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View Full Version : Best way to make systems more available "to the average Joe"?



bobkoure
2008-02-14, 17:03
First off, I love my Squeezebox and SqueezeCenter to death (so long as I haven't done something to break 'em)
But... I'm a geek. I've written drivers and firmware and applications - so the fact that I find installation dead easy means, well, nothing.

We've been getting more-than-occasional posts on the forums with fairly inflammatory titles. I read that as average-Joes pissed off that something isn't "just working" for them.
IMHO, the problem here is that they blame the product - and then tell their friends (you know, that old saw about if you like something you tell a friend, if you hate it you tell everyone you know).
I'm sure that SD and Logitech see this as a problem, but we have a group of very smart people here, who, so long as they remember that the rest of the world isn't necessarily as technically adept as they are, may actually have a brilliant idea or two as to what to do.

So... all that said, and, just to start:
It seems to me that maybe SD had ought to think about having some kind of "installer certification" , including training and testing - and a way for those certified installers to get "published" - maybe here on SD. I'd guess that'd help the "loves music, has money, but technically clueless" part of the market. (Note - I'm not saying that this is a brilliant idea - but it might help you think of one).

Or is this kind of thread a really dumb idea? (self-doubt creeps in... guess I'd have tried product marketing if I didn't have that problem :-) )

autopilot
2008-02-14, 17:19
I think it's a daft idea personally, sorry. Giving a product an 'installer certificate' would just make the product be perceived as being even more complicated to average Joe. It would not help sales, possibly harm them. And it certainly not help the 'average joe', maybe just sacre them. And how much would it cost to have someone install a $300 system?.

If people can's get on with the product, maybe they need to look elsewhere? Apple or Sono's for example - really simple to install and use, but at the expensive of functionality, customisability, flexibility and community plugins, etc etc. But most people cant admit to themselves that something might be a little difficult for them and goes over their head, then blame the product, and become rude and offensive on these forums, shouting at people who try to help... but i really think enough has been said about all this now.

Also, if someone is so technically incompetent that they need a professional installation, you could argue that they should not bother at all - as how are they going to cope with maintaining it, trouble shooting network issues and ripping and tagging music etc when the 'certified installer' is not around? Slimserver/Squeeeze Center is far from perfect, but I would in fact argue that the initial installation is not actually that hard, most problems people have are with their existing Wifi network, PC or badly tagged music, not the Squeezebox specifically.

My biggest fear has always been since the logitech acquisition that the products could be 'dumbed' down to give them broader audience. Although i would say that looking at Squeezecenter 7.0, thats not the case so far.

pfarrell
2008-02-14, 17:31
autopilot wrote:
> I think it's a daft idea personally.

I think its decent, and creative idea.

I would agree that "requiring" a certified installer is a daft idea.
But the world has many people who would like music and are technophobic.

Offering a list of 'qualified, honest and nice' folks to help with the
setup could be a nice way to widen the population.


> My biggest fear has always been since the logitech acquisition that the
> products could be 'dumbed' down to give them broader audience.

You mean that they might make the product usable enough that many folks
can enjoy the great features without being geeks themselves?


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

autopilot
2008-02-14, 17:37
You mean that they might make the product usable enough that many folks
can enjoy the great features without being geeks themselves?


No, i mean exactly what i said. The reduction of some functionality, in order to give the product more mass market appeal. Like i said, hopefully not happening.

autopilot
2008-02-14, 17:44
I think its decent, and creative idea.

Having the idea was decent and creative, thats what forums should be for (not all the bitching of late), it's the idea itself i dont agree with.

pfarrell
2008-02-14, 17:55
autopilot wrote:
> Pat Farrell;269514 Wrote:
>> You mean that they might make the product usable enough that many folks
>> can enjoy the great features without being geeks themselves?
>
> No, i mean exactly what i said.

Being "dumbed down" is how you make it widely usable.

Clearly you are not the target audience for the idea.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

autopilot
2008-02-14, 18:13
Being "dumbed down" is how you make it widely usable.

Clearly you are not the target audience for the idea.

Your right, but thats not why i dont think it would be good. Having a 'certified network engineer' help you out maybe, because the vast majority of peoples problems are network related and could have happened with any product.

schatzy
2008-02-14, 19:14
Well I can see that this "Idea" has some wide views.

I personally think that the idea is good and maybe better than good.

As a IT manager (windows/microsoft) I find that it is very easy to handle or figure out the where the problem lies with an SB not connecting or stuttering.

But having very little programing experience i have problems with making certain things work the way i would like and have asked questions of the much more knowledgeable here than myself, or in many cases read through the many threads covering a subject.

Maybe having a list of "Knowledgeable People" in certain "Subjects" (programing, networking etc.) for specific areas of the world would be a good idea.

I have a friend that is very knowledgeable with Linux. So i had him over for dinner one evening and we were able to get a Linux server up and running in less than an hour. I had tried for three days to understand how to make the changes needed in Linux to make SS6.5.x work with no luck. Well after that one hour i had learned a lot and now know what i need to do to assist someone else in getting a Linux server up and running.

If it had not been for the "Hands On" help I would probably given up and stayed with running SS/SC on a windows box.

Help for those technophobic people out there would be a very good idea IMHO.

Those that do not want the help don't need to ask for it. Those that need the help would have the ability to have someone "Hold Their Hand" if needed.

I am surely glad that there is such a Great and Wonderful forum here. It is part of what made the difference between buying an SB over all the competition.

Bobkoure - Good idea, some refining may or may not be needed.

Autopilot - you are free to have your opinion and i am glad to see that you also respect the opinion of others (this post and many others), and thanks for many of your other posts that have help myself and others.

Pfarelle - Again it is refreshing to see that people can have a difference of opinion but be respectful of others opinions. Also thanks for all of your posts that have helped myself and others.

Let me be the first to start a list by adding my own name to be able to help others in a hands on fashion. I live in Massachusettes USA and would be willing to travel (New England) or invite others to my home for some hand on help. Of course I do not have all the answers but I will help in any way I can even if that help needs to come from the forums.

Schatzy

JimC
2008-02-14, 19:18
First off, I love my Squeezebox and SqueezeCenter to death (so long as I haven't done something to break 'em)
But... I'm a geek. I've written drivers and firmware and applications - so the fact that I find installation dead easy means, well, nothing.

We've been getting more-than-occasional posts on the forums with fairly inflammatory titles. I read that as average-Joes pissed off that something isn't "just working" for them.
IMHO, the problem here is that they blame the product - and then tell their friends (you know, that old saw about if you like something you tell a friend, if you hate it you tell everyone you know).
I'm sure that SD and Logitech see this as a problem, but we have a group of very smart people here, who, so long as they remember that the rest of the world isn't necessarily as technically adept as they are, may actually have a brilliant idea or two as to what to do.

