iTunes + Barcode scanner

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  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 11:38:49 23,526 posts
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    My current audio setup is that I have a server upon which all my digital music is stored. This server is also used to aquire more music via the Internet and from CD. Connected to this server I have my main PC, on this PC I have iTunes which I use to play and organise my music. I'm pretty happy with iTunes, it does everything I want (most importantly is the fact that it connects to my iPod) and is simple enough to use.

    I plan on adding a third machine, a sort of HTPC (or HCPC if you're Silentbob) of sorts, but initially only used to play music downstairs. After a few trials of this system at houseparties and the like I've found that a few people aren't all that comfortable with browsing through lists of albums on iTunes and much prefer handling CDs. As a compromise I thought of hooking up a barcode scanner to the PC which would be linked to a small database - all you'd then have to do is wave a printed & lamited album cover (downloaded from the net) in front of the sensor and it would automatically play the album. This would be ideal as the cards would be easier to store and organise than CDs and you'd still be able to view the cover art and track listing on the back.

    Does anybody know if such a system already exists (to save me reinventing the wheel) and if it would be possible to integrate this with iTunes?

    Also, is it possible to have two different PCs, both running iTunes, and both reading the files from a central file server?

    Ta,

    [MH]
  • Blerk Moderator 4 Jan 2005 11:41:32 48,225 posts
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    O_o

    /looks at stereo and pile of CDs
    /feels inadequate
  • GrandTheftApu 4 Jan 2005 11:43:29 6,119 posts
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    I'm not sure about windows apps but for macs Delicious Library is very well regarded.
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 11:44:06 23,526 posts
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    Blerk wrote:
    O_o

    /looks at stereo and pile of CDs
    /feels inadequate
    I'm just compensating for something. ;)

    [MH]
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 11:45:32 23,526 posts
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    GrandTheftApu wrote:
    I'm not sure about windows apps but for macs Delicious Library is very well regarded.
    Bah! My work browser doesn't meet the site requirements (who on earth designed this?!) can you give me a quick overview of what it is?

    [MH]
  • ssuellid 4 Jan 2005 11:46:00 19,141 posts
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    Dunno about CDs but there is a wonderful free tool for the DVD collection that sounds like it does the sort of thing you are after. You just type in or scan in the barcode of your DVDs and it gives you a little web page. I got bored typing in bar codes so here is my incomplete collection: -

    http://www.intervocative.com/dvdcollection.aspx/ssuellid
  • GrandTheftApu 4 Jan 2005 11:54:36 6,119 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    GrandTheftApu wrote:
    I'm not sure about windows apps but for macs Delicious Library is very well regarded.
    Bah! My work browser doesn't meet the site requirements (who on earth designed this?!) can you give me a quick overview of what it is?

    [MH]

    Here is a long-winded review

    Edited by GrandTheftApu at 11:56:32 04-01-2005
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 12:04:42 16,608 posts
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    What you really want is to slash out on a tablet PC with wifi. The find someone to write you some nice touchscreen app to browse the database and send playlist requests. To your music playing machine.

    Not the cheapest option, but it is the coolest.

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Deleted user 4 January 2005 12:06:22
    /Pats tablet PC
  • Captain-Fetid 4 Jan 2005 12:08:49 659 posts
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    Splendid! I apparently have to make up for something too, as I keep on wondering about doing stuff like you have done already.

    What do you write your scripts in anyway? (Supposing the barcode scanner stuff would have to be reinvented).

    Mike, you wouldn't be thinking about touch-screens sometimes in the future too, now would you? I have been contemplating placing a touch-screen somewhere where people usually put a picture frame, slideshow some pictures on it and whenever someone touches it it can be used as a configurator for sound & video stuff.

    I'm moving pretty soon and - much to the lament of my gf - have been conjuring up these techno-schemes for the last weeks.

    Edit: Ah, didn't see the TabletPC idea yet. Bit expensive though, eh?


    Edited by Captain Fetid at 12:09:30 04-01-2005
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 12:41:48 23,526 posts
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    Captain Fetid wrote:
    Splendid! I apparently have to make up for something too, as I keep on wondering about doing stuff like you have done already.

    What do you write your scripts in anyway? (Supposing the barcode scanner stuff would have to be reinvented).

