Saturday, February 16, 2013

AFNI Command of the Week: 3dNotes

Those of you who know me, know that I like to stay organized. The pencils on my desk are arranged in ascending order, neatly as organ pipes; the shoes in the foyer of my apartment are placed according to when they were last used, so that I never run in the same pair on consecutive days; the music scores on my bookshelf are stacked so that the first one I take off the top is the one I love best - which, incidentally, always happens to be Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies.

However, the game is different when attempting to organize and stay on top of your neuroimaging analyses, as each experiment usually requires dozens, many of them unforeseen but nevertheless pursued, as if by sheer compulsion, until either the waste of your body or until their final endarkenment. At the times that names are given we think them apt; but return weeks, months later, and find to your horror that you have little idea what you did. This collective misery is shared, I think, by many.

AFNI tries to mitigate this by providing a history of each dataset, which traces, step by step, each command that led to the birth of the current dataset. This is useful for orienting yourself; but if you wish to go a step further and append your own notes to the dataset, you can do so readily with the command 3dNotes.

This is a simple program, but a useful one. The options are -a, to add a note; -h, to add a line to the history; -HH, to replace the entire history; and -d, to delete a note. This can also be done through the Plugins of the AFNI interface, all of which is shown in the video below.

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