So... all that said, and, just to start:
It seems to me that maybe SD had ought to think about having some kind of "installer certification" , including training and testing - and a way for those certified installers to get "published" - maybe here on SD. I'd guess that'd help the "loves music, has money, but technically clueless" part of the market. (Note - I'm not saying that this is a brilliant idea - but it might help you think of one).

Or is this kind of thread a really dumb idea? (self-doubt creeps in... guess I'd have tried product marketing if I didn't have that problem :-) )

It's not a bad idea, but it really wouldn't solve the problem we'd eventually like to solve; that is, a simple to install and use whole home music system that can be tailored to your specific requirements.

Right now, the single biggest stumbling block is the fact that networking sucks, and we need a network to function. However, I can, without reservation, say that networking is LIGHT YEARS ahead of where is was 15 or so years ago (anyone remember GENOS and GENSH for Netware, for example?). As it continues to get easier to install, and--hopefully--more robust, it will get easier and easier to use our products.

We're already working on simplifying SqueezeCenter, improving SqueezeNetwork, etc. We just need the network infrastructure side to get easier too, and then we will be well positioned for broader success.

We're running a marathon, not a sprint, and while we may not be as fast as everyone would like, we're still getting miles under our feet. As we continue to broaden the product portfolio, improve the software, and see networking improve, I think you'll see that we are on the right track to deliver a broadly appealing consumer product; without having to compromise the core things that make this architecture great.


-=> Jim

peejay
2008-02-14, 19:26
I don't think the certification holds much water, but there are a number of organisations locally here who perform audio/video system installations for people who either don't know enough about it or have enough money not to be concerned with it themselves.
This idea seems to be a simple extension of that service, with extra skills from the installers around wireles/wired networks and software installation and configuration.
Ripping and tagging can be tedious for the meticulous, but generally I find when I buy a new album I simply pop it in the CD drive, and run EAC, which automatically populates the album/song detail tags for me. I check the tags quickly, and burn it to flac which results in the album being exactly where I want it on the file system, correctly tagged. I then run an album art down-loader for the art. This again is semi automated after configuring the software for the location of the songs.
Then click rescan in the SS interface and away you go. I expect you could even (I haven't researched this) trigger this from a daemon which watches for changes in your music file system.
Of course this describes the 'happy path' for loading music onto your system....there are other paths down which I have traveled as well.

So, to perform an installation to put all this in place for the non-technical is a reasonable idea, I think (I've done it myself for friends who see my SB and want one immediately).

There will always be something which comes up for software users for which they'll require assistance, but in the end this is common to all installed applications. Will this provide a satisfactory income stream for you if you focus just on Logitech streaming media devices, maybe not...
My two cents....

pfarrell
2008-02-14, 19:29
JimC wrote:
> Right now, the single biggest stumbling block is the fact that
> networking sucks, and we need a network to function. However, I can,
> without reservation, say that networking is LIGHT YEARS ahead of where
> is was 15 or so years ago (anyone remember GENOS and GENSH for Netware,
> for example?).

Networking is far ahead of where it was. I started serious networking
work in the early 1970s. Ethernet was invented in 1973....but didn't
make it out of the labs until much later. Metcalfe started 3Com about 79.

If you read the Beginners forum, you see two main topics for problems:
networking and ripping.

It seems to me that folks who are interested in non-mainline stuff, like
running SqueezeCenter on Linux, are already fairly facile computer
users, even if their experience is with just Windows or Macs.

I am sure that networking will be the major problem area ten years from
now, while we are all listening to our Transporter 5 and SqueezeBox 17s.

I'd be willing to bet it will still be a problem 20 years out.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

smc2911
2008-02-14, 19:46
Giving a product an 'installer certificate' would just make the product be perceived as being even more complicated to average Joe. It would not help sales, possibly harm them. And it certainly not help the 'average joe', maybe just scare them. And how much would it cost to have someone install a $300 system?.I tend to agree with this point. While there is doubtless always room for product improvement to make SB products easier for the tech-challenged, if this type of offering were to exist and be advertised, it could send the signal that the product is just too difficult for the average user.

pfarrell
2008-02-14, 19:58
smc2911 wrote:
> if this type of offering were to exist and be
> advertised, it could send the signal that the product is just too
> difficult for the average user.

Yes, that is the fundamental assumption: that there is at least one
barrier to the "average Joe"

I'm not in SD/Logi marketing, I don't know if this is a real or imagined
problem.

Then again, nearly all of my friends are geeks, and I've recommended SB
to many, and they all love it. So my world is not typical.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

peejay
2008-02-14, 20:01
So in the Sonos so much more friendly to the non-techincal user? Does it have similar teething problems?

smc2911
2008-02-14, 20:15
Based on anecdotal experience of friends/colleagues (3 sonos owners, 5 SB users), I would say that there is some simplicity with the Sonos, but it comes at a significant cost. The reasons are:

(1) Sonos runs its own proprietary wireless network, whereas the SB pigggy-backs on your own wifi network. The drawback for SB is the challenge of dealing with such a diversity of hardware, the drawback for sonos is more hardware and the risk of interference with your existing network.

(2) Sonos effectively provides a server box too, albeit one that it far less customisable than the Slimserver or SqueezeCenter. The advantage for SB is that they don't charge you for that hardware as you already have it (your PC/NAS/whatever), the drawback again is dealing with diverse infrastructure.

For me the SB advantages are far greater, but for some the ease of the Sonos is worth the extra $$. Logitech/SD are clearly aware of these issues and are working hard to close the gap while retaining the benefits of flexibility that their system provides.

bobkoure
2008-02-14, 21:21
Hmm... I brought up "installer certification" more as an "example idea", hoping that if folks threw out enough different ideas, some of those might spark a bright idea...

pfarrell
2008-02-14, 21:34
bobkoure wrote:
> Hmm... I brought up "installer certification" more as an "example idea",
> hoping that if folks threw out enough different ideas, some of those
> might spark a bright idea...

You might be seeing the result of the thread title.
If you want ideas, a more open title would be "Wanted: ideas to make
system more accessible." When you start with "best..." it causes a lot
of folks to react with:

This is not best, its not even good, let me shoot it down first.

You also need to figure out if you are trying to make it usable by
average existing SB customers, or average computer users or average
music lovers. My guess is that these are three different universes of
potential customers.

The ancient jokes about calls to tech support asking "which is the "ANY"
key, I see this message saying "press any key to continue" are far too real.