    Mike, you wouldn't be thinking about touch-screens sometimes in the future too, now would you? I have been contemplating placing a touch-screen somewhere where people usually put a picture frame, slideshow some pictures on it and whenever someone touches it it can be used as a configurator for sound & video stuff.

    I'm moving pretty soon and - much to the lament of my gf - have been conjuring up these techno-schemes for the last weeks.

    Edit: Ah, didn't see the TabletPC idea yet. Bit expensive though, eh?
    Well I first got the idea when I saw a Shuttle PC heavily modded to include a small touch screen pannel on the side of the unit. It looked stunning. However, I've now realise that there are smaller, sexier cases for the unit than those offered by Shuttle (plus, there's little reason for the thing to be on display (unless you require access to the DVD drive)).

    The touch screen idea sounds great, and I like your idea of a picture frame replacement. A screensaver scrolling through photos which allows you to control your AV system when pressed - cool.

    The problem I forsee is that I'm not a coder (or at least I haven't programmed anything for a long while) so I'm really going to have problems getting it to do anything I wanted. I'm able to design the graphics behind it and the menus, but I really wouldn't have a clue how to translate button presses into iTune plays a song in the background.

    I wish there were a solution already out there.

    /hunts

    [MH]
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 12:42:32 23,526 posts
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    Oh - and the tablet PC is a bit over the top. Cool idea but it'd still need to be wired to my A/V setup.

    [MH]
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 12:50:24 16,608 posts
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    Winamp plays the m4u files that iTunes uses. Winamp is also easy to modify for your needs. Create a backend database in access to index your music files and build a http intranet sit eto browse it all.

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 12:54:57 23,526 posts
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    Now websites I can design! Sounds like a winner!

    Any ideas how I can possible make use of a search function and the auto-playlists that iTune uses?

    [MH]
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 13:00:44 23,526 posts
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    Oh my:

    iTunes Barcode Scanner

    I still like the idea of a web front end though. Much better way to navigate, no ugly o/s in the background, and can be tailored to suit the small touch screen's resolution.

    [MH]
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 13:02:26 16,608 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Now websites I can design! Sounds like a winner!

    Any ideas how I can possible make use of a search function and the auto-playlists that iTune uses?

    [MH]
    Forget iTunes, with the files indexed in your own database you can do your own playlisting.

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 13:15:04 23,526 posts
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    Can you foresee any problems with one PC running iTunes and one PC running, say winamp, accessing the mp3s stored on a 3rd PC?

    I'm just concerned as iTune makes a complete mess out of your directories.

    [MH]
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 13:25:52 16,608 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Can you foresee any problems with one PC running iTunes and one PC running, say winamp, accessing the mp3s stored on a 3rd PC?

    I'm just concerned as iTune makes a complete mess out of your directories.

    [MH]
    You can manually fix that by moving the file and when iTunes complains you point at the file's new location. The only problem with both iTunes and Winamp accessing files is if both wish to amend a file at the same time, ie changing a file's ID3 tag. This is highly unlikely to occur and normal windows file locking would prevent corruption. Both iTunes and Winamp may access the file simultaneously as a read only file stream.

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Deleted user 4 January 2005 13:26:46
    Mike - brand new 8" touch screen monitors on Ebay = 166. Not bad at all. You've inspired me to look into the possibilities of some form of media centre.

    Touch screen with a nice menu could be the way forward.
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 13:29:40 23,526 posts
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    Tiger_Walts wrote:
    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Can you foresee any problems with one PC running iTunes and one PC running, say winamp, accessing the mp3s stored on a 3rd PC?

    I'm just concerned as iTune makes a complete mess out of your directories.

    [MH]
    You can manually fix that by moving the file and when iTunes complains you point at the file's new location. The only problem with both iTunes and Winamp accessing files is if both wish to amend a file at the same time, ie changing a file's ID3 tag. This is highly unlikely to occur and normal windows file locking would prevent corruption. Both iTunes and Winamp may access the file simultaneously as a read only file stream.
    That'd never happen in my case. I'd only ever be using one or the other. Thanks for the info.

    [MH]
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 13:31:57 16,608 posts
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    You don't even have to stop at music files, if you have a few music videos ad video files you could add them too.

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Whizzo 4 Jan 2005 13:34:42 43,264 posts
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    It's just so you can do karaoke easier isn't Mike? Admit it!

