Wireless Music Hacktraptions & BYOJukebox

Contrabulous Fantraption R & D
Dan Kohn writes in his blog:
I finally have my "extreme wireless" home music setup working. In my bedroom, I have a Bang & Olufsen Beosound 9000. This is great for playing 6 CDs, but all of my music is now MP3s. So, I got the Rio Receiver, which pulls MP3s off of any Windows machine on the LAN and outputs them to a stereo system or directly to speakers. However, I have no Ethernet jack in my bedroom, so I hooked the Rio up to this wired to wireless Ethernet converter from Orinoco.

My laptop, a Toshiba Tecra 9000, also includes integrated Wi-Fi (i.e., 802.11b wireless Ethernet). So, the music is being served wirelessly from the laptop in MP3 format, sent through the bedroom wall to the Linksys wireless router in the livingroom, and then sent back through the same wall to the wireless card in the converter. From there it goes by Ethernet to the Rio Receiver, is converted to analog signals and sent via RCA stereo cables to the Beosound and its speakers.

Anyway, this was still not quite meeting my needs because it's hard to read the screen of the Receiver from my bed on the other side of the room. Besides, when I'm using my computer, who wants to locate the remote to change the song or the volume? And so, I was lucky enough to locate these anonymous directions for patching the Rio Receiver (it runs Linux and pulls MP3s over the network using HTTP) so that it is controllable from a web browser. Specifically, the Rio Receiver's IP address now hosts a web server, including a java applet, that shows an image of the Rio's control panel. Thus, I now have complete control of my music from a web browser, and I can also use the remote if (amazingly) I'm reading a book instead of using the computer.


If I had a cafe with background music and wireless internet access -- and what cafe on the left coast doesn't have both? -- I'd be tempted to grab one of these Rio Receivers and connect it to the sound system. Then, hack up some software which lets all local net users contribute their own tracks, round-robin, to the common speaker system. It'd be "BYOJukebox" -- and then some.

I'm sure it'd generate some mighty interesting listening, especially if the contribution system was primarily open/anonymous. (WikiWikiWifiHiFi?) Perhaps it'd even grow into cooperative or competitive live improvisational group performances that draw crowds.


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