To me the idea SqueezeBox is an Advent table radio, plug it in, and it
works. I just want all my music, all of internet radio, and anything yet
to be invented to work on it.

smc2911
2008-02-14, 21:53
Not trying to pour cold water here as I think that the underlying idea is actually spot on and, I suspect, common in practice in an informal way (an extension of the way I am sure many of us provide "help desk" support to friends and family for the PCs and other technology). Encouraging that and expanding it is worthwhile. What I'm less sure about is formalising it, which is where I see the risk that the implied message is "great device but you need a PhD to work it". These forums themselves provide a form of informal support as does the wiki and I'm all for ideas to further extend the effectiveness of this extremely knowledgable user community.

slimkid
2008-02-14, 21:58
Not trying to pour cold water here as I think that the underlying idea is actually spot on and, I suspect, common in practice in an informal way (an extension of the way I am sure many of us provide "help desk" support to friends and family for the PCs and other technology). Encouraging that and expanding it is worthwhile. What I'm less sure about is formalising it, which is where I see the risk that the implied message is "great device but you need a PhD to work it". These forums themselves provide a form of informal support as does the wiki and I'm all for ideas to further extend the effectiveness of this extremely knowledgable user community.

So, how about making yourself available to the local dealer, to help out with customers in trouble? See where that leads you.

K

smc2911
2008-02-14, 22:03
That's not a bad idea. Also, if Logitech were planning any promotions in local stores, they could let the community know who could attend to show off enhanced features (plugins etc).

ModelCitizen
2008-02-15, 00:38
My biggest fear has always been since the logitech acquisition that the products could be 'dumbed' down to give them broader audience. Although i would say that looking at Squeezecenter 7.0, thats not the case so far.
You are looking in the wrong place then. Logitech's main UI focus is the Jive Controller. Compared to the web interface and the old remote this is very dumbed down (overall a lot simpler, less buttons, less options). Which is just one of the things that makes is so brilliant.

MC

peter
2008-02-15, 01:02
ModelCitizen wrote:
> autopilot;269512 Wrote:
>
>> My biggest fear has always been since the logitech acquisition that the
>> products could be 'dumbed' down to give them broader audience. Although
>> i would say that looking at Squeezecenter 7.0, thats not the case so
>> far.
>>
> You are looking in the wrong place then. Logitech's main UI focus is
> the Jive Controller. Compared to the web interface and the old remote
> this is very dumbed down (overall a lot simpler, less buttons, less
> options). Which is just one of the things that makes is so brilliant.
>

The Controller is not what I'd call dumbed down.

It doesn't seem to be as customizable as the general SB3 menu though.
I've simplified my manin SB3 menu by taking out all options I hardly
ever use. I mostly browse by music folder. That seems to be impossible
with the Controller.

Another annoyance is that the Controller doesn't remember the folders I
accessed before. On the SB3 remote, when I browse to some subfolder,
return to the main menu and try to get back to the same subfolder, it
remembers the pathh I previously took, so I only have to press the right
arrow to get back to the same spot. The Controller doesn't remember the
path, which makes it a lot more work to get back. So, if I want to
change shuffle or repeat mode, it's a lot more work to get back to where
I was (not to mention that the SB3 remote has dedicated shuffle/repeat
buttons which would've made the whole operation unnecessary in the first
place.

To me it would be a big improvement if the Controller had some key
combination that would take it to a quick settings screen where you
could change things like shuffle and repeat so that the <- button would
take you back where you came from. This is similar to the rockbox
software which also suffers from a lack of buttons.

Regards,
Peter

BlueWombat
2008-02-15, 01:04
I have to agree that one of the things that makes it difficult to sell the Squeezebox et al. to friends is the "need" to be a partial geek to use it. I got interested in the system because I have so many CDs, I was ripping them to use for my ipod anyway and I saw a chance to organize and simplify my life by having my music in "one big CD jukebox." But the truth is this stuff runs on software, it's buggy and the squeezebox's little display/remote combo just doesn't cut it for sexy, user friendly, or non-geeky. It has been very hard to even get my wife to embrace it - For her, it just isn't as intuitive or easy as popping in a CD.

That's why I'm excited about the new controller taking the geek factor down a notch. But here's still the other pieces where more can be done. For instance, though the software is getting better and more stable - 7.0 looks great - I still have enough glitches that I'm thinking of setting up a dedicated computer to run slimserver and act as a HTPC when needed. This is where I see Slimdevices/Logitech extending the brand even further: a small, but powerful enough mini-pc that has Squeezecenter built in, probably mini-itx sized , but more powerful than something like a NAS (most of which don't seem have "juice" enough to run Squeezecenter competently), that has ripping software built in so that it is a "one stop solution". Maybe it's a box that even has a squeezebox receiver built in and you buy it as your "primary squeezebox!"

In this scenario, the average Joe goes down to Best Buy, purchases the "super squeezebox with server/PC" or a a package that includes a SB receiver, a "Logitech Squeezeserver" box, plus the controller, plugs the boxes in, goes through a simple setup routine, rips their first CD straight to the box (or downloads straight to the box using the controller to navigate to a music site!), and they are off playing music.

I think having certified installers is OK, but only adds to the "geek" factor. What many potential users really want is a box they can unpack, turn on and start using in minutes. Not something with a ton of required configuration. A Logitech server/squeezecenter/ripping box could be designed to "play well" with the receivers/squeezeboxes out of the box.

For the audiophiles in the bunch, there would still be the Transporter, custom configurations, add-ons, etc. You could still run everything off of your own computer, etc, it would just give an option to those that want to use something like Squeezecenter, but just want it to "work."

MuckleEck
2008-02-15, 01:24
As the title says is there any mileage in producing a book (pdf format and/or physical) that covers the basic functionality of the Squeezebox/Center, a simplistic guide to ripping (Windows/Mac/Linux), how to integrate with itunes, musicIP etc etc...I know there are FAQs and beginners guides, but it seems to me that the average Joe doesn't visit these forums and would prefer to have a more simplistic guide.

Would logitech be able to put a link to such a guide on their website?

I for one am happy to help on the Windows side...


(CAVEAT)For those that may think I am being nasty or non-pc by using the word dummies, I am only using this as in the titles of the popular books already published, I am in no way stating that they are actually dumb.(/CAVEAT)

amcluesent
2008-02-15, 01:56
>Would logitech be able to put a link to such a guide on their website?<

There is the wiki...

Having two SB3 and a TP, I find that when the system fails it does so without leaving many clues. I think Slimdevices would do themselves a favour if they added more helpful guidance at the device end - having the screen go off when there's a problem isn't too clever for noobs.

The problems seem to be -

a) Peeps don't RTFM/
b) Peeps have crocked wi-fi and then get grief when they add a streamer on top
c) Peeps have crocked Windows installs (I assume Linux users are tech-savvy)
d) DOA kit

Slimdevices should offer beer and pizza and get some noobs in, then ask them to setup a system and observe what happens!

MuckleEck
2008-02-15, 02:38
>
There is the wiki...



