Hardware/Software for Digital Imaging
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This page has been written as part of the NIP2 Beginners Guide.
What is needed? Computers New and Old.
Before you can begin using the nip2 software you will need a computer to run it on. This page is intended to briefly discuss what sorts of hardware and software you may need.
In previous versions of this documentation we have gone into detailed specifications of hardware. However, computers have been changing so quickly over the last few years that it has become more sensible to given more general requirements. Basically nip2 can now be used on most computers running Windows (NT, 2000 or XP) and Mac OS 10.2 or newer. Given the large variety of distributions on the market it is more difficult to specify which versions of Linux are required, but generally any of the major distributions<ref name=nbg_hands_1>Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/, SuSE Linux: http://www.suse.com, RedHat: http://www.redhat.com, etc ...</ref> released within the last few years will be fine. If you are setting up a new Linux machine it is probably a good idea to get a recent copy, many can be downloaded for free. If you have an existing system, just try to install nip2 and see if it works. nip2 can be used to perfrom wide variety of image processing functions and is designed to allow you to work with large images on less powerful computers. However, if you plan to routinely work with very high resolution images, or perform very complex routines, a more powerful dedicated machine may be required.<ref name=nbg_hands_2>If you are planning to work with images larger than 100MB a more powerful dedicated computer may be required, such as a top-end games computer or graphic workstation, at the time of writing this type of computer starts at about 1000 and goes up.</ref>
Is there any difference in using Windows, Mac or Linux ?
The exact appearance of the nip2 software, colour of window titles, design of scroll bars, shape of buttons, etc. can change from one computer to the next depending on each computers own graphical settings or chosen display themes. Generally though a specific version of nip2 will generally provide the same functionality and appear very similar on all computers, however there may be some difference. These differences change as new versions of nip2 are released so it is good to check the website and or release notes to see whats new. One specific difference is that direct image capture into nip2, via a standard video feed, is only currently available with the Linux version of nip2.
What is Dual Boot and do I need it ?
A dual or multi boot<ref name=nbg_hands_3>Booting up is the term given to the process of turning on a computer and starting up an operating system.</ref> machine is a single computer containing two or more different operating systems<ref name=nbg_hands_4>The operating system is the basic software required to use the computer, such as Windows XP, Mac OS, Linux, etc.</ref>. When the computer is turned on the user is given the option to choose which of the avaliable operating systems to use, for example a single machine with Linux and Windows installed on it. So why would it be needed ?
Earlier versions of our image processing software would only run on Linux based systems and many users needed a Windows or Mac based machine for other types of work or to run dedicated image capture systems.<ref name=nbg_hands_5>Many image capture systems come with specially designed hardware and software which had been specifically designed to work with a particular operating system. Setting up this kind of system, just for image capture, is described as a dedicated image capture system.</ref>
Now that nip2 can be run on Windows and Mac computers there is less requirement for a Dual Boot machine, but if a user still wants to have windows avaliable and capture a video signal directly into nip2, a Dual Boot system may still be required<ref name=nbg_hands_6>For more information relating to the setting up of a dual boot machine please consult the documentation provided with your Linux distribution or one of the many websites describing the process.</ref>
Cameras and scanners.
We do not intend to recommend or discuss specific equipment in this document. There are too many cameras and scanners available on the market and they are changed and updated too quickly for us to comment on them in any detail. Before buying any new capture equipment it would be good to consult professional colleagues working in a similar field or browse the internet<ref name=nbg_hands_7>Try going to your favourite search engine, such as http://www.google.com, and just run a search for "digital camera review", you will get quite a few returns on your search.</ref>. A more general look at image types and resolution has been included in the page Basic Digital Imaging.
A detailed, step by step guide to capturing Infra-red images using; a videcom style camera; a simple video capture card and a Linux based machine can be found in the standard nip2 user guide.