As I write this I am listening to songs from the 60’s and 70’s randomly chosen from a database of my music served up by Windows Media Server running on Windows Sever 2003. James Taylor is playing right now.
It’s a private server. Only connections from my LAN are allowed. Wireless and wired connections to my router can tap into the media the server makes available. It’s mostly music but some video as well. It’s like having my own private radio station. It plays the music I like and it plays it when I’m in the mood for it. No obnoxious jocks or commercials to interfere with the pleasure. No static. No dials to tune. No batteries needed.
This is easy for me to do. I administer computers. I program computers, I write scripts and active server pages. I can do these things with little effort if the whims of desire take me there.
How about you? Wouldn’t you like to be able to do this too? Wouldn’t you like to be able to listen to your own private stream of favourite music while sitting outside this Summer with your laptop? Your kids could have their own streams and your spouse too. You could. Windows Media Server even has the capability to randomly play songs from a directory of music files. You don’t have to do any programming unless you wanted to. But what you need is Windows Media Server which only comes with the server operating systems such as Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2003 Standard Server.
What Windows XP and future versions of Windows need is a limited version of Media Server like the limited versions of IIS that come with Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP Pro. Limit it to ten or fifteen concurrent streams. Limit it perhaps to connection from LAN only clients.
More and more homes have multiple computers these days. More and more these machines are home networked on wireless and Ethernet networks. Home networking is now readily available, inexpensive and easy to setup and operate. Windows hasn’t kept up with this fact.
Not everyone has a Media PC. Not everyone wants to watch their computer videos on their TV. Some people would just like to easily be able to share media across their own machines. Media server lite (let’s call it) could serve that need. An older PC could be used as the server and file server. No expensive hardware to buy. No software to buy. It’s all there in WMS Lite. Perhaps someone from the Windows Team will see this and it will strike a chord with him or her. Perhaps. Perhaps not. It’s just a thought that was in my mind.