Agreed although I was thinking more of something along the lines of the Sonos (mouth duly washed out) user guide, that is more graphical and "easy to understand".....and I agree that the majority of linux users are already tech-savvy enough not to need much.

nacmacfeegle
2008-02-15, 02:55
Hi... Non-geek here, puters?-- fly them, I don't fix them......

The best thing I did in my Squeeze experience was to get a 'Network for dummies' type book. Prior to Squeezing up, I didn't know anyting about this aspect and lets face it, setting up and understanding (if only on basic terms) the network properly is key to a joyful relationship with the Squeezies.

The book I got even had nice pictures, which is always good for the Non Geek.......

Instead of someone writing a manual, perhaps some recommendations on good books, or sources of guidance....

MuckleEck
2008-02-15, 03:04
I suppose I was looking at a combo book with the network info and Squeeze info all in one...

macnacfeegle....where is your 6" high blue scotsman wearing a kilt avatar?

autopilot
2008-02-15, 05:54
You are looking in the wrong place then. Logitech's main UI focus is the Jive Controller. Compared to the web interface and the old remote this is very dumbed down (overall a lot simpler, less buttons, less options). Which is just one of the things that makes is so brilliant.

MC

I totally agree, but Squeeze Center is still there when you need more finer control. So i dont think the overall 'package' have become dumbed down, just had a less complicated element added to it. And it's fantastic IMO :)

Pale Blue Ego
2008-02-15, 08:46
I think this might be a great idea. There are probably a lot of music lovers who are reluctant to make the jump due to inexperience with computers/networks/ripping/tagging/etc.

Just as I believe there's a market for a 3rd-party PC builder to offer systems designed to run slimserver, I think there's a market for consulting services by local Squeezebox experts.

Think of the different services a new buyer might require:

- Network design, including running cat-5 cable or setting up a wi-fi router.

- installation and configuration of SqueezeCenter and SB hardware.

- Ripping and tagging of CD collections, or just an initial setup of a proper workflow system to let the user do it themselves.

- along that same line, how about a backup service for music collections?

- demo of consultant's existing system. Seeing a whole-house SB system in action makes a compelling case for the whole idea of the Squeezebox.

Maybe the "Support" section of this website could include a list of willing consultants, which services they offer, how far they'll travel, how much they charge, etc.

I don't think it would paint the product as too complex or geeky. Anyone contemplating a Squeezebox will already have a pretty good idea of the *concept* of storing songs as files on a computer and playing them back elsewhere in the home. But the devil's in the details, and that's where experience and/or a bit of hand-holding can really help.

pfarrell
2008-02-15, 08:54
Pale Blue Ego wrote:
> I think this might be a great idea.
>[snip]

> - Network design, including running cat-5 cable or setting up a wi-fi
> router.

And firewalls and anti-malware, making all the PCs, iTouch, etc. in the
house all work seamlessly.

> - along that same line, how about a backup service for music
> collections?

and more general backup. Backup of quickbooks, taxes, email, etc.

Sadly, while lots of average joe users need this stuff, they don't like
to pay for it.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

slimkid
2008-02-15, 09:42
I think this might be a great idea. There are probably a lot of music lovers who are reluctant to make the jump due to inexperience with computers/networks/ripping/tagging/etc.

Just as I believe there's a market for a 3rd-party PC builder to offer systems designed to run slimserver, I think there's a market for consulting services by local Squeezebox experts.

Think of the different services a new buyer might require:

- Network design, including running cat-5 cable or setting up a wi-fi router.

- installation and configuration of SqueezeCenter and SB hardware.

- Ripping and tagging of CD collections, or just an initial setup of a proper workflow system to let the user do it themselves.

- along that same line, how about a backup service for music collections?

- demo of consultant's existing system. Seeing a whole-house SB system in action makes a compelling case for the whole idea of the Squeezebox.

Maybe the "Support" section of this website could include a list of willing consultants, which services they offer, how far they'll travel, how much they charge, etc.

I don't think it would paint the product as too complex or geeky. Anyone contemplating a Squeezebox will already have a pretty good idea of the *concept* of storing songs as files on a computer and playing them back elsewhere in the home. But the devil's in the details, and that's where experience and/or a bit of hand-holding can really help.


Just out of curiosity, how much do you think a reasonable charge should be? I'm assuming it requires travel.

This year I had two house visits, by heating system guy and washer machine guy. Just to come and diagnose, they charge $130 in average. One doesn't think twice about paying it on a cold Canadian Sunday morning. However, I 'm having hard time imagining somebody paying that kind of money for the set up of the device that costs $300.

pfarrell
2008-02-15, 09:48
Just out of curiosity, how much do you think a reasonable charge should be? I'm assuming it requires travel.

House calls about $100 to do anything. Call a plumber, HVAC, electrician, etc.

I would guess it really would take two visits, one to talk about what the customer wants, and a second to do the work.

This is why I recommend finding a geek friend and buying him/her a couple of beers.

autopilot
2008-02-15, 10:14
You know what causes a lot of problems for new users is the fact that ISP's give away free crappy wireless routers, with super cheap generic chipsets and odd configurations. Thats an issue that really needs to be addressed too, because our friend 'Joe' assumes a wireless network is a wireless network and he's quite happy with his uber cheap/free router - it's the silly old Squeezebox thats at fault, really!.

I know people that are seriously not technically competent, yet had no problems at all with their SB's. I know a guy who is about 70 that was given a second-hand SB2 and even though he only started using PC's about 4 years ago, he had it working in less than an hour (or so his son tells me). Complete novices who have no problems at all - all because they have (admittedly usually by co-incidence) reasonable working networks. Thats why i take such issue with SB's being so complicated and being a 'geeks' toy - i mean, are they really any harder than setting up an iPod? My old VCR was harder. People need to differentiate between 'problematic' and 'difficult', bcause the two seem to be getting confused. The issue is almost always with networking in general, not the SB per say. 80% of people who come on here who say "MY Squeezebox is not working!" usually find out that they should be saying "my wireless network is crap!".

If a problem is down to bugs in the software (and lets be honest yet diplomatic) it's had it's fair share - some kind of certificate does nothing to address that, possibly just muddies the waters further.

Finally, to reiterate my point again (and i am playing a bit of devils advocate here); SD/Logitech do need to make improvements in many area's, including user friendliness, but it's not anywhere near so bad it needs a system of certification. Bugs and network issues aside, if its too complicated for some one to install, it's probably to complicated for them to operate and maintain. Nothing wrong in admitting that, i cant fly a plane or do lots of things - so they might be better off going elsewhere and looking for another solution?

