May 20th, 2003

happy mannequin, happy

New toy!

I managed to procure a Cobalt Qube 2 today. It's been a while since I've geeked on hardware, so I'm sort of looking forward to playing with it. It's a neat little box -- we had it lying around at work because they're technically a competitor to one of our products, and a long, long time ago someone wanted to see what the Qube can do.

But obviously I'm not going to be using it as a small office server. It's a strange little box -- two ethernet ports and a serial port, but no video, keyboard or mouse; initial configuration was done via a little panel on the back. Cobalt QubeIt's got a 250 MHz MIPS processor and a 10GB hard drive, but only 16MB of RAM -- and finding more RAM for these guys is tricky, because it needs 3.3v 72-pin SIMMs.

Anyhow, I think mine's going to become the mp3-playing component of my stereo system. It's a shame the panel isn't on the front for panel geekery, but essentially I just need something to permanently affix an audio cable to. I can hook it up like a tape deck, and then use it for playback and for converting my record collection to mp3.

I figure I'll throw NetBSD mipsel/cobalt on, or maybe debian-mips, although I'm more familiar with NetBSD in low-memory scenarios, and then set up a variety of ways to get music to it, to be played by mpg123. It's got one PCI slot, so I'm assuming that I'll be able to get some common sound card working, and after that it's just about software control from my laptop or over the Web -- all the physical box has to do is sit on the shelf and glow a bit. Mind you, the panel is drivable in NetBSD -- it's just in the wrong place to be useful.

Suggestions on control interfaces are welcome -- things like Apache::MP3 don't cut it because they're backwards (files there, play here). I need a control mechanism that is "files here, play there", or at least "files there, play there". I will at least be implementing simon_cozens's idea of queueing mp3s with lpr, but that's mostly hack value -- I'd much rather have something with a little (but not a lot) more eye-candy. Anyone solved this problem for me?

  • Current Music
    Shuffle Demons -- Streetniks