin in fantastic), play button do play music, the audio quality is very good. What do I need more? Do most of the people on here listen music or "play with the toy"?! That's sometimes the real question. IMHO

Just my 2 cents.

Ciao

NFLnut
2008-02-22, 19:28
I answered yes, BUT, the box that I would want to buy would probably be way too expensive for what I want it to do. I want an all-in-one server that can hand out data, music, AND HD video. Judging by all accounts of Logitech's ReadyNAS (which is too expensive for me for what it does) it is simply too slow to handle all of these tasks. Therefore, I would prefer to take the time to learn how to build my own box, give it better performance, and do it on the cheap.

There is so much information freely available, and the raw parts are so relatively inexpensive, that it just doesn't make sense to pay retail for an underperforming NAS. It's a weekend project .. maybe two .. plus the time waiting for the parts to arrive.

saurus
2008-08-31, 03:16
A NAS is not a Server, but in essence a low spec PC for the sole purpose of managing storage. SqueezeCenter is a server run application.

This statement does really show that you do not know anything about the inside of an NAS. Just have a look how you connect to NAS devices: Via CIFS, NFS, FTP, iSCSI or whatever protocol your NAS supports. As the disk itself does not provide these protocols, your NAS has to do ist. And guess what, it does this by running services like Samba, NFS Server, FTP Server, iSCSI target via services (in your words application) that are running on a mini Linux.

The PC hardware specs of good NAS is really fulfilling the requirements of SqueezeCenter. So why should I run any additional PC or my workstation for 24x7, while having already a vialble device running? This does never to be a "green(ish)" approach. No matter what anyone wants to tell/argue to you.

The main issue for logitech is, that all the NAS vendors use their nearly own linux build. No standards. So if there's no standard framework, how will you support this over several vendors, where the linux layout is different between the models from each vendor itself?

So the conclusion regarding the original request is, that not only logitech has to do homework, but also the NAS vendors. If this ever will happen is unlikely in my opinion. Cause the NAS vendors want to differentiate through their services and performance they support. And this is mostly done by the mini Linux on this NAS devices.


Instead of offering NAS solutions, I could envisage Logitech releasing a package with OS and SqueezeCenter integrated (and managed as a SqueezeCenter offering). Lightweight and ready to run, and with connectivity to your existing network (Windows, Mac, *nix)

Look what I wroute about green(ish) above. So the flavor you describe is not that interesting. But what would be great is a virtual machine appliance. So those who run a server at home could easily be able to just deploy an additional VM. Or maybe die distribution is done by an appliance CD, so that you can install the VM by your own. Latter one would eleminate the need to support several different virtualization technologies at logitech.

Regards, Torsten

saurus
2008-08-31, 03:29
The reason is: I (and most people) already have a computer, why buy another hardware to do the same thing? Energy consumption is also not a big deal as the computer will be sleeping most of the day when not listening.

Good NAS appliances can do the same. If there is no use, they can spin down the disks etc. Wait some month and the green thinking will reach also low cost NAS devices.

But you're right. SC as only case for buing a NAS device is not make sense in most cases. But, you really can benefit from a NAS in other ways very easily:

- separate the (important) document data from your workstation
- centralize the data when having more than on PC in your household
- reduce data loss risk by using RAID mirroring (in addition to my former posting, this is again a service running on a NAS)

Of course there will be more bullet points, depending on your IT infrastructure at home. These are just the most common cases.

Havin' said that, it would make sense to me.

Regards, Torsten

saurus
2008-08-31, 03:36
I am running an Win XP AMD 64 2.1ghz, 2gig Ram, with three hardrives, DVDRW,and midrange video card. Homebuilt with parts from New Egg for less than 600.00

It's very likely that a NAS would spend less power consumption than your setup. When using the same number of disks as you PC. Difference is the low consuming CPU in NAS devices and the missing gfxcard.


I use it for music and as a file server.(but I can use it as a full fledged desktop computer if I wish) I access the computer with ultra vnc so I can access the drives and run it headless. I also have it hooked up to my 37 inch HDTV and we use it as a pretty awesome game console.

I highly doubt that this is the setup and stuff of an average user that just wants to listen to music.

Regard, Torsten

saurus
2008-08-31, 03:45
In that case why should Slim/Logitech compete? The NAS manufacturers have significant levels of skill in building those boxes that would be expensive for Slim to replicate making them uncompetitive and taking money away from the sound device development which is what they are good at.

What sould be the aim is to generate a win/win/win (Logitech/NAS/user) situation. Means get NAS vendors to see the SC business case as additional market.

The fact that logitech bought SlimDevices should help here. I mean I'm sure that the number of sold Squeezebox devices should have raised, as these are now available in more stores than before.

Regards, Torsten

surly
2008-08-31, 14:55
Hello all,

quite interesting thread you have here.
I find the argumantation that the geekieness of the Squeezerange hinders its success with the average joe totally right.

For rising sales you have to look at the customer first!
Most of them have no idea what a nas is nor do they know how to set up a home network. Also they have no idea how to rip their CD collection.

In the mediacenter world they just plug the CD in their Mediacenter and get asked if they want to add this CD to their collection. Most of the time this works great. You will get wma files or Mp3 as you like with album art and so on. With itunes it's pretty much the same.

This funktionality is totally missing in the Squeeze World. You can take any Windiows PC to rip your collection and after getting it on your disk it's quite easy to point SC to your Library, but still there are people who wouldn't even know where that damn data is stored on their Windows machines (even if it's in their my musik folder).

