Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Want the Flow Lab to look over your shoulder?

The flow lab has begun using a web service called LogMeIn (LogMeIn.com) which allows us to remotely log into any of our computers on campus from anywhere a network connection can be had.  What this means is that if you're on, say, the Canto in S319, and you'd like a second opinion on whether or not your voltage settings look ok, just send us an IM (flowhelp) and ask us to log in and take a look.  We will have full control of the computer, so we'll actually be able to manipulate all the controls on the instrument while simultaneously walking you through the steps through IM communication.  Pretty cool, eh? 

Monday, September 24, 2007

GLIIFCA 2007, Windsor Ontario

The flow facility will be attending the annual Great Lakes International Imaging and Flow Cytometry Association (GLIIFCA) meeting this upcoming weekend (9/26/07-9/30/07).  This annual meeting discusses the latest and greatest in technology and applications within the Flow Cytometry field.  Emphasis is placed on technical advancement in Clinical Applications, Research Applications, and Technology.  The flow facility will be presenting an abstract entitled:  "Remote-Controlled Flow
Cytometry: The use of remote access communication tools for distance learning."

A little background about the R409 Canto Computer Issues

The FACScanto Computer in R409 has had a symptomatic problem where it randomly shuts down during acquisition.  It's not that it actually goes through the shut down process, but it appears that the screen and computer just go black!  People have dealt with this by starting up the computer again, and praying that it doesn't happen any more.  Some users have attempted to correlate these findings with the acquistion of large data sets (i.e. acquiring for a long time).  We've, however, seen this happen pretty randomly.  The kicker is that when you check for any errors in the log files, nothing shows up.  Steps we've taken thus far including uninstalling and reinstalling both specific applications (e.g. FACSDiVa) and the OS.  Additionally, we replaced the power supply of the unit, and placed it behind a UPS so that if there were power failures occuring, the UPS would provide some power backup.  It seems none of this has worked, so we are now at the point of more drastic measures.  One option would be to replace the computer.  Sounds easy enough, except for the cost.  These customized computers, which MUST be bought from BD cost upwards of $10K!  So, a purchase such as this is not trivial.  The other option would be to replace the motherboard, which we could probably get for $1K.  Our IS guru is currently looking into options, and we've decided to just put the instrument on the down-list until we find a more permanent solution.  Stay tuned for more details.