Category Archives: pc

Create STL from DICOM with 3D Slicer

Pretty much a self reference post, based on Slicer v. 4.6.

  1. Open the relevant DICOM set.
  2. Open the Crop Volume module
  3. In “Input ROI” dropdown select Create new AnnotationROI
  4. In the slices view adjust the selection so only the interesting area is covered
  5. Click on the Crop! button and see how the slices are cropped to the set area
  6. Open the Editor module (you can select the GenericAnatomyColors palette)
  7. Click on the coloured rectangle on the Label: row, and choose your relevant structure (if you’re here you probably want bone)
  8. Click on ThresholdEffect button (third from last from the effect buttons)
  9. In the Threshold Range input area that just appeared set a starting value of 300 HU (Hounsfield Units) which usually is a good starting density value for bone
  10. You will see the relevant areas blinking in the slices images, and you can adjust the density range by using the small arrow buttons on the side of the lower value of the range
  11. When satisfied, click Apply
  12. Click on the MakeModelEffect button, first from last, and right after click Apply
  13. After a while (depengin on how large is the ROI and how complex is your structure) the rendered model will appear in the 3D view
  14. Click on the SAVE button in the top tools bar, and deselect every entity except the last one (usually named bone if you followed this tutorial), and then choose the STL format in the dropdown on the side (VTK format is selected by default), plus change to your needs the saving folder, and press the Save button
  15. Profit!

Share mysql and apache folders from windows XAMPP to linux XAMPP

This is a replica of the article by jultech from 2007 for posterity and data-replication purposes.

When dualbooting between windows (first OS installed) and linux, do this:

~ # mv /opt/lampp/var/mysql /opt/lampp/var/mysql.BACKUP
 ~ # ln -s /mnt/windisk/path/to/XAMPP/mysql/data/ /opt/lampp/var/mysql
 ~ # mv /opt/lampp/htdocs /opt/lampp/htdocs.BACKUP
 ~ # ln -s /mnt/windisk/path/to/XAMPP/htdocs /opt/lampp/htdocs

This creates a backup of the original XAMPP folders in linux, and them symlinks them to the windows disk mounts.

Restart XAMPP to have th configuration running.

Thank you jultech.

Fix mount: unknown filesystem type ‘isw_raid_member’

You may also get ‘linux_raid_member‘ instead of ‘isw_raid_member‘, usually it’s the same.

So you probably have run through other tutorials telling you not to mount directly but to mount the raid instead…. but you have no raid!

Maybe though, you HAD a raid back in time, and you removed it leaving the disks as separate storage, and in that case there would be “rogue” raid metadata on the disk that makes linux (mint in my case) think it is a raid, and get confused.

Thanks to Chris_F I finally solved it, you need to use dmraid (install it if it’s not on the system, via apt-get) to remove those orphan tags:

sudo dmraid -rE /dev/sdb

In my case, this instantly showed the disk in file manager.

Enable Dolby Digital Live Surround 5.1 in Far Cry 4 and Watchdogs

Self reference, and also a heads up for those people looking into listening to 5.1 surround sound in Far Cry 4 and Watchdogs which usually play no sound when Dolby Digital is enabled.

This was tested and works in my configuration using a Sound Blaster USB Surround Pro X-Fi, and doesn’t involve any patch or hack, but a simple linear procedure; the first step is to download the latest drivers from Creative website (may ’14), and then, as the good sir melgu said on steamcommunity:

  • Open Creative Entertainment Console
  • Click on the Dolby Digital Live icon
  • Check the second box (a warning will appear, read it to undestand what it does, then accept clicking Yes)
  • Open Change Sound Card Settings from Windows Start Menu, and set the entry Speaker (Sound Blaster blahblah) as the default peripheral
  • Test your games

 

Power efficiency of ATX PSU, power adapters and UPS

This article goes hand in hand with my previous one, since the findings I report in here are those that led me to update the power source of my server.

When you buy a PC, usually the PSU is the last of the worries: the more Watts it’s got, the better, as it can handle all the power hungry hardware you plug to it. Also, usually, this is “just right”, as we use our main PC for just a few hours per day (as long as you make sure you either use suspend for short pauses, or hibernation for longer ones, so you don’t waste energy while you’re not actually using it).

When it comes to servers tho, that are made to run 24/7, power efficiency is of paramount importance, because, make your own calculations, a single watt, year-wise, will be going to cost you something. Using my estimates, and living in Italy, for each watt of consumption of any always-on electric appliance, I will pay, after a year, about 1.75€. Not much in itself, but try and multiply it by 100.

Also, the more power you use, the more you end up polluting the environment, and raising the earth temperature.