So for convenience there should be something like a Music ripper SqueezeCenter Machine (Called SqzeezeIn or SqueezeVault or whatever...) in a nice case maybe looking a little like the SBClassic beefed up in height and depth. This Unit should have a SB classic display that just asks the user if he wants the disk he just inserted to be added to his collection or just played. It should be remote controllable with a standard Squeeze Remote.
The Unit should be dummy proof so that the average Joe doesen't need to think about ripping. An advanced mode for the .flac (put your favorite format here) fan can be accessible via the Squeezecenter Web frontend.

The machine should use PC hardware wich is widely available for much less money than any custom chips ever will be. You just need to take away any unnecessary hardware from that board and drop a throttling CPU in that uses minimal juice when idling. But you still would have the Horsepower for when it's needed. This is important because the customer isn't going to wait for a library scan, he will just think the unit is defect (or even worse that ist's crap) if it takes too long.
This unit uses maybe 10-15W more than a nas (in idle), but you would have much more userfriendlieness and a faster responding server. You can get a sub 40W PC with standard hardware nowadays with no problem.

This unit might be used as a nas too but it shouldn't be the main focus.

The focus should be easy setup and hassle free ripping. The headroom of pc hardware would give room for future upgrades via software and would allow the device to grow with the needs of the user.
If the Unit would be able to find every SB in the household without much configuration, for example plug every unit in via Ethernet and the Units get their config without the user doing anything, except telling the system if the unit will stay wired or will go wireless and maybe which accesspoint (if that can't be avoided.

This would make it really easy to use for someone who doesen't want to care about networking and so on. If this central Unit would also be an Wifi host for the others, the whole wifi setup problem would be gone.
That could be an option but as with the old SB3s the wireless would sell much better.

I know it's not very popular around the Sqeezefolks to have something like onboard sound in one of their devices, but in this case it would be a cheap way of giving the unit even player capabilities via Squeezeplay and the built in SBC Display. Because of the not totally silent nature of a server it would be no high end listening device anyway but for many customers a very silent system would be good even as a player. It should be possible to reach noise levels of for example the 2nd generation PS3 which will be acceptable for most (non audiophile) people.

I think a unit that makes the System esier to use for The beginner would expand the possible customer base alot. There are many people who do not get into network players because of the set up problems so make it esier for them!

Greetz surly


ps. I think there would be a market for something like that in the 5-600€ range. If you think about the time you save, it could be even more expensive. If it can be made cheaper fine with me!

And for the NAS crowd there could be a kit with just the Display and a link to the software so that the naysayers could Squeeze something like that in their slowish nas devices. Happiness for everybody!

Goodsounds
2008-08-31, 17:26
I don't agree with all that Surly and Torsten said, but there's food for thought in their comments.

Look at the website for Apple Express. No comparison, different product and approach, I know, but it is competition. You'll see simple pictures that explain without words what it does. Setup instructions - a few short short bullet points. Nothing comparably straightforward on either Slim or Logitech sites.

I know more people that own these than own Squeeze products. Does it offer the same functionality - of course not. But Apple probably sells more of these every few days than Logitech sells of Squeeze products each month.

If you want to see the opposite of simplicity - look at the wording for the Boom on the Slim Devices website. Or the other product descriptions. The average person would scratch their head and lose interest.

Ok, I'm off the soapbox.

radish
2008-08-31, 17:58
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).

GeeJay
2008-08-31, 18:33
I think the fact that over 1/2 the respondents to this poll answered in the affirmative (or at least somewhat agreed) indicates there is a missed opportunity here. I love my squeezeboxen, and have devoted many hours in "getting it right", but I've not yet made the investment (time or money) in a NAS - despite the fact that that would be the logical next step - because I don't feel I'm dexterous enough to get it right. It IS a missed opportunity, something I hope Logitech brass is bright enough to figure out and do something about.

aubuti
2008-08-31, 19:24
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).
Absolutely. There are plenty of viable models other than the super-mass-market. The world would be boring if everyone ate Big Macs and drank Coke all the time (while listening to their iPods no doubt). I'll have a lamb kebab, a craft-brewed IPA, and my SBs, thank you very much.

Goodsounds
2008-08-31, 20:31
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).

I was not suggesting changes to the products. I was addressing the thread title, whether the company might be missing a market opportunity. I believe it is. Sometimes the most elegant engineering solutions for products are the ones that are described very simply, provide support and handholding to shield users from the details, and so ultimately are easily used by people who have no idea (and no interest in) what the hardware/software are doing. I wouldn't describe this product line in that way. THAT was my point.

I have no knowledge of the company, but the reported purchase price of $20 million, if correct, was rather modest by Silicon Valley standards. If it was profitable at the time, the numbers can't have been terribly impressive. I realize that was two years ago and much could have changed. On the other hand, even without becoming a super-mass market product, sales today could likely double-triple-etc and make a lot of people happy. I would guess you want the product line to continue to grow and evolve, as I do, and the greater the market success, the more likely that is to be the case.

schiegl
2008-08-31, 22:06
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).

I fully agree! Altough i'm a satisfied MacBook-User i really don't want the Apple philosophy (hide complexity from the user by predefining most options and putting a nice case around) to be applied to all technical gear. I want to be in control (e.g. which file format i should use) of my content and won't hand over this to any technical device...

kind regards,
Markus

maggior
2008-08-31, 22:07
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).

um, yeah, what he said :-).

