If I had to recommend….

In other posts (can we please go back to calling them articles?)  I alluded to or outright said what I was doing to be entertained.   Its not a huge thing,  until you are stuck without or you read an article (there I used it!) somewhere that tells you of the latest and greatest techno thingy.  Yup thingy,  because as I have written elsewhere on this blog there are sites that are allegedly about technology which end up being page after page of opinion,  with little how to or recommendation.  Get to the point!  Stop confusing!

Problem with getting to the point these days is that it changes tomorrow.

I had a USB based hard drive that housed all my content,  but eventually after all of the accessing it just failed.  I won’t mention one brand over another because using it just isn’t a smart idea. I laboured with the idea it was the USB interface for far too long, should have known better.

Years ago one station I worked at was very pleased to be offering songs off the CD player that they just bought.  Eventually because the engineers chose the best of bred for the time,  we discovered that they were not made for 24/7 365.  This is a specification that is never talked about in consumer goods.  You guessed it the first CD players used in broadcast I was involved with were consumer grade.

So I ask you,  even if you spend oodles of dollars on an uber system,  is going to make it around the clock all year?

Now chances are you will not need this,  but it is far beyond a desire.  Sometimes I am up in the middle of the night and want to turn on the TV,  grab my Bluetooth headphones,  and watch something.  Maybe I listen to music to entertain myself.  I also read from the same source.

The USB based or even an installed hard disc in a drive is prone to failure because of the same thing that happened at some of the first stations offering songs from digital sources.  Just not there.  Even broadcast ready media will fail at some point and the people working at the station have to log on and set it straight.  Hopefully this is the middle of the night and the audience could use a good laugh.

My solution though it sounds like less control is to outsource the pile of media you may have and run it from a server.  If your so particular you could replicate your party jam on a back up server,  and I suppose do what certain institutions do.  Fail over redundancy.   For me not being able to sing along with Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport,  isn’t a feature.  Economically and practically its there.  The cost would be around $20 USD a month,  and you can find these easily.

They are called seed-boxes.  There are many different kinds  Some are a LInux server waiting to be customized,  some have applications that install with a click. If your an iPhone user they will frustrate you.  There isn’t an app for that that does everything for you.  However, you don’t have to speak geek either.

The hosted solution offers redundancy of data centers in some cases,  but don’t expect it at the lower prices.  Its probably there,  to some extent,  but scale your expectations accordingly.  So its not real to expect to phone up Applecare and be calmly and gently walked through everything.  The solution needed may not be on your system to begin with,  as it probably has to be.  However,  for non mission critical things such as personal content does not matter so much.  A day without isn’t going to cost oodles of money,  its just painful.

IF you insist,  get two or three of them.  They all can’t be out at once!

This means two or three ways of looking at the same thing.  I have a media server, and it may not be available on seedbox 2.  So I would have to spend time setting up another one or installing it on seedbox 2,  where Seedbox installed with just a click.  Personally I don’t see the need and frankly if you have all this redundancy the reasoning would be you need high availability,  like say,  a broadcast company?

Been in that industry,  probably not going to be invited back and I would rather share the knowledge,  given that most media companies are closely guarding the secret recipe.   Here is the only clue I am going to offer.  Many things are available as Open Source software.  Its just most people figuratively do not want to work on the hot rod in the driveway for fun and knowledge.  Eventually,  the reward would be that the custom hot rod works very well and you have bragging rights.  This bragging does tend to turn off people who spent money on their solution.  End of story.  I am not interested in debating,  and yes I am sure of my facts.

So lets drop the keys.  1)  A seed-box is usually hosted on the Internet,  therefore agnostic to hardware and the investment in hardware on site (your place) isn’t required beyond play back.  So yes get a good system,  knock yourself out.  Seed-boxes are a solution to hard drive failures and streaming links that just go away (as they tend to do) and you can select the quality of your library.  If you want you can upload your pristine copy of Pavarotti on Vinyl,  and put the pristine Vinyl away safely.  2)  If you are so particular you can have fail over.   3)  Seed-boxes,  good ones start around $20 USD per month,  including a media server to run everything from.

Last and most important to quote Prince from Musicology “don’t you touch my stereo.”  But if someone coming to the party tends to do so,  you can switch everything over to a portable device and carry on.