So I bit the bullet and ordered a couple of Airport Express base stations so that I can finally listen to music over both ethernet and 802.11n. A small miracle, the old Dell P3 is able to transcode the FLAC on a USB hard disk drive attached to the Time Capsule (a Samba share via Bonjour in Windows XP mind you) and serve it via Firefly to the iTunes (as uncompressed .WAV with track info) on our Mac laptops. So now, when I get the Airport Express base stations it should be a matter of selecting both “kitchen” and “living room” in the Airtunes settings and bingo bango, I’m done. Music everywhere. If I’m ever flush I could use an iPod touch or iPhone to remote control via the mobile interface, however, I’m holding out until they offer 802.11n 5 GHz as a feature. I don’t understand how Apple could push so hard for 802.11n and then not have it on the products that are supposed to integrate into the “home media system”. So I think this is it. It’s the end of the odyssey. If Z’s in the kitchen with her laptop she can select music from the MP3 library via her iTunes, or if I want to listen to FLAC I select the Firefly Share. Simple as that, really.
I had looked at this product before, it’s a free GNU sourced media server project, as it’s used mostly for the RokuSoundBridge . Recently I was pondering servers and looking into AirTunes via Airport Express wireless audio. Airport Express (in its base configuration) require iTunes running to control where the audio is sent. The slick thing since the advent of iPhone 2.0 and iPod Touch is the “Remote Software by Apple” which does what it says. Your Apple TV, your Mac Mini server in the basement, anything connected to your 802.11/b/g network can be under its control via touch screen. But back to Firefly Media Server.
Okay, say you have 3 rooms and in each room someone wants to listen to different music. How? Well, lets pretend again that on your home network you have a server where all the music is centrally located. Firefly taps this by adding iTunes server compatibility through Bonjour networking. On the old Dell XP machine it was a matter of installing Bonjour for Windows 1.04 and then the latest build of Firefly. Right now over 802.11g I have two laptops listening to two different songs, where the Firefly shows up as a shared iTunes Library and amazingly the Dell still has enough resources to playback a separate FLAC audio stream over USB. That makes 3 concurrent streams of audio, not bad for an old 900 MHz Pentium III.
I am not excited about taking the GREs. That’s about all I can think of. I ran 7 miles last Monday and climbed 3 other days last week. The 7 mile run was too much. Josh mentioned something about climbing trips in September. It’s too much for me to think of right now and Ryan has been fing-jured. On a completely unrelated mechanical note, I did do a little research into bit driver types for professional applications, as in putting two pieces of wood together with a screw. The Phillips head was never supposed to make it as far as it has. From my reading, Canadian carpenters love the old square-Robertson drive. Hex and Torx also work better in high torque situations. There is a better version of Phillips called the Pozidriv (I didn’t make that up) though it seems to be something of a hybrid Phillips with less public awareness. The square bit will probably make its way into my tool box, though clearly we all can’t be Canadian woodsmen.