I think the whole idea of trying to run squeezecenter on a NAS ...questionable. A NAS is just that, a NAS. It is NOT a general purpose device that you can load whatever you want on it. You can get one of those...it is called a PC.

Having a box with an SB3 display on front that is a ripping station/file server/squeeze server is a cool idea. I'm not sure that "average joe" would be willing to pay what it would cost to purchase such a device. Yeah, the hardware could be picked from off-the-shelf PC parts. However, the real expense is integrating the software pieces together and creating that streamlined user experience. You couldn't just collect rippers and taggers and put them on a machine and say you are done - that would just be a PC with pre installed software. The rippers and taggers and encoders would have to be written, debugged, and allowed to mature. Then the entire user experience would have to be designed in detail to make a relatively complex task simple. And ALL error scenarios (of which anybody here can attest to - there are MANY) have to be handled gracefully: How do you handle a disk that won't rip successfully? What about a disc whose tracks cannot be tagged because the disc is not included in the online database? How do you handle classical music tagging? Various Artist tagging? These are issues that are still debated today amongst users inside and outside the SD community. Then there's artwork. How to you validate from an SB3 display that you've downloaded the correct cover art? Suppose I don't have Internet access, what then?

I don't mean to be sour grapes as I think it is a great idea. I just don't think the solution is as simple as many think nor would the cost of such a device be as reasonable as some might think.

erland
2008-08-31, 22:57
This statement does really show that you do not know anything about the inside of an NAS. Just have a look how you connect to NAS devices: Via CIFS, NFS, FTP, iSCSI or whatever protocol your NAS supports. As the disk itself does not provide these protocols, your NAS has to do ist. And guess what, it does this by running services like Samba, NFS Server, FTP Server, iSCSI target via services (in your words application) that are running on a mini Linux.

I think the ideas is that a NAS is focused and optimized for storage services. It can certainly do other things, but its focus will always be to be good at storage.
The result is that things like running an MySQL database on a NAS will never be a situation which the NAS has been designed for.

IMHO a Mini-ITX setup will result in a low power device that is a lot more suitable to run SqueezeCenter than most NAS boxes. It will probably even be a lot cheaper than buying a more expensive NAS which has enough processor power and memory to run SqueezeCenter at acceptable speed.



But what would be great is a virtual machine appliance. So those who run a server at home could easily be able to just deploy an additional VM. Or maybe die distribution is done by an appliance CD, so that you can install the VM by your own. Latter one would eleminate the need to support several different virtualization technologies at logitech.

Instant SqueezeCenter should be pretty simple to install and run in a virtual machine.
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=45161

SlimCD will probably also work:
http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=763

surly
2008-09-01, 14:38
Well, all I can say is thank god someone is making a product for those of us who aren't scared of a little complexity and want a more sophisticated & capable product. I don't see an issue with making a product that isn't for everyone, as long as it's profitable (which it clearly is).

What I'm proposing is not to take the geek factor out of the Squeezeworld, it's more of a Device that brings more people to this world.
That simple to use SqueezeRipCenter would not be limited to the simple way, it would have all the other funktions sleping under the hood, to be discovered by the user. It would defenitely have an option to use a graphic frontend either via Web or maybe even via a onboard GPU and Monitor (depends on the cost I think).

It could be like rip some cd's having the first succes and just thinking of more. If the tagging is imperfect there could be a menu button to bring that rip into an investigation list where the user would find it in the squeezecenter to check for different tag versions or coverarts.
The different formats could be chosen by grades, like 128kbit mp3 is minimum and flac is highest grade but hidden behind simple quality/capacity ratios. A simple hook in a checkbox would bring up expert mode with the clear names of the formats.
Just make it easier to join in. Don't be elite geeks share the fun. The experienced users would still have all the options, exploring the plugins and custom solutions!
It's more like lowering the hurdles to get addicted to the fun.

Greeetz surly

JJZolx
2008-09-01, 18:45
And I learned that in general, SlimServer runs much more efficiently on Linux machines, which all but eliminates my Windows NAS choices.

Ignore the Linux weenies. SqueezeCenter runs just fine on Windows. But you have choices, unlike most other music products, because it also runs fine on the Mac and it runs fine on many flavors of Linux and BSD Unix.


In short, I have no idea what to buy and your company is not helping me at all.

Sounds like your problem is that you can't make a decision for yourself and instead, you want to be told. Sorry, but don't expect any help there.


Why can’t Logitech make the SqueezeBox and its cousins user-friendly enough for a critical mass consumer audience?

Forcing users to use a particular platform and hardware on which to run the server is not going to make the product any more friendly. Most people will be able to run SqueezeCenter on the computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) in the den.


The best advice I got from the forums were, “Keep your money in your pocket until hard drive companies start releasing versions with SC7”. But even then, I suspect they won’t be plug and play and they won’t be under any endorsement or even compatibility “wink wink” from Logitech.

Hard drive companies??? That money is going get moldy in your pocket if that's what you're waiting for.


Sick-of-reading-about-Linux-installs-and-NAS-pros-and-cons-and-rumors-about-new-SC7-modules

Another problem you have, like a lot noobs, is that you think an NAS is some kind of magic appliance, no more complex than a toaster, that's going to sit off in a corner running SqueezeCenter without any input from yourself, and when it's not playing music, you probably also expect that it's going to make your dinner and do your laundry.

kdf
2008-09-02, 00:18
JJZolx wrote:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A poll associated with this post was created, to vote and see the
> results, please visit http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43198
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Question: Do you agree with this posting?
>
> - Yes
> - No
> - In the middle
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Omeriah;266658 Wrote:
>
>> And I learned that in general, SlimServer runs much more efficiently on
>> Linux machines, which all but eliminates my Windows NAS choices.
>>
>
> Ignore the Linux weenies.
and do yourself the favour of ignoring this weenie.

good point and bad points are there for searching, and get better
results than this.

