I get asked, and am often in need myself, of sample DICOM files in various formats. By sample I mean no weird private tags and all of the identifying patient information has been removed. The files below are part of the collection I have built up over the years.

These files can be used to test applications you write using my PHP DICOM Class and can be opened in any image viewer, such as MicroDICOM.

Click on the thumbnail to get the DICOM file.

This is a setup I used for a number years before moving to a Sickbeard, Couch Potato, and sabNZBD. In this post I will show you how to use uTorrent to download videos and separate them out by type (TV Shows, Movies) via labels. XBMC will look in the folder uTorrent places the videos in for content to play.

Make Some Directories

You’re going to need some places to store your downloads. Makes these directories on your computer:

C:\Media
C:\Media\TV Shows
C:\Media\Movies

Setting up uTorrent

The goal with uTorrent is to apply labels to the torrents you are downloading so uTorrent will sort the files into directories for you.

The first thing you want to do is set up your labels. In uTorrent go to Options->Preferences->Advanced->UI Extras. Under Persistent Labels type in TV Shows|Movies. The screen shot below is an example.

utorrent_labels

Setting up uTorrent labels

Next you want to setup uTorrent to place your downloads in an easy to find directory, and to sort those downloads into directories with the same name as your labels. With the uTorrent preferences window still open from the last step, click on Directories. Then check mark ‘Move completed downloads to:’ and also check mark ‘Append the torrent’s label’. In the text box below type in C:\Media. The screen shot below is an example.

Setting the download location

Setting the download location

Now when you queue up a TV show or movie in uTorrent, you’ll want to apply a label to it. You do this by right clicking the downloading torrent and selecting the label from the menu.

Setting a label in uTorrent

Now you’re all set with uTorrent. Whatever you download and apply a label to will be sorted into directories for you.

Setting up XBMC

In XBMC we’re going to add

Go to Videos->Files->Add Videos.  Click on Browse and find C:\Media and then click on OK twice. You’ll get to a screen about setting content, just click on OK again.

Click on Add Videos again, then Browse and find C:\Media\Movies. Click OK twice. This time on the Set Content screen, change ‘This Directory Contains’ to Movies and pock mark ‘Movies are in separate folders that match the movie title’. When done click OK and let it refresh.

set_content_movies

Now we’re going to repeat for TV shows. Click on Add Videos again, then Browse and find C:\Media\TV Shows. Click OK twice. This time on the Set Content screen, change ‘This Directory Contains’ to TV Shows. When done click OK and let it refresh.

That’s it, a dead simple setup with uTorrent feeding XBMC. The easiest way to view all of your media is to go to Videos->Files->Media in XBMC and browse from there.

 

Torrents are not safe. Your IP address is visible to all. Eventually you will be caught and copyright infringement notices will be sent to your ISP. Using an Usenet Provider will not only protect you but allow you to download faster. I recommend NewsgroupDirect.

Short Answer: It’s really good.

I’ve been trying out XBMC on Ouya for the last few days. Overall I’m happy with it.

I’m using the Ouya on my den TV, a Vizio WV42LHDTVa, via HDMI. The Ouya is on a gigabit wired connection. XBMC is configured for a shared library via a MySQL server. The videos and thumbnails are stored on a SMB share on the same wired network.

The video quality is good. When using wifi it would take a good while to start videos and occasionally I would get a stutter during playback. Fortunately I already had a wired connection behind my TV and moving to that wired connection solved the problem. The odd thing about this is that the XBMC box that the Ouya is replacing had a USB wifi card that didn’t have those problems.

Sound is good for me, but considering I’m just using the built in speakers in my TV I’m not saying much.

The UI is snappy. Only complaint is that I wish I had a remote instead of a controller. I would bet that we see some strong USB remote support in the future.

What don’t I like? Not much really. I mentioned the remote support. Some of my thumbnail art is not displaying, though I would bet this is because the library is from XBMC 12 and the Ouya is running version 13. I wish the Ouya had a better interface for launching XBMC. Being able to put it in an easy to get to favorites or even the play menu would be nice.

