GRANT JACQUIER - DEVELOPMENT GEOLOGIST

Reducing the uncertainty in nature, for all endeavour

Would you like me to review your system?

Phone: 61-8-8271-1672

Fax: 61-8-8271-1672

E-mail: CompsInGeology@bigpond.com

System Information

The second question is most easily answered: I choose a Microsoft Windows based machine because most engineering, most surveying and the majority by count of specialist geo-scientific software runs on it. Running on a Mac just isolates you from the best software, because if the Mac software is any good the software developers can afford to port the code to the Microsoft Windows environment and cash in on the resulting economies of scale.

Also Microsoft Windows machines are supported more widely in rural Australia, so if I need

Table 1 - Computer system for a contracting or consulting geologist.

What computer system am I using?

The operating system

software and applications

The software I am currently using, is listed in Table 2, against what I use it for. I shop in the order of AUD 1000 per software package (eg: Microsoft Office Professional Edition, Golden Software Surfer plus MapViewer). Of course the more money you can make from the software the more you can spend and save yourself the trouble of converting and finding data. I don't have a serious bureau business so you don't see the heavy duty processors like ER Mapper or Paradigm Geolog listed. Nor do I have staff, so there is no MapInfo, Maxwell GeoServices DataShed, nor Petrosys dbMap to maintain and share that data, instead I can do all my indexing and reference through ISI Thomson EndNote and maintain links with HTML pages served by Microsoft IIS.

 

The computer hardware I am using at the moment is from Officeworks  because I am keen to demonstrate an off-the-shelf system: a complete geo-computer  for around AUD 10 000, that anyone in Australia can purchase and setup. The accounting for this design, including the subscription costs excluded from that initial cost, are shown in ’parts’ and ’reckoning’ worksheets also in StudEx.xsl . Some problems from my current (code-named Mitzi) system:

· I have to be careful about nominating programs in the MSDOS command script (RUN.BAT) where I manage my versioning for the programs that all the Microsoft Office programs are of the one type. I found if I mixed 32-bit and 64-bit versions the performance was slow. I settled on 64-bit because that matched the version of Microsoft Outlook I was using.

· In 2009 when I bought the HP Officejet 6500 Wireless, I found assembling the printer the most difficult of the five I have bought. To save yourself several days work just use Microsoft Windows to add the printer, it will find the drivers off the installation disk, and set up the scanner as well. To get the manual use the help option on the startup from the HP-supplied CD-ROM. Unfortunately, you have to forget about using the wireless connection, the files for these are impractical to extract using the HP installation software so I am going to try the section ‘To set up wireless communication using the device control panel with wireless setup wizard’ in the User Guide . Another problem is that the document feeder that does automatic double-sided printing, swallows the standard 4” x 6” photograph paper, which then requires an engineer to dissemble it and retrieve the paper, so it is no good for postcards. I was glad to have the HP 9xx series cartridges, with the removable inkjet head, because my previous printer an HP C7280 , using the HP 2 system, had an ink-jet head failure after one year, though I found that the screen display and the web page both showed that the black ink was still present when there was none, you have to rely on the printout report.

· The Targus USB2.0 port replicator, made in China, gets too hot if you leave it plugged into the power and disconnects. You can still use the printer and serial mouse connection with just the power supplied through the USB connection to the PC and I find this keeps the fitting cooler and therefore more reliable. I assumed you only need the independent power supply if you have other USB devices plugged into the USB ports on the Targus replicator, that is, in daisy chain fashion, but in July 2009 I had to use a Telstra PP wireless modem, model MF626. This used a lot of power and where there was only one tower it could lock onto and that was a long way off, the USB hub driver would report in a pop-up window on the laptop too much power was being consumed and the port would become inactive. This particular Telstra model handshakes in 2G (maximum power of 2 Watts) before moving to 3G (maximum power 250 milliWatts) which consumes a tenth of the power, so it is in the start-up that that you will have the problem. I could keep it running with the power connected but I had to be sure to remove the power, to stop the hub heating up when it wasn’t in use.  I noticed in Officeworks that the later model of the Targus now stocked has two special high output USB ports, so I must not be the first to find this problem.

· On the subject of the Telstra 3G modem I found the supplied software did not work in with my colour scheme on the Windows XP system and the option windows went blank, especially when I was trying to rectify the problems with power supply mentioned above.