Still, it's a good discussion - cheers bobkoure :)

maggior
2008-02-15, 11:23
<snip>
less than an hour (or so his son tells me). Complete novices who have no problems at all - all because they have (admittedly usually by co-incidence) reasonable working networks. Thats why i take such issue with SB's being so complicated and being a 'geeks' toy - i mean, are they really any harder than setting up an iPod? My old VCR was harder. People need to differentiate between 'problematic' and 'difficult', bcause the two seem to be getting confused. The issue is almost always with networking in general, not the SB per say. 80% of people who come on here who say "MY Squeezebox is not working!" usually find out that they should be saying "my wireless network is crap!".

<snip>
Still, it's a good discussion - cheers bobkoure :)

I think it is interesting that you bring up the iPod as an example of a non-geek product that everybody can use. When I bought my iPod, I was taken back when the salesperson informed me of a class that the store sponsored to help people get their CDs into iTunes, get their tunes onto their iPod, and then use their iPod. A friend of mine's wife, who is an intelligent person, gave up on using an iPod.

My point is that even the iPod, which is held in such high regard for its usability, isn't grasped easily by some. I wonder how many iPods sit idle in the homes of people that were never able to figure out really how to use them. There are probably a lot more than you would think.

So, if the SB becomes anywhere near as ubiquitous as the iPod, I think there would be a need for techies to assist people set up their SBs.

The idea put forth is interesting. I'm not sure that a certifcation would be necessary, but some sort of qualifications would be necessary. It's not as simple as just knowing networking, you have to know and understand CD ripping, transcoding, tagging, etc.

People regularly call in the Geek Squad (techies for hire from Best Buy here in the US) to set up their wireless networks and stuff. Why not the SB squad? :-).

If Logitech starts selling these in many large retail stores, perhaps it would be good to have knowledgable local users on hand to help with advice and/or offer services to set up and configure the devices. Maybe these users would be from a Logitech sponsored user's club or something.

This is a really good discussion. It's very interesting to read everybody's viewpoints on this.

maggior
2008-02-15, 11:26
This is why I recommend finding a geek friend and buying him/her a couple of beers.

I have had a good number of beers at my brother's place helping him with his technology issues! :-). Good advice.

autopilot
2008-02-15, 11:49
I think it is interesting that you bring up the iPod as an example of a non-geek product that everybody can use. When I bought my iPod, I was taken back when the salesperson informed me of a class that the store sponsored to help people get their CDs into iTunes, get their tunes onto their iPod, and then use their iPod. A friend of mine's wife, who is an intelligent person, gave up on using an iPod.

My point is that even the iPod, which is held in such high regard for its usability, isn't grasped easily by some. I wonder how many iPods sit idle in the homes of people that were never able to figure out really how to use them. There are probably a lot more than you would think.

So, if the SB becomes anywhere near as ubiquitous as the iPod, I think there would be a need for techies to assist people set up their SBs.

The idea put forth is interesting. I'm not sure that a certifcation would be necessary, but some sort of qualifications would be necessary. It's not as simple as just knowing networking, you have to know and understand CD ripping, transcoding, tagging, etc.

People regularly call in the Geek Squad (techies for hire from Best Buy here in the US) to set up their wireless networks and stuff. Why not the SB squad? :-).

If Logitech starts selling these in many large retail stores, perhaps it would be good to have knowledgable local users on hand to help with advice and/or offer services to set up and configure the devices. Maybe these users would be from a Logitech sponsored user's club or something.

This is a really good discussion. It's very interesting to read everybody's viewpoints on this.

Points well made. Unfortunately, nothing personal, but i do completely disagree :)

Firstly, i people want the Geek Squad to come to their house, fair enough - there is obviously a market for them (they are in the UK now too, at least the name is). But specifically for SB's?

Secondly, iPod's are different in that they are stand alone items that all basically all the same. SB's on the other hand are integrated into another system, you home network, which is different for each person. Would that sales person have said "we have a class learning to use SB's, we will also come around your house and configure your flaky network"? Ipod Vs SB - neither is more complicated than the other, it is all about the networking. It's only a sales ploy anyway. That's why, in my opinion, having a geek squad is a good idea, a 'squeezebox certificate' is not (amounts other reasons).

Finding qualified and experienced personal is all well and good, but thats what the Yellow Pages are for (or whatever they call them in the US).

robroe
2008-02-15, 11:50
My point is that even the iPod, which is held in such high regard for its usability, isn't grasped easily by some. I wonder how many iPods sit idle in the homes of people that were never able to figure out really how to use them. There are probably a lot more than you would think.
My guess is quite a few. And even more which have been loaded up with songs once by a relative or friend and then never updated again.

bobkoure
2008-02-15, 12:23
I like the notion of usergroups. There must be folks here old enough to remember "computer clubs". BTW I got my first PC (an Altair) that way, and likely would never have spent money on such a thing if there hadn't been a club that I could rely on as a support network.
Anyway, AFAICT there are quite a few of us who either have or are willing to help new users get setup. I wonder if there's a way for Logitech to encourage that. If it's goodies, I have noticed that coffee mugs are more effective advertising than t-shirts, as the mugs get taken to work and spark questions. Of course, I've worked in high tech for so long that I may have a very skewed idea of the workplace.
Anyway, again, not being a marketing guy, I'm thinking of a mug with a SqueezeBox on one side and something like
"Sure! I'll help you set it up - you buy the"
(and then a list with un-checked checkboxes):
[ ] dinner
[ ] lunch
[ ] beer
[ ] whatever.
But, like I said, I'm not a marketing guy...

conorm1
2008-02-15, 12:50
I thought I'd add my own opinion to this discussion (which I think is a good one).

It seems to me that slimserver/squeezecentre exists primarily as software to serve digital music to hardware over a network, wired or unwired. In its vanilla form it does exactly this and it does it well (in my experience on a number of platforms.) The difficulties that occur are more normally to do with networking, mapping drives and installing the software on platforms that aren't necessarily appropriately powerful or configured - this isn't slimdevices problem but more an issue of the technical environment.

It is also open source and this is both its great strength and weakness. It's open source nature means that it is highly flexible and the community, together with Slimdevices/Logitech, are able to make it do additional stuff. This flexibility though means that many technically illiterate people (I would class myself as a "semi-geek" in that I am willing to tinker, and enjoy doing so, but I don't know much about programming, perl, chroot, CLI etc) see all the cool stuff that is possible but don't have the skills, or interest, to dabble. It is frustrating to see that you can do X but when you try it doesn't work because it is not just a case of downloading software and it self installing.

In terms of hardware I believe that the Squeezebox is an awesome bit of kit and the introduction of Transporter and now the Controller and Receiver makes a great all round package that suits all sorts of people with different needs - I can see a need for all of these in my home.I also suspect that Squeezebox 4 (is there such a thing?) will also be innovative and further compliment the range.

Whats my point? Well I suppose it is that you can't keep all of the people happy all of the time but the core software and hardware is fantastic and does what it is supposed to do and has the added advantage of being organic in its ability to evolve and meet the needs of us, the community. So as long as the core functionality exists, and works well, I am happy.

