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REVIEW: Pocketwerks Vinyl
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 13.12.02 - 14:40:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 8698x
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Vinyl was created for the sole purpose of providing a simple and elegant way to remotely navigate and playback your digital music collection on your PC with your Pocket PC.

The Vinyl software package consists of two applications, one designed to run on your Windows PC, and the second on your Pocket PC. VinylServer is the PC application which runs in the system tray of your desktop PC and indexes as well as plays the music from your music collection. Vinyl is the Pocket PC application that provides various views of your music collection with robust playback and playlist support, all rendered in an easy to use interface.

Just a few of the possible scenarios for using Vinyl include:
Create a playlist on your Pocket PC and listen to it playing on your computer speakers while at work or play.
Connect your PC soundcard to your home stereo system and choose from the hundreds of songs living on your PC to be played during a party or while just relaxing at home. Pass your wireless enabled Pocket PC around and let your friends add their favorites to your playlist.
Connect a small FM transmitter or music transmitter to your PC, and use Vinyl on your Pocket PC to choose your music that is now accessible in every room of your house.

Vinyl works with every kind of Pocket PC/PC connection from ActiveSync/cradle to LAN to W-LAN and even with GPRS I was able to get it working! :-)

Vinyl installs smooth and comes with an all inclusive installation file. Just run it on the PC which is connected to your loudspeaker or Hi-Fi. First the VinylServer will be installed. This server holds the connection to your Pocket PC as well as it stores your music directory and acts as a kind of media player (even if Windows MediaPlayer or Winamp did the encoding in the background, so one of both media players is required).

Right after the PC installation, Vinyl tries to install the client on your Pocket PC so make sure your Pocket PC is connected during the installation.

VinylServer Setup
First you have to configure your home network (which should be already configured anyhow) and tell VinylServer where your music files are stored:

This could be your local PC as well as any other Computer within your network. Even more than one directory only is possible if you have your music stored on different machines. After you defined your music directorie(s), VinylServer is updating its music archive list which could takes some time. But if this is done you are ready to go on the PC side:

Above you see the complete VinylServer with Total Songs available to be played as well as the servers IP address.

Pocket PC Setup
After you've started Vinyl on the Pocket PC, you have to register it (for sure) and you need to tell your Pocket PC what's the VinylServer IP address is. This is the same as the one displayed on the PC:

That's it, now you are ready to go!

Now you can select the titles you want to play on your PC and Vinyl offers you different kind of selections:

From here you can just select the album, title or genre you want to play. If you've selected your songs, you can switch to the Controls view to play the selected songs or albums or just save the configured list as your own playlist to be used later again:

Now it's also time to play your music on your PC. It's as easy as counting 1, 2, 3! :-) Just tap the play button and your PC becomes the finest, remote controlled media center you can imagine!

While you can follow on your Pocket PC which song is currently played (the bold one) also VinylServer responds which song is currently performed:

Also VinylServer keeps you updated about how many Playlists are created and stored.

Some good input came from the Beta users. While the Beta version of Vinyl didn't include any volume functionalities this is includes in the commercial version now. So you don't have to lift up yourself to regulate the volume on the PC but to it right from your Pocket PC.

Final Conclusion

Well, until today my W-LAN was mostly for my Notebook to surf the web from the bed on weekends or from the couch in the evening. Also I used my Pocket PC for that for sure - mostly for E-Mails and more limited for Web - but the network possibilities of Pocket PCs in general are pretty limited without additional hacks or applications. With that hacks I was able to stream my music from my PC to my Pocket PC's Media Player but for sure the sound isn't as great as it could be if you are using PC loudspeaker systems or even better the Hi-Fi.
Until today I had to stand up all the time and had to walk to my PC which was pretty inconvenient. Now - with Pocketwerk's Vinyl - Rock 'n Roll is shaking my W-LAN waves! :-) No more walking but dancing in the living room - thanks to the Pocket PC on the table!

Beside the convenient home use, there was a phase when my brother and all his friends get married and on some of that parties I was the "DJ" or at least I was the one to insert/switch the CDs. The point here is that I was the whole evening behind the table and didn't really participated on that parties. Today - with Vinyl - I could join this parties also because all I need to control would be in my pocket.

If you also moved your complete music collection to your PC, Pocketwerk's Vinyl gives you a good reason to buy W-LAN equipment (if you are not already own it) to get the best experience (even if it would work with wired LAN). It adds so much value to your Pocket PC/PC/MP3 combination which is something I don't want to miss anymore right now!

Vinyl can be highly recommendet for every music lover who like to play music from the PC HDD but want to do this in a more convenient way! For sure there are other options like Terminal Service, etc. but why to complicate it? The server/client way of Vinyl works just great - out of the box!
Now I only miss button assignment for functionalities like increasing/decreasing the volume or play/stop - hope to see this io an update anytime. Also the registration process was driving me (and the Vinyl folks) nuts. ;-) Cause I'm always using different Pocket PCs for several tests, I need to reregister all the time again by unlocking the previous version first. I understand that Pocketwerks is trying to protect the software as good as possible but maybe there is an easier workaround too?

Vinyl is available for US$ 19.95 right from the Pocketwerks site. A limited trial version is available too!

Keep on rocking you network! :-)

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Download Here]


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