August 23, 2009
Howdy all, long time no see. There’s a tidy little use-case not being addressed well by existing software… something like:
“You’ve got a song on your laptop, you want to play it on your stereo, but being tied down by a wire is a bummer”
Computers in the living room, yada, yada. If you’re a chump who’s really with it, you have some fancy bo-schmancy media server, you compulsively synchronize your laptop’s music (most computers are laptops now) with your media server, and its plugged into your 13.1 channel dolby ultra-digital super-surround system. Me? I’ve got a busted old laptop plugged into my ghettoblaster. I think I updated its music folder last year.
Phase 1: It’d be pretty cool to make a sort of “free airtunes” that ran on Gnome, OS/X, & Windows. It’d have a speaker-server piece that you drop on your computer by the stereo, and it’d have a client piece that manifests as a notification area icon. Whenever a speaker-server is visible on the local network (zeroconf/rendezvous), you get a pull-down in the notification area to select the speaker-server for output. When music is played in your music player, it comes out through the remote server. By inserting into gstreamer or coreaudio (on Windows?) you intercept data while its still OGG/MP3, and zip it over the wire(less). So… you use your normal music player, and it just happen to tunnel through the network and come out on a stereo across the room.
Phase 2: A really simple queue-based HTML music player that runs on the speaker server. So you can still play directly as in Phase 1, but multiple people can also connect and “queue up” songs to be played in the future. So the queue is a mix of music queued by different people from their local laptops, and its pretty much just a “here’s what’s coming next” list, a play/pause button and a skip.
I think a solid implementation of Phase 1, that was dirt simple to install would find a lot of users. I think there’s some cool places to go with this after Phase 1 too, in the direction of music server player stuff more targeted than “home TV screen media server” stuff. I admit, they overlap a bunch, but I think there’s benefit to be had from a focused attack on music (also small diffs like the focus being local-to-computer music, not synching to a central archive, etc).
Anyway, I’m up for hacking on something like this as a contributor, if somebodyelse(s) is(are) down to be the Big Boss(es). In particular, I’m happy to help with design as desired, write the OS/X client bits, and contribute code on other assorted pieces. I’ll drop by #musicbox on irc.gnome.org for a couple days to see if there’s interest. So if you’ve got interest in a new project and this looks fun….