Raspberry Pi and RompR Saturday, 16 May 2020  
Havent done a blog in a long time, and it seems that as time has moved on, and Viruses have moved from the computer to the humans in the world....lets just move on.

During the lockdown, I have been meaning to catch up and get some things done. This includes some CRiSP bug fixes and updates.

I have an early Raspberry Pi (model 1) used to serve up web content. It has been good for a few years now - but underpowered, and severely lacking in RAM and Disk. I purchased a Raspberry Pi 3 about 18 months ago, and it just sat in the drawer, waiting a rainy day project.

Ok, so locked up at home, its a rainy day. (Actually it is sunny today, but who knows what it will be like tomorrow).

I had purchased various Amazon Echo device over the last few years. In general, they have been a game changer to merge audio and visual, with cheap/affordable devices. The never ending array of releases is mind-boggling, and now I am being left with piles of devices with nowhere else to plug them in. I can't say I like Alexa - whilst it is a novelty, the too many times it responds to nothing in particular, and its lack of "AI" is annoying. And I miss being able to watch YouTube videos on the "Show" devices.

I had bought two Echo 3rd gen devices, with a view to using them in stereo mode. The sound is good enough, but the lack of ability to play proper stereo over bluetooth has been annoying. So much so, that I stopped using them and purchased an Ultimate Ears device - which is portable and battery powered. (UE Megaboom 3). Great device.

But the two unused Amazon Echo's sit there, and leer at me, as if to say "get off your back side!".

So, lets use the RPI has a hifi device - certainly a zillion web sites and utilities. So I set it up. (Had to take a detour to buy an assortment of audio cables and splitters). Setting up the RPI is really, really simple.

Deciding on audio player was much, much harder. With so many tools out there. Whilst the world had moved on since I last looked, we now have the wonderful "mpd" music-player daemon. So, the act of playing is separated out from the tools and UI's which you can interface with. So many attractive looking players, and many are web based. (My RPI is headless, so web is best). I had to resort to ssh and CLI for a few days til I got everything set up.

I tried "mopidy" - it looks really attractive, and I banged my head against this tool, and, alas, simply couldnt get it to work. I almost got it to work, but it has expectations to run as UID "mopidy" and after doing far too much system fiddling to get the library in the right place, I gave up. It managed to crash the RPI when doing a scan of my audio library.

I started looking at other alternatives - many come as images to be put on an sd-card. I am frowning at the way the world has gone from an installable tarball to docker images or total OS replacements. I see no advantage to this, unless I wanted to dedicate a Pi to a specific piece of software. So, I started looking around.

ympd - http://www.ympd.org

I was sort of impressed by this solitary tool to offer a web browser and player in one. Alas, its a bit lacking in utility, but a great start. It showed me what could be done. Its interface seemed a bit laggy, and it didnt seem to offer proper playlists.

volumio - http://volumio.org

This looked a lot more to my taste, but a 300 MB Zip/Image file meant it was not going to be easy to try it out, so I rapidly abandoned that.

RompR - https://fatg3erman.github.io/RompR/

I saw this one - the screen shots looked beautiful. And was concerned whether to try this or not. I even toyed with writing my own music client and web interface - my needs are not much. But I perservered.

Look - this software just "works". The documentation is flawless to setting up. I had severe reservations about it leveraging PHP, but the install instructions lead you through the packages you need and the config files. Super.

So lets run it. Wham! Wow! This is more than brilliant. It has so much functionality - far more than I need; it has skinnable themes. And it talks to the internet. My poorly arranged/indexed mp3 library was suddenly awash with artist details and links for more info. So much to play with. And the UI is available on every mobile/browser in the house - it caters to the mobile or desktop format.

I cant reiterate how much "wow" this software is and the thought process having gone into it.

Maybe I will put up some screen shots.

Posted at 15:25:47 by fox | Permalink