Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Data Transfer post USB

I'm over USB for data transfer. There's the possibility of losing the drive altogether or it becoming corrupt, or in the case of recent happenings, it could get infected with a virus and then transmit said virus to every computer you plug it into. CDs, DVDs, BDs, may not be as hard to use, but it's still physical media that you need to label and store (away from heat and light, hopefully). So, we got to thinking, why can't we do without physical media altogether. We, in the flow lab IM or email ourselves data all the time. Sure there's a limit on the total byte size, but many of our experiments involve small numbers of tubes/small numbers of data points. Enter, the ImageStream. The data from the ImageStream (btw, it's being installed this week...more on that later) is going to be much larger, so when I was writing the grant, I put in some funds to get a full-out server that would allow us to at least FTP data to and from. If I'm already setting that up for the ImageStream, we should be able to use it for all the instruments, and manage data sans removable media across-the-board. So, over the next few weeks, we will be implementing this FTP to Server strategy on all the instruments. The LSRIIs were the test case, and they seem to be working well. I'll be outlining some detailed instructions in the next posts, but basically once you export your FCS files in the normal fashion, just zip the folder and drag it onto the upload shortcut icon the instrument desktop. Then, go to your computer and download your zipped folder of data. For the most part it should be pretty painless. The only difficult part is having an FTP client on your computer that is fairly easy to use. We will be recommending the free, Filezilla program. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux, so we can pretty much have 1 set of instructions for everyone, and will be able to troubleshoot, to some degree, problems you may have. For some of you who use other cores on campus (e.g. DNA Sequencing Core) this should be very familiar to you already. If you don't want to use a standalone FTP app, you can set up a handy "network place" on windows, or directly connect to the server on a mac (general instructions to follow). There's always the possibility of using a browser for this, but I'm not a fan, so won't even give instructions for doing that. I will send an email out to the list with the details of the server (server path, usernames, passwords, etc...), and then check back here to get instructions on how to proceed. If you're familiar with using FTP, then the server path, username, and password should be all you need.