Finally I would like to thank Logotech/Slimdevices because they genuinley take an interest in their product and, in my opinion, stay focussed on what it is that they should and shouldn't do. It is also to their credit that senior staff often reply in these forums to both criticism and praise and make their views be known in an objective and sensible manner. As a user I appreciate that.

Regards,

C

maggior
2008-02-15, 14:12
Points well made. Unfortunately, nothing personal, but i do completely disagree :)

:-)


Firstly, i people want the Geek Squad to come to their house, fair enough - there is obviously a market for them (they are in the UK now too, at least the name is). But specifically for SB's?

I think you are right on this. If this were to become a real need in the marketplace, the GeekSquad would probably just get up to speed on PC based music management on top of their networking knowledge. From that perspective, it's just another networked device like many other.



Secondly, iPod's are different in that they are stand alone items that all basically all the same. SB's on the other hand are integrated into another system, you home network, which is different for each person. Would that sales person have said "we have a class learning to use SB's, we will also come around your house and configure your flaky network"? Ipod Vs SB - neither is more complicated than the other, it is all about the networking. It's only a sales ploy anyway. That's why, in my opinion, having a geek squad is a good idea, a 'squeezebox certificate' is not (amounts other reasons).


Yeah, but iPods do integrate onto the person's PC. Though most users probably don't care where the music files are put and what directory structure they are put in, etc. Here the integration is certainly simpler. But if people can't wrap their heads around dealing with a simple iPod, how are they going to deal with the SB?

The class for the SB could be a networking basics class discussing typcial and optimal network setups. Then move into installing and configuring SC. Then getting your SB to talk to SC over the network. Then you have another host of things to talk about regarding ripping CDs and stuff. Then 5 minutes could be spent on using the SB itself. :-) This is the easy part.


Finding qualified and experienced personal is all well and good, but thats what the Yellow Pages are for (or whatever they call them in the US).

Yeah, we still have the yellow pages here. But what would you look under? Audio enthusiest with networking experience? Audio engineer with some networking experience? Probably professional audio installation outfits will get up to speed on this stuff, much like they have with HDTVs, home theaters, etc.

Somebody mentioned the old computer clubs. That was a bit before my time, but I do remember when OS/2 was up against Windows 95 in the mid 90's and you had groups of OS/2 users evangelizing the wonders of OS/2, kind of like a fan club of knowledgable users.

In the end, the simplest solution is usually the best - bribe a geek with beer and pizza.

maggior
2008-02-15, 14:23
Others have brought up that there are really 2 key areas where newbies stumble - getting the networking issues cleared up and getting the music on the CDs onto the computer.

It seems to me that there is a need for a music management piece to the SB offering to simplify things for the user. Certainly this shouldn't preclude the use of other tools, but should be a way to get going for those that don't care to do a ton of research and become an expert in digital music management and transcoding. Support 2 formats (mp3 and FLAC - one lossy and one lossless). You want others - go get your tools of choice.

Yes, that opens up a whole can of worms and certainly would not be an easy project to take on, but imagine how this would differentiate the SB and SC from other offerings. What does Sonos offer to music management? Rocku?

pfarrell
2008-02-15, 14:32
maggior wrote:
> What does Sonos offer to music management? Rocku?

The current (March 2008) issue of Stereophile talks about the Linn
Klimax DS which is apparently Linn's Transporter clone. Altho it costs
ten times as much.

There is a passing reference to a Linn labeled music server, with
comments that it is a preloaded NAS.

For $20K, I'll personally fly anywhere in the US and install a preloaded
SlimCenter server. For an extra $5K, you can have it any color you want.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

iwp
2008-02-15, 14:35
It seems to me that there is a need for a music management piece to the SB offering to simplify things for the user. Certainly this shouldn't preclude the use of other tools, but should be a way to get going for those that don't care to do a ton of research and become an expert in digital music management and transcoding. Support 2 formats (mp3 and FLAC - one lossy and one lossless). You want others - go get your tools of choice.

I'm trying to build pretty much what you've described, starting with importing CDs. See http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=42564 . If you're brave and geeky there's updated code in SVN at http://sourceforge.net/projects/squimport/ but nothing easy to install yet.

And, frankly, I wasn't even going to offer mp3 as an option! Well... maybe eventually it'll integrate with Robin's flac2mp3 script to maintain an ipod-friendly "shadow" directory.

Ian

Nostromo
2008-02-15, 15:00
Others have brought up that there are really 2 key areas where newbies stumble - getting the networking issues cleared up and getting the music on the CDs onto the computer.

It seems to me that there is a need for a music management piece to the SB offering to simplify things for the user. Certainly this shouldn't preclude the use of other tools, but should be a way to get going for those that don't care to do a ton of research and become an expert in digital music management and transcoding. Support 2 formats (mp3 and FLAC - one lossy and one lossless). You want others - go get your tools of choice.

Yes, that opens up a whole can of worms and certainly would not be an easy project to take on, but imagine how this would differentiate the SB and SC from other offerings. What does Sonos offer to music management? Rocku?

For the non-geeks, there's always the iTunes integration. It works pretty well, AFAIK.

But if you don't want to use iTunes, you have to go through a long process I call "fishing for the right apps". You then have to configure those apps (like EAC, for example). Maybe someone could put together a SqueezeCenter "distribution" that would come with everything you need.

maggior
2008-02-15, 18:18
I'm trying to build pretty much what you've described, starting with importing CDs. See http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=42564 . If you're brave and geeky there's updated code in SVN at http://sourceforge.net/projects/squimport/ but nothing easy to install yet.

And, frankly, I wasn't even going to offer mp3 as an option! Well... maybe eventually it'll integrate with Robin's flac2mp3 script to maintain an ipod-friendly "shadow" directory.

Ian

I took a peek at the other thread. Very cool effort. Guess I didn't exactly have an original idea :-). Combine this with the slimcd and you have a complete one-disc install solution for the server end! That would really be cool.

As another comment mentions, iTunes could be used too since they do integrate. But since it won't do FLAC, it wouldn't be consitent with the Linux solution.

Not to dimish the effort with this, but the real killer app would be to have a plugin like this for Windows since (for good or bad) most homes have a PC running some form of Windows and aren't prepared (at least initially) to dedicate a server to serving up music.

maggior
2008-02-15, 18:24
<snip>
But if you don't want to use iTunes, you have to go through a long process I call "fishing for the right apps". You then have to configure those apps (like EAC, for example). Maybe someone could put together a SqueezeCenter "distribution" that would come with everything you need.

Yeah, the fishing expedition can be fun. I guess we've all been through that.