-kdf

cdnpaul
2008-09-07, 08:08
I don't think Logitech has really lost an opportunity yet. The NAS concept is just starting to evolve now into something more than network storage (i.e. Thecus M3800). I'm just starting to look into the whole NAS world now because of my HD video camera more than my music but I'd like to have my music and photos there too. I think we'll see a ton of more user-friendly options come out over the next year and I'm sure Logitech is probably already working with third-party vendors.

catbb67
2008-09-07, 20:40
It's a bit lengthy but feel like I have to vent having read through part of this thread. I'm a new Duet owner. I run SC 7.2 of a old PII 700Hz laptop which although old, has been able to do a lot chores for me, running emule, torrent and some other media server app SIMULTANEOUSLY. Now I only run SqueezeCenter on it and connect it to router via ethernet. But the performance is horrible and the Duet is very non-responsive. Is the hardware to week to run SC? Music can play well for half-a-day and then it quit and I have to fiddle with it for hours before it would work again. Turns out it was trying to carry out my command but wasn't able to keep up. SC 7.2 feels so bloated that it runs so slow. Hope I don't have to dedicate my Centrino 1.8 GHz laptop to just run SC.
This is a consumer product and it seems that Logitech/SD provided help is lacking. Product info and documentation is really lacking. I cannot imagine other electronics I have that I have to rely on user forum for info. and help.
I'm in the end-user application development. I can't image how bad my users would scream if my product has so little official documentation and they have to rely on user forum.
Logitech/SD - Please provide a more efficient version of SC that users can simply install relatively low power hardware and even NAS (e.g. Linkstation Live 500 I have always on that is capable of running PCast, supports UPnP and FTP and running other server apps). I already have a media computer connected to my theater. If I have to run a high power PC to run SC responsively, I might as well please my music from the PC directly.
I had high hopes before I bought the Duet and I am getting quite frustrated.
I just want my entertainment gear to run and don't want to spend time into hacking it. I would do that if I have to with my computers(Windows and Linux alike) but not a piece of consumer electronic with which my wife hopes to just fire up and enjoy music.

aubuti
2008-09-07, 20:51
But SC *does* run on low-powered NAS devices like the LinkStation Live you mention. Installing SC on LinkStations is not easy, and there are other NASs that are much better in that department (QNAP, Synology, etc.). I run SC 7.2 on a LinkStation HG, although I'm beginning to think a low-powered x86 box based on a mini-ITX board is the way to go

You don't mention what OS you're running on that PII laptop. If it's Windows, that's some of your problem because scarce resources are going to the gui and other unnecessary systems. A pared down, text-mode only flavor of linux is the way to go on underpowered hardware like that.

If you want help with the problems you're having then some more detailed descriptions and log excerpts would help. But if it was just venting, then at least you advertised it as such in the first sentence ;o)

catbb67
2008-09-07, 21:13
If you want help with the problems you're having then some more detailed descriptions and log excerpts would help. But if it was just venting, then at least you advertised it as such in the first sentence ;o)

Just venting :) I was showing my wife how great this new thing I bought was and then it quit on me when she was just looking at it! This is going to affect my ease of spending funds on future gears if I don't get this work out soon if you know what I mean.
Will do more reading here but it is hard with an active 16 month-old.

Mnyb
2008-09-07, 21:50
catbb67

There is phone support and support by email ! use that.
This product do NOT rely on the web forum for support.
In fact many people have specifically pointed out that this is an end user forum, where people is willing to help, not the official support.

If you look at the tabs in the upper right of the home page you see support.

http://www.slimdevices.com/su_tech.html#phone
http://www.slimdevices.com/su_tech.html#email

Email is a form, but they answer with a case in the support database where you can have a dialog with support tech, this is working realy well.

Sufficient HW for SC, I use a 1,2GHz 1G ram via epia C7 mini-itx CC4.2 linux.
How much RAM does the old laptop have.

In the manual you can read this:

• 733 MHz CPU or faster
• 256 MB RAM
• 80 MB hard drive space

One thing about underpowered hardware, if you try transcoding you could be i a wee spot, hint search forum for transcoding , native file formatsformats and so, web UI will also be sluggish ,hint use the remote or controller for daily use not WEb-UI.

You also have the support contact info in the manual. By manual i mean the one you can download from here http://www.slimdevices.com/su_documentation.html
direct link
http://www.slimdevices.com/documentation/WEB_Duet_User_Guide_EN.pdf
There is also a wiki full with info.

I have 2 rants of my own regarding user friendliness:
The guide delivered with the duet is ridiculous, they should have printed out the real manual and put in the box, support cases would be reduced by 50% :-).
It's a big world more than one timezone, but apparently not for logitech. Phone support in more timezones please forum postings asking for help -50%

aubuti
2008-09-08, 06:04
Just venting :) I was showing my wife how great this new thing I bought was and then it quit on me when she was just looking at it! This is going to affect my ease of spending funds on future gears if I don't get this work out soon if you know what I mean.
Will do more reading here but it is hard with an active 16 month-old.
I hear you. Mission #1 is getting it to work, but here's a couple other tips. My wife saw our first SB as an unnecessary geek toy (she gave it to me for Christmas), but she was sold when another one (2nd hand off eBay)magically appeared in the kitchen. And my sister-in-law liked the idea to begin with, and convinced my brother-in-law it would be a good way to clear the shelves of all their precious CDs that their 14 month-old was determined to play with....

