Knight Rider MP3 Player

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Latest News

May 16th 2000 Well after some time Version 0.8 is released. It gets rid of most if not all the bugs and adds some great new features. Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. Please look at the updated keyboard map below.

Note: if you installed version 0.5 you need to add the MP3 info perl module

March 12th 2000Version 0.5 released!! The program is very functional but some features are missing. We have been using it for a week or two in our cars and have gotten most of the annoying kinks out of it. More beta testing is requested so feel free to let us know what else needs to be fixed.


The Knight Rider MP3 Player(krmp3) is a free full featured car mp3 player written by Jake Luciani and Fidel Amaro. Krmp3 uses the Xaudio mp3 server and the Festival text-to-speech system to create a interactive car mp3 player without an lcd screen. The program takes ideas from stump3.
Since krmp3 is interactive we were able to add many advanced features not found in most car mp3 players like encoding mp3s as you drive, a playlist manager, and easy program upgrade, to name a few.


Current Features:
  • Encode mp3s as you drive.
  • Copy mp3s from mp3 cds and another device (like zip drive).
  • Simple playlist creation/modification/deletion.
  • Easily upgradable (no need to take computer out of your car).
  • Use id3 tags to identify songs.
  • Resume last song
Upcoming Features:
  • A Krmp3 linux distribution (for simple installation).
  • An accompanying GUI program for your desktop to edit playlists and grab ID3 tags for mp3s encoded while driving.
  • Allow theme's for Knight Riders spoken interaction.
  • Use ID3 tags to order by genre, etc.
  • Add some AI routines to help choose favorite songs, etc.
  • Write a Palm interface.


Minimum Hardware:
  • P133 system w/ cdrom and soundcard(your closet)
  • Numpad($15)
  • 115v car power adapter($20)
  • Cassete adapter for cdplayer($10)
Software (see Download):
  • Linux($0)
  • Perl + modules($0)
  • Festival text 2 speech program ($0)
  • Xaudio mp3 server (you get the idea)
  • cdparanoia
  • mp3 encoder(bladeenc)
  • Knight Rider MP3 player


Knight Rider is relatively easy to set up if you are an experienced linux user. You can use any distribution you would like although I've only tested it with RedHat. You need to partition your hard drive properly since krmp3 mounts everything read-only except for a ramdisk partition which it uses when encoding new tracks and a small playlist directory. Only the root, playlist and mp3 partitions should have entries in /etc/fstab. The partition structure should look like this (obviously order and size can vary):
  • /dev/hda1 -- ~200 Megabytes (root filesystem)
  • /dev/hda2 -- ~32 Megabytes (swap space)
  • /dev/hda3 -- ~128 Megabytes (ramdisk partition)
  • /dev/hda4 -- Extended partition
  • /dev/hda5 -- ~1 Megabyte (playlist partition)
  • /dev/hda6 -- Rest of the disk (mp3 space)
Now install a minimal linux installation of only the bear essentials, perl and gcc. Make sure you're sound card is configured!
You now need to set your mp3 archive partition to read only. Do this by editing your /etc/fstab and setting the mp3 archive entry to:

/dev/hda6      /mp3_archive     ext2ro,suid,dev,exec,auto,nouser,async    1   2

Since the root partition is still mounted read-write there is a chance you could damage your hard drive if the system is suddenly shut down. But I have tested it for a while now and I have not had a problem. And until I can figure out how to do this there is no way around it (Although there is an option to shut down the machine in Admin mode). Next, make sure your cdrom device is linked to /dev/cdrom. If it is not link it with the command: ln -s /dev/'cdrom_device' /dev/cdrom.
Once the system is properly set-up you need to install Festival, cdparanoia and an mp3 encoder. Since krmp3 uses DBI to manage playlists you need to install Perl DBI and the CSV interface to it, as well as the TermReadKey and Mp3 Info module. You then need to install Knight Rider Mp3 Player into the root(/) directory and edit the krmp3.conf file to configure it for your system. Finally edit the /etc/inittab and change the line "1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty1" to "1:2345:respawn:/krmp3" and add the line "setleds +num" to /etc/rc.d/rc.local to set numlock on and you are finished.
I know you are all saying "Thats it?!" :) This is the reason why we are going to offer a Knight Rider Distribution to simplify the installation process... anyone want to help :)


The following is a description of the num pad keys and what they do.
We'll eventually offer a pic you can print out and paste onto the numpad for easy reference.
Note: The letters (i.e. ABC) are used to help you associate the numbers with a name like 1-800-U-FOOBAR.

Num Lock
(Should be ON)
Volume UP
Identify current song
Back Song
Kbd (un)lock
Next Song
Add song to
playlist buffer
Volume Down
jump to song
Admin Mode

One usefull playlist feature is the 855 or ALL playlist which makes a playlist of all songs in your archive.

When you choose the Play list manager or Admin mode you will enter into a menu system which allows you to do the following:
Admin mode:
  • CD audio encoding
  • Copy MP3s from cdrom (with the option of using the directory structure as the playlist structure)
  • Copy MP3s from alternate device (with the option of using the directory structure as the playlist structure)
  • Upgrade program (just pop in a floppy)
  • Shutdown machine
Play list manager:
  • Add songs in playlist buffer to a playlist
  • Delete songs in playlist buffer from playlist
  • Clear buffer
  • Rename a playlist
  • Delete a playlist (with the option of deleting the MP3s)
  • Merge 2 playlist together
  • Read id3 tags (one time fix for 0.5 installations)
  • Load songs that are not in any playlist to buffer


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