So, of the 100, 150 or 200W-whatever that your PC drains, how many do you think are really needed to run the PC, and how many go wasted in the form of heat? For each fan you need inside you PC, you are raising one notch the waste-index of the computer.

Giving for granted the waste of power that goes into the hardware itself, I am going to talk about what regards power supply units, the PSU boxes that nawadays are very nonchalantly sold in the range of 500W-1000W. Do yourself a favour and buy a wattmeter (kill-a-watt or whatever you call it) and measure the power absorbed by your home computer, it will surely be way lower than the maximum rating of the PSU it’s using; the more the real load is distant from half the nominal power of the PSU, the more you’re wasting in heat, since the efficiency of a PSU is a gaussian curve that has its peak (be it 70% in the old fashioned PSU’s, or up to 86% in the newest ones) at 50% the maximum load. In other words, if the hardware in your PC drains 100W, you should get a 200W PSU, even if nowadays it’s hard to find one, so it’s still better a recent 86+ 5ooW one.

For a simple comparison: my current server, before I did the complete switch described in my previous post, was equipped with a 350W PSU, the only one I had available, and it drained little more than 42W in idle. One day, I had too much free time in my hands and went scavenging for other PSU’s, so I had the chance to test it with a 250W PSU, and the drain lowered to 39W, while, with a very old, and supposedly very inefficient, 120W PSU, the drain went even lower at 37W. As soon as I bought and installed a PicoPSU, and connected it to a PSU brick rated 12V@3A that I had from an old external disk, I got a surprising 29W drain while in idle, a total saving of 13W off the 350W PSU. Translates to roughly 23€ savings in a year… the amount it costed me to buy the PicoPSU from the US. A break-even after a year is a good break-even, I say.

Uninterruptible power supplies are another source of waste, even if you would never suspect it: my car-battery modded UPS drained an additional 10W in idle; thinking about it, though, it makes sense, as with a UPS you’re doing an additional conversion, from 220V to 12V, or from 12V again to 220V (in the PC it goes even one more time from 220V back to 12V), which is intrinsically inefficient. In a year, 10W would mean 17€, more than what I paid for a 120W 12V fanless power adapter from China; I already had the car battery, so again a one-year break-even by exchanging the UPS with a plain AC/DC 12V adapter, good!

Low power consumption server with integrated car battery UPS

I wrote in another post how I simply attached a car battery to a standard market UPS to give it even more juice; in that occasion, several users commented how I committed several shortcomings regarding the assembly.

Also taking into consideration that comments, this morning I rearranged the power supply of my home server to make it more silent and power efficient/independent.

On a side note, most comments were centered about me using thin cables to connect to the battery, with the reason that a car battery can deal a lot of amperes together, making a thin cable overheat, leading to possible fires. At first I credited them, but then I realized something, for which they should also get back to earth: we are not talking about shorting the battery leads for test purposes, but about using a day-to-day load, especially since it’s a low-power home server that together with accessories drain maximum 60W, which is 5amperes at 12V voltage.
Enter PicoPSU: you get a little toy able to give out up to 95W constant power (with my own model, but they make them up to 160W), which is 8amp at 12V. There is an 8 amperes current flowing through the cable running from the barrel connector of the PicoPSU… now please go and check the thickness of those cables. If those are enough for 8amps, how should 220v cable not be enough for 5 amps (tops, make it 4 on a regular basis)?

Back to us, my idea was to save the most possible on power waste, and have a silent PC that could sustain moderately long blackouts.

Ingredients:

  1. Your favourite hardware configuration for home server/automation (I bought a D510MO from Intel, with a dualcore D510 64bit Atom, put 2GB of RAM on it, a PCI DVR card, and a 2TB Samsung disk, the cheapest I found)
  2. A picoPSU power supply or something similar (I bought for roughly 20€ off the US a PicoPSU80, rated for up to 95W max, but I’ll need way less than that)
  3. A decent 12V power adapter, preferably fanless, that can manage the load you’re going to put under it, plus some more (mine came from China, but it’s ISO and CE compliant, and apart from the build quality which looks sturdy, it can take up to a nominal 120W load, that is 10A@12V)
  4. A car battery, must not be new, but should be able to hold its charge for a while, otherwise it’s pointless to use it

Here goes.

server insides
This is how deserted the tower case (courtesy of someone who abandoned it near a garbage can) looks, but it's fine, as I have the space, and I want air to be able to circulate freely inside without needing fans.
12v barrel connector on tower case
Detail: I used a pre-existing screw hole used to hold in place the old PSU, enlarged it with a drill, and fitted the PicoPSU barrel connector inside. Notice the thin cables coming out of the connector (those are apparently perfectly safe for 8amperes).