Regarding the "SC distribution" idea, there is actually some really good info that can be found on this site (with some digging) that directs you to some tools like EAC and foobar2000. Perhaps it would be a good idea to forumlate some specific recommendations and put them into a document that is included in the box. Yes, many don't RTFM, but I think even less read the maufacturer's website.

The issue that I see with the info as it is presented today is that there are many choices presented. This is fine for somebody that has a bit of a clue about what they are doing, but for the "average joe", too many choices can be daunting.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-02-15, 19:16
The current (March 2008) issue of Stereophile talks about the Linn Klimax DS which is apparently Linn's Transporter clone. Altho it costs ten times as much.

Yes, and that same article strongly suggests having it professionally installed and configured! - even though the Klimax is pretty basic compared to the SB3 or Duet.

BlueWombat
2008-02-15, 21:30
It seems to me that there is a need for a music management piece to the SB offering to simplify things for the user. Certainly this shouldn't preclude the use of other tools, but should be a way to get going for those that don't care to do a ton of research and become an expert in digital music management and transcoding. Support 2 formats (mp3 and FLAC - one lossy and one lossless). You want others - go get your tools of choice.

This is similar to what I was talking about - what my wife wants is something that is as easy as loading a CD into the CD player, turning on the receiver, and pressing play. I think the new controller will go a long ways to getting her there now that the system is set up...

Where I think there is an opportunity is at the beginning for new users - I still like the idea of a small, attractive, server box with built-in wifi, a CD Rom for ripping and Squeezecenter plus an integrated ripping program. Buy it, plug it in along with your receiver and controller, they talk to each other because they are preset to do so (you can tweak after the fact), you rip you music and play through the receiver, all in a few minutes. What kills neophytes is set up, things not working, and confusing technical details. These things don't bother me so much because I am a "semi-geek", but for so many others too many technical details make it a non-starter - People want stuff that "just plays". Maybe it's a bit like the Apple/Windows/Linux debates - some people want to get into the details of the operating system and some don't - I'm hoping Slim Devices can straddle multiple needs.

Many on these forums wouldn't want the Squeezecenter-in-a-box solution, but as I said before, as an open source product, they could still develop their own server platform, use transporters, etc. to extend and customize the product.

autopilot
2008-02-16, 02:29
Yes, and that same article strongly suggests having it professionally installed and configured! - even though the Klimax is pretty basic compared to the SB3 or Duet.


Well you would have to be so retarded to pay $20k for that, you would need help installing it. And changing a light bulb.

Phil Leigh
2008-02-16, 03:57
Yes, and that same article strongly suggests having it professionally installed and configured! - even though the Klimax is pretty basic compared to the SB3 or Duet.

All high-end Linn gear is supposed to be dealer-installed (unless your dealer decides you are capable of doing it yourself...this takes about 5 years of careful dealer-bonding and cartloads of money at regular intervals IME)
:o)

mikeswingler
2008-02-16, 04:13
As a recent newbie and a non- geek Joe, I have been following this discussion with great interest. The first place I got stuck was ripping 100 cd's to mp3 using itunes, then discovering the sound quality was poor. After looking at the forums I discovered EAC and also downloaded Foobar (which I haven't used yet), but have now got all my cd's onto the computer using EAC/FLAC. (had to buy a 500gb external hd when computer full). My SB3 seems to work ok, although it often switches itself off. As a UK resident my main problem is that the non-geek facilities Rhapsody, Pandora and radio are all aimed at a US customer. The UK equivalents Napster and Lastfm are not integrated and don't seem to be able to be accessed as easily as the US ones. The SB3 is sold by PCWORLD in the UK which is the main retail outlet in the country. Logitech is an international brand. But your average newbie/non-geek finds he has bought a piece of US technology that is not that easy to set up and no one at his local store will know much about it. The forums are a great support and its enjoyable joining in, but I find I've got a new hobby, not a simple addition to my hifi system. (and I still haven't discovered how to make a playlist yet - is that what foobar does ??)
Mike Swingler
UK non-geek Joe

autopilot
2008-02-16, 05:03
The UK equivalents Napster and Lastfm are not integrated and don't seem to be able to be accessed as easily as the US ones.

Hi Mike. Napster is coming, although not sure when. Last.FM has been working well with the SB3 for some time now using this plugin - http://www.jamescraig.co.uk/SlimServer/lastfm.html. Pop into the Plugins forum if you need help :)

iwp
2008-02-16, 05:06
Not to dimish the effort with this, but the real killer app would be to have a plugin like this for Windows since (for good or bad) most homes have a PC running some form of Windows and aren't prepared (at least initially) to dedicate a server to serving up music.

I completely agree! Windows support isn't useful to me personally so it's pretty low on my own priority list, but if somebody wanted to try making it work on Windows...

Ian

bpa
2008-02-16, 05:28
I'm having a go a Windows version of CDImport. I put a CD player plugin together using cdda2wav.exe so I'm using it again.

I've got the Info (and so got art work etc) and ripping to wav parts working but I'm having trouble with flac and the tags. Starting other command from Perl under Windows has limitations & quirks which is causing a few problems.

bobkoure
2008-02-16, 05:53
As a recent newbie and a non- geek Joe,...but I find I've got a new hobby, not a simple addition to my hifi system. (and I still haven't discovered how to make a playlist yet - is that what foobar does ??)
Mike Swingler
UK non-geek Joe
Mike - the easiest way to create a playlist is to just load all the tunes you want, in the order you want, into your player (which could be softsqueeze on your PC while something else is playing in the living room) and then just click "save" - and you will be prompted for a playlist name to save this list as - and you're done.
Judging from another thread here, if you have parties, have a list of tunes you've created and let friends mess with the SB - save your list to a playlist.
And... treasure your "average-Joe-ness" (or maybe, being in the UK that'd be "average-bloke-ness"(?)). Once you get comfortable doing something, you won't have that perspective any more.

bl243
2008-02-17, 03:16
I think some simpler documentation would help. The Wiki does have a wealth of knowledge on it - but Wiki's are still quite geeky. Sure keep the wiki, but don't call it a wiki, just call it the "Online Manual" (the average Joe might not know what a wiki is). Also I wouldn't describe the layout of the wiki as intuitive.

Diagrams are very useful. I haven't yet come across an overall user-friendly diagram of how to setup a squeezebox. A lot of people see my squeezebox at home ask me how it works, and then are just baffled by the explanation. A small diagram that shows where your music is, where the server is (why you need a server), where the squeezebox is, where your wireless network fits in, where squeezenetwork fits in - would make it much easier to get an overall picture.

Also if you have no knowledge of the Squeezebox world, and you end up at the slimdevices website, there is nothing that really tells you what it all does. For example - visit the slimdevices website and click on product info and Squeezebox. Nowhere does it mention that you can play music that is stored on your PC. (It mentions that it plays digital music files - but thats geek talk again) Nowhere does it say, in order to play music from your PC you will need SlimServer.

