1 (edited by quizengine 2008-05-01 11:28:17)

Topic: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Apologies for the length of this post - I did run it's potential length past a moderator before I posted and was given the ok. I'm not trying to teach you seasoned coders and hackers how to suck eggs here, by being so detailed. My goal was to make it step-by-step easy so that inexperienced users had a chance of getting this to work.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=- 

My Motivation

I don't read newspapers, and never have throughout my life, yet I consider myself to be reasonably well informed about the world. Why ? Because of a radio station called BBC Radio 4 that I have been listening to for the last 33 years (we're a loyal lot, R4 listeners !). The station 'strap line' is "Intelligent Speech" - says it all really...

I'd had my Chumby for a week or so, when I began playing around with the Internet radio part of it. Imagine my horror when I found I could not receive Radio 4. "BBC.. you're innovative, you're forward thinking.. you're web-mad ! And STILL no R4 for my Chumby". So, with that challenge, a lot of motivation, and quite a lot of research, I've finally cracked how to listen to Radio 4 on my Chumby - and I'm here to share how. And if there's anybody who's reading who likes other BBC Radio too, including the magnificent 'Listen again' (a sort of iTunes for the last 7 days of almost all BBC radio output - only unlike iTunes, it's free !) - this will offer you (I think) every Radio stream the Beeb creates. Gosh, that's a lot !

-=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=-  -=-=-=-=-=-=- 

Here's goes.

My system is P4, 2GB, Win XP SP2 - I haven't tested on any other platforms, but if you do, maybe you'll post the outcome here to share with others.

You will need :-

Squeezecenter 7.0 - download free from - http://www.slimdevices.com/su_downloads.html?
(available For Win XP/2000/Vista, Mac OS X 10.3-10.5, Debian / Ubuntu, Linux RPM and others)

AlienBBC plugin for Squeezecenter - free from - http://www.x2systems.com/AlienBBC/index.html#downloads
(available For Windows, Mac OS X and Linux)

A text editor that understands and can work with the different way Unix text files handles line breaks
(Note: Windows users - Notepad will NOT do, Mac and Linux users - can't help you - ask a knowledgeable friend)
If this means nothing to you, or you know you haven't got such a program I recommend Programmer's File Editor for Windows - available free at -
http://www.download.com/Programmer-s-Fi … ?tag=lst-1

The Lame MP3 codec - download free from -
http://www.rarewares.org/dancer/dancer. … me-current

That's your toolbox sorted, so let's get to work.

1. If you need to (see prev para), install your text editor, and know where to find a shortcut to it, once installed.

2. Install Squeezecentre
Once installed, Squeezecentre should fire up in your system tray (the little icons near your clock on the toolbar). It should have a dark display (no green lights) indicating it's not running yet. Leave it that way for now.

3. Install AlienBBC plugin

There's an optional test that runs after install - run that if you want - hey a BBC radio feed - Wow this IS EASY... Close the test window (if you ran it)
(If you do run this test, your firewall may ask whether or not to grant network access to various modules here - your choice, but unless you grant the privileges, it won't work)

Well, I was thinking - this is a breeze - now to get AlienBBC running on Squeezecenter - the last step

[edited out many hours of growls, curses, de-installs, re-installs, searches on Google, searches on forums, botched experiments, and finally...]

4. Launch your Programmers File Editor (or whatever reads / edits Unix text files on your system)

5. Browse to the file "RTSP.pm". Mine's located in "C:\Program Files\SqueezeCenter\server\Plugins\Alien" and yours will be too if you did a default install on Windows

6. Open the file, and browse through until you find a line beginning "# Check client - only stream to known slim clients"

This is part of the problem that stops Chumby playing BBC streams, and we need to comment it out

7. Place a # at the beginning of each of the next SIX lines. The final section of script should read

    # Check client - only stream to known slim clients
    #if (!defined($client) || !$client->isPlayer()) {
#        $log->warn("Alien only streams to Slim players");
#        return undef;
#    }

8. Save the file and quit your text editor

9. Unzip or unpack the 'lame3.97.zip'. We only need 1 file from that collection - lame.exe. Copy or move it to the following folder -
C:\Program Files\SqueezeCenter\server\Bin\MSWin32-x86-multi-thread

10. Time to activate SqueezeCenter. Find it in your system tray, right click and choose 'Start SqueezeCenter'. As it's 'powering up' a tiny representation of flashing green LEDS comes on the system tray icon. Once fully started, the lights become steady.