Pale Blue Ego
2008-09-08, 07:10
So if I understand it correctly, the desire is for a simplified SqueezeCenter "appliance" that Joe Blow the non-PC user can buy. He can just insert a CD and everything will be taken care of - the music will show up on his Squeezebox, properly tagged and ready to play.

A few questions, then...

Where does the tag info come from? Mr. Blow doesn't have a PC, so why would he have an internet connection? I guess you could embed the FreeDB database into the SqueezeCenter box, but we all know FreeDB isn't that accurate or consistent - and how would you provide FreeDB updates? How would you provide updates for new SqueezeCenter versions? And what about album art?

Mr. Blow doesn't have a network either - do you include a wi-fi AP in the SqueezeCenter box? And how do you control the SqueezeCenter settings and the ripper/encoder/tagger settings? You'd probably need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. OK, PCs have been around for decades and Joe has never found a reason to buy or use one. But he's going to buy a SqueezeCenter PC and Squeezebox just to listen to CDs he already owns? No.

Seems to me this whole idea of "expanding the market" has no merit. Joe Blow is happy with CDs and radio. He's much more likely to want XM or Sirius than a Squeezebox. And if he does want an all-in-one appliance that includes ripping and storage, there are many companies that already offer that. For the price of a Squeezebox and SqueezeCenter PC he could just buy an Olive.
__________________________________________________ ____________

If, on the other hand, the desire is for a minimal PC optimized to run SqueezeCenter, then I think there's an opportunity for a 3rd-party PC builder to fill that market. There's no reason it has to be Logitech. This system should be:

A small, fanless mini-PC that runs SqueezeCenter 24/7 and plugs into the router. It should have room for 1 SATA drive and USB ports for expansion and/or backup drives. Should have enough CPU and RAM to handle a large library. All control would be via a browser interface from another PC on the network. No optical drive or ripping, no graphics card or monitor, just a small, quiet box that runs SqueezeCenter headless so you can turn your PC off. It would also be handy for taking a Squeezebox on the road or to another location. It should cost no more than $300.

st2000
2008-09-08, 07:58
... But I and many of my friends are adamant about running SC7 through an NAS, not through our PCs. In the name of energy efficiency, speed, and performance, having a PC in the middle is just that, an unnecessary middleman that sucks away energy, money, and performance.

It took me a while, but I think I found the root of your post :-), you're as bad as I am!

Social comment about open-source to commercial product transition: I believe this is the best one yet. Way to go, it's been a while since you posted those lab bench pictures w/the bottle of beer in the back ground. Let's keep the project as open sourced as possible.

About NAS boxes: A NAS is a computer. Most run linux because M$ would cost them money. There's little margin for such extravagance and no real advantage that I can think of. Part of that cost cutting involves slower processors and less memory. Both are necessary to carry on SqueezeCenter features such as sound and image transcoding. These features are necessary to make the slimdevices/logitec experience as smooth as possible (i.e. Can an apple ipod play a FLAC file? Do you have to convert your album images all to jpeg or normalize the size to 800x800? No, it's done for you - every time - and in your case on your PC - not on your NAS box.).

About PCs: They are getting faster, cooler and cheaper. I built my last duel core for less than $300 and I bet it's consuming less power then my 4 year old computer I'm using now. At some point in this game, it's going to be cheaper to use a full blown computer in a NAS then the stripped down computers currently being used. This would be what logitec/slmidevices would be working against. A time table where their NAS product (if they came out w/one) would essentially become more expensive then a real PC.

So should logitec/slimdevices build a NAS that runs squeezecenter?: Well, I would say the success of such a box would be marginal at best. It would have to run linux and be nearly as powerful as a PC for the above reasons. It would have to be closed and secure as possible to prevent accidental or malicious alterations that would render it a brick. And it would have to be field upgradeable w.r.t. squeezecenter at the very least. Something of a paradox when you're also talking security. All this would have to come to market and be sold in enough volume to recover the OTEF as well as turn a profit before the above time table runs out.

I am sure the real question you want to ask to propel logitec/slimdevices into building this box is: How many of you are there and how much are you willing to pay? Just my guesses but how does 1,000 buyers @ $1,000 per box or 10,000 buyers @ $500 per box sound. At those prices, I'll stick to my PCs.

...it'll be a close call.

cparker
2008-09-08, 14:34
A cheap laptop running XP and an external USB drive will do the same as a NAS but will be considerably stronger.

Set the power settings so you can close the screen down, stick it on top of a book shelf, in the garage, in the loft etc.

Job done...

Dogberry2
2008-09-08, 16:30
Well, I finally waded through all the posts in this thread. I see a lot of people tossing off comments about how "you can just build a cheap [NAS/PC/whatever]" and I think they're missing the primary point the OP makes: building a box is something for computer hobbyists/enthusiasts who want to get into the nitty-gritty, which is the opposite of what the OP is asking for. It's like telling someone who wants a specific type of car, "Well, just build one." Building (or modifying) a car might be lots of fun for gearheads, but it's not really an option for the typical consumer.

