Look at what the academics are doing!

As some of you will know I have a few friends who are still busy little bees at university.  One of them, Dr Darren Myatt, who’s skills include breaking £30,000 microscopes, trumping rocket scientists at their own game and generally being far too clever for his own good, has developed a cool little app called ‘Neuromantic’.  I don’t claim to know what it does, but if you copy this and save it to an .swc file, it sure looks pretty when you open it up (hint: click the big ‘3D View’ button).

Oh and as of about 5 mins ago, he can say it’s Vista Compatible.

This post has next to nothing to do with my normal topics of conversation other than to say; ‘As a community we really need to improve the way we talk to academia’.  ‘Neuromantic’ is built using Borland C++ Builder, it’s a low footprint app which runs pretty much anywhere and has no fiddly install procedures.

So whilst I am sure C++ is faster than .NET in some scenarios, we really need to start getting across to people that the slight performance drop is more than made up for by the leap in productivity and that deployment doesn’t have to be an issue. There needs to be some education about modern development practices and I think we need to concentrate on promoting to this vast group of talent outside of the beer and pizza fueled evenings where I for one struggle to get my point of view heard.


Posted in General, IT. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Look at what the academics are doing!”

  1. DrFrank Says:

    By no fiddly install procedures you mean “doesn’t have a proper install program” – that was certainly an impressively positive spin on it 😉 I’ll have to remember that one!

    Ha, you think it is low footprint because you don’t have any stacks to load into it – it standardly needs to keep resident at least a Gig of uncompressed images. The stacks I work with can have over 100 images with a res of 3000×3000, and that fills up space *fast*.

    Apart from the auto-tracing aspect, though, which does need to be as fast as livingly possible, I agree that the interface could probably have been implemented more efficiently, and probably prettily, in .NET or similar.

    I don’t really have much choice about keeping Neuromantic in good ol’ Borland for now, though, as it would take forever to port all the code across, but my next shiny application will almost certainly be in a more up-to-date environment.

  2. DrFrank Says:

    Oh, and the application is actually for semi-automatically tracing 3D models of neurons from stacks of images taken with a light microscope.

    There are quite a few resources out there where you can get SWC files of experimentally reconstructed neurons, such as http://www.neuromorpho.org/

    Purkinje cells are the prettiest!

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