NOTICE: Be ABSOLUTELY careful when handling the following step: never, Never, NEVER make it so the battery leads are shorted together, or you will be in for a GREAT amount of PAIN, including, but not exclusively limited to: electric shocks, fire, tools welded to other tools or to the battery or to rings (NEVER wear rings or similar metal things on you while doing this). Additional word of advice: when connecting a cable, make sure the other end is either not naked, or if you removed the coating already, put a strip of insulating tape around it, you don’t want it to make contact around; this is especially true when you have both cables connected, as the naked ends may make contact between them. When you are about to connect the battery to the load, uncover a cable end at a time (first the positive, then the negative), and not both together.

car battery negative lead
In the "car battery ups" post I wrote, several people criticized how I made the connections to the battery, both plug-wise and cable-wise. This time, I used cables 3 times larger, and since I didn't have a proper car battery clamp, nor wanted to buy one/disassemble from somewhere, I just curled the copper wire around the lead. Ugly, but in the end it's as much effective as a regular clamp (try and confute). I only had ground cables that big, so who cares, I just tagged them with coloured tape to tell them apart.
cabled car battery
Sexy. This is the final result: didn't have red insulating tape either, so I used black for negative, and white for positive.
cabled 12v 10A 120W power adapter
The cable panel for my adapter, large white cable is 220V mains input, ground cables are battery leads, and grey ones are the load (server + lcd monitor + modem/router + other stuff). Before you go and start bashing me because it's ugly: I don't care, it works and it's safe. Also, it's not visible in this picture, but each cable has its own white/black tape tags to tell if it's positive or negative lead.

Results were as following: I plugged the battery leads while the ac adapter was already powering the server, and no problem whatsoever popped up; after I did it, the wattmeter I was using immediately went down quite some figures, as the charged car battery was sharing the load together with the 12V PSU. With this setup, I can plug in/out the mains plug with no effect whatsoever on the server: load, PSU and battery are all in parallel, so it 220V inlet dies, the battery takes all the load with no hassle.

Currently, the wattemer is showing quite a lower load, since the battery was all charged: I expect it to slowly raise until full consumption, which should be little more than 42W (full stuff load, plus something more to keep the battery charged).

 

What would have you changed, and what do you like/dislike about this mone-morning project?

Virtualbox bridged network adapter driver slows down LAN speed

When I upgraded from WiFi to a physical CAT5E cable running between my router in the other room and this desktop, I jumped from 2-3MB/s tops (1MB/s usually, sometimes less) to 11-12MB/s speeds during file transfers from my home server.

Lately I was checking that the speed to download some fansubs off the server got down to 5-6MB/s, exactly half of what I was used to; I noticed there was another non specified adapter listed in Windows 7’s statusbar icon hover, and I traced it to Virtualbox’s bridged network adapter. Since I recently had installed that to test something for which I had no need anymore, I simply uninstalled Virtualbox, and as soon as the virtual network card driver was gone, speeds were back to 11-12MB/s.

Should this be in any way a normal behaviour?

Assorted freeware tools and utilities download

After the website was moved to the new domain and converted to PHP, a lot of utilities linked here have been massively updated, disappeared, or become obsolete/useless. I removed the obsolete/useless ones, and added “google” near the ones which are not hosted in here but you should google for, while the downloads you can find in here are pretty rare, bust still useful ones

Ghostscript & Ghostview (google)

Great couple of tools to create a PDF file (you know… the ones you read with Adobe Acrobat Reader…) from every kind of document you can print. Follow instructions in HowTo’s section on how to do this.

Registry Detective (google)

Small and effective tool from ZDLabs to search the Windows’ registry for a key and display all of the occurencies in one panel, instead of pressing F3 till the last one. Then you can open Regedit on the key you want to edit, simply pressing a button in Registry Detective.

Hex Editor XVI32 (google)

Not for many, but someone may find useful this utility. I myself have it installed, and never used it, but you never know.

Magic Renamer 3.00

GREAT free tool (actually requires a reg code for “full registration”, not needed tho; you’d get the opportunity to download the latest version, which supports batch conversions and other things); I use it to rename MP3 files, just a few settings, and the game’s done.

QuickSFV (google)

CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) tool, lets you create a check file (extension .SFV, “Simple File Verification”) for a series of files, so another user can check if these files are integer or corrupt after he downloads them (actually it is more useful when YOU need to check the integrity of a download, if the downloaded file is provided with its CRC table — that is a .SFV file).

