Thursday, August 26, 2010

Student Price

It was 40 days ago when I mentioned the student license of TopSpin and other products, once pricey, that are now free for academic users. Knowing that many students prefer the MacBook and would like to run authentic Mac applications on it, I am going to write about the student promotion of iNMR. It is not free, but it is as cheap as it can possibly be. It's 39 euro (equivalent to 49 USD or 32 British pounds or 4200 Yens). What's so special about this license is that it is... perfectly normal! I mean: it INCLUDES direct customer support and this is quite valuable for a student that is learning NMR and a new software at the same time. Is this program difficult to learn? As for every NMR program, it CAN be hard if you are so familiar with TopSpin (or VNMR, or Jeol Delta) that you can't adapt yourself to anything else. The learning curve of iNMR is actually incredibly smooth if you start processing easy examples (1-D spectra or well acquired 2-D like TOCSY, HSQC...) before moving on to the esoteric.
Today you find video tutorials everywhere. The iNMR site offers "visual guides" instead. I feel more comfortable with the latter, first of all because English is not my native language; second of all because I can keep both the program and the guide open at the same time; third of all because I can read the guide at my own pace.
The iNMR manual is also worth of a mention. Actually I dedicated a whole post to it a few years ago. It is not the usual bulky PDF file. It looks like coming directly from Apple, because it closely resembles the manuals of Mail, Safari and iTunes for Mac OS X. Technically speaking, all these manuals are task-oriented. In simpler terms, every chapter answers to a question in the form: "I want to perform the operation X. I can I do it?". Here is an example. As you can see each chapter is just one page long.
In which cases would a student need help, then? An example is when she needs to write a script (a macro command); another extreme case is when she needs a modification to the program itself. Anyway, support also means giving a fast answer to people who can't find the time to read the manual. When you are a paying customer, you have your privileges.
For those who prefer freeware, there is the trial version of the same product (printing is disabled). iNMR has been around for 5 years by now, therefore there's plenty of reviews, short and long ones.


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