Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I couldn't help myself. It bugs me. I ask the guy selling us a new car how's-a-come the car is smart enough to tell me there's a tire problem but not the tire with a problem? “Because they want you to check each tire when the light comes on.” Heavens to Murgatroyd. Maybe I'm an old guy now. But I just can't help feeling that “the customer comes first” has morphed into “the customer is a nitwit.” That's why I was pleased to see how wrong I can be when OriginLab's announcement of version 8.6 of its Origin and OriginPro graphing and data analysis software came my way. See, they made it a point -- their lead point -- to say that many of the changes in this new version were due to customer feedback.
Which makes sense. Origin has something like a 20/21-year history of working with you to define, expand, and tune their software's data analysis, publication-quality graphing, statistics, and programming tools so that you can focus on your work. This is good because it means that the software feels ready for the hands-on engineer or scientist crunching numbers from some everyday or one-of-a-kind data-acquisition set-up rather than a programmer playing a number cruncher during business hours.
So, what of version 8.6? Enhancements range across all major areas of the software from memory access to graphing and worksheets to importing and data analysis. And, to support their users working with oversized data sets, the company has come out with a 64-bit version, which means that your only memory size limitation is in your hardware. A cool new plot type called a Spider/Radar Chart helps you display and compare multivariate data. With it you set each axis to a different scale then use Origin’s color transparency feature to overlay data sets for comparison. The Pro version of Origin now offers four new multivariate analysis tools: principal component analysis, K-means cluster, hierarchical cluster, and discriminant analysis.
DE has a review of Origin and OriginPro coming up soon -- the April issue I believe. Vince Adams is doing the review, so you know it'll be a thorough test drive. For now, you can learn more about the 8.6 versions of Origin and OriginPro from today's Pick of the Week write-up than I was able to get to here. Make sure to hit the links to the video tutorials (no registration). You can also hit a link and sign-up for a 21-day evaluation unit. Do that before Vince's review comes out. That way, you can send DE and Vince your feedback, because feedback helps us serve you better.
Sometimes, it's really easy to believe that listening and responding to users is something of a lost art. But then you come across an outfit like OriginLab and see that not all companies are so insular -- some companies really try to listen and respond to their users. Good for OriginLab. Now that I think of it, that's good for you too.
Thanks, pal. -- Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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