RegCleaner (google)

Run it from time to time when you need to remove from the Windows’ Registry those useless lines, which a crap uninstaller or a even crapper installer left there. I runned it right now, 445 invalid entries . (You may check with a search on www.google.com if there is a version newer than the 4.2 one provided here)

ScreenRip32 (google)

You may need to get a screenshot of a Windows program, of a funny error message, or anyway of a document view, to publish it, or to archive it exactly as you saw it; ScreenRip32 is the program for you: gets either a shot of the whole screen, of a single window, of a sigle field (like, the text field of Word or the OK button of a dialog box), or even of an area whose borderyou drag with the mouse (I used this utility to take all the screenshots you see in the HowTo’s/IRC pages). Then you can save in BMP, GIF, JPEG or even as an icon (.ICO)!

TopSplit

Simplicity made application: does what it needs to do, and perfectly; it splits a file in several pieces, either of the size you need, or of the percentage of the whole size you want; it can create all the segments, or, for example, only the 4th segment of 1,635,246 bytes from a 10MB file. It can make as well a batch file to rebuilt the whole data in one command. And it’s really small, too.

ResHack (google)

Low-level tool to modify the resources in 32bit-standard files (that is, you can export Icons, Bitmaps, Text, Cursors, or change them as you want). Advanced users only.

Internet tools freeware downloads

After the website was moved to the new domain and converted to PHP, a lot of utilities linked here have been massively updated, disappeared, or become obsolete/useless. I removed the obsolete/useless ones, and added “google” near the ones which are not hosted in here but you should google for, while the downloads you can find in here are pretty rare, bust still useful ones

GuildFTP Daemon (GuildFTPd) (google)

Free FTP server, installs and configures easily, can interact with mIRC (great if you want to set a banner on an IRC channel to share songs, pictures, or everything else on your HD), has a nice graphic interface.

GuildFTP mIRC Script (google)

This mIRC script, younger brother of GuildFTPd, is an FTP server which runs in mIRC (!) through a script for this chat program. It is obviously usable only if you plan to run an FTP for an IRC channel, and should use less memory of the proper application, since is “embedded” in mIRC (obviously it’s not as user friendly as the main app).

NetPerSec (google)

ZDLabs utility to constantly monitor the download/upload speed. What is simply too cool about this one is that it shows itself in the system tray with a small graphic to see in real time the speed (too bad under Windows 2k it needs to be restarted if you disconnect/reconnect, because it behaves randomly…)

Zidrav (google)

You create a CRC table of the big file you downloaded, send it (via mail, IRC DCC, ICQ, whatever) to the guy who has the original file, who uses the same program and the CRC table you sent, to create a “patch”, which he later sends you (again, via FTP, DCC, or whatever), and which you use with the same program to fix your file which will be exactly the same of the original one.

How to record MSTalkit voices with Microsoft Windows Sound Recorder

So, you didn’t understand how to make it. Well, what am I here for then?

First step: install and run MS Talkit (download it from Downloads/AudioVideo).

No comments
Hey you made it! MS Talkit is running!

 

Ok, now begin playing with it to acquire the method, then just reach the point, and do something like this:

Ph33r My V0c41izing 5ki11z!!
This is really nice, the same I use. For a get fail, try instead "DCC Failed!", Child personality, Breathly Vocal Effort. The child seems he is amost crying cause of the transfer error 😉

 

So, after you tried Talkit and had fun with it, start Sound Recorder (Start > Programs > Accessories > Entertainment), locate it over Talkit, so when you switch from one another their windows don’t cover each other, and press in rapid sequence the Rec button in Sound Recorder, followed by the "Talk It!" button in Talkit. When the phrase is finished hit the Stop button in Recorder. Now, even if you’ve been a lot fast, there will be silent delays at the beginning and at the end of the WAV, so move the slider till you find a wave with a big amplitude,

You were pressing the play button, admit it!
Here I pressed the Rec button about 0.9 secs late (hey it’s 11pm while I’m writing…), so had to remove a lot of silence. Always try to play from the current slider position to see if the wave belongs to the voice or to the noise before the voice starts.

 

then do [Edit > Delete before the current position] to remove the silence at the beginning. See when the Wave ends, and do [Edit > Delete after the current position], then do [File > Save] and go to mIRC’s folder (I suggest not going higher than 22KHz, 8bit, mono quality, it would be a waste of disk space; to achieve this, simply press the Change button in the Save dialog, and choose these settings).

Hewgh you did the same for allthe sounds you wanted to put in mIRC I hope (I mean Query, DCC Send, DCC Fail, DCC Complete, Notice, and so on), otherwise I just lost my time for a single 1.5 secs WAV file…

Now get back to the main mIRC Event Sounds page