My Digital Jukebox


During an enthusiastic online discussion about some great Linux apps, VLC was mentioned by many, so I thought I would share a little more of my experience.

I set my team the following challenge.

  • As a family, we still buy music in digital format despite the bitter taste of having lost stuff when I left iTunes.
  • I am a fan of Siri, but I’m not completely comfortable with having an open mic in my life.
  • We hold on to old kit with the good intention of recycling, so I set the budget at zero.

It turns out I was asking for a digital jukebox. They dug out a 12yr old 32bit Eee PC with a dead battery. I think this was intended as a form of revenge. It seems they did not view my challenge as a glorious opportunity to showcase their skill and my budget with the reasoning and generosity of spirit with which I had set it.

Using a dusty old doorstop they have built me something in which I can keep my music files and play them through some Linn Kans using a valve amp. I don’t actually know what some of these are, but what’s great is I can control it all from a browser on my desktop, or phone, so the stuff lives on the other side of the room and sounds brilliant.

All I have to do is find a new way to keep the door open. The rest of my team’s notes are below. By the way, I would not put it past my crew to have forgotten to mention some critical part of the solution. It’s not meanness, it’s just the nature of this loveable beast.

Anyway, what I have learned from this is the greatness of my art is to ask the right question. Having facilitated their genius I don’t feel I’m getting a fair share of the credit.

Techy bits. Total time including testing and data transfer: 1 day.

Step 1 the foundation

  • Using a redundant piece of hardware a very bare Debian 10 running LAMP, VLC, alsa-utils and flac was installed.
  • Several gigabytes of music was copied to the local music directory.
  • It was plugged into an ancient but glorious sounding stereo and music was played to check VLC.
  • Using a phone we checked the webserver (LAMP) was running and confirmed its address.

Step 2 configure VLC (credit goes to the VLC wiki)

  • View → Add Interface → Web
  • Tools → Preferences (select “All” radio-button) → Interface → Main interfaces → select “Web”
  • Tools → Preferences (all) → Interfaces → Main interfaces → Lua → Lua HTTP → Password
  • Leave the username field blank. Password = (we used) c0olt0ol (not!)

Using the web address established above, add ‘:8080’ to the link. Login without a name, using just the password. Enjoy.