    That DVD collection software maybe something I could use, my boss used a similar thing to all his albums but my DVD collection could use collating.

    This space left intentionally blank.

  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 13:36:57 23,526 posts
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    HairyArse wrote:
    Mike - brand new 8" touch screen monitors on Ebay = 166. Not bad at all. You've inspired me to look into the possibilities of some form of media centre.

    Touch screen with a nice menu could be the way forward.
    Now that sounds more like it!

    Glad you're interested too. It would be cool if a few people were and we could pool skills together to begin a project and come up with a solution. I mean we've got enough coders, designers, hardware experts and audiophiles in here haven't we!

    Heh, it'd be cool if we created something marketable too. Like TiVo - that's basically a linux box running custom PVR software.

    Mind you, 99% of the people in here are lazy basts. :)

    [MH]
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 13:37:55 23,526 posts
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    Tiger_Walts wrote:
    You don't even have to stop at music files, if you have a few music videos ad video files you could add them too.
    You're like a little devil sitting on my shoulder, you know.

    [MH]
  • Tiger_Walts 4 Jan 2005 13:45:18 16,608 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Tiger_Walts wrote:
    You don't even have to stop at music files, if you have a few music videos ad video files you could add them too.
    You're like a little devil sitting on my shoulder, you know.

    [MH]
    Really?

    Kill innocents
    Leave chewing gum on bus seats
    Glue a pound coin onto the carpet next to the water cooler
    Wear socks with sandals
    Substitute the hold music disc for a Leonard Nimoy CD

    IT Monkey and StickyPiston Minecraft Hosting Support

  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 14:11:02 23,526 posts
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    LOL! T'wasn't aimed at you Duncs!

    [MH]
  • nicktids 4 Jan 2005 15:19:16 5 posts
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    I have never used i tunes before but i'm guessing its like winamp with playlists being just text and not having any pictures of your albums.

    So to get over this problem cheaply you could use an xbox modded with xbox media centre linked to your network. Xbmc can play any media it finds and can connect to the cddb and store all the album cover pictures on the xbox or you can assing your own pictures to albums or individual tracks. It has function to create playlists and read playlist created in itunes and winamp, can link to an itunes network share (DAAP).

    xbmc can also be controlled over a network from a browser but doing this disables the pictures of the album.

    This solution does fail to solve the barcode scanner function which you wanted but enables to have the pictures like the Delicious Library said previously.

    oh and you get an xbox out of it and it will play any movie or music file you throw at it, so its a very cheap media center meaning you don't to buy an expensive new pc

    Edited by nicktids at 15:26:30 04-01-2005
  • Captain-Fetid 4 Jan 2005 15:21:22 659 posts
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    A web-front does sound interesting too. With some PHP (there's loads of API's out for it, I bet something could be thought up/found for AV playback) it could be a killer thing.

    Does anyone know how to turn a regular TFT screen into a touch screen, if at all possible? (I can lay my hands on a few cheap 15" screens soon).

    /bookmarks thread

    If anyone cares: I'm pretty good at PHP, and meddled in Python too (for XBMC) (plus others, but you don't want to know).

    2nd edit: Just found a Dutch site with touchscreen add-ons: €177 for a 15". :(

    Edited by Captain Fetid at 15:28:54 04-01-2005
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jan 2005 15:30:53 23,526 posts
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    Captain Fetid wrote:
    A web-front does sound interesting too. With some PHP (there's loads of API's out for it, I bet something could be thought up/found for AV playback) it could be a killer thing.

    Does anyone know how to turn a regular TFT screen into a touch screen, if at all possible? (I can lay my hands on a few cheap 15" screens soon).

    /bookmarks thread

    If anyone cares: I'm pretty good at PHP, and meddled in Python too (for XBMC) (plus others, but you don't want to know).

    2nd edit: Just found a Dutch site with touchscreen add-ons: €177 for a 15". :(
    I've tried the Xbox solution and it works, it's lasted me this long. But I'd really like a neater solution now. As for touchscreen addons, I'm sure I found some somewhere, but I don't think they looked that neat.

    [MH]
  • Deleted user 4 January 2005 16:12:49
    Captain Fetid wrote:

    2nd edit: Just found a Dutch site with touchscreen add-ons: €177 for a 15". :(

    How much is that in English Pounds then matey? :p
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