As for the original question of why there isn't a simple, absolutely-no-specialized-knowledge-required solution to the music library storage-and-streaming-service concept, I think the answer is primarily just this: time. Not nearly enough time has passed for the industry to have matured. We're talking about an infant industry, and an infant market here. Slim Devices (and the various competing products of similar concept) has been marketing these things for a scant five years. In-home consumer WiFi is barely ten years old. They're still in their infancy, and have a long way to go before they grow up into mature, fully-developed consumer products.

Consider automobiles. Around 1910 or so, cars were available, and were marketed "for the average Joe" but think about what that meant. To use a car, the early car owner typically had to go through a set of procedures: block the wheels (because brakes and transmissions were iffy, and cars had a tendency to creep, and could be dangerous while you were cranking them), retard the spark (using a lever on the steering column or dash), adjust the throttle (another hand-set lever inside the car), set the choke (which might be inside the car, or might be out at the front near the crank), put in the crank, crank the engine (which took a certain amount of strength and effort, even if the car was in good shape and the engine caught easily -- many didn't), be careful not to lose a thumb or break a wrist if the engine kicked back (e.g. if you forgot to retard the spark, or didn't retard it enough), then quickly adjust the choke, rush back around to the driver's side, advance the spark, and adjust the throttle to make it idle properly. Then, once you got it running, driving it was a somewhat complicated affair as well, with three foot pedals, a hand throttle, and a hand lever for forward/reverse. It was also a good idea to know something about how the car operated, so you could make repairs en route. Roads were poor, top speed very low (by today's standards), tires didn't last long, gas stations could be hard to find. . . . Owning and using an early car was not a simple thing.

Today's wireless streaming music/media technology is about where automobiles were a hundred years ago. Given time, they'll improve, become more reliable, smoother, easier to set up and use. And gradually, the general public will become more adept at setting them up and using them, just as people gradually got used to driving and caring for automobiles.

However, I believe there will always be some level of complexity involved, because people want flexibility, and flexibility is the enemy of simplicity. This is the same reason home computers are complex: they're intended to be able to do a lot of things, and be highly customizable for different people to use them in different ways for different purposes. Home computers have been around (as fairly common, fairly cheap, pop-consumer products) for around twenty years, and there are still an awful lot of "average Joes" out there who fight, curse and struggle with them every day. As in "This stupid #%&@*! thing! What's the matter with the #%&@*! and why doesn't it just WORK the way I WANT IT TO?!"

I think the Slim folks have done a pretty good job, all things considered. No, I can't picture my octogenarian parents setting up a Squeeze/Slim system from scratch, all by themselves. Or a lot of my non-computer-geek friends (the "average Joes"), for that matter. But it isn't really all that difficult, either. And the whole process will, over time, get smoother, and easier, and more average-Joe friendly. We have to let the infant industry start to grow up a bit. It will just take time.

Omeriah
2008-09-09, 06:05
If, on the other hand, the desire is for a minimal PC optimized to run SqueezeCenter, then I think there's an opportunity for a 3rd-party PC builder to fill that market. There's no reason it has to be Logitech. This system should be:

A small, fanless mini-PC that runs SqueezeCenter 24/7 and plugs into the router. It should have room for 1 SATA drive and USB ports for expansion and/or backup drives. Should have enough CPU and RAM to handle a large library. All control would be via a browser interface from another PC on the network. No optical drive or ripping, no graphics card or monitor, just a small, quiet box that runs SqueezeCenter headless so you can turn your PC off. It would also be handy for taking a Squeezebox on the road or to another location. It should cost no more than $300.

This sounds great! If anyone can make me one of these, I'd pay for it. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, so if you're local, even better.

On the other hand, if I decided to make or buy this myself,...

How large CPU and RAM do you think it would need? Would it run Linux or Windows or something else?

aubuti
2008-09-09, 06:14
This sounds great! If anyone can make me one of these, I'd pay for it. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, so if you're local, even better.

On the other hand, if I decided to make or buy this myself,...

How large CPU and RAM do you think it would need? Would it run Linux or Windows or something else?
There are several products like this, with some variations, already on the market. Look for names like Koolu (http://koolu.com/Koolu-WE-Appliance/Works-Everywhere-Appliance.html), Tranquil PC (http://www.tranquilpc.co.uk/), Rip Server (http://www.ripfactory.com/ripserver.html), various systems from Via that are either ready-made or kits like the Artigo (http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/artigo/), etc etc etc.

lucas72
2008-09-09, 06:23
Ok guys I've read (most) of this post to say: hey I've found what fit my needs and which is related here! The name is QNAP TS-509 Pro.
The only thing is that for SC usage only is a bit expensive, but in my case this NAS can do much more things I need to have (FTP server, Photo repository, Torrent downloads, remote manageability just to point the ones I need). The great news is that finally I've found something fast enough to handle a medium sized music library without missing a beat! I'm so amazed 'cause it was ages I used to have SC7 running over various NAS and sometimes it was frustrating....

Pale Blue Ego
2008-09-09, 07:09
There are several products like this, with some variations, already on the market. Look for names like Koolu (http://koolu.com/Koolu-WE-Appliance/Works-Everywhere-Appliance.html), Tranquil PC (http://www.tranquilpc.co.uk/), Rip Server (http://www.ripfactory.com/ripserver.html), various systems from Via that are either ready-made or kits like the Artigo (http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/artigo/), etc etc etc.

