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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Re: Re: Which Mathematica product should I get?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg74568] Re: [mg74553] Re: Which Mathematica product should I get?
  • From: gardyloo <gardyloo at mail.wsu.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 03:52:47 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <eu1r0r$j5m$1@smc.vnet.net> <eu5584$lop$1@smc.vnet.net> <200703260702.CAA11301@smc.vnet.net>

I have played a bit with CalcCenter 3. Unfortunately I cannot remember
many of the reasons I haven't used it much, but my impressions are:

   Pros:   It's considerably "prettier" than Mathematica, with
well-laid-out menus, a bit of a walkthrough showing its capabilities,
etc. The "help" links pop up some good examples, and you can use some
built-in "instant calculators" to get a good idea of the correct syntax
of many of the commands. CalcCenter would probably be quite a bit easier
to start using than Mathematica because of the available help and ready
(simple) examples.

   Cons:  That being said, I wanted to take one of the demonstrations in
a different direction, and couldn't. Things which would be *very* easy
in Mathematica are suddenly utterly impossible in CalcCenter. I'm sorry
that I can't remember what I wanted to do, but it was something
relatively basic (so I thought). I couldn't believe that CalcCenter
wouldn't allow one to do it. Also, the "instant calculators", though
sometimes helpful, are really in the way and (in my opinion) really ugly
if one wanted to, say, print out a notebook.
          A BIG con for me is the inability to use external packages (or
write your own?) for CalcCenter. The relatively easy extensibility of
Mathematica using packages is a tremendous resource and ability.
CalcCenter doesn't (or didn't, w/ version 3) have that.

    I, personally, don't see the advantage of CalcCenter over
Mathematica, unless you're really going to stick with quite basic
functionalities (even advanced highschool calculus students might feel
crippled by CalcCenter in its current incarnation). If you think you'll
want to do more math than basic calculus/trig/linear algebra, then I
recommend the Student version of Mathematica.
   

                          --C.O.

David Rees wrote:
> Yes, I'm fully aware of this.
>
> I just don't know which variant of Mathematica to get. What's the advantage 
> of CalcCenter over Mathematica, and is CalculusVIS worth buying too?
>
>
> <siewsk at bp.com> wrote in message news:eu5584$lop$1 at smc.vnet.net...
>   
>> Mathematica is a tool. A very very useful tool but it is still a tool.
>>
>> Having said that, please get Mathematica if you can afford it because
>> you will be using the same tool even when you enter a university.
>> Having a consistent tool for the next 6 years will be of great benefit
>> to you.
>>
>> Like all things in life, there will be a learning curve.
>>
>> I have no problems entering calculus equations in Mathematica, either
>> using the keyboard or using the mouse with the Formula palletes.
>>
>>
>>     
>
>
>
>
>   


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