Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sort Cancelation Policy

I started sending out emails stating the following:

Please be aware that the Flow Cytometry Facility will begin charging 1/2 of the originally reserved time for sorts that are canceled less than 24 hours in advance. Last minute cancelations result in lost revenue for the facility since it is highly unlikely someone will be able to occupy that freed time slot. We certainly understand when experiments go bad and sorting is not possible, and in those instances, we'd prefer that you call/email us to cancel rather than simply canceling your time online. Our current effort is aimed at penalizing those abusing the self-scheduling privileges. Please consider this as a friendly notification.

If you receive an email like this, it is because you canceled a sort reservation less than 24 hours in advance of the sort start time. Despite our efforts to get people to schedule sorts responsibly, on average, we're having 3 last minute cancellations per week. When these people cancel, they delete their time on the scheduling system anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours prior to the planned sort start time. What’s even more frustrating is that it seems to be the people who book large time slots (4+ hours) that tend to cancel last minute. So as much as 12-15 hours of prime sorting time can go unused per week. Of course, this is especially frustrating since there is a substantial wait time for sorting in the afternoon.

Now, as I say in the email, we certainly understand things go wrong, and will definitely give you the benefit of the doubt, but instead of just going to the online scheduler to cancel your sort, it is imperative to get a hold of someone in the flow lab and tell them personally that you will not use your sort time. Many times, we are spending 20 minutes setting up the instrument specifically for your sort...changing the tip, putting in the proper filters, aligning the appropriate lasers, etc... Also, we are sometimes aware of people who are 'standing by' just in case someone does cancel. If you can let us know immediately when your experiment goes awry so we can try to get someone scheduled for that time slot, we would greatly appreciate it.

How can you get a hold of us? Well, there are many ways, but here are the best ways.

  • Call the lab at 2-9212
  • send us an Instant Message at 'flowhelp' 'flowlabhelp'
  • Send an email to ucflow'at'gmail'dot'com
  • stop by the lab in Kovler 037

Keeping track of last minute cancellations is a real pain, and I hate doing it, so please try to schedule your sort time responsibly so I don't have to do this anymore. Remember, schedule what you need, use what you schedule. Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

FlowJo Training

Thanks to all who attended the large and small-group FlowJo training sessions on September 16. It was very successful, and we do intend to repeat this at least yearly. Can't wait that long, you say? Well, FlowJo offers 'intro' type online training session on the 1st Friday of every month at 12PM C.S.T. All you need to do is at 11:55AM on the 1st friday of the month, click on the following link, sign-in, and you'll receive a toll-free number so you can listen-in as you watch the demonstration from your own computer. Here is the link:

Additionally, the flow facility will train you on-demand 5-days a week, from 9AM - 5PM. You can schedule this by calling the facility at 2-9212, or sending an email We're also throwing around the idea of having FlowJo open office hours once a week that you can bring down your data analysis questions, and get some personalized help. For example, we could set up a 2-hour time slot on Tuesday afternoons, and be available for any FlowJo questions you may have. If this sounds like a good idea, be sure to let us know.