There isn't really a SC-optimized mini-PC, though. Most of the above small PCs have graphics systems, audio cards, and other hardware that's not really needed for SC. All you really need is CPU, RAM, SATA, USB, and ethernet. One other option might be a CF or SD card reader which could hold the OS.

Dogberry2
2008-09-09, 10:39
All you really need is CPU, RAM, SATA, USB, and ethernet.In other words, any one of several NAS models currently available, some of which even have SC pre-installed.

Omeriah
2008-09-10, 06:27
In other words, any one of several NAS models currently available, some of which even have SC pre-installed.

Please Please Please: if you know of any NAS's with SC pre-installed, let me know. I scoured the universe for one of these and didn't find any. I did find 1-2 that had the previous version of the software installed, but nothing with SC7 and frankly, nothing that inspired any confidence in terms of support and reliability. I think it was QNAP or Thecus (?) that was offering a pre-installed version, but that was a long time ago.

Henk51
2008-09-10, 06:47
Please Please Please: if you know of any NAS's with SC pre-installed, let me know....

A Dutch company can deliver pre-installed SC on NAS.
Just look at www.wifisound.nl/catalog/nasnetwerkopslagsqueezebox-c-25.html , click at one of the icons (or both).
I don't know if they deliver worldwide but they deliver in the (low country's)
Netherlands,Belgium.
You can always send a email.

lucas72
2008-09-10, 07:07
Please Please Please: if you know of any NAS's with SC pre-installed, let me know. I scoured the universe for one of these and didn't find any. I did find 1-2 that had the previous version of the software installed, but nothing with SC7 and frankly, nothing that inspired any confidence in terms of support and reliability. I think it was QNAP or Thecus (?) that was offering a pre-installed version, but that was a long time ago.

Since a couple of months QNAP have implemented in their NAS's firmwares a new powerful software package management system called QPKG. A bunch of packages, growing rapidly, are already in the list of availability:

- SABnzbd+
- Python
- WordPress
- Joomla
- phpMyAdmin
- MLDonkey
- SqueezeCenter
- Optware IPKG (Itsy Package Management System)

The "installation" is just a matter of click&install. For more details: http://www.qnap.com/QPKG.asp

bernt
2008-09-10, 07:36
Another one.

http://www.excito.com/bubba/about-bubba.html

Dogberry2
2008-09-10, 12:41
Please Please Please: if you know of any NAS's with SC pre-installed, let me know. I scoured the universe for one of these and didn't find any. I did find 1-2 that had the previous version of the software installed, but nothing with SC7 and frankly, nothing that inspired any confidence in terms of support and reliability. I think it was QNAP or Thecus (?) that was offering a pre-installed version, but that was a long time ago.
The Netgear ReadyNAS ships with Squeeze Center pre-installed (provided you get a brand new one, not an older one that still has SlimServer on it - but even then, upgrading to SC7.x is pretty simple, and I think just upgrading to Netgear's newest firmware will bring SC along as well). And as the previous posts indicate, it's apparently readily available on QNAP servers as well.

catbb67
2008-09-10, 13:09
catbb67
Sufficient HW for SC, I use a 1,2GHz 1G ram via epia C7 mini-itx CC4.2 linux.
How much RAM does the old laptop have.

In the manual you can read this:

• 733 MHz CPU or faster
• 256 MB RAM
• 80 MB hard drive space

One thing about underpowered hardware, if you try transcoding you could be i a wee spot, hint search forum for transcoding , native file formatsformats and so, web UI will also be sluggish ,hint use the remote or controller for daily use not WEb-UI.
The Web UI on my old 700 MHz, 256 MB running SC on Win XP actually responds pretty quickly to my commmands. But my remote commands sometime take a long time or don't even translate into action at all although all connections are up. Took your seggestion and tried something faster. A 800MHz laptop 256 MB ram, plenty of HD space, on Ubuntu 8.04, connected via ethernet (I am trying to start from my slowest gear). It said SC was starting and I did not get any error message others got. But just to make sure SC is actually running, I gave it sometime to start before I put http://192.168.1.100:9000 on a browser to see if the server responded. After a long pause, it failed and the browser said it took too long for the server to respond and it timed out.
Does it mean the server was actually running? If so, is this typical performance with this hardware spec although it meets the min requirement (BTW I don't have the need to transcode)? If it is typical, then I need to try out yet another laptop (Pen Mobile 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, etc. in both WinXP and Ubuntu 8.04). Try not to re-task this laptop as I do most of my browsing on this laptop away from my desk.

surly
2009-02-09, 17:42
By the way, this is actually what I was talking about:

RipNas: http://www.mcubed-store.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=52_58&products_id=298&language=en

Maybe there will be a slightly cheaper version with a Sqeezish Case but I think this thing is quite what we were talking about.

Greetz surly

pbg
2009-02-09, 22:24
Dear Logitech and SlimDevices Staff,

I learned that Infrant offered a SlimServer-ready NAS which sounds fantastic but was nowhere near plug and play for consumers. And I learned that in general, SlimServer runs much more efficiently on Linux machines, which all but eliminates my Windows NAS choices. In short, I have no idea what to buy and your company is not helping me at all.


There is a very viable solution available. I purchased a NetGear ReadyNas Pro which is Linux based box with SqueezeCenter pre installed. NetGear acquired Infranet.

I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from, but I was playing my Transporter in about 15 minutes after booting up the NAS. I’ve never used or had seen Linux, which isn’t saying much because you don’t really need to know anything about Linux to run SqueezeCenter and SqueezeNetwork or to use the NAS for storage.

