Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

DataDesk 7 released


I’m delighted to report DataDesk 7 has been released, this update requires a Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, or 10.9 and Intel processor and 2 GB RAM.

Data Desk brings fast, easy-to-use visual analysis to your desktop. It provides interactive graphical tools for exploring and understanding your data—for finding the patterns, relationships, and exceptions. While it implements many traditional statistics techniques suitable for data from planned experiments and sample surveys, Data Desk’s true strength is its powerful tools for data exploration. Its insightful graphic displays simplify intuitive investigation of your data.

DataDesk can handle very large datasets (up to 2 billion cases), it supports a wide variety of statistical techniques and supports linked plots so that selections in one plot are highlighted in another so you get multiple views of your data. They have supported the Mac since the mid 1980’s and I suspect it is now the oldest commercial application for the Mac. A series of continuous updates have kept DataDesk at the forefront of data analysis. The accompanying manual also serves as an invaluable resource for learning statistical analysis.

I’ve updated the list of data analysis tools available for the Mac.


Making Screen capture movies


I’ve been asked a couple of times what application I use to create screen capture movies, I actually use Screenflow and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who is planning create regular screen recordings. However if it is a one off movie than you can use QuickTime Player, go to the File menu and select “New Screen Recording”.


A small widget appears that offers a couple of options and is used to start the recording.


Once finished stop the recording and you can use Quicktime to do any minor edits or you can use iMovie to do more substantial editing.


iPad in Medicine


I was recently sent a link to an interesting publication.

The Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT): An iPad-Based Disability Assessment Tool DOI

As someone who has known a number of MS patients I was very much aware of the difficulties in accurately assessing the progress of the disease. The MSPT application uses the iPad as a data collection platform to assess balance, walking speed, manual dexterity, visual function, and cognition. It also provides an objective analysis and comparison with a reference population.


Calca a calculator using markdown


Calca is a powerful symbolic calculator that updates as you type giving you instant answers. It solves equations and simplifies complex expressions. It's also a rich Markdown text editor so that you can explain your ideas alongside your calculations. This looks like a really interesting application,

Calculation Features:

  • Variables x = 42
  • Functions f(c) = 9/5*c + 32 and even recursive functions
  • Units 42 mph in kmph and currency ¥599 in $
  • Solves equations (x + 2x + 4x = 42, what is x?)
  • Matrices with inverses so you can solve linear equations
  • Sum, prod, map, and reduce operations on lists, matrices, and ranges
  • Trigonometry and complex numbers
  • Derivatives of functions
  • Logic operations and if statements
  • Binary math (& and |) and support for binary and hex number (0xA9 and 0b1010)
  • Keeps track of units (m, s, m/s, m/s^2, etc.) so you can verify your equations as you compute

There is a comprehensive reference page that gives more details.

There is a MacOSX version and an iOS version for your iPad or iPhone.

The nice thing is you can use Markdown to format the calculation and add an explanation.

There is a listing of Markdown Editors for Mac OSX here,


XQuartz updated


X11 2.7.7 has been released

The XQuartz project is an open-source effort to develop a version of the ​ X Window System that runs on OS X. Together with supporting libraries and applications, it forms the that Apple has shipped with OS X since version 10.5.


Download XQuartz-2.7.7_rc1.dmg, and open it with OS X's Installer.

Important Notices

OS X Requirements

OS X 10.6.3 or later is required to install this package.

Default X11 Server

If this is your first time installing XQuartz, you may wish to logout and log back in. This will update your DISPLAY environment variable to point to rather than If you would prefer to keep using as your default server (you can still launch manually), you'll want to disable /Library/LaunchAgents/org.macosforge.xquartz.startx.plist using ​launchctl(1).

Changes in 2.7.7

All changes in 2.7.6 plus: app: ​xcursorgen 1.0.6 ​xscope 1.4.1 ​xterm 309 lib: ​libICE 1.0.9 ​libXft 2.3.2 ​libXi 1.7.4 ​pixman 0.32.6 ​xcb-util-renderutil 0.3.9 proto: glproto 1.4.17 ​inputproto 2.3.1 server: ​xorg-server 1.15.2 plus ​other patches Fixes multimonitor support on Mavericks (#832) Fix Xephyr "failed to create root window" bug (#822)