Wireless music – from server through phone to speakers

Been a while since I’ve blogged anything, guess I’ve been rather busy with getting my apartment ready for sale. One of the things we’ve done is to paint the bedroom and living room. And what better way to make that a pleasant experience than to play some music while working? When painting the bedroom that was not a problem, we could just play music from the media center pc to the surround speakers installed in the living room. But when the time came to paint the living room, we had packed all that away, to get everything cleaned out before painting (oh, the irony :P). So what does a geek do? Go out and buy some bluetooth A2DP enabled portable mini speakers of course. But then started the fun part. The music library on my phone wasn’t what I wanted to listen to while painting, it was more suited to relaxed listening on the subway. What I wanted was to get access to my full music library on my server (located in the “server cabinet” in the kitchen). I could of course have just plugged an audio cable from said server to the speakers, but what fun is that? So I started looking for an application to my phone that could stream music from the server. Now, as you may already know, I don’t have a mainstream android phone or iphone, but a Nokia N900 with Maemo. And lo and behold, in the extras-repository, I found something called Knots. Installation seemed to be quite straightforward, just install the application on the phone, and on the server, and the only requirements besides that were a browser and VLC. No problem, right? I wish…

Turns out installing a compatible VLC was a bit harder than expected. Of course, everything is usually a bit harder than expected when you run Gentoo Linux. 😉 After many reinstalls of different versions of VLC and gradually adding more USE flags, I finally found a combination that worked. Apparently, Knots uses a telnet interface in VLC that they have abandoned. In VLC 1.1.x it was still available with the format “oldtelnet” (which Knots supported using if configured to use with VLC 1.1.x), but no such luck with VLC 2.x. Maybe it’s still in there, I don’t know, but it must be under a different name if it is. So, in the unlikely event that somebody else out there is trying to use Knots in Gentoo Linux and is struggling with this, here is the final VLC install:
media-video/vlc-1.1.13 USE="X ffmpeg gcrypt httpd lua mmx mp3 ncurses ogg qt4 sqlite sse theora vlm vorbis xcb xml"
The USE flags of note here that I had to add for it to work are httpd, lua, xml and vlm.

After that, it was just a matter of getting my phone on the correct WLAN (for some reason, it kept choosing the one named “linksys” belonging to a neighbour :P), and turn off the silent profile on the phone (for some reason, Knots didn’t make i single sound when the phone was in the silent profile, even though the inbuilt music player couldn’t care less about that, oh well. Just caused me some confusion). I should maybe note, however, that even though Knots worked fine, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. A few features I missed were the possibility to just add everything to the playlist, and then shuffle said playlist. I had to settle for either the “random” feature, which just selected a (not very large) number of songs randomly from the library, or add some songs matching a search to a playlist, but then they couldn’t be shuffled. I just ended up using the “random” feature, and just go and select a new set of random songs every time it stopped.

This entry was posted in Gizmos, Linux and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>