Author Topic: Remote Software Installation and Training  (Read 2341 times)

Barbara Donovan

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Remote Software Installation and Training
« on: May 15, 2020, 10:09:42 AM »
Under the present circumstances, our microprobe specialists have had to postpone our software installation and training at several labs around the world. This got us to thinking about potential options for remote installation and training as an alternative to on-site installation and training.

Interestingly in the past, quite a number of our customers have installed the Probe for EPMA and Probe Image software packages and successfully configured the communication with their EPMA instrument with only phone/email support from our specialists. We have previously viewed these "pre-installations" as an advantage, not only because the customer gets hands on experience in case they ever need to re-install the software again (new computer, etc.), but also because when the *on-site * training does actually begin, the software is already installed and configured, so they can dive right in with the software training and EPMA science details with our microprobe specialists.

So we already know that this remote installation process can work, and now we should think about how the training could also proceed remotely. Even without this pandemic, remote installation/training might be something some labs would find interesting. Certainly it will be a somewhat less expensive, but we do still believe that on-site training would be better experience for many customers. However, remote training opens the possibility to do the training over multiple sessions, with time between sessions for the user to absorb and apply the information. So, in this regard, remote sessions have the potential to be better for some labs depending on the logistical details (remote network access, time zones, language barriers, etc.).

But with everyone now gaining experience using various conferencing software, and after (remote!) discussion with our team of microprobe specialists, we feel this remote installation/training could be a very reasonable option for some labs. Obviously this won't be possible for secure labs where such communication software is not allowed, but for many labs where they can or already utilize TeamViewer, Skype, Zoom, or other desktop sharing software, this could be quite possible.

If your lab is looking at our Probe for EPMA and Probe Image applications for your EPMA instrument, and are possibly interested in this remote installation and training option, please email Barbara (barbara@probesoftware.com), and we can discuss if this remote installation and training option would be a good fit for your lab, and we can provide a quotation for you to consider.

We've added a new web page for further information: https://probesoftware.com/RemoteTraining.html

John Donovan

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Re: Remote Software Installation and Training
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2020, 01:59:34 PM »
In addition to remote software installation and training of our Probe for EPMA and Probe Image products for JEOL and Cameca instruments, we can also offer customized basic to advanced training on specific topics in EPMA for your staff, by our microprobe experts, for those labs that already have our software installed, and would like to expand their EPMA skill sets.

The following is a list of possible remote training that we can offer your lab via common desktop sharing applications such as TeamViewer, Skype, Zoom, RealVNC, etc. Please contact Barbara (barbara@probesoftware.com) at Probe Software for more information on customized remote training for your EPMA lab needs.

Module: Calibration Curves (4 hours)
- Matrix matching standards
- Carbon in steel
- Background corrected vs. non background corrected calibration curves
- Zero point calibration

Module: Quantitative X-Ray Mapping (8 hours)
- Considerations for optimizing x-ray mapping throughput
- Spectrometer configuration for multi-pass mapping (more elements than spectrometers)
- Background corrections for maps (MAN vs off-peak)
- Mapping elements by different or by stoichiometry
- Quantification of x-ray maps
- TDI mapping for beam sensitive samples
- Pixel extraction from quant x-ray maps (cross sections, rectangular areas, polygon areas, etc.)
- Accuracy and "bulk" analysis of multi-phase materials
- RGB maps and image math
- Classification and modal analysis (area vs mass volume)

Module: Light element analysis (6 hours)
- Strategies for background models: when to use linear exponential, polynomial, MAN etc
- Spectral interference corrections in Probe for EPMA
- Peak shifts and peak shape changes: APF, peak scan
- Matrix correction methods in Probe for EPMA and when to use them
- Empirical mass absorption coefficients (MACs)

Module: Trace element analysis (8 hours)
- Calculating counting times and detection limits in Probe for EPMA and CalcZAF
- Strategies for background models: Acquiring and using wavescans vs. MAN
- Blank correction: Improving accuracy at low concentration levels
- Aggregated intensities with duplicate elements for improved sensitivity
- Specified concentrations and elements by difference

Module: Analyzing complex materials (6 hours)
- Spectral interference corrections
- Multi-point backgrounds
- Using virtual standards
- Calculating and correcting for secondary fluorescence boundary effects

Module: Beam-sensitive materials (6 hours)
- Using Time-dependent intensity corrections in Probe for EPMA
- Using TDI scanning: Time-dependent intensity in Probe Image
- Calculating sample temperature rise

Module: Low voltage analysis (4 hours)
- Low voltage vs. low overvoltage analysis
- Using non-traditional X-ray lines for quantification
- Defining empirical mass absorption coefficients (MACs)

Module: Integrated WDS and EDS (if available) (4 hours)
- Setting up integrated WDS and EDS analyses in Probe for EPMA (Thermo, Bruker and JEOL EDS systems)
- Calibration strategies for EDS

Module: Productivity and report writing (4 hours)
- Using MAN backgrounds to increase productivity by reducing analysis time
- Using specified or by difference concentrations
- Export options in Probe for EPMA and Probe Image
- Report options in Probe for EPMA
- Creating documentation in Probe for EPMA
- Creating customized documentation in Golden Software Grapher and Surfer
- Utilizing previous analysis setups in Probe for EPMA values for new samples

Module: Thin Film and Particle Quantitative Analysis (4 hours)
- Sample preparation for thin films
- Using Multi-Voltage Analysis (MVA) for thin specimens
- Automated MVA acquisition
- Thin film reprocessing (STRATAGem and/or BadgerFilm)
- Using geometric corrections for particle analysis
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 02:39:34 PM by John Donovan »
John J. Donovan, Pres. 
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Re: Remote Software Installation and Training
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 09:05:22 AM »
It should also be mentioned that for those labs that are unable to allow a desktop sharing connection to their instrument on-line computer, it would also be possible to provide some (or all?) of this remote training on a home or office computer, simply by running Probe for EPMA in simulation mode.

