Listen to the radio over the internet

20110710-screamer-radio

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend asking for help to look for a Windows application that would allow her to listen to and, more importantly, record programmes broadcast on the radio and streamed to the internet.

In my investigations I discovered Screamer Radio, a freeware application that… well, allows you to listen to and record programmes (to MP3 or OGG Vorbis) broadcast on the radio and streamed to the internet.

Features

It’s really simple to use, is small (not bloated with features), doesn’t have adverts (unless you’re listening to a commercial radio station!) and supports a number of stream types:

  • Shoutcast and Icecast MP3 streaming
  • Icecast OGG Vorbis streaming
  • WMA streaming
  • AAC streaming

One feature that it doesn’t have, which would be really useful and which can be found on similar commercial software, is to schedule recordings so you don’t have to hover over the record button. But that’s a minor criticism, for the most part I just want to use it to listen to the radio.

Updating the presets

Screamer Radio comes with a lot of built-in presets. Hundreds, in fact, organised into category, country, language and network. I listen mostly to Planet Rock, BBC Radio 4 FM and BBC Radio 4 Extra.

The Screamer Radio presets come up trumps for the first, but seems quite out-of-date for the latter two; it does offer BBC Radio 4 LW. The preset for Classic FM also appears to be broken.

After a little detective work I discovered the following URLs work:

  • BBC Radio 4 FM
    http://wmlive-acl.bbc.co.uk/wms/bbc_ami/radio4/radio4_bb_live_eq1_sl0/.wma
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra
    mms://wmlive-acl.bbc.co.uk/wms/bbc_ami/radio4xtra/radio4xtra_bb_live_ep1_sl0
  • Classic FM
    http://mediasrv-sov.musicradio.com/ClassicFM

I added them to my favourite channels by going to File > Open URL, pasting in the URL, click on OK to connect and then going to Favorites > Add current channel to Favorites.

Overall it’s a really simple piece of software to use, almost as simple as my DAB radio.

http://wmlive-acl.bbc.co.uk/wms/bbc_ami/radio4/radio4_bb_live_eq1_sl0/.wma

Restoring the Up button in Windows 7

explorer-upbutton

One of the things that puzzled me about Windows Vista and Windows 7 is why Microsoft removed the ‘up’ arrow icon in Windows Explorer. I’m now delighted to be able to restore it using Classic Shell by Ivo Beltchev.

Now, I do appreciate that Vista introduced the breadcrumbs in the address bar which allows you to move quickly between directories, and there is a keyboard shortcut (Alt+Up arrow) to move back up the tree. But sometimes it’s just quicker to use a button, rather than moving back and forth between the mouse/trackpad and keyboard.

Mavis Up Button

I have tried Mavis Up Button in the past. While it’s not free, its cost of US $4.95 (approx. GBP £3.10) isn’t exactly prohibitive. But it does have a few shortcomings.

The first is one of user-experience. While it looks beautiful (a shiny green colour) it doesn’t disable when you reach the top of the path tree, which makes things a little disorienting (“can I go up any further or not?!”).

The second relates to reinstalling Windows. Because the registration requires you to match a software-generated hardware ID, username and registration key, if you’ve made any significant changes to your computer these will not match and you’ll either need to ask Mavis technical support to generate another registration key or you’ll need to purchase the application again.

Which brings me to the Mavis technical and customer support, which in my experience is dreadful. I waited over a month for a reply to an email and am still waiting. And the last time I tried to purchase the button I was sent an email of the HTML of their Error 404 Page Not Found page when they were meant to send me the registration code!

Classic Shell

Classic Shell is free, hosted at SourceForge and doesn’t require any registration key to make it work. I now have it installed on my laptop.

As the name might suggest, it does more than add an Up button within Windows Explorer, but the options are nicely organised (with two views: basic and advanced) and you are not forced to use the features that you don’t want to use.

See the features page to find out what else it offers.

classic-shell

So far I’ve been impressed with Classic Shell, even though all I want is the Up button in Explorer, and it works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7.