How to avoid stuttering when listening to online radio thru Synology and USB speaker

February 2, 2014

I use a Synology DS213 server as my main multimedia box. It holds all of my music, videos and naturally I use it also to stream online radios. I have a USB Speaker plugged into the NAS and hooked up to my AV receiver.

I decided to subscribe to the excellent TraxxFM feed ( after having tested their free offer. The subscription brings 20+ channels of excellent curated music. They have everything from Classic to Rap, Deep, Classic Hits, Trance etc. Enough to satisfy the various moods I may be in during the course of a day. Anyway, something interested happened when I switched from free to paid radio : the streams were all in better quality and with no ad but after 20 mns or so of streaming, the sound would start to stutter, stopping for a few milliseconds and restart again. It quickly became super annoying and nearly made me regret the free offer which didn’t suffer from this.

First I thought it had to do with my Internet bandwidth being shared by a download or someone watching YouTube or a general network issue. So I made sure my QoS settings were correct and that the online traffic for the radio was correctly prioritised : it was. The strange thing was that the stuttering occured after 20 mns or so of streaming, sometimes more but never less than 20 mns. It seemed like the Synology couldn’t keep track of the amount of network traffic that Traxx was sending, but I looked at the various stats in the control panel everything was normal (DSM up-to-date, no overheating, LAN ok,…).

I Googled far and wide but nothing… nobody reported anything similar. I nearly gave up and even thought of dedicating an old Android phone to Traxx streaming until I decided to check every single setting available in the Synology control panel and stumbled upon the Hardware option. In there there’s and HDD Hibernation setting that was set to… 20 mns ! Hmmm…. interesting. There’s another option underneath : “enable advanced HDD hibernation to minimize power consumption” which was checked. I changed it the Hibernation time to 5 hours and unchecked “Enable Advanced HDD….”. I launched Traxx FM and this did it ! No more stuttering and lag !

I confirmed this by reenabling both settings and setting the Hibernation to 10 mns and… the stuttering reappeared.



Convert a MiniSIM (used in an iPhone 4s) to a NanoSIM (used in an iPhone 5s)

December 25, 2013

Recently bought an iPhone 5s as a replacement for my ageing iPhone 4 and was shocked to discover that I needed to fork out 40 swiss for a new SIM. The new phones use what is called a NanoSIM whereas the iPhone 4 use a MiniSIM. The only difference between the two is the size. I knew there had to be a better way and a little Google got me there :

This is a template I printed on an A4 paper at 100%. I put my MiniSim on there, taped it using scotch tape and drew the corresponding lines with a permanent pen. I then used a cutter and finished the job using a pair of scissors. Et voilà : a NanoSIM homemade ! I could then activate my new phone without having to wait for the new SIM to arrive (and saved a little in the process).

How to record streaming radios

August 25, 2012

Recently wanted to record my favorite band that was playing live on the local radio. I used the excellent Screamer-radio software. It runs on windows and really gets the job done. Best of all it’s free :

Solving “you are not authorised to use this service” when using Synology DS Audio

May 12, 2012

I installed DS Audio on my iPad and recently received “you are not authorised to use this service” error. I knew that the user/password was correct and I could use DS Audio from my Android phone. Turns out I recently enabled “Auto Block” in the network services of my Synology server. Sure enough my iPad’s IP address was there listed as blocked. I removed it from the Block List and all was fine.

Fix Access Denied error when running Minecraft under Windows 7

April 29, 2012

I just bought Minecraft and downloaded the installer. When I ran the Java program I got an error message “Access Denied”. Well, after hours and hours and trying to fix various permissions on all the directories I just realized that MineCraft and ZoneAlarm don’t play along well at all. Removing the Browser Virtualization option from ZoneAlarm fixed the problem. It’s the second time I have a problem with ZoneAlarm and this is starting to piss me off. This first time being the unability to run AVIDEMUX. For this one, no workaround unfortunately, I had to run WinXP in a VMWare instance !!! Unbelievable !

Careful Checkpoint… I may not renew my subscription for next year.

How to add new rules to Belvedere on Windows 7

April 22, 2012

As mentionned here I use Belvedere to automate files operations. Recently I tried to add a new rule but the program wouldn’t save it. After a bit of searching I realized that the directory where the RULES.INI is located was read-only. The trick is to launch Belvedere in Admin mode just to create the new rule. You can then shut it down and relaunch it in regular mode.

Some AVI files have no sound when played on the Popcorn Hour A110 – How to fix

April 18, 2012

Some AVI files will be played with no sound on the Popcorn Hour A110 but will be alright on the PC. Don’t know why although this thread may have an explanation :

To fix it :

  1. Get AviDemux from SourceForge
  2. Install it
  3. Run it. IMPORTANT NOTE  :  if your OS is Windows 7 32 bits or 64 bits and you’re using Zone Alarm, it WILL crash. The only way to use the program is to start Windows in Safe Mode (or to desinstall ZoneAlarm completely, just removing it is NOT enough)
  4. Program will ask “Build VBR time map?”, select Yes
  5. Program will say “Index is not up to date” recommending Tool -> Rebulid Frame… whatever.. say Yes
  6. Save the file by choosing  File, Save, Save Video, and give it a new name

AVI should be fine then.