11. If this is your first time running SqueezeCenter, you'll need to complete the next 4 steps. If you've configured SqueezeCenter before, right click the system tray icon, choose 'Open SqueezeCenter' and skip forward to step 16.

12. A wizard should be running to help you setup your Logitech wireless music system - don't worry, I KNOW you haven't got one ! Click next (bottom right).

13. Read the next page carefully and decide if you want to use / participate in the SqueezeNetwork. If you do, follow the links ("I need an account"). This is not compulsary, and is not needed to activate this software. If you don't wish to join, click 'skip'

14. Choose what music sources you want - I just chose 'use local music'. Click Next

15. Now browse to a folder you want to store any MP3 music in - this isn't for the BBC streams, so I guess from the point of view of the article, it doesn't matter what folder you choose. Click next. Then click 'Finish'.

16.SqueezeCenter should be open in a browser window. Click 'Settings' (bottom right). Click the last tab - 'Status'. Look down the list to find 'Server IP address' - make a note of the four numbers - we'll need to enter those into Chumby.

17. Click the 'Advanced' tab (just to the left of 'Status'). There's a dropdown menu just under the 'Basic Settings' tab. Click it and choose 'File Types'. Scroll down until you find the RSTP section. The middle entry of the three there is labelled 'MP3'. Use that dropdown to change that to read 'Mplayer/lame'. Click 'Apply', click 'Close' (both bottom right).

18. To 'fix' these changes we need to restart SqueezeCenter. Right click the system tray icon and choose 'Stop SqueezeCenter'. Wait until the green LEDs go out on the system tray icon - you might have to wait a wee while. Only when they've gone out, right click the icon again and click 'Start SqueezeCenter'

19. In SqueezeCenter's left hand pane, open the 'Internet Radio' list (actually it'll probably be open already). Find the 'Alien BBC' icon and click it. Click the 'BBC Live Streams' then click 'Radio 4' (actually you can do this with whichever stream you want - that's just my favourite). We're nearly there, but don't click play yet.

20.Goto your Chumby. Squeeze the top to open control panel. Tap 'Music' then scroll until you find 'Slimserver' (the older name for Squeezecenter). Click it, then click 'goto'. Type the four sets of numbers you got from step 16 into the IP address. Click 'play'.

21. Return to your PC. You *may* find the right hand pane has connected with your Chumby. On mine, there's a menu top right that says 'Neptune from'. (I guess Neptune is some
software module it's connected to within Chumby). If the right hand pane still does not show your device, press the refresh button (F5) for the browser window, and it should hitch up.

22. On the left hand pane click the small play icon. Goto your Chumby and listen to the Beeb. Hurrah !

23. Now uninstall everything, try it again, and document it all to make sure that others can repeat the process. Oh no, wait, you don't need to that because I've done it for you !

I know it's all a bit involved, but I really WOULD go that far to hear the Today programme each morning !

Good luck, and post any results / tests with other operating systems etc.

Additional edit: Although I got it working, I found that the volume was very low, and the volume control on Squeezecenter did not work / help. My main Chumby is in the kitchen, and if all appliances are off, I can hear the radio ok. But if even one appliance is on (microwave, dishwasher, washing machine) I can't hear the Chumby any more, even if it is on full volume.

So... I started Googling again, and found the solution at the Slimdevices website forum. Here it is.

