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Monday, January 21, 2019

The idea of the skill is to make it easy to use an LMS-based squeezebox infrastructure hands free. Whether this is a single Squeezebox Radio or a whole-house installation comprising multiple different devices, as long as you are running a single LMS, you can utilise voice control.

The core philosophy is that users configure their setup in LMS, and use the skill for control.

This approach helps understand how decisions were made about what functionality to include (and exclude). For example, the skill allows users to enumerate, select and play favourites and playlists. However, these cannot be configured by voice. You would use the LMS to set these up.

In this way, the skill is focused on day to day activities, and strives to make control easier, or at least provide an alternative approach.

Another key tenet is the ‘always free’ approach. Hab-Tunes is a personal project: one person working in their free time on a hobby project. Nothing more, nothing less. It grew out of a personal desire to link Alexa to Squeezebox and kind of grew legs when discussed on the slimdevices forums.

As such, it’s always been the intention to make the skill freely available. Unfortunately, there are costs. The heavy lifting is done on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and that incurs monthly fees. There’s also annual costs around domain registrations, SSL certs and such like. Not to mention dedicated echoes and squeezeboxes tied up in development / testing.

To balance the ‘available for free’ with the ‘must cover costs’ imperatives, there’s a simple model - users can use the skill to make a set number of LMS calls per month. If more are required, a small payment can be made to unlock unlimited usage. In this way, users can try for free and use the skill in a limited way for no charge, but those who use it a lot and find it useful are asked to make a small contribution.

For more information, see 'How It Works'.