Ԫ Dr. P. David Josephy | Software Handbook | College of Biological Science

Josephy Lab Software Handbook

The computer revolution has completely transformed the way scientists do their jobs. When I was a graduate student, back in the late 1970s, manuscripts and term papers were written out long-hand. Theses and term papers were typed (and retyped, and retyped ...) on whirring cast-iron IBM Selectrics; a busy secretarial office was as noisy as an auto-body shop. Every new draft corrected the errors in the previous draft -- and introduced a hundred new mistakes. Calculations were done with a slide rule or on a calculator the size of a breadbox. Graphs were prepared by rubbing LetraSet letters onto sheets of Mylar plastic, and lines were added by cutting strips of "FlexTape" with a razor blade and pushing them into curved shapes with your thumb. Chemical structures were drawn with "Leroy" pens, dipped into pots of India ink. Literature references were written on 3 × 5 index cards.

Consider just how lucky you are not to have to do things that way - and how foolish it would be, not to take full advantage of the computer resources available today.

This brochure gives a brief description of the specialized software we have in the lab., so that you can appreciate what it can do for you. Try out the software. You can always ask for help. In case of a real emergency, you can even try reading the instruction manuals. :-)

General comments.

All of the software in the laboratory was purchased legitimately and is registered. Please do not copy any of this software to other computers.

Please be very careful to avoid computer viruses. Do not ever open executable (*.exe) files which arrive by E-mail, even when you know the person sending the file - many virus programs "hijack" legitimate E-mail distribution lists, so the viruses will appear to come from a person you know. Do not bring disks into the lab. from any outside computers without first checking with the boss.

Please store your work in a Folder labelled with your name. Do not store files in the program directories themselves. Always make back-ups of all your significant files and keep them physically separate from the originals (e.g., on a set of floppies or on a ZIP disk; we have a portable ZIP drive which can be moved onto any of the computers).

Always note carefully in your lab. notebook the locations (directories) and names of the data files corresponding to each experiment.

Don't "re-invent the wheel"! We already have a wide array of useful data in the lab: SigmaPlot graph templates for drawing dose-response curves; Reference Manager databases on transgenic rodent assays; ChemWindows structures of nucleic acids; etc., etc. Ask, before you waste hours re-doing something that was done years ago.

All of the lab. computers run Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98 operating systems (no Linux yet, and we never use Macs). Note that many of the standard Windows functions operate in almost all programs. For example, you can Cut (Ctrl-X), Copy (Ctrl-C), and Paste (Ctrl-V) objects via the Windows Clipboard. Font attributes can usually be changed by Ctrl-B (bold), Ctrl-U (underline) and Ctrl-I (italics). "Save file" is always Ctrl-S.

February 1, 2000


University of Guelph