 

I have a shared MySQL database library for the various XBMC installs I have. One of the reasons I purchased an Ouya was as a cheap replacement to an older XBMC box I had. Things got interesting when I tried to edit my advancedsettings.xml file on the Ouya. How to do it? There isn’t a text editor or SSH access. I had to copy the file from the Ouya to another PC, edit it with what I needed, and then copy it back.

Keep in mind that what I’m going to describe below will install XBMC version 13 on the Ouya. If the other installs around your house are not using version 13 this may mess up your database. I had version 12 installs and my DB was fine, good luck!

  1. Backup your XBMC database.
  2. Install XBMC for Ouya. This is a dead simple tutorial that worked for me.
  3. If you don’t have one already, create a shared folder on your PC. This is where we will put the advancedsettings.xml for editing.
  4. On the Ouya, launch XBMC. Go to Settings->Appearance->File Lists and pock mark ‘Show hidden files and directories’.
  5. Go back to the main XBMC menu, go to Settings and then File Manager
  6. Add two sources, one should be the shared folder on your PC, the other should the userdata XBMC folder on the Ouya.
  7. The XBMC folder on the Ouya is /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/files/.xbmc/userdata
  8. In the shared folder on your PC, make an advancedsettings.xml file. I just copied one from another XBMC install.
  9. Back on the Ouya, copy the advancedsettings.xml file into the userdata folder. Do this by highlighting the file, then pressing the Ouya button on the controller, then select copy from the menu that pops up.
  10. Exit and then restart the Ouya. You’re done.
Getting to the built in file manager

Getting to the built in file manager

Showing all files

Showing all files

Copying Files

Copying Files

 

 

I recently purchased the retail version of the Ouya console. I had some high hopes of using it as a cheap XBMC box and emulator console. Sadly, as soon as I turned it on I noticed a glaring problem, I have about %5 overscan on all sides of my TV.

Ouya Overscan

Not cool at all

I’m not the only person with this problem according to the Internet. There are several posts on Reddit and the Ouya  forums from others. Ouya originally took the stance that the overscan problem was the TVs fault. Now, I can see where technically it is, but every other device I have plugged into this TV has worked fine. In my opinion, if several other consoles, computers, and DVD players work OK and the Ouya does not, then its the Ouya with the problem.

My TV has no option to turn off overscan, this includes its service menu. Interestingly, I have another, newer, Vizio TV that works OK with the Ouya.

Ouya has made an attempt to recognize the problem. The Ouya has a whole section of the video menu about overscan fixes you can do in your TV. In this menu is also an ‘Overscan Compensation’ setting you can turn on or off that does nothing.

The good news in this situation is that XBMC has its own method for changing the screen size to compensate for overscan.  In Settings/System you’ll find Video Calibration. It’ll allow you to move some arrows around on your screen to fit the video to your display. I really wish Ouya had something like this built in. Several game makers have recognized this problem and have made changes to their games to fix (Bomb Squad for instance).

What to do? I really want to like the Ouya. I’ve followed it since the Kickstarter, looking forward to buying it for almost a year. I’m torn between hoping and waiting for a fix or just sending it back to Amazon for a refund.

Ouya Support thread about Overscan

From time to time, while browsing your XBMC library of files you may get the prompt, “Need to unpack a big file, continue?” This means XBMC has a large rar file it needs to open, so large that it may take a while/affect your system’s performance. Typically you can just answer yes and not have to worry about it again.

In my experience though you get this error when you have a corrupt or password protected rar. Answering yes gets you an endless loop of prompts, answering no will result in the prompt going away only to come back the next time you open your library.

What to do?

Via what ever method you have, go to your <xbmc_dir>/temp directory. In there will be the offending rar file, possibly in a directory called rartemp. Delete any rar files and any directory with rar in the name. Restart XBMC.

The next time you open your library you should be all good.

I use an SQL server for my library, sometimes I have to go an extra step and delete the file’s reference in my xbmc data. Look in myvideos->files and find the recent entry with rar:// in the strFilename column.

 

 

This method will allow you to batch convert DICOM images into JPEG images.

