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lmorroni
2008-06-21, 07:57
Hi All,
I bought a Slim Device about 9 months ago. My initial setup was squeezecenter 6.x running on Ubuntu. I was pleasantly surprised to see how flawlessly the system installed and the device integrated with the server and other 3rd party plugins/internet radio etc. I went ahead and scanned in my 5000+ album collection and was off and running. Since then I have upgraded my machine to Ubuntu Hardy Heron and my slim device has had several firmware revisions installed up to the latest now. Since the latest server install, I have been riddled with problems that are part bugs and part just poor design. Things came to a head last night when I had a party at our house and tried to setup a playlist and run tunes through the evening. I want to post about my various issues and feature requests right here in one post. So here goes:
ISSUES/BUGS
- After using apt to install and try all three different versions of the server(stable,test,unstable) the server fails to start. I need to stop apparmor and the server runs but I need to repeat this during every restart of the machine. This is annoying. I see that a profile is loaded in apparmor but I am pretty certain that something is not cooperating between apparmor and squeezecenter.

- With all three different version, I am experiencing random skipping of music. At what seems to be random intervals, the music just stops playing and the slimdevice claims to be rebuffering. The wireless connection is solid and close to the access point and worked on previous versions of the device firmware and server software flawlessly.

FEATURE REQUESTS
- The Playlists! Good god, these are kind of a mess. The biggest complaint is that if I have my music on a removable device and that device is not connected, and I goto play a playlist, the server automatically removes all the dead links! This is a gigantic issue for me. I have lost numerous playlists that I painstakingly created. There should be, at the very least, an option that stops the system from nuking the playlist just because the removable drive is not mounted.

- Along those lines, the playlist adding/editing is cumbersome. I have two separate feature requests here. 1) The confirm overwrite playlist checkbox should be there by default so that you do not need three clicks to overwrite a playlist. and 2) when you are browsing music and you drill down and add it to the playlist, there should be a way to easily return to the same list in the artist list or an option to select the letter from the artists again. It is very cumbersome when your only option is to go back to the start of your music list. You should be able to return right back to the artists list where you were browsing before you drilled down.

I am concerned about the path this software is taking. It seems to be getting clunkier and more bloated when it started as a nice "slim" software package. Too many features, not enough testing, and not intuitive navigation is sinking this ship. I have also had a slew of otter issues with the SoftSqueeze component and I am not sure if they are related to the server or the java runtime or both. Please, please, please...somebody give me some guidance.

Thanks,
Larry Morroni

radish
2008-06-21, 10:29
Please, please, please...somebody give me some guidance.


Ummm...if you prefer the older software why not use it? If you're not using an SBC no one's forcing 7.0 on you.

I'm also a little amused that you seem to be asking for additional functionality, whilst at the same time complaining that the software is too bloated and not "slim" enough :) Playlist editing etc is actually better than it used to be (although obviously still not perfect) so maybe this is an example of useful bloat? Dunno. You could always build your playlists in a different app and import them.

The issue with rebuffering is interesting. I've seen a number of people complaining recently that they upgraded to 7.0.1 and saw worse performance in this area without any hardware changes. I'd write off a few as outliers but I'm starting to think something is really up...can't reproduce it myself of course, even with 7 players going at once.

lmorroni
2008-06-21, 10:46
7 players running off of ubuntu's and squeezeserver's latest builds?
The skipping has happened with three different Hardy Heron boxes that I have tested. I'm always happy to amuse people but the fact is that the playlist functionality where it removes the invalid songs is really just a poor design choice. I am interested in importing playlists but have not done that yet. I did notice that i could not export playl lists and that when I create a playlist, it is not saved in my target playlists folder which I setup when configuring the server. The bloat that I am referring to is more geared towards the SqueezeNetwork stuff. It just has the feel like this app started as some really bright guys building a streamlined open source project and now has turned into a more commercialized product with stability being sacrificed as a result.

funkstar
2008-06-21, 11:13
Significant playlist changes are planed for a future version, I think it is out at 7.2 or 7.3 at the moment though. I think the developers are looking at some pretty significant changes from what I can tell.

A huge amount of testing was put into SC7, far more than any previous major revision release I can remember. Yes there has still been problems, but the user base is far larger than it has ever been. Bugs are inevitable with all the different hardware platforms and setups there are out there. There is also the increased variety of players to handle, brand new technologies (SqueezeOS for the Controller) and a lot of work was done increasing the reliability of the backend code in this release.

7.0.1 should be official real soon now and 7.1 is due out in the next couple of months I believe, with 7.2 slated at August i memory serves (liable to move though).

