sTaL-MP3Box stands for: "STand ALone MP3Box". Now probably you're asking: what the hell means this??
Well, that's what I'm going to explain in this introduction. Have you ever dreamt of building your own MP3-Player Jukebox, I mean, like those nice devices available today which are capable of playing your MP3-Collection without need of a computer?
That's almost what this project is. Almost, because it actually is a computer, but without monitor and without all the things you don't need. Look below on this page for a photo of it, in action and black as the night (to make it look like other HiFi-Rack devices like your CD-Player, etc!)
The interface to the user is a LCD-Display (normally 16x2 Lines, hd44780 compatible standard module) and a keyboard.
The computer has a CDROM-Drive capable of reading CD-R's and even CD-RW's and a hard disk of a size of your choice (mine has 2 GB). For producing the sound it uses a ordinary sound card.
The program which controls all this is: sTaL-MP3Box, written by me in Pascal (because it's the only language I really know ;). And the best of it: the computer is powered by Linux (any distribution) (see www.linux.org if you don't know what it is). For MP3 decoding MPG123 or MPG321 is used, and my program is naturally also published under the GPL (GNU General Public License, see www.opensource.org for details!), so this means: the software of your MP3-Player costs you nothing!
sTalMP3Box now also includes capability for playing OGG/Vorbis files, for that it uses a patched version of OGG123, which you can get on the download page.
And the hardware is cheap, too:
I used a Pentium 166, 8MB RAM, 2GB Harddisk, 48x CDROM, Floppy, Keyboard and the LCD-Module, that's all.
My program features all the stuff normally found in every MP3-Player, like Playlist, Play Control keys like Stop, Pause, Rewind, etc., Time elapsed display, song name info, etc.
But it also has some very special features you won't find in every ordinary MP3-Player: a File Manager with which you can do all normal file operations on your harddisk, ID3-Tag info, Free Disc Space information, add all songs on a whole CD to the playlist with one key stroke, a nice scrolling display when playing showing position, name, etc.
And the playlist is fully editable, you can save it as file and load it from file. On startup, the program may be configured to run a mixer program to automatically set all volumes to the right levels, also there is a way to make fast CD-Drives less noisy...
I hope that now you're saying: "I wanna built it!! What do I need??" ;))
To wire up the LCD-Display to connect it to the parallel port you need some soldering skills. And, you need some knowledge of working in Linux or, if not, a friend who can help you, because it's not THAT easy to install...
You need the hardware, the LCD-Module and some electronic parts, and lots of patience :)
-- I just added OGG/Vorbis support. The first version to include it is 0.9.3.
-- The program is still in a BETA-phase and there are still some bugs in it, so don't get mad if suddenly something doesn't work anymore ;)