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  1. #1
    Senior Member jonheal's Avatar
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    When it works, it works ... when it doesn't ...

    I won’t go so far as to say the Squeezebox is not “ready for prime time,” because 99% of the time, it works fine and I love it. But on those occasions ... it is certainly not ready for the unwashed masses.

    Several weeks ago, I posted about an experience I had where I believe the firmware in the SB became corrupted, the main symptoms were: play would stop after the first song on an album, and, text would appear superimposed on the analog VU meters. That one took me four or five hours (including a call to Slim support that went nowhere) to fix.

    Last night, I had another dose of quirkiness. I am in the process of rebuilding the machine on which Slimserver runs. This involved installing a new motherboard, and then reloading everything from scratch.

    At the point I was ready to install Slimserver, the only things I had loaded were:

    • Windows XP Professional (and all current patches)
    • Driver for my M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card
    • McAfee 10
    • Passwords Plus (password management database)

    I should also mention that I gave the machine a new IP number. I don’t use DHCP. Everything around here has a fixed number in the 192.168.1.xxx range.

    I installed Slimserver 6.2.2 and thereafter found myself in the situation where Slimserver would not start — the icon in the Notification area just blinked endlessly. I thought I remembered reading how this sometimes happens, the solution being to uninstall and then reinstall. So, that’s what I did. I had a previous experience loading Slimserver where it errored-out during the install complaining about not being able to find a Perl something or other, so to be on the safe side, I also installed a recent build of ActiveState Perl before attempting to reinstall Slimserver (although it shouldn't be necessary, right?).

    This time, Slimserver started properly. An hour later, or so, my collection had been catalogued. I went upstairs to try out the Squeezebox, and found it in a state of needing networking setup. I worked my way through the screens adding the SBs IP number, the subnet mask, the gateway’s IP number, and then the DNS server’s IP number. Once that number had been entered, I hit the Right button one more time, and the SB froze for a few moments, then the screen went black for a few more moments, and then I was presented with the screen telling me to set up networking again. None of the settings I had just entered were retained. So I went through the process again … about ten times. I frowned and cussed, and then tried the usual things: unplugging the device and plugging it back in again; holding the Add key down for a “Factory Reset;” I even tried unplugging my router for a minute or so. This is a WIRED SB, by the way. (I have enough trouble without adding wireless voodoo to the mix :-)).

    As a last resort, I uninstalled 6.2.2, restarted the machine, and then installed 6.2.1. Still, Slimserver and the SB still could not find each other. I began to wonder if the port on the router was bad, or maybe the cable. So, I unplugged the SB, took it down to the basement where the computer running Slimserver resides and plugged it into another port on the router. This time, success!

    I took the SB back upstairs and plugged it back in, and everything was still working fine. I suppose that it just needed to remain unplugged for “a while,” and the time it took to physically carry it downstairs allowed for sufficient time to pass.

    I think that this is the kind of problem that a computer neophyte would find overwhelmingly vexing.
    Last edited by jonheal; 2006-05-12 at 06:11.
    Jon Heal says:
    Have a nice day!
    http://www.theheals.org/
    ~~~
    SB3 (wired - 6.3.1) | DELL OptiPlex PC running XP Pro | DENON DRA-397 | PSB Stratus Bronze (2) | Outlaw Audio LFM-2 (1) | DIY Speaker Cables | Dayton Audio Interconnects

  2. #2
    Senior Member Patrick Dixon's Avatar
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    And yet, I have a client with 6 SB2s in a multiroom type setup that has been up for about a year - and they love it. They're not geeks, and so they don't f-around with it, they just download/rip music and play it.

  3. #3
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    I don't have any insight into the specific problems you've had, but I will just mention that ethernet switches can sometimes get themselves into a state where specific machines simply don't work. I've got a laptop which for some reason just stopped connecting into the home network. I took it upstairs and plugged it into a different switch (on the same LAN), and it was fine. After trying different ports on the downstairs switch (including the port that another machine which was working fine was connected to), I eventually concluded that the patch cable was bad, but replacing it didn't fix things. Eventually, power-cycling the switch fixed things.

