Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This year has been the year of NMR blogs. Today I am introducing the most recent ones.
University of Ottawa NMR Facility Blog
"A blog for the NMR users at the University of Ottawa" is written by Glenn Facey. It's the most frequently updated blog, at this writing moment. Despite the name, is useful to beginners involved with practical NMR spectroscopy, wherever they are based, not only at the University of Ottawa. Expert spectroscopist can as well find several useful posts. There are links to other NMR resources on the web, many clear pictures to make the concepts clear, processing tips and suggestions for useful pulse sequences.
The home page contains the customary exchange of courtesies with other NMR blogs. At the top of the list there is Carlos' NMR blog which is very recent indeed (it didn't exist at the time of my last post).
Carlos is a friend of mine since 1996 and was already active in the field of NMR software at that time. The title of his blog is "NMR Analysis (Processing - Prediction - Verification)". Doesn't it sound as a replica of my own blog? Wrong, it's a completely different thing! I'll explain why at the end.
Carlos' blog has already received its dose of celebration, justified by the fame and of the competence of the author. The first 7 posts have been impeccably prepared, yet, IMHO, it's been a false start.
Carlos is always busy. Not only he's continuously inventing new amazing algorithms, he's also writing a commercial NMR program, is the president of a company, attends countless conferences and, like most of us, has a family and a couple of hobbies. Do you believe he started a blog to defeat the boredom? He felt the need to bring to the public attention his latest inventions, but can't afford to enter into the details, not only because time is short, but also because he is reserving the details for the usual scientific articles. During the years Carlos has always shared his inventions with me. I have found a few of them extremely useful and included into my own programs. Not all of them, however, because he invents a lot of algorithms. Even when they are useless (IMHO), they are still a source of inspiration. Sometimes it happens that the inner workings of the method are the only things that interests me, because the results are discouraging. Other times I am amazed by the results, while Carlos is frustrated because he has found a rare exception that makes the method inapplicable in 1 case over 1 thousand.
Up to now the blog has proposed two novel methods to the general public, without disclosing their mathematical basis. I have already commented on that blog why both methods can't be included into any processing routine, therefore I will not repeat myself here. It would have been more useful and wise to present two old and established methods, possibly written by somebody else (the literature is, already, mostly made by people that praises themselves, why can't we have third party criticism anywhere?), but Carlos only has the incentive to write about his own latest inventions. Eventually the new blog is similar to Ryan's blog (the difference being that Carlos is a programmer while Ryan is not). My impression is that Ryan started a blog because he was afraid of what Carlos was doing and Carlos replied with another blog because he was worried by what Ryan was writing. I am certain they will say I am a fool to think such a thing. What's your opinion?
Ryan has clearly stated that his blog will deal with his own products exclusively. Carlos has promised more variety, but up to now has delighted us with pictures taken exclusively from MestreNova. Apart from my worthless impressions, I have a couple of opinions that put me apart from the other bloggers and the rest of the world too. First: We don't need automatic processing. Second: I am not expecting miracles to arrive from software. These will be the subjects of my next two posts.


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