I decided to update the web interface for my audio playback software I wrote for myself over the years. Many small devices are available today with a full featured web browser and the web interface to my player software is dated. To make a long story short I became interested in the Squeeze Center server software used by Logitec's Squeeze Box products. The server is an open source project that developed out of the SLIMMP3 project. I liked the web browser interface provided by the Squeeze Center server and decided to give it a try.
Before spending any money I tested the Squeeze Center using the Java based SoftSqueeze player provided with the Squeeze Center server. It could be something I did but I could not get the SoftSqueeze player to run reliably on either my VISTA or XP computers. I had just purchased an ASUS EEE 701 and the Squeeze Center web interface worked very well under the installed FireFox browser. The EEE made a great wireless remote for the Squeeze Center. So in typical hobbyist fashion I decided to develop my own player software.
The information available at the time for the Squeeze Center protocol was incomplete and in some cases out of date. After a couple of months I had cobbled together a player program. The original player was a desktop application I ran on one one of my home computers. Each time the computer running the player software rebooted (Windows update) or I closed the player program and forgot to restart it there was no music available. This prompted me to convert the desktop player software to Windows service based program. As my music files reside on a Windows Home Server and the Squeeze Center server software is running on the Home Server I installed my player software service on the Home Server computer.
The combination of the Asus EEE netbook and the player service worked so well it became my main audio source. To make the audio available throughout the house I took the SPDIF out form the audio card in the Home Server and split the signal using a low cost composite video amplifier (1 in 4 out) .The video amplifier fed each of the receivers in the home using standard 75ohm video cable.
The system worked very well but to replace my old system I needed a simple remote control. Most of the time the music system is in random song mode and inevitably a song that does not fit my mood comes on and I wanted a quick way to change to the next song. The remote control interface for the Squeeze Center is a complicated menu system that requires visual feedback to operate properly. Using a Parallax Propeller chip an RS232 driver and an IR receiver I prototyped a device to duplicate the LCD display of the Logitec SqueezeBox 2 to my television and also receive IR commands from a remote control and relay them to the player service. I called this hardware project Squish Remote.
Over the next few weeks I would like to firm up the project and release a beta of the player service and all the software and hardware information pertaining to the Squish Remote project. The lattest wiki on the Squeeze Center server protocol I found seams mutch more complete and I am in the process of updating the player software to reflect the information in the wiki.
I think this will be a fun project that could end up being used every day. More later...