To accomplish the goal of processing cruise samples I am using a standard flow cytometer. Becton Dickinson FACSCalibur with an older macintosh software program. Recently we have been noticing some minor errors and other (potentially) software related issues. I’m rather frustrated with the fact that this instrument operates on an older software program using an even older computer. 10 years ago this wasn’t so ‘old’ but in OS world, it’s nearly obsolete. So, what I want to know, is how many scientists out there are operating this same type of instrument and experiencing the same potential problems that you encounter when there is heavy use of an antiquated system. I consider it frustrating and to the detrement of science in general when productivity and time is lost to hardware issues.
Short of calling up the manufacturer, I will most likely just put up with the machine for as long as I can following all the standard procedures for keeping it clean and running while I am responsible for using it. This issue is not unlike one I have encountered in the past where an instrument that is used solely for the purpose of data acquisition becomes outdated and the system over taxed from use. It also renders the highly expensive proprietary software that is used on the machine useless for data analysis because it is used only to acquire data while the instrument is operating.
That aside, I find that the machine is easy to operate, and the software is relatively straight forward. From the perspective of a user and scientist, I would love to be more involved in the creation of scientific software for data acquisition and analysis. I think a great deal could be accomplished if software designers/engineers were to work directly with scientists to address their needs.