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Miscellaneous (Formerly MCS Free Plug-Ins) Discussions relating to the WebAgent and other free plug-ins, provided by Michael McSharry. For MCS "pay" plug-ins, please see the specific plug-in forum.

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  #41  
Old January 16th, 2004, 10:45 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Michael, I'm not sure you need to support multiple Slim Servers, but the multiple clients on a single server is what I was getting at. Controlling them will allow multiple audio sources (players or clients) on the network to be controlled from a single point - your plugin. This gets us pretty darn close to whole-house audio with separate "sources" all under a single control.

The only other thing I'd like to see is actual source control for each source on the PC (ie. remote mixer control), but I undertsand this is mixer-hardware/software dependent and might be a can of worms to try to support more than a few sound cards. It would probably require an agent on each PC or device that interrogates the local AV hardware/software and reports that info to the central server.

Maybe I should just order that Denon server unit they showed at CES!

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #42  
Old January 17th, 2004, 03:44 AM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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Thanks Gordon, that clarifies it.

I believe the volume aspect of mixer control is already implemented and for the special cases the volume actions can be handled with mcsMusicPlayer.txt.

In my mcsMusicPlayer.txt file I use the x coordinate of the Now Playing graphic as a volume slider as well as the volume up down icon buttons. Depending upon the player I will control IR to the AV Receiver or local to the sound card on the PC where the player is running. The volume level is displayed to the right of the player icons.

I'm think I implemented volume control for SliMP3, but I got no idea what SlimServer does with the mixer control inputs I provided. Can you educate me how the network players deal with the mixer. Do they have their own power amp or is their output into an exernal amp?

You may also need to clarify your intentions for mixer controls as well as what you like about the Denon server. Did you attend the show?
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  #43  
Old January 17th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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The volumne feature of mcsMusic does control the volume on the Slimp3 player through the Slim Server. It's actually neat to watch or hear it respond to clicking the volume down or up buttons on the mcsMusic web page.

I have to get the latest version - mine doesn't show a slider.

I have not checked whether mcsMusic volume through Slim Server will control Winamp - I'll try that after getting the latest version in a few minutes and report below.

The Slimp3 player is a small device, about 3" high by 9" long, about 2" deep. It has a small wallwart-type power adapter, an Ethernet port, and Right and Left analog audio out RCA jacks. Display is florescent luminous 2-line alphanumeric dot matrix, I think it's 40 characters wide. It provides a line-level analog audio output through the RCA jacks. Comes with an IR remote control for setup and normal control use.

The Slimp3 has bass and treble levels as well as volume in the software, but with usual use you wouldn't mess with those, using the receiver's controls instead. Short of the network setup, most all settings can be controlled or modified by the server software, I'm told. My unit is plugged into my AV receiver using the AUX audio in. There is no mixer on the Slimp3 player - it is simply an audio signal out to an external amp.

Mixer controls... If you double-click your tray speaker icon, it will usually open up a mixer window with volume and mute (in playback mode) for each sound channel on your system. Mic, line in, WAV, etc. and a master volume and mute switch are typical. Specialty sound cards like my Audigy have other special inputs and outputs, so there are more controls. Some mixers allow left/right panning or balance. Pic of mine is attached.

What I think would be a nice thing to provide would be remote control of those mixer controls. Something like this: imagine you have a PC in several rooms in the house (which I do) and you want to be able to announce something to someone other than yourself. Envision HSP's ability to route the audio announcement to the appropriate PC. Since that person is playing music, the automation mutes or lowers the music, plays the announcement, and raises or un-mutes the music.

What I'm aiming at is an intercom or even some phone functions all via the PC and it's sound gear. I guess it could also be described as telephony without the phone, but with the ability to script or intelligently control audio sources on remote PCs and devices. How do you do that? Control the local PC mixer device which controls the levels and sources of audio playing through the speakers.

Maybe I'm way off-base here. You can do this through a phone system with intercom and announce capabilities, like a Panasonic, for example. You could have an intercom system do it. You could also have some sort of external device between the PC speaker out and the speakers that switches to an alternate audio feed when an announcement is to be made. These are all solutions for some sort of whole-house audio while allowing personalized "channels". Son watches wrestling in his room, Mom is into the soaps in the master bedroom, Dad watches TechTV in the office. Phone rings, it's one of son's friends - system lowers or mutes his audio and plays the CID announcement, he picks up the phone, talks for a few, hangs up, audio comes back up to normal. Mom and Dad didn't have to hear it or suffer the audio changes.

I watched the TechTV Best of CES show. They showed the Denon unit that allows up to four independently streaming AV "channels" from a single central AV server on your network. The way it works is you put a remote unit in your audio/video chain at the place you want to hear/watch. The central unit streams AV to it, and up to 3 others. The key here is that remote unit - an independent player - and I'd like to see that replaced with with every-day PCs and their hardware instead of custom hardware. If someone could do that with regular MS MCS...