    I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jonheal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Dixon
    And yet, I have a client with 6 SB2s in a multiroom type setup that has been up for about a year - and they love it. They're not geeks, and so they don't f-around with it, they just download/rip music and play it.
    F-ing around can be a problem ;-)
    Jon Heal says:
    Have a nice day!
    http://www.theheals.org/
    ~~~
    SB3 (wired - 6.3.1) | DELL OptiPlex PC running XP Pro | DENON DRA-397 | PSB Stratus Bronze (2) | Outlaw Audio LFM-2 (1) | DIY Speaker Cables | Dayton Audio Interconnects

  5. #5
    Senior Member jonheal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb
    I don't have any insight into the specific problems you've had, but I will just mention that ethernet switches can sometimes get themselves into a state where specific machines simply don't work. I've got a laptop which for some reason just stopped connecting into the home network. I took it upstairs and plugged it into a different switch (on the same LAN), and it was fine. After trying different ports on the downstairs switch (including the port that another machine which was working fine was connected to), I eventually concluded that the patch cable was bad, but replacing it didn't fix things. Eventually, power-cycling the switch fixed things.

    I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.
    I did reboot my router. I'm confident this was a Slimserver/Squeezebox quirk.

    My post was rhetorical, for the most part. I fixed the problem myself (or it fixed itself), so ... whatever.

    I only offer the observation that for a device to be TRULY ready for mass consumption, it must be about as foolproof as a toaster. Now for a device as complex as the Squeezebox, that may be a practical impossibility.

    Anyway, Slim Devices may not be aiming for "mass consumption," although I'm sure they'd like to sell as many boxes as possible :-)
    Last edited by jonheal; 2006-05-12 at 07:51.
    Jon Heal says:
    Have a nice day!
    http://www.theheals.org/
    ~~~
    SB3 (wired - 6.3.1) | DELL OptiPlex PC running XP Pro | DENON DRA-397 | PSB Stratus Bronze (2) | Outlaw Audio LFM-2 (1) | DIY Speaker Cables | Dayton Audio Interconnects

  6. #6
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb
    I cannot fathom how a simple ethernet switch can behave like this, but there you go. So if you ever get a connection problem like this that seems inexplicable, try rebooting your switches/hubs/routers.
    Perhaps related to this, I've found that since I started using SBs about 4 months ago, rebooting my router/switch has gone from being a rare event to something I have do more often. I've wondered if streaming FLACs -- wired, wirelessly, or both -- is exposing weaknesses in the router itself (a Netgear WGR614v3), that aren't an issue with ordinary computer use.

  7. #7
    Senior Member davep's Avatar
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    If it is of any relevance I will relate my recent experience with a new iPod. First of all I got a new iPod because my original one (iPod mini) went on the fritz after about a year of usage. The new one (iPod Photo 30MB) was connected to the WinXP Pc which has been used for syncing mp3s to the old iPod for many months but the iTunes here refused to recognise the new one at all. XP could see it as a removable disk but iTunes just ignored it. Despite several hours of trying everything I could think of - reinstall iTunes, factory reset iPod, sacrificing a small goat, etc - I gave up. I did get a copy of iTunes on my laptop to recognise it but even that was not immediate and required a certain amount of f-ing around. Trouble is the music is stored on the desktop so I have to pull everything across the network into the laptop and out onto the iPod.

    The point of this story is that even the mighty iPod, which is meant to be the ultimate plug and play gadget aimed at use by non-geeks, can hit snags which even a self confessed geek cannot actually correct. Checking the Apple forums later I find that my problem is actually quite common and, as far as I can see has no single, simple solution.

    davep

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonheal
    I won’t go so far as to say the Squeezebox is not “ready for prime time,” ...
    Well, I'll say it. While it's a wonderful device, and I love it, I would not think of recommending it to someone with just average computer aptitude unless I could help them set it up. I can't think of a single one of my close friends who would not be totally lost if I gave them a brand new SB3. I've gotten quite an education getting to the point where my CDs are ripped to flac, arwork is in each folder, and I have two working Squeezeboxes. I've enjoyed the process, but I don't think the average consumer would be willing to spend anywhere near the hours that I have put into things. Geeks, yes, and audiophiles, maybe. The average joe, I don't think so.

  9. #9
    I ran into that exact problem with my iPod(s) over the years (on Mac and on Apple machines). Finally, when I decided to go FLAC, I sold the iPods (including a new 60Gb iPod-with-video). But yes, plug-in-play, *sometimes*, even for the mighty iPod.

    Mark
    "Barn burnt down. Now I can see the moon." - Masahide

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by davep
    sacrificing a small goat, etc -
    davep
    You didn't try whacking yourself in the forehead with a hard board????

    Sorry - couldn't resist - I giggle every time I see that avatar.;-)
    Wireless SB3, Denon DRA-F101, Mission M31 loudspeakers
    WinXP SP2 Slimserver, SMC WBR14g router
    http://www.last.fm/user/nicketynick/

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