Neurons in Action, 2nd Edition  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

NIA uses a web browser. Do I have to be connected to the web to use NIA?
No, you do not need an Internet connection. For NIA, a browser is used to navigate through files stored locally on your computer so that you can explore connections between different parts of the material by means of hyperlinks.

After I have installed Firefox as part of NIA, can I use it as my regular web browser also?
No! If you do so, you run the risk of having NIA completely fail if you change Firefox's home page or preferences.

Can I print the text of the tutorials?
Yes, you can print the text of any tutorial directly from the browser, using the browser's "Print" command.
Note: Since the NIA interface uses frames, it may be necessary to click within the main text area before you print, otherwise, you may print a blank page or just part of the interface. If the text is still not printing correctly, try right-clicking in the main text area and selecting "This Frame / Open Frame in New Window" to open the tutorial text without the rest of the interface, and then print.

When I click the "Start the Simulation" button, what am I doing?
You are launching a set of panels and graphs from the NEURON simulator that are specific for the particular tutorial you have chosen.

When I click the "Start the Simulation" button, I don't see the NEURON panels and graphs. Where are they?
When you first click the "Start the Simulation" button in a tutorial, the NEURON panel and graph windows may open behind your browser window, especially if your browser window is full screen. To access the NEURON panels and graphs, either move your browser window out of the way, or click the NEURON program icon on the dock (Mac) or task bar (Windows).

When I click Reset&Run there is no voltage change. What is wrong?
Unless you are in the Equilibrium Potentials tutorial, you probably forgot to insert a simulating electrode into your patch, axon or cell. Click the appropriate Stimulus Control button in the P&G Manager so as to open that panel. In the special case of the Equilibrium Potentials tutorial, you will only see lines at the values of ENa, EK, and the resting potential.

My simulation produces a trace that is uninterpretable—it certainly does not look like what the tutorial says I should expect. What is wrong?
You may have two or more Stimulus Control panels open by accident. Move one over and look underneath it.

My traces go off the plot. How can I replot them so they fit on the plot?
Put your cursor on the graph, click the right mouse button, and select View=plot from the submenu. The traces will be automatically scaled to fit the graph.

I have extra panels or graphs on the screen. What have I done wrong?
You may have double-clicked the buttons that bring up graphs or panels instead of single-clicking. Double-clicking will bring up the window twice. Alternatively, you may have multiple copies of NEURON running. This can happen if you fail to Quit a tutorial before launching another one. Make certain you Quit each tutorial before going to the next one.

I would like to move the labels to different positions on the graph. How do I do this?
With your cursor on the graph, click the right mouse button (or, on the Mac, you can click the little box in the upper left corner of the graph) and select Move Text from the submenu. You can then grab the text with the cursor and move it.

Can I change the color or line width of the trace on a graph?
Yes. With your cursor on the graph, click the right mouse button (or, on the Mac, the little box in the upper left corner of the graph) and select Color Brush from the submenu. Select a color and line width in the pop-up menu by clicking its diamond and click the line to apply your selection. When you Quit the simulator for the tutorial, your changes will not be saved.

How does one right-click on a Mac one-button mouse?
Click the mouse while holding down the Control (ctrl) key.

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