Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Squeezebox Server

I just upgraded from SqueezeCenter 7.3.3 to Squeezebox Server 7.4.1. I bought my Squeezebox in early 2006, and this is the second major update to the cross-platform, GPL'ed server software since then. Both times, the capabilities of the Squeezebox were expanded, and the experience of using it improved. Now that's what I call value!

This isn't as big an update as the switch from SlimServer to SqueezeCenter, which overhauled the browser-based UI and added the ability to synchronize playback across multiple players. Indeed, at first glance, it appeared to me that not much had changed in Squeezebox Server.

However, looking a bit closer, there are a few really nice improvements. The most prominent new feature is the introduction of applications (everyone's got to have apps, right?). For example, there's a CBC app that helps you easily find their radio streams and podcasts, and a Facebook app that lets you browse your news feed and post updates about what you're listening to (check my profile to see what I'm listening to as I write this!).

Also impressive is a major improvement to Internet radio support. The listing and organization of stations is great. You can see a very complete listing of local stations (66 for Toronto, all classified and with icons) with just a couple of clicks of the mouse or remote control, and easily browse or search thousands of stations from all around the world. One more click adds the station to your favourites, for easy access from the main menu.

Big kudos to the Squeezebox team and to Logitech. I never would have expected such great things when Logitech bought Slim Devices in 2006. It's all enough to make me pine for one of their newer devices.

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