Install Guide – Spy – Observation & detection component

This topic is applicable to Sonos owners only

Background: see here for a description of the SPY mode option, versus the other mode where all of your play counts are obtained from, including any plays that your Sonos equipment has scrobbled to

Prerequisites: see here for the prerequisites of the Observation & Detection component of the Spy application

AlbumPlays’ Spy mode is comprised of two separate parts:

  1. Play count processing : this component uses your track play data to update MediaMonkey, and and (optionally) It runs upon the PC which is hosting MediaMonkey.
  2. Observation & Detection : this component observes your Sonos units, and detects track plays. It needs to be running whenever you are listening to your Sonos. It may run on your PC, or alternatively it could be hosted elsewhere so that your PC doesn’t need to be left running. This page discusses installation options for this component.

The installation and configuration of the first component has already been described in the Getting Started User Guide, as that component is built into the same program used by Last.FM mode.

The Observation & Detection (O&D) component of SPY mode has its own prerequisites, and requires its own installation and configuration. It may be run under either Windows or Linux.

Since the job of the O&D component is to observe your Sonos equipment to detect track plays, it would be most convenient if the hsting computer it was already running whenever you wanted to play music. This has some implications:

  • unless you leave your PC running all the time, that might not be the most convenient platform for this module
  • if you are considering a 24×7 device it would ideally be a hands-off appliance, one that is cheap to buy and economical to run
  • that more or less implies that it should be a Linux device
Installing the O&D component under Linux

Although this module runs fine under Windows, it is worthwhile getting the application going on cheap Linux device if you are able to do so. Once it is installed you control it from your Windows PC.

It can run inside a NAS, if you have one and it has sufficient headroom to host the SPY component. To avoid any adverse impacts, I decided to to install my copy on a Raspberry Pi, which is a no frills, low cost credit-card sized Linux computer having the following features:

  • cheap to purchase, as it is designed and manufactured by a not-for-profit foundation with educational objectives
  • minimal power requirements; uses just 8% of the power required to run an idle Sonos Play:1
  • attaches to your home network via either WiFi or a wired connection
  • may be put somewhere out of sight, as once configured, you rarely have any need to touch it again (mine has been collecting my Sonos plays for five years, and all I have ever had to do with it is reboot it very occasionally)

Since the Raspberry Pi is a bare-bones device, it is a project to get it all going. I have created a detailed tutorial showing your install options here. The assisted install option is not much more difficult than “plug & play”.

Installing the O&D component in Windows

Instead, you may decide to run the O&D component on your PC. The only downside is that you have to have the PC running whenever you use your Sonos to play music.

Installation is a two part process:

  • one part finds and observes the Sonos units for the household, and makes available some information about the Sonos zones and their operational state
  • and the second part uses the first half, to detect and accumulate play history data

I implemented the application in this way, as the first half could be potentially used by other non-related applications. The only implication for you, is that you have to separately install both parts.

You need to obtain the two installation programs (where x_x_xx denotes the program’s current version number). The install process is similar to that which you used to install the other half of the application, or during the Prerequisites process.

Installs the first part
No questions to answer during the install process. You will have no need to interact with this library, so it installs no desktop or Start button shortcuts

Installs the second part
Offers a few options during the install process
Will optionally configure the detection & observation part of Spy application as an auto-start job, so that it is automatically started whenever you boot up the PC
Will optionally create a copy of the program control icons onto the desktop

The same shortcuts are installed within the All Programs section of the Start button. You can supply a group name for the shortcuts, otherwise they will be grouped as “AlbumPlays”. There are shortcuts for:

  • Sonos Spy : manually starts the detection & observation part of Spy application
  • Spy Log : displays the log file for the current execution of the Spy application
  • Configuration (MySpy.ini) : configuration file for the Spy application
  • SPY configuration documentation

Place the each of the programs in a temporary Windows directory of its own, and run it. It doesn’t matter which program that you decide to run first.

  • If asked, agree to allow the set up program to make changes to your computer
  • Read and agree the displayed Licence Agreement
  • answer any of the option questions that were referred to above
  • and then press the Install button
  • press the Enter key in the black window when asked
  • and finally, press the Finished button

next step: Initial Configuration Wizard

related steps

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