SliMP3 by Slim Devices


Other Rants and Raves

Part 1: The First Rave

December 2002 

Dear Slim Devices,

I bought a SliMP3 last week. I was worried that the software would not handle the number of files I have. Nice touch to show the total of 17,000 songs in the product picture on your web page; that gave me the courage to order it.

I installed it without reading the document and I was incredibly surprised that it worked! Unbelievable. After plugging it in I had heart palpitations when it said "Ready to configure", I looked away and when I looked back it said, "searching for DHCP". Oh crap, I thought, I'll probably have to do a hard reset after I read the directions. Oh well. Then I plugged in the LAN cable and at least it found the DHCP server. I didn't have the audio connected anywhere yet.

Then I got around to finding the software download and installing it. Also easy to do. It scanned all the audio files on my hard drive. Good. Then while playing around with the software client I noticed that it had the IP address of my unit. Hmmm. I looked up and the SliMP3 had a song title on it - the one I'd just been dinking around with in the client! Yikes! The unit and server had found each other and already started working. I hooked up a cheap powered speaker set and I was listening to my MP3s!

The software client is good. I like the feel of the interface. I made a few suggestions on SourceForge. I hope you don't mind.

Frankly, I was not planning on using the music browse from the client because I didn't think a two line interface was going to be worth squat. I was totally wrong. You have done a fantastic job of making a slim [pun intended] interface work well. I still need the client web pages for heavy playlist construction, but the remote makes it easy to play a few songs I'm in the mood for; or to play an artist. It also makes for a killer demo with my friends. I've had a few awkward times with the remote, mostly around the fact that it looses context once I search and select a song. If I can solidify my thinking I'll submit an enhancement request.

Since the testing went so well, I have now reworked my entire music/TV set up to accommodate the SliMP3. I've been able to get the amp out of the basement; I've drilled a few holes here and there to extend the LAN; I'm going to replace my old speakers. I've now got the SliMP3 running over my LinkSys wireless LAN without a problem. We put some heavy traffic on the wireless and then switched songs on the SliMP3 several times - no problem, the SliMP3 took a second to get the start of the new song and then it played stutter free.

Frankly, after ripping my CDs to MP3's I wasn't sure why I'd done it. The computer was in the wrong place. I didn't have a good solution to beam the audio from my upstairs PCs to my basement audio amplifier. (Works fine, just don't stand in the kitchen or use the microwave. Crap.) Using NetMeeting to run the software from the living room was unsightly. You have solved my problem and I am now listening to my music again. I might even go buy some more CDs!

You have an incredibly easy to use product that has freed my CD collection from the confines of my PC. Bottom line: I've sent emails to several friends telling them to buy your product. (Just a one line email with a link to your site. Verbiage: "If you don't buy this today you are stupid.")

Thank you. Thanks a lot. Thank you very much. Thanks.



Part 2: The Network

On the SliMP3 new users forum there are often questions about wireless network configurations. Here's the one I use, and it works GREAT.

In an upstairs room I have my computers and my broadband link. The broadband link attaches to a NetGear RP114 router. The RP114 does DHCP for my network.

 The Windows 2000 system that hosts my SliMP3 server is connected to that router. 

Another leg of that router connects to a LinkSys WAP11 v2.2 wireless access point. The access point is in Access Point mode, and 128bit WEP encryption is set to Mandatory. I gave this access point a static IP address so that I always know where it is.

In another room of my house I have another LinkSys WAP11, but this one is configured as an Access Point Client. When configuring it I had to enter the MAC address of the upstairs WAP11.  I also gave this access point a static IP address.  This WAP11 is connected to a cheap NetGear hub.  Into that hub I have connected the SliMP3 and a few other devices.

Both WAP11 units have strong passwords.  In the Advanced tab / Wireless, SSID Broadcast is disabled.

This configuration works wonderfully.  While the SliMP3 is playing I have done massive file transfers over the wireless to see if it would skip: it did not.  Despite what others have reported, my setup is not affected by the microwave oven, my cell phone, my cordless phones, or my X10 wireless link. It may be adversely affected by sun spots and alpha particles. It was definitely affected by heavy moon glow (that drippy Halloween makeup Joanne was wearing when she decided to investigate "where the wires went". God, what a mess.). 


Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)