It does mention you can still play music when your computer is turned off - but hang on, it hadn't even mentioned a computer until now - its confusing.

I did a bit of reading before buying my first Squeezebox - but I still had no idea what the difference was between using the Squeezenetwork and a Slimserver. Again, from the slimdevices homepage - where is the information about what Squeezenetwork is and how it relates to the squeezebox?

I think a slight redesign of the site and clarification of how it all works would make all the difference.

Cheers,
Ben

Mnyb
2008-02-17, 04:31
If one could make screen shots of everything, it would be a much better wiki.
And also additional info with screenshots on the most common firewalls and routers.

autopilot
2008-02-17, 04:49
I personally think the Wiki is fine the way it is, it's detailed and contains info for people that want to get their hands dirty. Also, it's a Wiki - user contributed, so by it's nature its inherently never going to be that simple, you would be over writing someone's work and effort trying to simplify it. Trying to simply a wiki is counter productive.

But i absolutly agree, better documentation is needed now that you can pick up a Squeezebox at PC World. Personally, i think a better, professionally written user guide and FAQ is really required in addition to the wiki. Something that takes just the essentials and core elements, and lays them out in a step by step manual, with easy to follow picures. One thats user contributed, because thats a wiki and it soon become over complicated.

gbruzzo
2008-02-17, 06:30
Hi Mike. Napster is coming, although not sure when.

Dear Autopilot,

you are sure of this? I would love it! I asked the question before, and received some "bureaucratic" answers by developers...never could understand if they were actually working on the implementation, or politely dismissing my query..

Regards,

Giacomo

autopilot
2008-02-17, 08:55
Dear Autopilot,

you are sure of this? I would love it! I asked the question before, and received some "bureaucratic" answers by developers...never could understand if they were actually working on the implementation, or politely dismissing my query..

Regards,

Giacomo

In another thread, which i can't find (or be bothered to really, sorry) Sean said that they were in the process of implementing the relevant DRM code and it should follow that. Not for Squeeze Center 7.0, but not far off. You have to read between the lines sometimes, they dont like people to think it's official or dash expectations. But the hints where blindingly obvious.

jst1
2008-02-18, 21:28
I've found the Buffalo LinkStation to be an ideal platform for a SlimServer + Samba file server for a home / small office. It is a technically complicated process to install this software (firmware flash upgrade, Debian installation, compiling software, configuration...But it requires no fiddling once installed and operational. This platform is significantly more economical than the other alternatives, both in purchase cost and ongoing operations (due to extremely low power consumption). PM me if interested in learning more or sharing ideas on this.

mikeswingler
2008-02-19, 10:14
Thanks autopilot and bobkoure for advice. Have now tried Softsqueeze, but can't get it to work - it tries to connect to Slim Server, I have been using Squeezecenter. In case it was a problem with Squeezecenter I have downloaded the latest version, but can't get it to run. When I check in My Computer it shows the original version I downloaded in January. I suppose I should have waited until SC7 fully released. Should I delete old SC7 before installing new SC7 ?
Mike

bobkoure
2008-02-19, 13:07
Be sure you are using a version of softsqueeze that matches your server. The easiest way to do that it to uninstall softsqueeze, re-download it from your server and install it.
Once you're sure of that, try checking the firewall on your PC (the one running softsqueeze). Make sure the server can access your PC via port 3483. When you run softsqueeze, your browser is connected from your PC to your server - and then the server connects back to your PC, as though it were a remote device (like, well, a Squeezebox), so it's an inbound on 3483.
The easiest way to see if it's a firewall issue is to just disable / turn off the firewall and test (note: only do this if you're not connected directly to the internet, i.e. you're behind a hardware firewall)

jst1
2008-02-19, 14:04
Thanks autopilot and bobkoure for advice. Have now tried Softsqueeze, but can't get it to work - it tries to connect to Slim Server, I have been using Squeezecenter. In case it was a problem with Squeezecenter I have downloaded the latest version, but can't get it to run. When I check in My Computer it shows the original version I downloaded in January. I suppose I should have waited until SC7 fully released. Should I delete old SC7 before installing new SC7 ?
Mike


Assuming you have Java installed on your computer, you can run softsqueeze as an applet. Try this from your SlimServer web-gui; it will run the applet from the webserver.

dSw
2008-02-19, 14:41
But here's still the other pieces where more can be done. For instance, though the software is getting better and more stable - 7.0 looks great - I still have enough glitches that I'm thinking of setting up a dedicated computer to run slimserver and act as a HTPC when needed. This is where I see Slimdevices/Logitech extending the brand even further: a small, but powerful enough mini-pc that has Squeezecenter built in, probably mini-itx sized , but more powerful than something like a NAS (most of which don't seem have "juice" enough to run Squeezecenter competently), that has ripping software built in so that it is a "one stop solution". Maybe it's a box that even has a squeezebox receiver built in and you buy it as your "primary squeezebox!"

I've always thought that the addition of some kind of "Slightly Fatter Device" with built-in SB, SC and ripping capability would be a great idea. Make it easy to add music on external storage and integrate iTunes and you could potentially open up a whole new market. The requirement to have a separate PC is still a considerable barrier to entry for many.

konut
2008-02-19, 16:31
I finally read this thread. I've been avoiding it as the premace of the title seemed obviously wrong. An 'average Joe' listens to mp3 files. Its only people who really care about the QUALITY of reproduction that are the potential Slim Devices customers. Having said that, I agree that there would be great advantage to having knowledgeable SB people available for personal consultation.
Let me use myself as an example. I visit, on a daily basis,about 5 different audio, diy, audio manufacturers web sites/forums. I first learned about SD on the Audiocircles forum when Vinnie Rossi of Red Wine Audio started modding them. I subsequently bought a SB3 from him. In preparation for this I bought a Windows laptop to use as a server as the iBook I had had too many deal breaking pitfalls (flac support, tagging support, etc.) to be used convieniently. Having read about the grief many were having with wireless networking, I chose to use a crossover cable. I managed to get everything working (EAC,Accuraterip) to a degree. My albums appear as playlists, I have no albums or generes, and what few artists show, were the ones already loaded on the laptops Windows media player, and random ones from cds I've ripped. Some albums have no tags at all, and I have to find the individual files for playback. I know that I have a tagging 'problem' but I am loathe to try and fix it as, and this is the key, THE SOUND QUALITY IS SO GOOD, I don't want to muck up what useability I DO have. About 3 months ago, all of a sudden, SS would not connect. Turned off the firewall and bingo. About a month ago SS 6.2.2, my original, wouldn't boot up. I uninstalled it and loaded 6.5.4. Everything working again, with the firewall turned on. Do I have to tell you how much I dreaded making ANY changes? I would be willing to pay someone a reasonable fee to help me sort out my problems.