1 (edited by ehertz 2017-12-01 09:13:41)

Topic: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

My main use for my Chumby collection (3 at home, 1 at work) is to allow me to listen to streaming radio stations.

Unfortunately, I found that entering the information required to make "My Streams" work through the standard Chumby interface is, for me at least, very frustrating. Typing on that on-screen keyboard is a chore and there is no easy way to sort the list.

My solution was to create a spreadsheet that lets me enter the URLs of the streaming radio stations that I listen to, as well as the station names. This lets me sort the information easily and then create the text file I need to paste into the url_streams file that controls the "My Streams" application.

I posted my spreadsheet at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rhnwwo0btpvrh … s.xls?dl=0

The first tab in the spreadsheet goes through, more or less step-by-step, how to enter the information, access the url_streams file, update that file, and then verify that it was appropriately modified. I would like to get feedback from folks letting me know how I could improve the instructions and/or the other sections of the spreadsheet.

I have used this spreadsheet and the methods described for over a year, so I am sure that some things I assume are obvious, because I have done them so often, are not to anyone trying this for the first time, so please feel free to let me know what is confusing and how I might make it less so.

Edit December 1, 2017 - corrected URL for file to account for changes in Dropbox download link naming

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Thank you for sharing this with the community.

Tar, feathers, congress. Some assembly required.

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Great job! The first tab was really well-written and I enjoyed learning your method. But then when I went to the "stations" tab I was really *wowed.* What a lot of good work you put into this, and the bonus is a great selection of URL streams new to me. I'm already having fun just listening to some of your stations. I also saved your spread sheet as an HTML page, so I'm just cutting and pasting and listening on my PC. I'm thrilled about not trying to type in those urls on those little keys. I'll definitely be putting my collection of streams into your format, because it can be used so many ways, besides MyStreams. These direct urls to the streams are getting harder to find, so maybe we can share more, like the list you've shared with us.

I can't see anything lacking in the instructions- it's really all flows well after reading. The first part's a good intro for people who've never modified a Chumby file before, too. The addition of a column for sorting the stations (by state as you did, or genre, or whatever) was pretty clever. Thanks!

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

This is pure genius!

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Thanks for sharing this with the community!  It's people like you who are keeping the Chumby community alive and strong long after the company has closed smile

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Thanks all for your very kind comments.

A few comments of my own.

First, I would love to have a resource that made it easier to find and/or track valid open streams. I am just not sure how to accomplish that and keep it properly updated. Obviously, my listening bias on my Chumby is news and talk stations. (I figure there are a ton of music stations in my area (the middle of North Carolina) that are readily available on broadcast radio.) But in the year or so since I started using this, I have seen about 20% of the stations change their streaming URLs, so the maintenance issue is real.

Second, my "dream" is to be able to create a dedicated one station streaming widget that I could put in a channel with one widget, so I could change to a channel and quickly get that station to come up and keep playing. That is, a shortcut to a given station. I admit that searching for stations through the list can be tedious, which I why I put my most listened to stations at the top. Unfortunately, my programming skills are not sufficient to do this, so if someone far more capable than me is interested, please steal my idea.

Third, I have a second spreadsheet (actually, another tab on this spreadsheet that I deleted for posting) that allows me to sort alarms. The alarm storage format is similar, although it does have several idiosyncracies. I use lots of alarms on my main Chumby (about 12 on a weekday, and 5 on weekends) to give me different information and different brightness levels at different times of the day. I often modify the alarms also and really want to be able to sort them by time so I can find them easily. If some of you think it would be helpful, I can post that spreadsheet also. But I suspect I am several standard deviations away from the norm when it comes to alarm usage.

Finally, Doktor Jones, thank you for your comment. But I definitely want to recognize the work done by Duane and moderators like you, because without that, this unique product would lose its appeal for many of us. Yes, I am well aware of zurk's work and think it is terrific. But, unfortunately, without a server to run the Chumby platform, many of the things I want to do just won't work. So I want to express my very sincere gratitude to all of you.

7 (edited by bobsz 2012-10-04 00:07:36)

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

@ehertz- Re your "second dream" I think your answer might already be here. Have you ever tried the great old widget YouStreams?-


Unless I misunderstand, this pretty much does what you're looking for. It's a streaming music widget you can put on a channel by itself. When you go there, it's one tap and your #1 stream starts playing.

The amazing thing is, author Ratzfatz made the widget so the stream keeps playing if you change channels. Of course, that means you have to change channels back to turn the stream off. (Or, cheat and just turn down the volume.)

The Widget is configured online, not at chumby dot com but an outside site. First load the widget on your Chumby, then tap on "Help" and it'll show you a unique ID code for your Chumby and the URL where you can set up your custom streams and categories if you want them too. (There are samples there for some  stations but just delete them all and "add new category.")

I haven't used this widget in a couple of years, but I just added it to my Chumby to test and it still works fine. This reinforces the point you just made above about how much better things are thanks to Duane and the other folks keeping our Chumby sites and servers running.

(NOTE: Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this widget works on versions other than 3.5 inch Chumbys. There was a long thread about this app at: http://forum.chumby.com/viewtopic.php?id=4942)

If you decide to try YouStreams, there's also a feature to check if the URL is still streaming. Don't get too excited, it seems like that feature doesn't work anymore. I am thinking of another way I might be able to help you/us with that task of checking valid working streams, though. BTW, sometimes when radio stations change to flash streams, they keep the old mp3 streams, although they don't publicize them. Sometimes they'll mention them in small print or as a "dial-up stream." That's why saving URL listings like on your spreadsheets is so valuable.

Thanks again for your clever contributions. Keep 'em coming!

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Thanks bobsz. I have tried the YouStreams widget and it is not quite what I want. My biggest complaint with it is that it seems to hog system resources to the point where the volume control on the Chumby One has a very long response time, which I find quite frustrating. I am not sure why this happens. It may be an issue with the interaction between btplay and the other things that I run on my Chumby. I know that others have not complained about this issue, so I am very willing to put the blame on me and not Ratzfatz, who has clearly put a **tremendous** amount of work into this widget.

This does not seem to be a problem with MyStreams, which always respond quickly to changes in the volume control settings, at least for me.

I assume this relates to the fact that MyStreams is built into the Control Panel, while YouStreams needs to be an external program and the overhead it encounters delays the response to volume control setting changes.

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

Hi everyone, I sure to wish I had the technical know-how to follow of the above. I am one of those people that needs the stream address put right under my nose. I was wondering if any of you could help me out with the stream address to enter for WCBS New York, 880 on AM dial. And the NYC PBS station 93.9 on the FM dial. Apologies for using this thread for such a basic, idiot's request and thank you in advance for your patience.

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

No problem at all. Here is the info:

WCBS: provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WCBSAM.pls
WNYC-AM: beta.wnyc.org/stream/wnyc-am820/mp3.pls
WNYC-FM: beta.wnyc.org/stream/wnyc-fm939/mp3.pls

Hope that helps.

Re: Streaming Radio - Made a Little Easier

ehertz: thank you so much!!!! You are awesome!