Every now and again we encounter highly specialized software that offers unusual value. RRR's Data Master 2003 is such a program. It's a comprehensive scientific and technical graphics package for the automization of testing, measuring, and data-acquisition systems. Its data visualization tools include a graphics editor, a plot digitizer, a base line subtractor, and various numeric and symbolic calculators. Data Master does more than acquire and visualize data, though. It will also analyze data, including linear and nonlinear NLSF (Levenberg-Marquardt) regression analysis. It's completely programmable, too, from a customizable user interface to the capability to add new analytical tools and functions via an embedded ActiveX-compatible scripting environment. It will analyze data from any scientific or technical instrument that has an RS-232 jack or another numerical data interface, so it'll still work with older lab equipment. And did we forget to mention that it's free?
Data Master 2000 downloads as a ZIP file, but that's about the only gripe. Its main interface is colorful and well laid out, though it helps to be familiar with the science behind its functionality. The various analytical displays are models of clarity, with colorful graphical plots side-by-side with numeric data, perfect for importing into scientific papers, reports, and presentations. There's extensive help, too, including tips for programmers.
Data Master brings powerful data acquisition, visualization, and analysis tools to any laboratory or test bench, all the more so because it's free. Whether you're an advanced hobbyist or head of research, it has something to offer.