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MathGroup Archive 2006

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Re: Re: Do Mathematica applications EVER get updated?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg66309] Re: Re: Do Mathematica applications EVER get updated?
  • From: "atul" <atulksharma at yahoo.com>
  • Date: Tue, 9 May 2006 02:34:57 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <e36vlj$n8n$1@smc.vnet.net> <e39ksi$cus$1@smc.vnet.net> <200605040921.FAA09579@smc.vnet.net> <e3f65n$sbc$1@smc.vnet.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

I'm not entirely sure what prompts your anxiety, as I have used several
packages over the years, including Time Series, Wavelet Explorer and
Mathematica Link for Excel. While some functions (from both Time Series and
Mathematica Link) were incorporated into the kernel over time, updates to
ensure compatibility with new versions of Mathematica were timely and unobtrusive.
When I had problems with the initial installation of Mathematica Link for
Excel, I was able to interact directly with the developer, which was a rare
treat in problem resolution, and which went a long way to keeping me happy
even if we were unable to solve the problem, since I was never left feeling
like there were unexplored options or I was being brushed off because the
FAQ circulated to technical support staff  was out of date or incomplete.
The other packages clearly identify their developers in the .m files,
although I have had no reason to disturb them with problem applications.

It may be that your real concern, which hasn't been addressed in this
thread, is whether packages should evolve in functionality over time, as
opposed to retaining their core functionality with a minimum of fuss for the
long-time users. This seems to me to be a more philosophical question, and I
must say that the stability of the packages I mention has been - for me - a
source of some satisfaction, as nothing bothers me more than software that
becomes needlessly broken adding marginally useful functions, such as the
ability to interact with my toaster oven via bluetooth :)  In fact, the
stability of the package over times speaks to both robust implementation and
an environment that is itself relatively free of the complications
associated with bloated and inefficient code (see, for example, any product
from that place in Redmond., whose 'fixes' overwhelm me with their tedious
frequency and unintended consequences).

In general, the developers of Mathematica appear to be appropriately
cautious when introducing new functions into the kernel, taking pains
to ensure that there are no unintended complications for existing kernel
behavior. Package developers may have been influenced by this to adopt
a similar philosophy.  If this is your concern, I'm not sure how
realistic it is to expect continued and unconstrained expansion, since
like economic growth (or malignant cancer), I'm not sure that is really
a sustainable paradigm :)  I would urge you to examine the individual
packages to see if they meet your needs, without worrying too much
about the last revision date. While it is true that Time Series methods
have evolved since I bought the package, it is also true that the original
was never intended to be comprehensive, as long as it was flexible enough
to accept complementary models or algorithms that I might want to implement
and integrate with what it provides. In this, it has been extremely
useful, and comparable to stand-alone software for the same purpose that
I have also had occasion to use.

I am curious though, whether this was the actual source of your apprehension
or whether this was some specific deficiency in the packages you mention
that warranted concern. If that is the case, the list might benefit from
having those concerns articulated.

Atul

"Andrzej Kozlowski" <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl> wrote in message
news:e3f65n$sbc$1 at smc.vnet.net...
> It seems to me you should distinguish products developed in-house by
> Wolfram Research from those authored and maintained by independent
> developers (such as Jens) and only sold by WRI.
>
> It is very easy to find out who develops The Digital Image Processing
> package or MathGL3d: for example by writing to this list ...
>
> Andrzej Kozlowski
>
>
> On 4 May 2006, at 18:21, Nasser Abbasi wrote:
>
> >
> > "Jens-Peer Kuska" <kuska at informatik.uni-leipzig.de> wrote in message
> > news:e39ksi$cus$1 at smc.vnet.net...
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> why not ask the individual developer ??
> >
> > I have never heard of a customer having to look for and ask individual
> > developers inside a company about product updates.
> >
> > For example, if the next MS word version gets delayed, do you pick
> > up the
> > phone and dial 1800 Microsoft and ask to please talk to the
> > developer of MS
> > word to ask him/her about the status of the application?
> >
> > Do you have the phone number of the developer for the VISTA
> > operating system
> > because I need to call him/her to ask when it will be released.
> >
> > Do you have a list of phone numbers I can call to find who is the
> > developer
> > to each one of the listed Mathematica packages?
> >
> > This must be a new method of doing business that I have not heard
> > of before.
> >
> >> At least for my package I can tell you that I'm
> >> working on the next version and it should be
> >> finished at the end of the year.
> >>
> >> The Digital Image Processing package is also active
> >> developed and I'm sure the Mariusz Jankowski is
> >> working on the next version.
> >>
> >
> > How do you know that? how do customers know this? Where is this
> > listed on
> > the web site for the DIP product?
> > http://www.wolfram.com/products/applications/digitalimage/
> >
> > I do not see any name of developer there or any email address or
> > any phone
> > numbers.
> >
> > If you know some internal information such as the above, then this
> > does not
> > mean the public knows this as well.
> >
> > This is NOT how software business should work.
> >
> >> Regards
> >>   Jens
> >>
> >> Nasser Abbasi wrote:
> >>> Is it worth buying more Mathematica applications?
> >>>
> >>> I am asking, because it seems these applications are hardly ever
> >>> being
> >>> updated.
> >>>
> >>> Look at the structural mechanics application
> >>>
> >>> http://documents.wolfram.com/applications/structural/index.html
> >>>
> >>> It is still version 1, and the copyright shows it was published
> >>> in 1999.
> >>> This is 7 years ago !! This is like a million years ago in computer
> >>> software
> >>> time.
> >>>
> >>> The control systems application
> >>> http://documents.wolfram.com/applications/control/FrontMatter/
> >>> 0.2.html
> >>>
> >>> Still at version 2.2 since January 2003. This is 4 years ago
> >>> without any
> >>> single update.
> >>>
> >>> The Signals and Systems application
> >>> http://www.wolfram.com/products/applications/signals/
> >>>
> >>> Still at version 1.2.1 from 1995 (this is 11 years ago).
> >>>
> >>> And I can go on and on.
> >>>
> >>> Another big problem is that it is almost impossible to figure what
> >>> version
> >>> number these application are at and when was the last version
> >>> released.
> >>> It
> >>> is as if this is intentionally kept hidden.  Look at the mechanical
> >>> system
> >>> package
> >>>
> >>> http://www.wolfram.com/products/applications/mechsystems/
> >>>
> >>> It says at the top "NEW VERSION". but no version number or when
> >>> was this
> >>> version released. When you scroll to the bottom of the page, it says
> >>> mechanical system 2. Then it says 1994-2005.  Whatever this is
> >>> supposed
> >>> to
> >>> mean is anyone's guess.
> >>>
> >>> Can any one from the company explain all of this?
> >>>
> >>> I was about to buy the structural mechanics package, but last
> >>> minute when
> >>> I
> >>> checked the date on it, and that it was still version 1 since
> >>> 1999, I
> >>> closed
> >>> the window and did not buy it. It is clear that there are many dead
> >>> applications that are not being maintained and are still being
> >>> sold to
> >>> customers.
> >>>
> >>> Nasser
> >>>
> >>
> >
>


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