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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Finally stopped Windows Media Player–Overwriting Folder.jpg files ?

If you have been using Windows Media Player / Windows Media Center for any length of time, you will know that WMP is a bugger for overwriting your hi-res Folder.jpg files in your albums folders.

As a result I have never embedded album cover images in to the MP3 files, as if you do that WMP will then take it upon its self to overwrite my hi-res 600x600 Folder.jpg images with a crappy low-res 200x200 Folder.jpg, which Windows Media Center will then cache and you end up with terrible looking album covers in MCE on your TV.

If you don’t embed the cover images in to the MP3 files, then MCE will pickup and cache your nice hi-res Folder.jpg image. This has been working fine for me in Windows 7 / Media Center.

However iTunes requires that the cover image is embedded in the MP3 files, which is why I have never used iTunes fully. We just got a 27” Apple iMAC computer and I plan to use iTunes and get in to all that stuff.

Also developing a new XBMC system at the moment and I am currently working out all the artwork in XBMC, which there is allot more of with all the add-ons for cdArt, ClearArt, FanArt and all that carry on. From my tests XBMC will just pickup and cache the Folder.jpg that’s in the albums folder, so if that Folder.jpg has been molested by WMP, you again end up with a crappy 200x200 cover image in XBMC on the TV. Seems XBMC does not display / cache the embedded hi-res cover images in the MP3 files.

Long story short WMP is and always has been a pain in the arse with Microsoft not knowing what they are doing with artwork images. There is nothing you can do in the WMP settings to stop this behaviour and I always thought there was no way to stop it overwriting Folder.jpg files if you embed cover images.
However a new search today and I have found a genius who apparently has come up with a solution, in my initial basic tests I can confirm that it does appear to work, but I need you to test and confirm as well!

On your Windows PC go in to regedit then browse to:


Create two new DWORD entries


Give them the value of:  ffffffff  and then reboot.  You will need to do this on every Windows PC where WMP looks at your music files.

This Voodoo Magic appears to totally stop WMP overwriting your hi-res Folder.jpg files and even stops it creating the AlbumArtSmall.jpg files.

If this does indeed pan out and works as I think it does, it will finally mean I can embed the hi-res cover images in to all the MP3 files and then be able to add my music collection in to iTunes. Also both MCE and XBMC will pickup the un-molested hi-res Folder.jpg file and cache them for display on the TV.
Thank $%^& for that!

On this screen shot you can see I have embedded the hi-res cover image in to the MP3 files, I used MP3TAG. You can see that my Folder.jpg is still 600x600 and there is no AlbumArtSmall.jpg file in sight!
The only issue I can see is with Media Center extenders, I imagine you would have to load their user registry hive to be able to make this edit for the extender user accounts. As I only have one MCX and I plan to ditch it along with Windows Media Center, when my new XBMC system is up and running HAHA I don’t really care about that!


I embedded all my hi-res 600x600 Folder.jpg files in to all my music files, I did it rather quickly using the Actions Import Cover feature of MP3Tag, would have taken weeks manually!

However today I have noticed in some albums folders, not all of them, just seems random in some album folders, there are files like these being created:


The large one is 200x200 the small one is 75x75

I have double checked several Folder.jpg files and they have remained untouched at 600x600 and not down-res to 200x200 this is good news! However this creation of these Large / Small jpg files is an annoying side affect that I would like to be able to stop them being created all together, but not sure how ?

I posted the question on MS Answers here

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

SoundGraph VF310 15c2:0036 Linux / XBMC

I have an OrigenAE M10 HTPC case which has a SoundGraph IR/VFD unit – Model: VF310 15c2:0036. This is the LCD display on the front of the HTPC case. Before I attempted to get the LCD display working under Linux Ubuntu 12.10 minimal and XBMC V12.0 Frodo, I had read several forum threads and it sounded very difficult to set this up under Linux especially with this particular model, however it turned out to be quite simple.