Table 2 - Software for a geologist and its use (in the order of AUD 1000 per package)

· backups archives data transfer

software

component

 

RESEARCH & CATALOGUING

Oxford English Dictionary v. 9

dictionary

 

ISI ResearchSoft EndNote v.4

glossary

 

Microsoft Outlook 2000

client database

 

MS Internet Explorer

Internet browser

FIELD DATA & VERIFICATION

Microsoft Excel 2000

· Computers in Geology FeldWork add-in

spreadsheet and data collector

 

Dragon Naturally Speaking 5

speech recognition software

 

Microsoft Access 2000

· Computers in Geology GeoBase2 add-in

relational database & time navigator

ANALYSES & PROCESSING

 

Microsoft Excel 2000

depth & time data

· spreadsheet

 

Golden Software Surfer v8

point or site data:

· gridding contouring

 

Golden Software MapViewer

GIS (line/polygon data)

 

1. Kodak CD-R Kodak Imaging for Windows TNT Mips v4 GRASS

2. raster processing (bitmap images with pixels)

MAPS & PRESENTATION

 

Microsoft Excel 2000

graphing

 

1. Golden Software Surfer 8 Golden Software MapViewer 6

cartography

 

Microsoft Powerpoint 2000

· presentations posters

ARCHIVE & REPORTING

 

Microsoft Word 2000

· word processor desktop publishing

 

ISI ResearchSoft EndNote v.4

· bibliographic index image catalogue

 

Microsoft Outlook 2000

e-mail

 

Microsoft Internet Explorer

web browser

 

Microsoft Notepad

HTML editor

 

Microsoft Windows Explorer

file manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

maintenance or assistance it is more likely to be available. Some of the heavy weight processing software still runs best on Unix but each year the major developers are porting more of their modules to the Microsoft Windows environment, to leave just the processing and data management core on a Linux server.

As for any concerns for a Microsoft hegemony, a scientist should be concentrating on the scientific issues of his data and application, not worrying about networks, printers, screen selection, disk management or even the usability of, or fatigue from the screen interface. If there is a need to change in the future the accountants and engineers and bank clerks will be changing as well, so do whatever they do.

 

 

If you want to know the philosophy behind the selections here please see the first chapter of the ‘Grimoire of Geological Computing’ available on the download page. The question “Which computing system are you using?” is usually followed a by a second question, "Are Macs or PCs better?".

The hardware

 

2011 onward

2005 –2011
(
AUD 5 300)

operating system

MS Win 7, H.P.

MS Win XP

computer brand and model

HP Envy 17

Toshiba Satellite M30

processing chip

Intel i5

Pentium M

random access memory

6 GB RAM

1GB RAM

sound card

 

 

peripheral

· USB Port replicator

· trackball

· HP Officejet 6500

· Floppy Plus card reader

· USB Port replicator

· trackball

· HP Officejet 6500

accessory

·  Notebook leash

· MS Office 2003 Pro

· S-Notebook backpack

· Notebook leash

· MS Office 2003 Pro

geological use

software

component

RESEARCH & CATALOGUING

Oxford Reference Suite

dictionary, thesaurus, list of quotes

ISI Thomson EndNote v.8

glossary

Microsoft Outlook 2003

client database

MS Internet Explorer

Internet browser

FIELD DATA & VERIFICATION

Microsoft Excel 2003

· Computers in Geology FeldWork add-in

spreadsheet and data collector

Microsoft Office XP

speech recognition software

Microsoft Access 2003

· Computers in Geology GeoBase2 add-in

relational database & time navigator

ANALYSES & PROCESSING

Microsoft Excel 2003

depth & time data

· spreadsheet

Golden Software Surfer v8

point or site data:

· gridding

· contouring

Golden Software MapViewer v6

GIS (line/polygon data)

1. Kodak CD-R

2. Kodak Imaging for Windows

3. TNT Mips v4

4. GRASS

raster processing (bitmap images with pixels)

MAPS & PRESENTATION

Microsoft Excel 2003

graphing

1. Golden Software Surfer 8

2. Golden Software MapViewer 6

cartography

Microsoft Powerpoint 2003

· presentations

· posters

ARCHIVE & REPORTING

Microsoft Word 2003

· word processor

· desktop publishing

ISI Thomson EndNote v.8

· bibliographic index

· image catalogue

Microsoft Outlook 2000

e-mail

Microsoft Internet Explorer

web browser

MS Development Environment v 7.0

HTML/JavaScript editor

Microsoft Windows Explorer

file manager

Sonic RecordNow! v7

· backups

· archives

· data transfer