Ok, enough dreaming for now. Let me get the latest plugin and check out your enhancements.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #44  
Old January 17th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Mixer pic.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #45  
Old January 17th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Oh, and if you do want to support multiple Slim Servers each with mutliple players attached, perhaps a system like 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, where the first number is the server, the second number is the player on that server. Something like the hard drive or SCSI device enumeration.

You could also follow the Unix convention for devices - hda0, hda1, hdb0, etc.

Whatever you feel is comfortable if you do want to expand on that.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #46  
Old January 17th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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The dynamic screen sizing based upon client IP has been enabled. This will allow larger a browser window to be used for the Now Playing display. I included sizing for 4 screen layouts. User customization or the ini file will allow additional layouts.

Player selection logic has changed so that the user now specifies how many of each type player will be supported. With this change the ID of the player is no longer a fixed number. The manual has been updated to show how to detect the id of each player. This is done in the init function of mcsMusicPlayer.txt file.

Gordon,
Let me digest your input. No changes in SliMP3 until the new connector is available.
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  #47  
Old January 17th, 2004, 10:25 PM
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No prob, Michael. We'll wait for xAP to get their end cleaned up - soon I hope!

Couple notes with 1.4.0, which I installed tonight.

When I load the mcsMusic web page, the page tries to reload something every second. (I have the "Exclude elapsed time" box checked.) I'm seeing a corresponding error that is repeating every second in the HS log:

mcsMusic ProcessASP Object doesn't support this property or method.

I'm using the Slimp3 Server as my primary device. I defined a second Slimp3 server device as well as a local Winamp device. I am seeing the interaction and messages in xP look good, and the server is responding to play, stop, playlist select, etc.

Not sure what the error is with the web page, but I assume something with the refresh of some part of it. I just can't find it and the URL flashes by so quickly on the status bar that I can't catch it. It may have something to do with or come before the resizing code, as I'm still getting a small page even though the plugin has been configured to use a default of 1024 x 768. I aslo tried to specify the IP for my workstation to use the larger size and it does not work.

I will try setting Winamp to be the default player. Let me know what else you need!

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #48  
Old January 17th, 2004, 10:26 PM
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PS. For the remote Slimp3 server, I do not have an executable listed. It runs as a service, so I assume no executable should be needed.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #49  
Old January 17th, 2004, 10:41 PM
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Another piece of the puzzle. When setting the plugin to use the local Winamp, and clicking the icon for Winamp when Winamp has not been launched, HS launches Winamp and takes 30+ seconds to respond or get back to normal. However, the Winamp icon does not highlight unless I refresh the page. I get this error on the web page:

Script error: Response.Send hs.Getplugins("mcsMusic").NPFrameASP(request, response)

A refresh puts the page up, though not the size I expected (as above). Also, the refresh every second with error in HS log (above) does not occur.
When I select a Slimp3 server via the icon, the select bar doesn't refresh. Refreshing the page causes the selected Slimp3 icon to be selected, and the refresh every second and errors start again.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #50  
Old January 18th, 2004, 07:15 AM
jmonthie
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Michael,
I also see the problem that Gordon has reported for mcsMusic 1.4.0. Before the ProcessASP errors start I get this:

1/18/2004 8:01:14 AM~!~mcsMusic~!~NPFrameMonitor 1 Invalid procedure call or argument

Jim
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  #51  
Old January 18th, 2004, 08:53 AM
jmonthie
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I stumbled across the solution to the mcsMusic 1.4.0 problem. The "Players" setup form has changed and by default there are no players enabled. So, I went into this form and enabled CDJ as player 1. This has cleared up the problem.

Jim
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  #52  
Old January 18th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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Thanks Jim for running this one down. I could not see any reason for this error, but then I always had several players selected.


Gordon,
I dont know what the 1 second updates to the screen are. There are regular updates based upon the selected update interval, but I suspect 5 seconds rather than 1 second is used for this purpose. I'll proceed based upon Jim's finding.


I did not attempt to implement multiple SliMP3 players in 1.4.0. I was going to wait until the new connector was ready. If attempted there will be interference on the receive side since it is only expecting messages from one sliMP3.

In 1.4.1 I did include the logic to support multiples and tried it out with the existing connector. It seemed to work fine. The SliMP3 connector author did not indicate it would not work, he just indicated that he did not test more than one.

When Winamp is used as a client to SlimServer then the stream will be received, but the controls for play/stop etc will not be directed to Winamp. SlimServer may stop/start the stream but because of buffering the response will appear very sluggish.

The Executable path for Slim devices is used to identify the players and not the server. The server and connector are assumed to be running. Since both of these are started as services there may be a startup problem in some cases. I think the SliMP3 xAP Connector needs to see a running SlimServer when it starts. This means SlimServer service needs to start first.

