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DATAPLOT Support

Introduction It is important to note that we are not a software company. Dataplot was developed to support NIST work. The good news is that we make it available to non-NIST people at no charge. The downside is that we do not provide the support services that a commerical software company would typically provide. In particular, this means there is no official support garaunteed. It is provided as I have time and support for NIST staff takes precedence over support for non-NIST staff.

The Dataplot support staff is basically me, Alan Heckert, and Dataplot support is not my full time job. I do try to respond to questions and problems, but this means that if I am on vacation or have other immediate job duties, I may not be able to respond to you as quickly as I would like.

Note that a Dataplot mail list is available. You can post questions to this list. Note that my policy is to respond to questions posted to the mail list to the mail list. However, questions sent to my e-mail address will not be cross-posted to the mail list.

Specific support issues include:

Reporting bugs If you think you have discovered a bug in Dataplot, please report it to Alan Heckert, alan.heckert@nist.gov.

It is helpful if you can narrow the problem down as much as possible. Ideally, send me a macro (and any associated data needed) that produces the bug and a description of the problem. Include what platform you are running Dataplot on and the approximate age of your Dataplot installation (you don't need to be precise, I just need to know if you are running a fairly current version or one that is several years old).

I do try to fix reported bugs as quickly as possible.

Downloading and Installation Problems Sometimes users do have problems downloading Dataplot from the web pages. Note that I do not maintain the NIST ftp/web servers (I do provide the content for Dataplot, but I am not a system adminstrator for these servers). Downloading problems may be caused by firewalls (e.g., some sites prohibit downloading from external hosts), ftp/browser configurations, and so on.

In particular, the following two problems can sometimes occur.

  1. Our anonymous ftp site performs an "nslookup" command in order to identify the requesting site. The nslookup command is used to query internet domain name servers. If our ftp site rejects you, it is likely due to the failure of this nslookup query to resolve your internet name/address. If this happens, I cannot really provide any assistance. My only suggestion would be to talk to your local system administrators to see if there is some reason why your machine is not resolved by nslookup. It is unlikely that NIST will change its policy regarding the use of nslookup to resolve names anytime soon.

  2. Our ftp server also has a 60 user limit. This limit is sometimes reached. If the ftp request is rejected, you may want to try connecting at a time when the site is likely to be less busy.

I simply do not have the time or expertise to diagnose these types of problems. I can check to see if our ftp server is up, but not much beyond that.

NOTE: I have modified the Windows installation files to be downloaded directly from the web page rather than via anonymous ftp. This should avoid the "nslookup" problem.

If you are unable to download via the web, you can do the following:

  1. You can try using anonymous ftp directly.
    ftp  ftp.nist.gov
    user name> anonymous
    password>  your e-mail address
    >cd /pub/dataplot
    >dir
                 
    At this point, the dir command will list several sub-directories (pc, unix, etc.). You can search these sub-directories for the needed files. Be sure to enter a "binary" command before downloading any "exe" or "tar.Z" files.

    I only recommend this if you already reasonably familiar with using anonymous ftp.

  2. I can send the Dataplot installation on CD.
Once you have downloaded the files, if you have problems with the installation, contact Alan Heckert. Include the relevant information in your e-mail. That is, what platform, where you tried to install Dataplot, what installation steps you took, the exact nature of the problem, and so on.
Dataplot Consulting I divide consulting questions into two categories:
  1. How to I perform some statistical analysis with Dataplot?
  2. Can you explain some statistical technique?
In general, I try to answer questions of the first type (i.e., how do I do something in Dataplot).

Questions of the second type are less likely to get answered. Note that the Statistical Engineering Division does provide statistical consulting to NIST staff and to serve SED/NIST missions. However, we do not provide general statistical consulting to non-NIST staff.

For general statistics/consulting questions, you may want to take a look at the NIST/SEMATECH Engineering Statistics Handbook.

Requesting Enhancements to Dataplot If you would like to request an enhancement to Dataplot, contact Alan Heckert, alan.heckert@nist.gov.

We make no commitment to acting on these requests. Again, we are not a commerical software company, so enhancements that have the highest relevance for SED/NIST work will be given priority.

Enhancements may be addressed in several ways:

  • It is possible that I might be able to write a Dataplot macro to provide the functionality for a given request.

  • Requests requiring minimal implementation effort are more likely to be acted on quickly.

  • The Dataplot source code is freely downloadable, so it is in fact possible to implement your own modifications to the code. I provide some guidance on how to implement changes to the source code. Dataplot is a large program, so reading this web page will save you a some time.

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Date created: 2/15/2002
Last updated: 10/30/2013

Please email comments on this WWW page to alan.heckert@nist.gov.