The simulation mode in Probe for EPMA is quite realistic (we use it for teaching EPMA students in the classroom), but in any case, actual data from the instrument could subsequently be re-processed on any off-line computer, if the EPMA on-line computer is not accessible remotely.
John J. Donovan, Pres. 
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John Donovan

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Re: Remote Software Installation and Training
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2020, 09:27:54 AM »
Just wanted to let you all know that Probe Software recently completed 10 hours of remote training on Probe for EPMA, Probe Image and CalcImage (4 separate days with ~2.5 hours on each of the days) for one of our existing customers. 

https://probesoftware.com/What.html

We used their university's Zoom account, and it worked great for him to share his screen on his microprobe with us, so we could guide him through the menus and buttons.  Doing these 4 training days over a period of a couple of weeks gave him time to play with the software on his own after each session and acquire more datasets for us to work on together.

We covered mean atomic number (MAN) background and blank corrections in the first part, then multi-point backgrounds (MPB) and shared MPB backgrounds in the second session. Then we moved on to setting up standards and quant x-ray map acquisitions in the 3rd session, and in the 4th session re-processed the quantitative x-ray maps and output them to Surfer and utilized the Classify and Modal analysis features, and also the pixel and shape extraction features in CalcImage.

MAN:
https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?topic=307.0

MPB:
https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?topic=131.0

"Shared" MPB:
https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?topic=9.msg9043#msg9043

Probe Image:
https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?topic=141.0

CalcImage:
https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?board=4.0

He was very impressed with these software features that he hadn't previously utilized, and was very happy with the training.  We were both pleased with how much fun we all had!

So in the current situation of travel restrictions we would again encourage you all to think about getting your Probe Software installation and training using these remote methods.  We think it is a very viable process that can quickly get you up to speed with our software.

If you are a current Probe Software customer, please contact us and we can design a customized training schedule specific to your laboratory needs. If you are a new customer awaiting installation and training from one of our expert consultants, please contact Barbara or them to arrange for the installation and training to be performed remotely with you in the lab, while learning how it is all done.  If you are a potential customer interested in what Probe Software can do for your JEOL or Cameca EPMA instrument, again contact us and we can help you understand how this remote installation/training process can get you up and running with the world's best EPMA software quickly and easily.

https://probesoftware.com/Support.html
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 09:37:56 AM by John Donovan »
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John Donovan

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Re: Remote Software Installation and Training
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2021, 09:14:33 AM »
A quick update on Probe for EPMA remote training. We started our remote training services originally during Covid in 2020, but I have to say that it's been a very positive experience with unanticipated benefits.

In the beginning we felt that this remote training would be difficult, but now after providing dozens of remote training sessions over the last 18 months, and in discussions with our consultants also providing these remote training services, we have to say that in many ways, remote training has some significant benefits to on-site training.

Of course, avoiding travel restrictions is the big advantage to remote training right now, and yes we charge less for remote training since there are no travel expenses to reimburse.

But as for the remote training itself, we find that remote sessions are much more flexible for scheduling, as in the past we've had our consultants show up in a lab where the P-10 gas was empty, or the filament blows just as one is getting started.  Also we've found that shorter 4 or 5 hour sessions are better (less tiring) for everyone as the customer can then practice with the software on their own, and gather questions for the next session. And of course remote training really lowers the carbon footprint of Probe Software!

And in addition, the response from our customers has been very positive, many of them ordering additional training on advanced topics for example such as multi-point backgrounds and quantitative x-ray mapping. Finally we also try and arrange remote training with a consultant in as similar a time zone to the customer as we can.  Still, it's better than "jet lag"!  By the way, our consultants bios are here:

https://probesoftware.com/Support.html

And for those labs that cannot have an Internet connection directly to the instrument, we're even providing remote training in "simulation mode" using Probe for EPMA:

https://probesoftware.com/smf/index.php?topic=837.0

If you click on the link above, you might want to skip to the last few pages of the topic, as this "demo" or "simulation" mode is now fully implemented and works surprisingly well for training and teaching (of course we utilize the same instrument configuration as the actual instrument for these simulations).  I personally have been surprised at how effective the remote training can be in this "simulation mode".

Yes, there are some advantages to in-person on-site training and we continue to offer such training when it can be arranged, but we have been very impressed with how well these remote training sessions work for everyone.

Please contact Barbara (barbara@probesoftware.com) for more details on our remote training services.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2021, 09:28:53 AM by John Donovan »
John J. Donovan, Pres. 
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John Donovan

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Re: Remote Software Installation and Training
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2021, 02:22:32 PM »
Just a quick note on our remote training program (see posts above and attachment below for an overview of what we can offer to your microanalytical laboratory.

We recently completed 52 hours of advanced *remote* training for Los Alamos National Laboratory and were very pleased at how well it went. We limited ourselves to only 4 hours once a week and at first we were concerned that the information would not "stick" with such a light schedule.  Normally our on-site training schedule is a very intense 8 hours per day for 3 to 5 days. But we thought this more relaxed schedule would at least allow the users there to review the material and play around with the software.

But apparently we shouldn't have worried because according to psychologists and educators it is well known that a shorter more frequent review of material provides better retention of new information:

https://books.google.com/books?id=SYU3AAAAQBAJ&pg=PA69#v=onepage&q&f=false

Anyway, everyone was very pleased with the amount of material covered and the progress we made over the several months of this 4 hours a week training schedule!

Please contact us at Probe Software if you have any questions at all.
John J. Donovan, Pres. 
(541) 343-3400

"Not Absolutely Certain, Yet Reliable"