Edit the file 'custom-convert.conf' in the Plugins/Alien folder. Mine is at "C:\Program Files\SqueezeCenter\server\Plugins\Alien". (Remember to use a Unix compliant file editor such as mentioned earlier in the post. I quote from the Slimdevices forum answer...

"Alter this part of RTSP lines
"-af volume=0,resample=44100:0:1,channels=2"
The "volume=0" can be changed to higher values. 0 is the gain value in dB so a value of 60 is a gain of 1000. This will affect all RealAudio streams."

(there were three lines in my file titled 'rstp wav', 'rstp mp3' and 'rstp flc'. I altered the '..-af volume=12..' on each of them)

I did some experiments and found (for me) that the best edited value was 12, but feel free to do your own experiments. You will probably (I did) have to exit and reload Squeezeserver to apply each change you make.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Wow, nice work.

I never found the solution you arrived at in your Step 7 and simply uninstalled it all and switched to Nicecast (Mac).

Great tutorial though, you should put it in the wiki?

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Well I was well motivated, as I didn't know any other software (I don't have a Mac) that would get me my goal.

Incidentally, nice work on the Train timetable widget - and fast! I don't travel often on trains but I've added arrivals and departures to my 'Home Town' channel - it's nice to glance at your Chumby every now and again and be reminded of stuff happening 'for real'.

Any idea how many Chumbys are in the wild in the UK ?

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Glad you like the widget!

No idea about Chumbys in the UK. They all have to be shipped here "illegally", so I guess the only way to know is for Chumby Ind to geo-locate all IP addresses.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Many many thanks for this one - lack of BBC on the Chumby has been annoying me for some time.

Great clear write-up.

As for how many Chumbys in the UK - judging by the number of BBC and UK based widgets there must be quite a few! I'd love to see the GEO-locate results for where Chumbys are living around the world.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

I feel a widget coming on.

If Chumby industries are ok sharing (anonymous) locations of Chumbys, I'd have a stab at writing a 'Chumby Globe' widget.

Any offers to allow that data to be used ?

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

I'd love to see that.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

quizengine wrote:

I feel a widget coming on.

If Chumby industries are ok sharing (anonymous) locations of Chumbys, I'd have a stab at writing a 'Chumby Globe' widget.

Any offers to allow that data to be used ?

yeah i'd love to see that too!! any thoughts on a data source? the forum somehow? I wonder if any official chumbyans want to help? wink

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Thanks for the very clear and detailed instructions. I was able to get it up and running within minutes over here in Canada. Alas, I'm not sure it will be useful to me. Do I really have to run to my PC each time I want to connect to SqueezeCenter?! If so, this would mean I can't wake up to it in the morning, or decide after crawling into bed that I want to listen to it, or switch briefly to another audio source and back to the BBC.  I hope I'm mistaken -- please let me know if I am missing something!


Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

You're right, you need to have a computer on to run Squeeze

11 (edited by mwickens 2008-04-19 15:04:58)

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

I do realize the computer has to be on. It's having to actually initiate a process on the computer each time you want to begin listening that I find inconvenient. For a while I had a stream set up with Winamp and Icecast that I could just set in motion and leave, using the Chumby to connect and disconnect at will.

I've tried playing with the Power On Resume setting (Players -> Audio) in SqueezeCenter, which looks promising, but have only succeeded in breaking it completely.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

You could easily get this running as a service on a *nix box, so that listening to radio streams could be easier for the average chumby user.

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Is there any way to stream music / radio from iTunes on a Mac?  Also I have a Drobo and was thinking of getting a DroboShare which (I'm told) allows widgets that let some MP3 network players to work without a computer on.  Could Drobo/DroboShare be used in combination to let streaming work without the need for a computer?

Re: Warning LONG POST: BBC Radio for your Chumby

Here's a pretty good solution for streaming music from the Mac.  Basically, it redirects audio output from iTunes as an network stream.

I'm sorry I don't know anything about DroboShare, but from what I can tell, it's basically a NAS.  If it supports access to files over HTTP, you could pretty readily set up a playlist and use "My Streams" to play files.