Recent Changes to SCRC Data Capture and Analysis Software
(From February 1994 to February 1996)
G. R. Detillieux
Spinal Cord Research Centre,
The University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Canada R3E 0J9
- The program now checks for conflicting run file and parameter file
names when you Keep parameters after a Set/File operation, or Load parameters
saved with this file name conflict.
(E.g. eng01.prm points to eng03.frm, instead of eng01.frm.)
- The program detects and corrects cases where manual scaling of a graph
is set beyond ranges it can handle.
- When using manual scaling on action potential position graphs,
cycle start and end markers that are out of the Y axis bounds
are now suppressed.
They used to cause stray dots at the top or bottom of the graph.
- Trace amplitude graphs no longer cause amplitude buffer overflows
in runs with overlapping sweeps, such as the spike-triggered sweeps
produced by the Maint/Reframe operation.
- Trace amplitude graphs now have an "Average trace ampl. ref." option,
to average the reference range rather than using the maximum or minimum.
- Trace amplitude graphs now correctly scale absolute trace amplitudes
(when reference is not set).
They used to ignore the zero level from the trace's calibration information.
- The "Raw waveform display" now has a
"Calculate overlap" option, to enable calculation of percentage of overlap
in activity bursts on waveforms.
- The label for the zero tick on the Y axis of raw waveform display, or trace or
waveform average display, is now properly labelled as "0".
Roundoff error used to occasionally cause it to be
labelled with a very small, non-zero number.
This was fixed only for analysis graphs in the March 1991 release.
- The W.F.-activity section now has an Export feature,
to obtain ASCII output of cycle activity or spike train start and stop times,
or single-unit spike positions.
- There are now Phase-shift and Time-shift functions for waveform spike trains.
- The spike detection algorithm now rejects spurious noise before a spike.
It now takes the last positive crossing of the start threshold before a
negative crossing of the end threshold, rather than the first.
- The single-unit discrimination has two improvements.
Scanning for crossings of the second discriminator threshold is now carried
out for a larger section of the spike.
A "Spike upper threshold" parameter can be used to weed out spikes that are
too short, without disturbing the initial spike threshold (which determines
- The View/Required operation is now more thorough.
The "Graph tag symbol" option is now listed for all graph analyses.
When the "Active cycle phase only" option is enabled and used by the
current analysis, it shows the additional cycle parameters needed for this,
and when the "Mark frame positions on W.F." option is enabled for the
"Raw waveform display", it shows the additional parameters for this.
- The program now displays and allows you to set trace or waveform level
parameters in the units selected by an alternate unit specifier in the
calibration information, rather than having to specify values as voltage.
- The "Take interval after spike" option now affects all waveform spike interval
and instantaneous frequency graphs, not just waveform averaging based on
- The Bins-save operation now gives you the option of saving
standard deviations from a trace or waveform average, when the
"Display std dev" option is enabled.
- When using Bins-save to store the raw, preview data from a waveform average,
the trigger times in the frame headers now correctly reflect the actual
trigger times for the sweeps, rather than the times the sweeps begin (the
"W.F. avg delay" is no longer added in).
- The Maint/Gen.-trigger operation now correctly generates the tag levels
following each trigger pulse.
It used to incorrectly use the tag value for the subsequent frame, rather
than the one corresponding with each trigger pulse.
- The Maint/Make-W.F. operation has been added, to regenerate a
waveform from trace data, interpolating missing parts if needed.
- The Maint/Reframe operation can now create a new run without waveforms,
to save space when these are not needed.
- There are now help pages for the Maint operations.
- The program now supports "virtual waveforms", which yield a duplicate of
an existing waveform, which can be the data as-is or differentiated, without
having to store the extra copy on disk.
This also makes the Maint/Link-W.F. operation obsolete, and can work on
filesystems that don't support file links, such as a DOS partition under
- The help file entry for "Run/Calc" now correctly describes the "Z" operator.
- The label for the zero tick is now always properly labelled as "0".
- In the X Window version, the standard X Window option arguments are now
It no longer waits for you to hit a key after a shell escape from the
X Window version.
- The user can now select an alternate parameter group directory.
- The program handles better the case where a parameter group is missing.
It now properly creates a new, empty group in its place.
Previously, a missing group (e.g. one deleted manually without the aid of the
cap program) could cause the group index to be lost.
- Leading or trailing spaces in the file name parameter are no longer
The program strips these spaces from all parameters.
- The user is warned if automatic tagging is enabled and some triggers
had bad tag levels.
- A frame description line (from the .frd file, if present) is now shown
for the first frame selected from the run.
Run File Maintenance
- The "salvagerun" program now has a "-f" option, to make corrections to
the sampling frequency of the run.
- The "dumprun" program now has "-f" and "-t" options, to dump trace
and frame data from the run.
It can now produce a complete ASCII dump of the frame file.
- A new conversion program, "axon2run", generates run files from
Axon Instruments (Axotape, pClamp) data files.
Layout and HPGL Support
- The Text/Origin menu in the
"layout" program now has Hold and Float options, to modify the way
the program changes the label origins.
The Float option is the default behaviour.
The Hold option will keep the labels in place as their origin moves.
- The "replot" program (when used without "-f") no longer outputs labels
in the wrong colour when the pen number is set to 0.
They are now suppressed, as all line drawing is.
- A new HPGL to PostScript converter, "hpgl2psc", generates more efficient PostScript code which will render on the printer much more quickly than
the code generated by the previous converter.
- A new graphing program, "genplot", allows creation of simple X-Y plots
from data in ASCII text files.
A front-end program, "makeplot", makes genplot easier to use.
- A new post-processing program, "joinnum", allows you to merge data saved from
analysis graphs using Bins-save, to create data files for genplot/makeplot.
- System support for the software has been extended to include
Sun SPARC systems under Solaris (2.3) with the gcc compiler,
Intel 486 PCs under Linux,
and Silicon Graphics systems under IRIX,
for analysis only.
- The X Window versions of programs now set the DISPLAY environment
variable when the "-display" option is used, so they can pass it on
to any programs they call.
They also leave window placement up to the window manager, unless the
position is given explicitly in a "-geometry" option or the GEOMETRY
- A new conversion program, "ras2xbm", converts gpsras format image files
(created by screen dumps when the "-save" option is enabled in sdumpopt)
into .xbm format files usable by other X Window applications.
- There is now a front-end program, called "neuro", from which the other
programs can be called, without requiring shell commands for most functions.
- The installation and setup procedures have been enhanced, and made to work
on all supported platforms.
The documentation formatting procedures also work on all systems
supported by the analysis software, except SGI which doesn't
Directory of What's New Listings
SCRC WWW administrator:
Copyright © G. R. Detillieux, Spinal Cord Research Centre, The University of Manitoba.