I control the NAS from a Dell Windows Vista box through a slick http interface. I was so pleased by how the Transporter and NAS performed together, I scored a Duet receiver for the basement system.

If you are nervous or uncomfortable configuring the RAID (which you’d have to do with a Windows box as well) Eaegis.com, an authorized NetGear reseller will pre-configure it for you.

With 5T of storage in the RAID I have plenty of room for my FLAC’s and the thing has performed flawlessly.

So I vote no.

kawasaki.kermit
2009-02-10, 16:54
Wasn't this originally a product designed, at an engineering approach, to transporting music from your computer to your stereo? The rough beginnings were never "grandparent" friendly. It requires a basic knowledge of computing, networking, and a rough understanding of digital music.

The duet and squeezecenter was a turn towards a more friendly approach, but people still refuse to try understand basic computing or even reading information on the product. It's shocking how many users don't even know what a network is, yet still buy a squeezebox.

Though on a random note,this seems to be the opposite outside in Australia.

lucas72
2009-02-11, 01:58
It's shocking how many users don't even know what a network is, yet still buy a squeezebox.

Though on a random note,this seems to be the opposite outside in Australia.

Which in other words can be read like: MARKETING is still much convincing then each own MIND! :D

... btw I don't agree with the last sentence, also outside the (wonderful) Australia situation is the same IMHO...

mfwalker1
2009-02-11, 02:58
Having really struggled since buying a duet six months ago, and still not having a setup I'm that happy with...(I'm still using the main PC as a SC server despite having toyed with a thin cliet and external usb drive, and now building an atom based server).

I really think the SC server should reside within the SR box (OK this would require a processor and enough memory for the data base).

That way a user could:
1. Plug in a USB drive, wireless/wired Net and get going....(or no network at all!)
2. Store the music files on a PC/NAS and link via samba, thus not having to go through all the drama of installing SC on the said PC/NAS (just store the files).
To me that would be a winner.
Matt

Omeriah
2009-02-19, 06:58
There is a very viable solution available. I purchased a NetGear ReadyNas Pro which is Linux based box with SqueezeCenter pre installed. NetGear acquired Infranet.

I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from, but I was playing my Transporter in about 15 minutes after booting up the NAS. I’ve never used or had seen Linux, which isn’t saying much because you don’t really need to know anything about Linux to run SqueezeCenter and SqueezeNetwork or to use the NAS for storage.

I control the NAS from a Dell Windows Vista box through a slick http interface. I was so pleased by how the Transporter and NAS performed together, I scored a Duet receiver for the basement system.

If you are nervous or uncomfortable configuring the RAID (which you’d have to do with a Windows box as well) Eaegis.com, an authorized NetGear reseller will pre-configure it for you.

With 5T of storage in the RAID I have plenty of room for my FLAC’s and the thing has performed flawlessly.

So I vote no.

PBG-- Thanks for your reply. I can't believe people are still replying to my original posting. It was over a year ago, but that's great. It created a LOT of exchange with many different opinions.

I looked up the NetGear ReadyNas Pro and the cheapest I could find was around $2,500 and that was only for 3Tb. Did you really pay that much, or am I looking at the wrong product? I'm all for investing in good quality sound, but I was hoping for a lower-cost solution.

tobbenet
2009-02-22, 05:10
Right, old thread this, but still getting answers. I thought I'd drop my 5 cents. Go to www.excito.com and check out their Bubba|Two. You can install SqueezeCenter through the webinterface and everything just works great! Very low prices as well.

starcat
2010-07-19, 18:27
Please Please Please: if you know of any NAS's with SC pre-installed, let me know. I scoured the universe for one of these and didn't find any. I did find 1-2 that had the previous version of the software installed, but nothing with SC7 and frankly, nothing that inspired any confidence in terms of support and reliability. I think it was QNAP or Thecus (?) that was offering a pre-installed version, but that was a long time ago.

Something like a Qnap TS-509 Pro would rung SS very well, and there is a ready made package that you just select via the web interface and it gets automatically downloaded and then installed. Not SS by itself but also a "wrapper" packages that does all the environtment setup and things. All automatically inclusing updates. Try googling for SSOTS or follow this ling to see how simple is the installation.

MrSinatra
2010-07-19, 18:47
The Netgear ReadyNAS ships with Squeeze Center pre-installed (provided you get a brand new one, not an older one that still has SlimServer on it - but even then, upgrading to SC7.x is pretty simple, and I think just upgrading to Netgear's newest firmware will bring SC along as well). And as the previous posts indicate, it's apparently readily available on QNAP servers as well.

yep, www.readynas.com and you can upgrade the NAS with nightlies even if you want via the web browser. easier than upgrading a routers firmware.

lucas72
2010-07-20, 01:20
I'm always been with QNAP, so far no problem and great performances (even if the application itself doesnt require a particular computational power to run smootly).

starcat
2010-07-20, 04:03
(even if the application itself doesnt require a particular computational power to run smootly).

You need *some* CPU performance if in case you run ALAC files as they are inline transformed to FLAC or WAV and send to the clients. The more clients you have the more conversions processes are running. Then, all searches through a huge library hogs the CPU too.

lucas72
2010-07-20, 05:33
Thanks for clarification starcat, this is definitely true but... I was mostly referring to a "normal" use. ;)

The good thing is that FLAC and other heavy/commonly used formats are handled in the client (i.e. squeezebox) which alleviate the server side of most work.