Sunday, October 17, 2004

Music in the kitchen

For the last couple of years, I've been on a quest to get music throughout the house. Not any old music -- for that, I can just buy a bunch of cheap radios -- but my music. Specifically, the 1,556 songs and 215 albums that I have stored on my computer. I want to be able to play it anywhere -- out back, on the patio, in the bathroom while I'm showering, whatever. I want to do it cheaply. I can't afford to buy several copies of gadgets like the Squeezebox (no matter how cool).

But I'm getting there, slowly. I have three computers in the house, any of which can play music and have speakers of some sort attached. The big challenge with a large collection of anything is making sense of it: finding the best songs, organizing them into playlists, etc. I've tried numerous programs. The best right now is Apple's iTunes, which works on either Windows or the Macintosh. It doesn't, however, work on Linux.

One solution I've tried today is to use the free software that you can download from the Squeezebox site. The SlimServer software installed easily on my Windows XP-based PC and automatically uses iTunes playlists. You control the software from anywhere using a Web browser and play the music on anything that can play MP3 streams -- Winamp, xmms on Linux, etc. -- not just a Squeezbox. So far, it's working great.