Slim Devices

Last year, I finished converting all of our music CDs to something like 66 gigabytes of MP3 files that live on my computer. It has made listening to music at my computer much more enjoyable. Nearly 40 solid days of music available at the click of a mouse. But what about when I’m away from the computer? Having an iPod has helped, especially on long trips, but it hasn’t solved the real problem: how to listen to all that music through the stereo in the living room or on any of those nifty speakers we had installed around the house during the remodel.

Enter the SLIMP3 from Slim Devices. This little box has a nice bright display on the front and a handful of connectors on the back: power-in, audio-out, and ethernet. It gets music over the network from an open-source server running on my computer, converts it to analog, and sends the result out the audio jacks. It’s not much bigger than the remote that comes with it. Very cool.

We can now sit in the living room and browse those thousands of tracks (by artist, album, genre, etc.), create playlists, and play whatever we want. It’s a little like an infinite-disc CD player, except there’s no delay between tracks and barely any physical space taken by it. Not to mention that all our CDs now live in boxes in the basement; our quest for attractive CD-storage furniture has been made irrelevant.

But of course, there’s more. The server can also be accessed directly using a web browser. Besides providing a richer music-browsing experience than a remote control and two-line display ever could, it allow us to control what’s playing from anywhere in the house. Combined with a laptop and our Airport wireless network, that literally means anywhere in the house. Now that our basement is finally done, we often find ourselves down there playing DJ for Henry while he plays (which means lots of Wiggles these days).

Just as our TiVo changed the way we watched TV, the SLIMP3 has changed the way we listen to music.