November Version Releases

Vinci has another new version release. I’ve mentioned this program before; it is a heavyweight neuro imaging program specializing in PET imaging, and is a leader in this field. That said, it’s a pretty narrow field, but it happens to be my field which is why I like this program so much. Their release schedule is regular and substantial – for example, one ‘maintenance’ release a while ago was to expand their platform base to the Mac and Linux. I see no reason why this program couldn’t be used for non-neuro imaging and its feature list will keep the most demanding analyst busy for days.

Anatomist / BrainVISA is another major program in neuro image processing and analysis, though specializing in MRI this time. It is a product of a consortium of French academic institutions and is frequently updated and well supported. It’s true open source and has been built on many operating systems, though prefers Linux. I’ve not used this program, it’s specialized and not in my particular field. I will download and test it for a review, though, and I’ve admired their images, does that count?

RadScaper is a Java applet-based image viewer from Divinev, and the recently released updates feature an attractive redesign along with technical improvements. There are a couple of these around, but RadScaper is in continuous development and its capabilities have grown considerably. There are obvious limitations to viewing images in a web browser rather than a stand-alone imaging application, but Radscaper can be run on just about any computer and requires no software installation at all. The image files are supplied via straight HTML so there should be no issue in accessing the image server through a firewall or other security appliance.

Osirix has another of its regular updates released. It’s the program I almost love to hate, since it could be argued that it is the only DICOM program you need, which would make my site obsolete! As a general purpose radiology workstation, or indeed for many specialized purposes, Osirix will do pretty much everything with DICOM files. I use it all day long for imaging and PACS work, and I recommend it to colleagues. If they are not currently Macintosh users, this program probably justifies purchasing a Mac. Of course, it is limited to DICOM and is limited to Macintosh (it utilizes so many advanced Mac core technologies that porting it to another OS would mean redesigning it). Try this program.

No image file for dcm4che, the comprehensive DICOM Java library and related applications, which has another update out. This vast toolkit is all command-line business, specializing in PACS operations, networking, getting images from A to B with complete accuracy and great efficiency. How hard core is it? The ‘che’ is actually ‘Che’ as in Guevara – the developer was “inspired by the revolutionary nature of open source”. Some programs have a special place in my heart, but dcm4che has something even more special, a permanent place in my directory path. All my machines (from 6 to 60 of them depending on how you count them) have /usr/local/dcm4che/bin hard coded in my path (even Windows machines, since I do most of my work at the Cygwin command line). For me, a standard step in getting any machine to a minimal functional state is to install Java and then dcm4che. In fact just today I was installing a WIndows 7 virtual machine (I run Parallels on the Mac), getting Java to install in C:java, since the default ‘Program Files (x86)’ directory causes all sorts of issues in the path, what with all those spaces and parentheses. dcm4che’s sibling is dcm4chee (the ‘e’ is for ‘Enterprise’), a powerful PACS server in Java that provides the core of my test lab.

Firefox Rules!

firefox.jpg

mozilla.jpgBy which of course I mean, it rules the ratings.  Though it could also be said to rule, because it is a really good browser and was the first real alternative to Internet Explorer, back in the days when it was called Mozilla.  I kind of miss the old logo and the spirit of rebelliousness that came with not running Internet Explorer back in those heady days.  Though if we’re going to talk old web browsers I could hark back to 1993 and getting NCSA Mosaic for the first time…but I digress.

report_browser.pngSo, these ratings.  Here at I Do Imaging World HQ we (I) analyze the web logs on a regular schedule – given that I’ve done it twice,that is hard to disprove.  And when I looked at the web browser statistics I see that some time around July, Firefox because the most popular web browser used to access this site.  Of course, I credit my readers with being high achieving trend setters, so I don’t know if this reflects the web use as a whole.  Still, I think it’s a significant point in Web history.  Over the last two years, Internet Explorer has gone from almost 60% to just under 40% share, while Firefox has climbed from about 35% to just over 40%.  Safari and Opera have seen modest gains, from about 5% to about 8% each, with Chrome, which of course didn’t exist two years ago, now at about the same level.

Any one of these is a perfectly good browser.  In the last year I’ve been using Internet Explorer occasionally and have found that the latest release is actually really good.  I’ve been using Firefox for so long that IE has caught up a lot.  I use all five of these on the PC, on the Mac I use Safari, Firefox and Opera, and on Linux I run Firefox and Opera.  I really like Opera, partly for their adherence to standards (though all browsers these days are pretty good about that), but also I like to stick up for the little guy.  And, I can’t shake the idea that any software from Scandinavia is just plain cool.

report_os.pngOn the operating system side, things are a little less dramatic.  Most people still run Windows, though in two years this share has fallen from almost 90% to just over 80%.  The Mac has seen a steady rise, growing 50% in share from about 8% to about 12%.  Linux trucks along on the desktops of about 7% or so of the desktops of my readers.  For years and years I was among those hard-core souls, using a Solaris or Fedora machine as my primary workstation, but recently I’ve found little reason to use any machine other than my Mac Pro.  I still use it as a Unix workstation at the command line, but as far as my web stats are concerned, hello, I’m a Mac.