Control your home entertainment with a phone remote
A friend of mine came around the other night, he just got himself a new iPhone. I'm not really a fan, but good on him. He asked me to let him connect to my wireless router then in a matter of minutes hew had control of my iTunes on a windows laptop of mine. Rather impressive.
I, however, am a geek and not a Mac fan. I don't like iTunes mainly because it cannot handle the capcity of music I try to make it index. iTunes has a critical mass and dies soon after exceeding it.
Now I have a few computers about the house but only one location where the music is kept. I also have a flatmate (room mate) who likes to listen to my music also. I'd like to be able to access my music from which ever computer I'm on and I'd like my flatmate to be able to access it also.
One of my computers is pretty much the entertainment computer from which we watch movies and play music from. It serves as our DVD player and general internet access for communal youtube watching. Its also where all my music lives.
As a geek, I know that one obvious solution is samba, where by I can mount the file share to any other computer on the network and access the files from it.
But what about controlling the entertainment computer from anywhere in the house?
Well there is VNC remote desktop, again from any computer on the network I could take control of the entertainment computer screen. However I still need to have access to a computer like a laptop or something.
I discovered and open source project called mpd or music player daemon which is apt-get install-able from ubuntu. You can configure it to index music from a certian directory then you can connect to mpd with mpd clients and play music. However, the music is played on the computer that runs the mpd server and not the mpd client. This is a way to remotely control your music. Next, I downloaded and installed a PHP web app called relaxx player which is a web based mpd client. This allowed any computer on the network to control the music playing by visiting that website.
I thought this was a pretty good setup. But tonight, it just got better. I just myself a Nokia E63 which has wireless access and a symbian operating system. It can run java applications. I went looking for an mpd client for it so I could control my music from my phone, much like how my friend could with his iPhone and iTunes. And what I found was Remuco, another server/client application that lets you control not just mpd but all kinds of media players including Amarok and VLC.
So now I can control movies and music from phone. Well done me, I've re-invented the remote!
If you're interested in getting Remuco working I recommend using this tutorial