Date: May 15, 2013 2:54 AM Author: szhorvat@gmail.com Subject: Re: Work on Basic Mathematica Stephen!

While some individual points are debatable, I also completely agree

with David's main message. Mathematica needs more focus, particularly

some work on stability and robustness. Even if it would come at a cost

of new features (there are many features I'd like to see, but you can't

have everything).

Re: "if I click in an existing Input cell and do a line return the

Messages window opens with a contact WRI if this happens message"

This bug (on OS X) is really annoying when typing code in another

language in a Mathematica string. If will sometimes completely ruin

the typed text if I press return several times while inside a string.

It's a bit ironic that this bug appeared in the same release which

brought us RLink (which I'm using these days, i.e. I'm typing a lot of

R code inside Mathematica strings).

On 2013-05-12 07:28:34 +0000, djmpark said:

> (I've renamed this and started a new thread because my reply is not exactly

> to the question.)

>

> Oh, what a wonderful Wolfram blog! Earlier Stephen hinted at Mathematica as

> an iPhone app. Now it's data mining Facebook data (Gee I wonder if

> Zuckerberg has thought of that? He might be able to develop a great business

> model.) Can Twitter be far behind? There are many significant mathematical

> equations that will fit into 64 characters - or whatever the limit is.

> Ramanujan would probably have done well on Twitter. And women are more

> interested in personal relationships and men are more interested in sports?

> Who would have thought? The average person on Facebook has 342 friends! Well

> there are friends and there are friends. Montaigne wrote that his friendship

> with Etienne de La Bo=E9tie was such that "So many coincidences are needed to

> build [it up] that it is a lot if fortune can do it once in three

> centuries." One might say, ephemera in ephemera out.

>

> For the dwindling few of us who still have desktop computers and large

> screens, or maybe two large screens, who are interested in learning or doing

> some extended mathematics, and the even fewer who would like to write

> literate Mathematica notebooks as technical documents, I wonder if Stephen

> could find some time to attend to basic Mathematica, fixing its problems and

> fulfilling its vision?

>

> Mathematica lacks stability. Things that worked fine in one version don't

> work in the next. Especially troubling to me is the basic user interface.

> This got much worse in Version 9 with outright bugs that are in your face

> all the time. For example: often if I click in an existing Input cell and do

> a line return the Messages window opens with a contact WRI if this happens

> message. Or if one clicks after a word in a Text like cell and uses Ctrl+K

> for spell checking the message window again opens with a similar message. I

> like to use spell check a lot so this is especially annoying to me. I don't

> see why WRI couldn't have fixed these problems by now. (Or introduced an

> actually useful feature to spell check a selection such as a Text cell or a

> Section.)

>

> The Version 9 command completion feature, which used to be great, no longer

> works well. I have turned off the auto completion feature but what is left

> still does not work as well as the Version 8 behavior. For example, if one

> types:

>

> Carm

>

> and then uses Ctrl+K to complete the command, there is only one choice,

> CarmichaelLambda. In Mathematica 8 the symbol would be automatically

> completed and the cursor would be left at the end of the word. But now

> it brings up a menu,

> even though there is only one choice, and one must click the menu. But you

> are not finished yet! No there is another menu (somewhat displaced so you

> may miss it), which is the equivalent of Ctrl+Shift+K and which we could

> have done if we wanted, so one must by-pass that by clicking at the end of

> CarmichaelLambda to get back to the normal typing entry. That's two extra

> clicks added. You might say that's not much, but when it's at the basic

> entry point for material in a notebook it is a lot.

>

> One has to wonder how many parsers there are in Mathematica for kernel,

> front end, packages, workbench and how their behavior shifts around between

> versions? Can one copy and paste an expression without its underlying

> representation changing? I suspect this may be a nagging underlying source

> of instability.

>

> I realize and appreciate that WRI continues to add new capabilities to

> Mathematica and this inevitably results in learning and stability problems.

> There could be better design efforts on these things and more professional

> testing so the designs would stick and work well. Progress might be slower

> but it would be surer.

>

> Doing mathematics is not social media. It's not done that well on an iPad.

> And iPhone, iPad technology is not necessarily appropriate for Mathematica.

> People do not want to scroll two 25" screens with their hands. Just ask

> Microsoft.

>

> Mathematics and Mathematica are intrinsically difficult enough as it is.

> That makes it all the more important that WRI present users with a stable,

> robust, easy to use basic interface. WRI had not done the best job they

> could at this and not what one would expect for a relatively expensive

> product.

>

>

> David Park

> djmpark@comcast.net

> http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/index.html

>

>

> From: r.b.nachbar@gmail.com [mailto:r.b.nachbar@gmail.com]

>

>

> I'm interested in making word cloud graphics, as demonstrated in the recent

> Wolfram Blog post

> http://blog.wolfram.com/2013/04/24/data-science-of-the-facebook-world/ (near

> the end of the post). Does anyone have a function that will do this?

>

> Thanks,

>

> Bob