Don't forget though, 'slim' always refered to the players, not the server itself :)

aubuti
2008-06-21, 11:19
7 players running off of ubuntu's and squeezeserver's latest builds?
The skipping has happened with three different Hardy Heron boxes that I have tested. I'm always happy to amuse people but the fact is that the playlist functionality where it removes the invalid songs is really just a poor design choice. I am interested in importing playlists but have not done that yet. I did notice that i could not export playl lists and that when I create a playlist, it is not saved in my target playlists folder which I setup when configuring the server. The bloat that I am referring to is more geared towards the SqueezeNetwork stuff. It just has the feel like this app started as some really bright guys building a streamlined open source project and now has turned into a more commercialized product with stability being sacrificed as a result.
Fwiw, I'm easily running 4 players off the latest SqueezeCenter and an old-ish Ubuntu (7.04 - if it ain't broke and all that).

I am intrigued by your playlist problems. You say that it's not saving to your target playlist directory, but is it saving them somewhere else, or not saving them at all? If it's not saving them at all, then you probably don't have the permissions set properly. The user that SC is running under (usually user 'squeezecenter' needs to have rw access to that directory and files).

On the deletion problem, are you saying that it is deleting (1) track references from the playlist file itself when it can't find the tracks, (2) deleting them from the active playlist, (3) deleting them from the library database, or (4) something else? To me, (2) and (3) seem like perfectly logical behavior, because what's it supposed to play if the track isn't there, or how is it supposed to keep a reasonable database if it can't delete tracks that aren't in the library any longer (even if temporarily)? If you mean (1), then that is really bizarre behavior and I would agree that it shouldn't be doing that.

Also, you might want to scan the forums about the apparamor stuff -- I have seen a lot of posts on the topic but haven't paid any attention to them because it's not an issue with Ubuntu 7.04.

lmorroni
2008-06-21, 20:09
Fwiw, I'm easily running 4 players off the latest SqueezeCenter and an old-ish Ubuntu (7.04 - if it ain't broke and all that).

I am intrigued by your playlist problems. You say that it's not saving to your target playlist directory, but is it saving them somewhere else, or not saving them at all? If it's not saving them at all, then you probably don't have the permissions set properly. The user that SC is running under (usually user 'squeezecenter' needs to have rw access to that directory and files).

Ah yes, it was a permissions issue. Now I see the m3us being created. Thanks!



On the deletion problem, are you saying that it is deleting (1) track references from the playlist file itself when it can't find the tracks, (2) deleting them from the active playlist, (3) deleting them from the library database, or (4) something else? To me, (2) and (3) seem like perfectly logical behavior, because what's it supposed to play if the track isn't there, or how is it supposed to keep a reasonable database if it can't delete tracks that aren't in the library any longer (even if temporarily)? If you mean (1), then that is really bizarre behavior and I would agree that it shouldn't be doing that.

No longer an issue now that the playlists are stored in a file instead of the database. Although I still think the playlist creation methods are cumbersome.


Also, you might want to scan the forums about the apparamor stuff -- I have seen a lot of posts on the topic but haven't paid any attention to them because it's not an issue with Ubuntu 7.04.

Thanks, I have looked before but will give it another go sicne I still have mad skipping/buffering issues.

aubuti
2008-06-21, 20:44
Although I still think the playlist creation methods are cumbersome.
Agreed that SC is not a great environment for playlist creation. Like radish, I would recommend building your playlists in a different application and then importing them.

Another possibility is if you have a Windows computer around, try running Moose, which is a faster and friendlier frontend to SC, which will still be running under Ubuntu. Or you could try installing the slimfx skin, which is very iTunes-like in its views of your library and drag-and-drop playlist building. You can find links to Moose in the plugins section of the wiki, or search the forums. For slimfx you'll have to search the forums.

radish
2008-06-21, 20:54
7 players running off of ubuntu's and squeezeserver's latest builds?

Not ubuntu - XP. One of the correlations I've noticed is that many of the people complaining of recent buffering issues have been on *nix variants (linux & osx specifically). It's possible something new is causing problems on those platforms.



I'm always happy to amuse people but the fact is that the playlist functionality where it removes the invalid songs is really just a poor design choice.

We can disagree on the merits of the design (and I can see why it would be irritating) but it's been the same for as long as I remember. I guess one of my points about your post is you seem to be complaining about the latest version but most of your complaints are not about new things.


The bloat that I am referring to is more geared towards the SqueezeNetwork stuff.

So don't use it, switch everything you don't want off. If you look at the plugins page you'll see pretty much everything is modular and can be disabled if you so desire.



It just has the feel like this app started as some really bright guys building a streamlined open source project and now has turned into a more commercialized product with stability being sacrificed as a result.
Yes it's more commercial, but I don't think that has to be a bad thing. I certainly don't think it's any less stable than it used to be. Obviously if your player suddenly stopped working it's less stable for you, and that sucks, but overall things are a lot more reliable than they used to be. And my suggestion of going back to 6 is perfectly serious - if you don't like 7 (or if it doesn't work well for you) there's no reason for you to have to use it. The important thing is being able to play your music!