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Soundbox

Access Space's music is provided by the Sound Server, which is called soundbox. (For consistency reasons it's also called mewtwo.) You can connect to it and play whatever tracks are available on it. However, you can't do this by point-and-click - you'll have to learn how to connect to it via a terminal. Yes - you'll have to type!

HOW TO

  1. Pop a shell In other words, get to a command prompt where you can type. There are a hundred and one ways to do this, but here's one: when you're logged in, from the main menu select System > Terminals > Konsole. You'll need to start typing at the $.
  2. SSH to Soundbox To put it more simply, travel across the network so that your keyboard is typing into the sound server itself. Type this: ssh soundbox@soundbox and press return.
  3. Login to Soundbox You've just told soundbox that you're a user called soundbox. (The username went before the @ - so, yes, you could have used soundbox's alternative name in the last step: ssh soundbox@mewtwo.) It'll ask you, (who soundbox knows as username soundbox) for a password. It's currently music. Type the password and press return. If all's gone well, you should have logged in. If you get another Password: prompt, you typed the password wrong. Try again!
  4. cd to music. Change into the music directory by typing cd music and pressing return.
  5. ls List the contents of the directory you're in.
  6. cd to other directories. The music on the sound server should all be free, creative-commons licenced (free to download, free to share). It's (dis)organised in directories inside music. If you see a directory name that looks interesting, change into it: cd MusicName
    • Top Tip: You can type a lot faster with tab-completion. Type cd and the first few letters of the directory, then press the TAB key. The name will fill in for you as if by magic!
  7. ls List again and see what's there. If you want to cd back to where you just were, (i.e. up a directory) type cd .. (Yes, dot-dot means “the directory that contains the one you're currently in”.)
  8. mplayer *.mp3 When you see lots of .mp3 or .ogg files, you're ready to go.
    • To play all the ones in the current directory in order, just type mplayer *.mp3 (or mplayer *.ogg if you want to play oggs).
    • If you want them in random order, try this: mplayer -shuffle *.mp3.
    • You can quit mplayer by typing Ctrl-C.
  9. Happy Listening!

Lastfm

Recently people have started using Lastfm as a very easy way to get music played. Ssh into the soundbox (type ssh -X soundbox@soundbox and give the the password). Then simply type lastfm& and use the interface that pops up.

  • Choose the “Creative Commons” radio station so we comply with our CCMusic Policy.

Getting New Tracks

At Access Space we encourage you to download best quality, home grown, 100% organic, creative commons licenced free music, not lame, corporate, restricted tracks that you just happen to be able to download. So where should you go to find the new music? Here are some free netlabels that distribute creative commons licenced music, which you are allowed to download, you are allowed to listen to, and you are allowed to share with your friends. A refreshing change, eh?

For a start off, check this out:

http://www.platoniq.net/burnstation/community.html

  • You know how to download with a web browser - just right-click on the link to the .mp3 or .ogg link and select “Save Link As…”.
  • You know what an mp3 is, but what's an ogg? Lots of free music is saved in .ogg format - which is pretty much the same thing - a compressed music file. There are two slight differences: (1) ogg is slightly better sound quality and slightly smaller (but not much) and (2) the people who make mp3 player software need to pay a licence fee - but they don't to make ogg player software.
  • Stay organised, and save the tracks in a directory in your home space temporarily, before you send them to Soundbox.

Making a Playlist

Because you and other people are going to be connecting to Soundbox remotely, it's a good idea to make your playlist as simple as possible to play from the command line. Therefore…

  1. Put your new tracks into a directory. Make sure there's about and hour or so of listening there.
  2. Name your directory sensibly: if it's all one artist, then name it the name of the artist. Use _ or - instead of spaces, and don't use any strange characters like punctuation - just stick with 0-9, a-z and A-Z, plus _ or - if you must. If your playlist is a compilation, tell people something about it: eg blippy_electropop or mellow_ambient_techno.
  3. Number all the tracks. Start each track with a two-digit number - the lower the number, the earlier you want it to be played. Use leading zeros to get the order right - like this: 00_first_track.mp3, 01_second_track.mp3. A good tip is to go up in tens - 00, 10, 20, 30 etc. Then if you change your mind and want to put in a track between two numbers, you can call it 05 or 15 to get it played in between.
  4. Your tracks will be played in alphanumerical order. To check out the playlist just view your directory full of music with Konqueror and choose View > View Mode > Text View. Or if you want to use the shell, just cd into the directory and type ls -l to see your tracks in order.

Important Creative Commons Note

To make sure we can legally share and play your playlist, it's crucial that you establish that your tracks are open licensed. To do this, simply put a .txt file in the directory along with your tracks. The file should include the track listing, and the URL(s) where you downloaded the tracks. The Soundbox team will check it out, and if the tracks are indeed CC-licensed, we'll checksum your tracks and put the playlist in the live list. Job done!

Copying Your Music to Soundbox

To copy your files across the network you're going to need to use the fact that Soundbox runs an ssh server. As well as using ssh to log into the server (like you do to play tracks) you can also use the same server to copy stuff across the network using scp.

To do this, pop a shell and cd to the directory that contains the one that has your tracks in it. Not the place where your tracks are stored - the one above it - so when you ls, you can see the playlist directory name.

  1. Type scp -r playlistdir soundbox@soundbox:music
  2. Soundbox will ask you for the password for user soundbox.
  3. Type the password and the copy will happen.

What sort of music should be played?

Please be considerate to the tastes of others and also be aware that many people are involved in tasks that require a lot of concentration. So play stuff that's laid-back and unintrusive.

 
soundbox/soundbox.txt · Last modified: 2009/11/11 17:05 by james
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