In his message Manoj Ramjee <mkr at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> Our lab has a Cary 1E and we are looking to update. At the
> moment the offers are whether we stay with the DOS version of
> the software or whether we 'upgrade' to OS/2 ? We are getting
> a Pentium machine to run the Cary but the software issue has
> not been solved. Apart from the Varian WWW site info
> (http://www.varian.com), I would welcome additional comments
> on the following please.
> 1. Does anyone use this system and do you like it ?
> 2. What are the prolems encountered ?
> 3. What is OS/2 like ? (It takes up around 80 MB on the HD and
> 12 MB RAM to run!)
> 4. Is there a Win95 version on the horizon ?
> 5. Anything else you think we should know before going on.
1. I've some experience using Cary 3E with both DOS and OS/2 software.
OS/2 version is much more user friendly, flexible and convenient. In fact, it
isn't a version, it is entirely new software package. It looks very close to my
idea of normal instrument control program which I've in mind. If the principles
of DOS version are somewhat archaic, OS/2 mouse-and-window-oriented,
multitasking program is one of the best instrument-controlling programs I've
ever seen (however, when I start to work with it, knowing clumsy and
unconvenient DOS version, I had a very sceptic mood). The program appears just
like usual Windows-oriented programs and takes few tenths of minuts to be
familiar with it. The program gives you nice abilities of spectra overlapping,
mathematical operations on spectra, export and import your data in ASCII using
user-specified delimiters; you can save and retreive your methods, etc.
2. Hovewer, the program is a little bit underdone. As usually, it has some bugs.
However, these bugs are never fatal. They appears usually after few hours of
work, when the program is saturated with your data. These bugs leads to some
messages like "Can't retrive method", "Can't open window", etc. It's a bit
annoying, but still tolerable (you can simply reboot the system). But what is
important - you never loose your data. On my opinion an amount of bugs here is
well reasonable for so large program.
3. OS/2 is true multitasking operating system. Only Windows-95 approaches this
lewel. User interface of OS/2 is Windows- or Macintosh-alike. However, OS/2
is totally compatible with DOS- and Windows. Almost all DOS- and
Windows-oriented programs work well under OS/2. OS/2 is multitasking operating
system. Many programs can work simultaneously and share data at the same time
in your system. You can easily jump between windows of OS/2, Windows- and
DOS-based applications. Actually you don't need Windows (even W95) if you have
OS/2 on your computer. However, to have the best results you should be
carefull choosing instalation options. The best way is to replace DOS by
OS/2, instead of creating a multisystem computer. Since OS/2 well emulates DOS,
you will still have ability to run all DOS-oriented programs in DOS environment.
Windows you don't need here - OS/2 totally replaces it for Windows-oriented
programs. Just try OS/2 - you can see that it's a nice alternative to W95.
Since of multitasking nature of OS/2 you can combine Varian software with your
favorite data-fitting programs at the same time. For example, we have adapted
our DOS-oriented data fitting and handling software SpectraLab (see Miniprint
suppl. to our paper in Arch.Biochem.Biophys., v. 320(2) 330-344 (1995))
to work with Varian software, so we can make fitting of kinetic curves, spectra
decomposition, SVD-analysis (principal component anlysis) by runing both
programs together and sharing the data area.
Testing the Varian OS/2 software for the first time I did not believed that
it's realy suitable for work. I've never seen something really good for an
instrument control before. Actually, I do prefer to adapt my own program
(SpectraLab) to work with any instrument I use. But working with OS/2 version
of Varian software I've found that it's well tolerable, so I can save my time
and work using this program instead of adapting my own software.
Feel free to ask more questions, if necessary.
Dr. Dmitri Davydov,
Institute of Biomedical Chemistry, Russian Acad. of Medical