Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

January 2011

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 150        January 2011
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to the 150th issue of Monitor. In it we are 
delighted to launch the new version of Windmill software 
and to offer you an introductory 65% discount on the 
price! Visit 
or see below for more details.

We hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you 
wish to remove yourself from our mailing list please 
go to 
Monitor Newsletter

* Windmill News: Windmill 7 Available Now!
* Excel Corner: Forest Plots and Horizontal Stock Charts
* Data Acquisition and Control News Roundup
* Exhibitions

Windmill News: Windmill 7 Available Now!

Today we are very pleased to be launching Windmill 7 
data acquisition software, for the fantastic introductory 
price of just £50, 60 Euros or $80. This is a huge 
reduction on our normal price of £145.  For this you get

- Logging, charting and output control software

- Serial driver to collect data from the majority of 
  devices that plug into the PC's com port and 
  communicate over RS232, RS422, RS485,  Modbus or TCP/IP

- Save data in text files or transfer in real-time to 
  other programs like Excel and Access

- Free technical support for life

- A money back guarantee: if the software doesn't suit 
  you we'll refund your money

- Compatability with Windows 10, 8, 7 32- and 64-bit, Vista, 
  XP and 98

Also included is the ComDebug software which lets you 
trouble-shoot serial communications.  It handles 
messages in both binary and ASCII formats.  You can see 
all bytes sent and received, even non-printing 
characters like carriage returns.  This is crucial when 
dealing with binary data.  ComDebug also lets you see 
the state of the input and output lines to the 
computer's COM port.

There are several optional Windmill programs which you 
can add as needs be. For example Windmill Graphics lets 
you create your own display and control windows: 
process mimics, virtual instruments...whatever you wish.

You can buy the new software at the low introductory 
price from
Alternatively call us on +44 (0)161 833 2782.

Excel Corner: Forest Plots and Horizontal Stock Charts

This week we were asked how to reverse the axes of a 
stock chart, in order to create a forest plot. 

Originally a stock chart was intended for plotting 
stock market movements, showing high, low and close prices. 
However, it is also useful in scientific settings. 
For example you could use it to show a day's high, 
low and average temperatures.

A forest plot shows the mean value of sets of data, 
with horizontal bars showing confidence intervals.

Unfortunately you can't reverse the axes of a stock 
chart. However, you can simulate a horizontal 
stock chart by using a scatter chart with error bars. 

In our temperature example we had 4 columns: Date, 
High, Low and Mean. Create an xy scatter chart 
showing Mean temperature on the x axis against 
Date on the y axis.

We now need to add some "error bars" showing the 
difference between the High and Low temperatures and 
the Mean.  Add another 2 columns to your spreadsheet: 
one showing High minus Mean and one showing 
Mean minus Low. You could call these Hotter and Cooler.

Double-click the data series in the chart. Go to the 
X Error Bars tab, click in the Custom Positive (+) box, 
and with the mouse select the "Hotter" data 
(High minus Mean). In the Custom Negative (-) box 
copy the "Cooler" data. Click OK

You can now format the error bars. Double-click one, 
go to the Patterns tab and remove the marker. You should 
now have your horizontal stock chart.  You can also use 
this technique to create a forest plot.

Any questions? Fill in the form at

Further Reading: Excel Charting Tips

DAQ News Roundup

Welcome to our roundup of the data acquisition and 
control news.  If you would like to receive more 
timely DAQ news updates then grab our RSS newsfeed 
at  Read for notes
on how to display the live news on your own web site.

Setting Standards: NIST Wants to Hear From You
   America's National Institute of Standards and 
   Technology (NIST) is expanding its work with the 
   private sector to develop new standards for a range 
   of vital industries such as emergency communications 
   and tracking, green manufacturing and high-performance 
   green building construction.
   Source: NIST
Cloaking device hides underwater objects from sonar
   A team at the University of Illinois has built a 
   metallic disc that can bend underwater sound waves 
   around an object. The team based its design on an 
   electronic circuit, using ring-shaped channels to 
   transfer the sound waves from one side of the disc 
   to the other and avoid the object hidden in the centre. 
   Source: The Engineer

Auto Gas Sensors to Hit 177 Million
   New report forecasts that tightening emission and 
   fuel economy mandates, including legislation in 
   the emerging markets, could result in the annual 
   deployment of 177 million gas sensors in the market 
   by 2017. The majority of these sensors will measure 
   oxygen in the exhaust system, with sophisticated 
   wideband planar sensors coming to the fore. 
   Source: Strategy Analytics

Robotic Fish could perform underwater recovery operations
   Researchers at Northwestern University have 
   created a robotic fish that can move from swimming 
   forward and backward to swimming vertically almost 
   instantaneously.  The robot, created after 
   observing and creating computer simulations of the 
   black ghost knifefish, could pave the way for 
   nimble robots that could perform underwater 
   recovery operations or long-term monitoring of 
   coral reefs.
   Source: SCUBA Travel

Sensors to detect explosives, monitor food
   Monitoring everything from explosives to tainted milk, 
   materials for use in creating sensors for detection 
   devices have been developed by a University of 
   Houston chemist and his team. 
   Source: University of Houston

Data Acquisition Exhibitions

Exhibitions coming up around the world related to data 
acquisition and control.

22-24 February
Tel Alviv Israel
International exhibition on industrial processing, 
chemical engineering, metal finishing, measurement, 
control and instrumentation.

7-10 March
Middle East & Africa Expo for the global laboratory 
and instrumentation industry. Showcases the very 
latest lab and instrumentation equipment.

8-11 March
Seoul South Korea
Korea international automation instrumentation & 
control system exhibition.

17 March
Antwerp Belgium
Exhibition on measurement and control instrumentation 
in the process industry.

23-26 March
International precision measurement & testing exhibition.

5-8 April
Warsaw Poland
Trade fair for automation, control, measurement and robotics.

6-8 April
Bogata Colombia
Trade show dedicated to instrumentation, automation 
and plant intelligence.

7-9 April
Ho chi Minh Vietnam
International trade fair and conference for analytical 
instrumentation, biotechnology, laboratory technology 
and services.

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

We are happy for you to copy and distribute this 
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site 
or publication, providing the above notice is 
included and a link back to our website is in place.

An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at

Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]


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