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Behind SwaN-MR there is Menarini, there is me and there is you.
Menarini just knows two things: that the program is its property and that
the company doesn't want to make profit from it.
I try to make the program perfect because it"s the program I use the
most (and I love the most, of course).
You contribute with your encouragement, your stimulus and your ideas. If
the program is so famous it depends just on you. After publishing
the description of the program in the scientific literature I received less
than 10 requests of it. The number of people that subsequently heard about
SwaN-MR from other users is probably 1000.
SwaN-MR, in its essence, is an experiment. I want to demonstrate that processing
spectra on oneself's desk is easier and more productive than doing it on
the spectrometer. You may think this is an already established concept.
Actually there is still a lot of people who prefer doing it on the spectrometer,
for whichever reason. I say it is an experiment because I know SwaN-MR is
going to die soon or later. I hope that some of the innovations I introduced
with SwaN-MR will survive.
When you approach SwaN-MR you will remain involved into this spirit of experimentation
(the program is never finished and never tested enough) and crusade (there
is always someone needing SwaN-MR and ignoring its existence or capabilities;
there are always difficulties to fight against).
I finally succeeded to embark other people into this project, although in
an unpredictable way. I mean the Mestre-C
group, who are developing a freeware for Windows 95. I invite all the other
users to do what they can and thanks the so-many researchers who already
gave their invaluable help.
When planning and developing SwaN-MR I gave me the following guidelines.
In many cases they were (and still are) innovations.
- SwaN-MR had to resemble other Macintosh programs rather than programs
running on spectrometers.
- At the same time I renounced to some of the common Mac paradigms, like
"first select then apply", when it was possible to speed up operations.
- The stress in on interactivity. The program requires the presence of
an operator, it cannot be run in batch mode. I assume that the user likes
to interact with both NMR data and the Mac and that he/she only trusts
in his/her own eyes.
- The language is the same used in literature: f1 is f1, f2 is f2 and
- Sometimes even the literature is misleading.An example is the frequent
statement that quadrature detection is needed to discriminate between negative
and positive frequencies. Another common example is the equation Number
of points = 2 * Acquisition Time * Spectral Width. Although they are correct,
they are always a cause of confusion. In such cases I abandoned the spectroscopic
conventions in favor of a more mathematical description of processing.
- I prefer speed, uncompromised speed over pretty pictures and fashionable
- SwaN-MR uses the same commands for both 1D and 2D spectra.
- SwaN-MR provides easy interfacing with old software. It exports and
imports many forms of data in ASCII or with the copy and past mechanism.
- Poor attention is paid to the converters. I dreamed that someone
else would write them for me, persuaded by the beauty of SwaN-MR. This
guideline will eventually be abandoned.
- I put into SwaN-MR apparently useless editing facilities, like a tool
for zeroing data-points, copy and pasting of data, extraction and so on.
These tools, if creatively used, increase the flexibility of the program.
- I limit my effort in programming when the possibility is given. Whenever
possible I use the built-in OS functions. The program is not very fashionable,
in turn is incredibly compact: under 800K (a world record!) to perform
operations that normally require at least three different applications.
- SwaN-MR prefers a 16" (or larger) monitor since the time these
monitors were a rarity.
- I pay the highest attention to suggestions arriving from users.
- I consider specialization a loss of time. SwaN-MR is a general-purpose
program which cannot compete with more specialized applications. Nonetheless,
sometimes I like losses of time!
- SwaN-MR is released without testing. No version was never submitted
to an alpha-level test. Every user needs to test the program after downloading.
It is impossible to tell which version is more reliable (in most cases it is the latest one).
- Compatibility with older versions is warranted. In any case, when you
store your spectrum for posterity, be sure to put a copy of SwaN-MR with
- Simplicity means a minimum number of menus and commands. For example:
you don't see a "Weight" menu, you see a weight command; passing
from a 1D to a 2D spectrum or from phase to baseline correction you don't
notice any change in the menu disposition.
SwaN-MR pays for my intrinsic and extrinsic limitations.
- I am not a programmer. When I began the enterprise I just knew some
concepts of Pascal programming. Version 1 was written in Pascal, version
2 in C, for version 3 I have used a C++ compiler but I haven't found the
time yet to learn C++.
- I started without an updated documentation of the operative system.
The rate at which Apple changes the OS is faster than my learning rate.
The consequences are visible.
- NMR companies have been reluctant for years to give their help. In
october 1997 Rolf Kyburz has begun to give his hand. For the few of you
who don't know him, Rolf works for Varian. I hope he will continue to give
his support and that other companies will follow his example.
- I have never found a tester.
- Here in Florence nobody uses SwaN-MR. The nearest user in 100 Km away.
- People expect to contact me with e-mail, but they couldn't. Now (April 99) they can.
I hope things won't change again. Anyway, it's too late.
- Every time there is a new version of the Symantec compiler I upgrade
to it, but this inevitably coincides with the introduction of a new collection
of bugs. Sometimes the compiler itself is buggy, and it takes time to realize
- In theory all bugs are reproducible. In practice it may takes months
before some bugs can be at least approximately described. From then on
they have only a few hours of life.
- People are skeptical. They surrender before the first difficulties
and I cannot help them.
- In many cases transferring the data to a Mac is still cumbersome and
- My research work has a priority over SwaN-MR.
- Previous software kept chemical researchers into a state of ignorance.
Many of them don't understand topics like TPPI or even manual phase correction.
SwaN-MR didn't prove able to invert the situation.
- The program is tailored to my needs. Many shortcuts, tricks and techniques
are not documented.
- People are not critical towards something they received for free. When
they find a bug they accept it and don't complain as they use to do with
- When finally I found some mates,
they expressed the intention to port SwaN-MR to Windows.
/ old news