Monday, February 26, 2007


Today there is a new site to visit:
The newest site corresponds to the oldest living software because, as far as I know, all the older alternatives either changed their names or ceased to exist. The site is elegant and readable also if it tends to be irritating: almost each page begins with the sentence "Felix is the industry standard software program"... First of all I don't understand what the expression "industry standard" really means, if it means anything at all. Second: this application is focused towards NMR of proteins which is, according to my very personal opinion, a purely academic exercise. I know that pharmaceutical companies also have their feet in the same field, but this happens because even pharmaceutical companies like to perform some academic type of effort. To the best of my knowledge this kind of NMR has not fulfilled its promises.
Academies have developed their own equivalent software, which is usually free, so the space for a program like Felix is narrow, as demonstrated by its tormented story. In the years (almost 20), it has belonged to Hare Research, to Biosym, to MSI, to Accelrys and from 2007 to Steve Unger. The mere fact that it still exists is a great merit. If NMR remains in fashion the story can go on for many years. From the number of brands, and from the price, I realize that in this kind of companies there are much more generals than soldiers.
I have personally used Felix in the summer of 1991, because it was free for academies (at least for the one when I was at). I hardly remember what I ate yesterday, and 16 years are too much for my memory. I simply remember that, at the time, I liked Felix. Even if I remembered more it would be irrelevant, because the present product is certainly different. Reading the on-line documentation, there is nothing impressive on show (it lists: "States-TPPI spectra", "Oversampled Bruker digital data", "Solvent suppression"... and even "Fourier Transforms" and "Interactive phase correction", all things that are ubiquitous today and even yesterday). The complementary modules are more promising: "The sophisticated algorithms [...] make FELIX Assign invaluable during the complex task of spin system assignment. FELIX Assign can literally save years of effort". This sentence makes me wondering why Accelrys let Felix go away.
When the web site will be complete, it will be apparently possible to download a trial version. Presently you need to send an e-mail.


At 9:53 AM, Blogger Utsav said...

Hi Old Swan
I see that you have had experienced with FELIX. I am new to the field of backbone dynamics and don't really understand which software will be good for my stuff. I am now using SPARKY and Fast Modelfree (which output data in good agreement with NORMAdyn, as I tested). Work done on my protein of interest (back in 1991) gives relaxation data that is totally different from my processed data. This has kind of landed me in a jinx has has challenged the pattern I used to understand relaxation parameters in. If you have had a chance to use SPARKY/Modelfree or even NMRpipe, please suggest on how influenced should I get thinking about which software (package in fact) FELIX or SPARKY/Fast Modelfree will you trust more? Thanks for your time.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger old swan said...

Hi, Utsav!
Unfortunately I have specialized on small molecules. I can't give any technical suggestion. From a practical point of view, being in your position, I'd try using Sparky first. I feel there is a larger user-base and there's also an user group on the web you can ask for help to.


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