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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Mathematica 6 review [first impressions]

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg76372] Mathematica 6 review [first impressions]
  • From: science2003 at libero.it
  • Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 02:40:24 -0400 (EDT)

Premise: I use Mathematica. here and then -not everyday. Symbolic calculus,
matrix algebra, with plotting, etc. are mine 80% activity on Mathematica.
I was curious on the hype that mounted. I look around for  "first
impression" reports. But I did not find many. So here is mine. Just
first (partial) impressions  on a Win2k. I hope someone can add others

Installation (trial v.): It is a big one! At the end in the Wolfram
folder there are more than 800Mb, plus I guess the files spread in
Application data and (I hope just few of them) in the System.

Interface: It did not change so much. I know that almost everyone say
it did. But inputs needed to be inserted as usual. I would say that
another system did change its interface (the one in Java) not Mathematica.
The first thing  (I guess a big one) that one notices is the coloring code.
Helpful, but not amazing. Not all menus are in the same position. I
notice that "Palettes" have gain a place of first order (it was before
under "File" at least in v4.x).

Palettes: There are some new. One of it about layout (Document,
article, report, etc). But unfortunately I was unable to find the main
I always used: Basic Calculations. This is a big miss! For a saltuary
user it helped to input correctly and carry on the job, without too
much mistakes. If it is not hidden somewhere this is certainly a minus
of Mathematica 6. It was probably also in 5.2 (I do not have it): it is possible
to add  new palettes from your calculations. To add them it easy. I
was unable to find how to remove them! (probably the only way is to go
in the folder where they are placed and physically remove them.)

Help files: You have the opportunity to see the 5 minutes introduction
to Mathematica 6. But the new helper system is indeed less helpful of the
revious versions of Mathematica. Several links are for online material.
Tutorials refer to (at least the one I met) to a online courses
(starting from $800!). Why they do not make tutorials online these
days! They will expand the possible user base and sell more copies!
Well this is a topic for next time. I notice also that the help is
also much slower than the old version. (My CPU is just 1100Mhz).

Dynamics and cursors: I look at What new and the main thing that I
remember was sliders and dynamics. They are nice features that
already attracted - as I see - here much attention. I do not have the
competence to assess if they are also revolutionary. For my needs
probably not.

Under the hood: in a fist impression after a day of experience I
cannot really assess them. I hope others can as I hope that others can
tell more on "user experience", not just "expert experience"



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