Taking MusicIP and Logitech Media Server on the Road - Part 1

I decided to investigate options to provide MusicIP functionality in a car environment and had a look around at small laptops. Its pretty amazing how cheap laptops are these days, which still have large RAM and CPUs that are powerful enough to not just play music but also play videos.

After some investigation I settled on a Samsung NP305U1A, the main reasons being the smallness of the laptop about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. It comes with stacks of RAM 4Gb and also has a new chipset capable of handling video playback, CPU 1.65Ghz, plus good battery life.

I decided to swap out the disk drive for a Solid State drive (SSD) drive. With no moving parts I dont need to worry about vibrations from the car and was hoping it would also help to prolong battery life. (SanDisk SDSSDX480GG25)

SSD Challenges

I had some challenges with the laptop and the SSD disk and kept finding that it would freeze up. Installing Windows 8 made no difference and I spent ages trying to find a solution. As you would expect it was a simple fix, the BIOS setting for ACHI was set to AUTO and changing this to Manual -> Enabled plus following the power setting changes in this thread fixed the problem.

(Update: I think the latest Samsung BIOS 06PS - Seems to have fixed the need to make the change in the BIOS)

Sandisk Forum

Ok now I was up and running and copied all my MP3 files on the system and the usual LMS installation and MusicIP setup, obviously installing Spicefly SugarCube :)

To give an example of the speed, a complete rescan of the library (18,030 tracks) took an impressive 6min 17secs.

Software Players

In terms of software emulation the obvious choice is SqueezePlay but I found this a bit of a hassle to make sure it was started each time and its not really designed for the job. I did some further investigation and came across a command line player called Squeezeslave which you can find at sourceforge link below.

Squeezeslave - Squeezeslave

Tweaking

To make life even easier I wanted to make Squeezeslave a service, thereby not having to worry at all about starting anything as it would start whenever the laptop is booted up.

You can do this by playing around in the registry or the easy way use a neat piece of software called ServiceEx to automate the process

http://serviceex.com/ - ServiceEX

You need to build an ini file but its pretty straightforward :)

Process Monitoring

Another step was to look for processes that were sucking resources and thereby reducing the battery life when out on the road. I therefore used the following software by Microsoft and took a look whats running, sometimes you will be amazed whats going on!
Look for software that's reading the registry or the same file every second or so, as this will quickly drain the battery.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/bb896645 - Technet

Next Step... Taking Logitech Media Server out of the Loop