I already have the IR receiver working in MCE mode, I did have difficulties with this and was having issues with double presses / commands from the remote being sent to XBMC. I had installed LIRC initially and I think that and the inbuilt modules in the kernel for iMon where conflicting, in the end I uninstalled LIRC and only used the in kernel modules. I followed this user guide here and the “Do everything completely in-kernel”" option to get the MCE (Logitech Harmony) remote control working properly. You can see some comments I made on that thread here. I am not going to cover the setup of the remote control here as I had allot of problems with it.

Anyways I am looking at the LCD display today not the remote control setup. This is how I got it working. I also started a thread about it here on the XBMC forum.

To double check which VFD unit you have from terminal type


Bus 002 Device 003: ID 15c2:0036 SoundGraph Inc. LC16M VFD Display/IR Receiver

1. From terminal I installed LCDProc

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lcdproc

I then read the relevant parts of the LCDProc user manual here.

2. Edit the LCDd.conf file located in /etc

cd /etc
sudo nano LCDd.conf

Scroll down to the [Server] section and change this line from:




Note: There is also an imonlcd driver I tried this initially but I just got garbled text on the display.

Scroll a bit further down to the Welcome and Goodbye messages, change these to suit your requirements. These messages are displayed when the HTPC is turned on from shutdown and when it is shutting down.

# Hello message: each entry represents a display line; default: builtin
#Hello="  Welcome to"
#Hello="   LCDproc!"

# GoodBye message: each entry represents a display line; default: builtin
#GoodBye="Thanks for using"
#GoodBye="   LCDproc!"

Change this setting:

# If yes, the the serverscreen will be rotated as a usual info screen. If no,
# it will be a background screen, only visible when no other screens are
# active. The special value 'blank' is similar to no, but only a blank screen
# is displayed. [default: on; legal: on, off, blank]



You need to remove the comment # in front of it to make the setting active.
I wanted to slow down the speed that the text scrolls across the LCD display, I tried changing this setting but it does not seem to do anything?

# set title scrolling speed [default: 10; legal: 0-10]

I change it to:


Save and exit the LCDd.conf file to do that press Ctrl+X on the keyboard then Y then hit enter.

3. In the XBMC settings in System enable the option for LCD/VFD

4. Edit the LCD.xml fie. There is an LCD.xml file in your userdata folder, you can customise and change
this file if required? You can read more about the LCD.xml file here.

I did make one change to the file and that was:

From this:

      <line>Freemem: $INFO[System.FreeMemory]</line>
      <line>$INFO[System.ScreenWidth]x$INFO[System.ScreenHeight] $INFO[System.ScreenMode]</line>

To this:

      <line>Transport Controls</line>

Because when I navigated in the XBMC GUI over the transport controls like Play / Pause / Stop etc the second line on the display would output my free memory like this: FREEMEM: 3382MB I don’t know why it does not display the name of the current transport control you are on? So I changed it to simply read “Transport Controls”

5. Reboot and your LCD display should now be working!

This is what gets displayed when nothing is happening

XBMC Running….
Current date and time..

You can change this in the LCD.xml file in the general section.


When I navigate around the XBMC GUI the second line on the display shows what Menu item I am currently on?



Here I am playing a music track Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus, the track play and remaining times are also shown. You can change what gets displayed for music playback in the music section of the LCD.xml file.


Not very clear in the photo, but I am currently highlighting one of the transport controls in the XBMC GUI and “Transport Controls” now scrolls across the screen whenever I do this.


Here I am now in my movie library in XBMC and as I navigate over the different movie titles, if I pause on a title it displays that titles name on the LCD display.


Here I am playing a movie – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


This is a bit funky, when in the System settings area and also when I am on some of the other system type menus it looks like this



The only other slight issue is that when I shutdown the HTPC (S5 Shutdown) the Goodbye message stays on the screen and the LCD display does not turn off. However if I put the HTPC in to S3 Sleep mode instead then the LCD display is turned off and the Goodbye message is not displayed. Also the Welcome message does not stay on the display long enough for my liking.

Overall I am very pleased that the LCD display is now working as I thought it would be a complete nightmare to setup and actually it was relatively simple. I wish I could say the same for setting up the IR MCE remote control, as that was a nightmare!

Please keep in mind I do not have LIRC installed, if you are using LIRC for your remote control this may or may not work ?
Phaze1 Digital