Newsflash ! An open letter to our users and potential users
and a Big Thank You ! to the Team.
The crew at Autoscan Systems Pty. Ltd. would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor A.J.W. Gleadow
and his software development team at the University of Melbourne.
Under the terms of the 3-year collaborative ARC (Australian Research Council) research project which resulted in the latest software (Fission Track Studio, which consists of TrackWorks and FastTracks), the university provided the software development team, whilst Autoscan supplied the hardware.
Fission Track Studio (a product which is jointly owned by the university and our company) is the culmination of the project, and the realisation of many of the dreams of our collaborative team, as well as fission trackers around the world.
Most fission trackers will be aware of our own in-house software, Trakscan, which evolved in several incarnations over the last 25 or so years since I became involved. There are some features which now form part of Fission Track Studio that were mere dreams during the lifetime of Trakscan (automated track counting), some features that we discussed in-house for years but were never quite able to implement because of the state of technology at the time (visual re-alignment of the EDM grain and mica mounts) and some very useful ones that we simply never thought of (the magnifying glass). Of course, technology has moved on since those early days, and some of our ideas were simply too difficult (or actually impossible) to implement at the time. So we are very pleased to be at the forefront of technology once again.
The team under Professors Andy Gleadow and Barry Kohn currently comprises Joshua Torrance and Artem Nikolayevsky, but has also benefited from the involvement of Sumeet Ekbote. The foundations for the current software were actually laid during a time when David Belton was also involved, and his was a critical and germinal contribution. The original code implementation was executed brilliantly by Stewart Gleadow, and it is very unfortunate for us (but good for Stewart) that he has found a high-profile and full-time permanent job which leaves him unavailable to help us at this time.
Andy Gleadow has written an excellent user manual for the software (and I believe that I am qualified to comment on this, as a very busy technical translator for more than a dozen years; as a person in charge of the technical publications department of a large aerospace company; as the designer of our own user manuals over many years and, last but not least, as a user of imported gadgets and equipment - I have seen many manuals which run the whole gamut from rolling-on-the-floor-laughing to excellent). In conjunction with the very good online help (press Function key F1), automatic version updating, and online support via email, I do believe that these elements assist in maintaining Autoscan’s very good reputation for after-sales service and the university’s excellent reputation for good, world-class science.
Of course, the robustness of new software always takes a little while to establish. Just as for the big players, our software has not been without its teething problems (that just seems to come with the territory), but we have tried our very best to eliminate these bugs as quickly as possible. I believe that, given the limits of the combined resources of our company and the university, we have actually done extremely well, and we are proud of the result. In the meantime, the development team has also been working very hard on some completely new features. We are planning to release a new version of our software later this year. Please stay tuned for future developments !
Finally, I would like to thank the members of the world-wide fission track dating community who have supported us so wonderfully over the 25 years that I have been involved, and in fact the almost 30 years that our company has been supplying this equipment to groups around the world. We would not be here without you ! Thank you so much ! We would specially like to invite all of our users and potential users to stay in touch with us : if there’s anything that you don’t like, or that you think needs improvement, please tell us. We are here to listen to you, and our track record indicates that we will act quickly and effectively. But if there are things you really like, please tell others. That’s the nicest thing you can do for us, and we will be very grateful !
With best wishes,
Mike and the crew at Autoscan (29 March 2011)