I think the last time I wrote about the Squeezebox was in 2005 (yikes!), but it's time to virtually attaboy again: the Slim Devices folks have recently released the Squeezebox Boom, and it's pretty darn great. (I might be a little biased because I wrote their Mac-native support years ago, but really, no sense bragging on something I don't like.)

There's a surprising amount of competition out there in the "networked audio player" market, but Slim Devices (now part of Logitech) has been around a while, and their open source solution is one of the very best. The Boom mates a Squeezebox with a rather nice set of stereo speakers to create a pretty ideal stand-alone player/clock radio: something I've been looking for over the past few years.

This'll work with virtual all unprotected audio files you might have (including AAC, ALC, FLAC, OGG, MP3, MPA, WAV, AIFF), and includes support for Rhapsody, Pandora, Sirius... the list kind of goes on and on.

Minor downsides: awkward external power wall wart (boo!), no battery support for those times you might want to take it out on the porch, some minor control placement issues (all personal taste), and—like all Squeezeboxen—it requires that you have the SqueezeCenter server running on something (which can even be an Infrant NAS -- it ships with the SqueezeCenter built right in)... but those are decidedly minor.

Highly recommended, and a big congratulations to Dean Blackketter and the rest of the Slim Devices team.