The syntax used to specify a slim device is ComputerName:PlayerName. These are case sensitive. If there is a question on the case of the computer name that xAP is expecting then use the xAP viewer to identify it. The PlayerName will be an IP for Winamp. This name is whatever SlimServer is expecting. I've tried with 192.168.0.1 and 127.0.0.1 for two simulated SliMP3 players on the HS computer, plus a 192.168.0.200 for a third SliMP3 on a second computer. Other than the Winamp on the second computer everything is running on the HS computer and it is very busy.

I neglected to include the default sizes for other than 640x480 in 1.4.0. This has been corrected.

The plugin creates instances of Winamp that it can manage. These will be different instances than one you create. I suspect the long delay is associated with too much WebServer traffic for HS at that instant. I try to handle it, but only go five deep before I give up. I have a feature request for HS to complete a Web Service before starting a second and this will take care of the problem. Winamp really brings out the problem becuase the plugin make several API calls which open up scheduling problems between the OS, HS, and the Plugin.
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  #53  
Old January 18th, 2004, 07:29 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Thank you for the explainations, Michael. I'll grab 1.4.1 and try it out, then wait a few days before I post so you can take a break, ok? ;-)

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #54  
Old January 18th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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FWIW, in 1.4.0 when I left the Slimp3 player executable entry blank, that's when I saw the once-a-second URLs. Just confirmed. The generic polling interval is set to 30 seconds (changed from your default 5 second).

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #55  
Old January 18th, 2004, 08:44 PM
DSteiNeuro DSteiNeuro is offline
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Looks like I am also seeing the 1 sec refresh rates with 1.4.1. I am using CDJ Player with refresh set to 60

HS Log says "Hidden Frame Overflow"

Update, goes away if I turn off the elapsed counter

[This message was edited by DSteiNeuro on Sun, 18 January 2004 at 10:10 PM.]
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  #56  
Old January 18th, 2004, 11:00 PM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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I't does dawn on me now that the 1-second updates are the elapsed time counter where it is fetching the images from the HS server.

I, however, do not see the relationship between serving an image from an folder and execution of the plugin's HiddenFrame function.

HiddenFrame has a progress number as part of the message. Wasn't there any numeric as part of the error message. I'm expecting it after HiddenFrame and before the Overflow.
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  #57  
Old January 18th, 2004, 11:02 PM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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Gordon, dont delay on my behalf. I want to get the problems ironed out and it is easier to work them when everything is fresh in the mind.
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  #58  
Old January 18th, 2004, 11:37 PM
DSteiNeuro DSteiNeuro is offline
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1/18/2004 8:00:03 PM~!~mcsMusic~!~ HiddenFrame 0 Overflow
1/18/2004 8:00:13 PM~!~mcsMusic~!~ HiddenFrame 0 Overflow
1/18/2004 8:00:41 PM~!~mcsMusic~!~ HiddenFrame 0 Overflow
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  #59  
Old January 19th, 2004, 05:23 AM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Installed 1.4.1 and the multiple Slimp3 clients is working once I got the naming convention down. I had a client (the SliMP3 player itself) that had a name of "Family Room", but apparently I couldn't figure out or the plugin could not deliver the name with a space in it. After chaning the name to something with no space, it worked.

My second client on the remote Slim Server worked as well. It is Winamp running on my local workstation (which is a separate machine - not the HS box nor the Slim Server box).

I can see messages in the xAP viewer just fine. However, I am not seeing any response to the album/artist queries from the Slim Server to mcsMusic. The mcsMusic web page does not show "Now Playing" info form the Slim Server.

Also, and this may be a side-effect of query above, I noticed that when I choose the player from the mcsMusic web page icon, the actual highlight waits for the general refresh. I've shortened my refresh interval. I was expecting it to refresh when the icon was selected. Is that possible?

The first time I select a Slimp3 player to control, if the Slimp3 player I select is not "playing", I must first select a playlist before any transport controls work (play, stop, etc.). According to the Slim Server web interface, the Slim Server provides for a playlist to be loaded and transport controls to work as long as a playlist is already loaded. Ie. the player can be stopped with a playlist loaded. I would then expect to be able to connect to the player via mcsMusic web page, and just hit "Play" to start the player since the playlist is already loaded, but this doesn't seem to work.

I understand this may be a limitation of the xAP system. I don't understand why I don't see response packets in the xAP viewer from the Slim Server machine, but it could be the same reason? I don't see any response whether I'm only dealing with one Slimp3 player define or not. It may be a config issue with the xAP framework on the remote Slim Server box. I'm not sure if I have to or how to set up xAP for bi-directional communications (from HS server to Slim Server and vice versa).

All for now...

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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  #60  
Old January 19th, 2004, 05:27 AM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Could the hidden frame overflow be related to the fact that no now playing info is coming back from the Slimp3? I'm seeing the error, too.

- Gordon

"God is gracious, God is fair. To some He gave brains, to others, hair." - anonymous

"Don't look under the hat."
- Gordon, 2004
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