  1. Install IrfanView
  2. Install the IrfanView plugins (This gives Irfan View DICOM support)
  3. Now you have the prerequisite programs installed.
  4. Open IrfanView
  5. Go to File->Batch Conversion/Rename
  6. Find and select the DICOM you wish to convert and click the Add button. (You’ll most likely have to change ‘Files of Type’ to All Files (*.*)
  7. Select your Output Directory, this is where the JPEGs will be created.
  8. Check ‘Batch Conversion’
  9. Under Output Format, select JPG – JPEG Format
  10. Click Start
  11. There should now be a JPEG of each of the DICOM files you added in the Output Directory you selected.

IrfanView Screen Shot

 

Here’s an XBMC problem I ran into; there is a show I watch and until a few days ago XBMC would add new episodes into my library as Sickbeard downloaded them. This arrangement has worked well for several years with no issue. For seemingly no reason XBMC stopped adding new episodes for this show only to the library. Sickbeard was still downloading them and moving/renaming them to the appropriate place, XBMC just wasn’t picking them up and putting them into the library.

I poked around a bit and saw this entry in my temp/xbmc.log file:

“ERROR: VideoInfoScanner: Asked to lookup episode SOMEVIDEOFILE.avi online, but we have no episode guide. Check your tvshow.nfo and make sure the <episodeguide> tag is in place.”

Googling the error didn’t help. Other people have had this problem but there wasn’t a solution posted anywhere I could find.

I looked at the tvshow.nfo for the show and sure enough, there wasn’t an <episodeguide> tag. I understand through some voodoo you can add the tag yourself, but I didn’t want to get into that. I already had a copy of Media Center Master, so I deleted the tvshow.nfo file, opened Media Center Master, and had it fetch all of the metadata for the show again. After that was done I had XBMC update the library. My missing episodes then appeared in the library as they should.

I have no clue what made it stop working in the first place, but I am happy that having Media Center Master rebuild the metadata solved the problem.

Torrents are not safe. Your IP address is visible to all. Eventually you will be caught and copyright infringement notices will be sent to your ISP. Using an Usenet Provider will not only protect you but allow you to download faster. I recommend NewsgroupDirect.

 

Squirrel Balls

The cutest squirrel balls you’ll ever see

A few weeks ago our landscaper found a couple of baby squirrels and we’ve been raising them ever since. They were three or four weeks old when we got them, old enough that their eyes were open and they had fur, but not old enough to be all that active. Here we are at six or seven weeks old and their actively level has shot through the roof, they’ve gotten squirrelly.

Soon they should be old enough to be let free. In the meantime they live in my sun room.

Do you like little poop pellets?

This room was clean one hour ago.

This room was clean one hour ago.

It’s an interesting fact that squirrels will not go to the bathroom in their nest. The other side of this statement is that they’ll go anywhere else that suits them. This includes the floor, your furniture, and even you. Squirrels produce small and hard poop pellets, of which they produce about a billion a day. Even when locked in their cage you will still manage to find little poops all over the house. I believe they ride on the wind like a dandelion seed.

The only upside to all of this is that the poops come out dry and scentless. I guess that’s a win.

Squirrels will scratch the holy hell out you.

Squirrel Scratches

This is my hand. Its actually a good scratch day.

Squirrels have sharp little claws, unlike a cat, these claws are always out. Squirrels also love to climb on you, its a wondrous squirrel activity to run up and down and all around you as you scream in pain from the thousand cut torture. Sadly, you’ll find yourself liking this. My hands look like a teenage cutter. I keep squirrels so that I can feel.

Another thing of note, squirrels can jump very far. If you get within ten feet of a squirrel and they want on you, they’ll jump on you. This could mean jumping on your back, your head, or your face. Good times.

Squirrels Enjoy Chewing

Wicker Chair

I left them alone near our sun room furniture.

Wicker furniture seems to be the favorite chew toy. They’ll also chew up all of the plastic bits in their cage, turn any branches you give them to saw dust, and they also enjoy shredding fabric. If you want to keep something, don’t leave it where a squirrel can find it.

Squirrels do not Have Empathy

Unless you have food on your person, squirrels are indifferent to your problems. They do not come over to be petted, they do not want to cuddle. If they do not want to be picked up even their most gentlest attempts to escape result in painful scratches.

They’re you’re best friend if you have food. All the same they’ll stab you in the face for a walnut.

Chill Squirrel