Archive for June, 2011

SQUEEZING ACCESSIBILITY OUT OF SQUEEZEBOX AUDIO SYSTEM II

June 12, 2011

This is part II of a series of articles to do with the Squeezebox Audio system from Logitech, in the first part I discussed the Squeezebox Boom and mentioned various ways one could control this handy – for want of a better description – Internet radio though its far more than that so perhaps let’s just leave it at audio system.

I find myself using the Ipad app called Ipeng HD to control the system as everything you could possibly need here in the way of controls, settings and functions is grouped in a logical and straight forward order. I’m told that a person with vision working on an Ipad can totally rearrange the order of all these controls and so on to suit the users needs.

The first handy control worth nothing in Ipeng HD is the ability to switch between “My Squeezebox” and the “Squeezebox Sender” server software if it exists on a computer connected to your network. “My Squeezebox” is the service your Squeezebox Player connects to on the Internet and this is what you would use if you wanted to use your player independent of your computer. The “Squeezebox Sender” software is the server which can control your Squeezebox players from your computer.

Both these control options have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want to do, for example if you want to stream your music collection to your squeezebox player then you’re probably better off using the “Squeezebox Sender” software on your computer, this software detects music on your system including Itunes libraries.

Ipeng HD will usually detect if the “Squeezebox Sender” software is running on a computer connected to your network and the name of the computer with the software will appear on the screen.

When connected to the sender software the user sees additional options such as “Music Folder”, “Playlists” and so on, you can navigate these and select according to your preference.

All the usual other goodies are there like “Favorites”, “Radio”, “My Apps” and so forth as you’d see if you used the “My Squeezebox” option.

The only way to stream music from “My Squeezebox” is to use an app called “MP3 Tunes” but to my knowledge the MP3 Tunes facility is not accessible which is a great shame.

You can find Ipeng HD in the Itunes store, you’ll also find Ipeng, that’s the baby Brother. Ipeng runs on the Iphone.

There is a Squeezebox controller app for the Iphone/Ipad which allows remote control of your Squeezebox players from your account on the “MY Squeezebox” server.

In part III I’ll look at how you can control your Squeezebox Audio system from your “My Squeezebox” account using a web interface from your favorite web browser such as Safari for Mac and Firefox for Windows, you can obviously control the system from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Siemens SL375 Cordless Phone

June 10, 2011

The following is a modified version an email sent to the pc-audio list by me which describes the Siemens SL375 Cordless Phone system, I’ll be following this mini review up with further comments and observations as I become more familiar with the phone and its features.

 

The first thing which sets this phone apart from most other cordless phones is its size and looks, one could be forgiven for mistaking the handset as a mobile phone its that small and yet the base is just a big black box with a single button on it.

I bought this phone not because of the size so much but because it can be used with a Bluetooth headset, actually it can be used with many bluetooth devices including your mobile phone so this alone makes the system very flexible as you can transfer items from your mobile to the Siemens phone such as contacts, calendar entries, ring tones  etc.

You can purchase an optional  data cable accessary  which allows synchronisation of your contacts and such from your computer to the phone, you can also use the phone’s bluetooth to do this.

So back to the phone itself, hands free is amongst the best I’ve heard, its not harsh sounding but yet is quite loud. Those who have heard the hands free from the Siemens report that it sounds crisp and clear.

The model I have has an answering service built-in, again the answering service itself seems to be in the handset. When calls arrive and the answering machine is triggered you can hear the caller leaving a message through the loudspeaker on the handset, “Call Screening”, I suspect that this feature can be disabled should you wish to do so, haven’t fully read the manual yet and believe me its going to take quite a bit of time to read as its damn thick.

There’s a “Record” button on the handset so I suspect that you can record voice memos, maybe even record phone calls in some countries which allow that sort of thing.

We’re all familiar with the control one has over just about every aspect of a mobile phone? The same applies to this cordless phone system, custom ring tones, distinctive ringing, SMS tones, alarm tones, calendar tones and even a vibrating alert.

I was first made aware of the Siemens cordless phone range thanks to a tipoff from some friends of mine in the U.K. who recently bought themselves one.  The model range over there is different to what it is in Australia and may be different again in the U.S.

I have a fondness for bluetooth devices as they can connect through the Tek Controller which I’ve mentioned previously to my hearing aids. I had a Uniden cordless phone which had bluetooth audio and it wasn’t too bad at all.

There don’t seem to be too many places in Australia who stock the Siemens range so you may have to do a little searching.

Siemens in Australia have a web site for their cordless phones which contains much information including downloads of owners manuals.

Be warned however that some of the models featured have touch screens and thus would be next to useless I would think to totally blind people though if you have someone set up the Bluetooth facility then you may get around it that way.