Netstreams SMM100 Update and Windows Home Server

Today, Netstreams Inc will be releasing an update to their Streaming Music Manager (SMM100) as part of their ongoing development of the DigiLinX product.  This update comes as part of a much broader set of updates in the new DigiLinX Dealer Setup Program v2.0

I have been testing the SMM100 since beta release on my own home network with Microsoft Windows Home Server and can confirm that all is working well.  

After installing the update, the core improvements that are obvious are:

  • Faster indexing
  • Improved stability
  • Playlist support!  (.m3u files)
  • Desktop client software that allows you to manage your SMM from a PC.

M3U

The first issue that I had to overcome was understanding the new .M3U playlist support.    As I use iTunes on both a Mac and PC, I had to look for two seperate products to export playlists from both versions.

For the PC, I settled on Eric Daugherty’s iTunes Export
For the Mac, I used Bery Rinaldo’s excellent AppleScript

Both are easy to use, and once you have your .M3U file exported, you simply put the files in a location on your network that the SMM is already set to index.

 

WindowshslogoDomains and Workgroups

For ages now, I have been running the SMM100 and had it set to index the “Media” share on my Small Business Server.   The only issue with that is the SMM is not designed to be implemented in a “corporate domain”.    (That said, it should be IMHO).  

The only way I was able to get the SMM100 to work in this (domain) configuration was to allow the “Everyone” group have full permissions to the Media share on my server.   This was not ideal for obvious reasons, especially the fact that the SMM attempts to logon to your DC multiple times using different methods continuiously causing security error on the server.  This is why I decided to implement Windows Home Server, a product much better suited to this solution.

Windows Home Server works in a Workgroup configuration.   It automatically sets up the Music, Video, Software, Users, Photo shares and then allows you to easily setup users to have specific permissions to folders.  Do not worry, the Windows Home Server can exist beside your domain, and even prompts if your passwords are not syncronised on your domain and workgroup.

I configured an account for Rachel and I, plus a specific account for the SMM to use.   The reason for this is (as I found out the hard way) if you use your own account on the SMM100 and then change your password, your entire music collection stops working!  The netstreams user needs full permission to the Music share and nothing else on the Windows Home Server to be able to successfully index the resource.

Patience is your friend….

When I initially setup the Windows Home Server on the network, the SMM100 took a good hour to finally find the server on the network even though the IP settings send to the device were perfect.  

My point is that if you are implementing the SMM100 in this configuration, be sure of the following things, and then wait at least an hour for the resource to become “Online” in the new desktop client:

  • Check that using dealer setup, the username and password you setup for your Server / PC is exactly the same.
  • Do NOT use DOMAINNAMEUsername format, it is not supported.   Just use the Username.
  • Be 100% certain that the SMM100 is in the same subnet as the PC’s you wish to index.  (i.e. if your Windows Home Server is in 255.255.255.0, so must the SMM100).
  • After rebooting the SMM100, ensure that the Dealer setup changes to a “Green tick” and does not remain on the “Yellow caution” sign.
  • After rebooting the SMM100, wait…    then wait again…   then go and get a cup of tea…  do a bit more waiting…   then look at the desktop client and see if it is indexing.

Here is a screenshot of the new desktop client.   So far I have not managed to get it working on a Vista machine on my domain.  I have only managed to get it working on XP and Windows 2003 Server.   This may be a domain configuration issue, or just a currently unfixed bug.  Either way, run on XP or 2003 for the moment.

As you can see from the image above, all network resources have been found on the network.   However, I have the SMM set to only scan for sharenames that contain the word “music”, therefore only the music share is showing as “Active”.    The status is showing as Online, which means that the SMM100 can see the server and share on the network.  If music in that share changes, you will see “Scanning” instead of “Online”.   This simply means that it is scanning the folders changes.   If you screen looks the same, all is good…

SMM100 and Windows Home Server ongoing…

As you can see from above, these two products marry well on a home network.  However, I feel that somehow something is missing.   Sometimes I wish I had learnt to code so I could do this stuff myself, but in the mean time if you are a willing developer, may I suggest the following ideas for a Windows Home Server Add-in:

  1. Give us the new SMM100 desktop client information on a Windows Home Server internal webpage.  This way it can be monitored on a secure website internally and remotely!
  2. Give us a hosted version of the netstreams dealer setup application (it’s written in flash, so it could not be that difficult – could it?)
  3. Give us a webpage on the Windows Home Server that displays the same as a TouchLinX.  Again, it’s already a flash application, so it should work easily.

Knowing the way that both the Netstreams and Microsoft teams for these products are very passionate and forward looking bunches, I do hope that they can put their heads together on this!

 

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