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Re: The FinancialData Function

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  • Subject: [mg87163] Re: The FinancialData Function
  • From: "Hans Michel" <hmichel at>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 05:58:45 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <fssr67$bi2$>

I believe that the curated data is a good step forward for WRI. Most of the 
FD data can be accessible elsewhere in some cases free. In the US, we are 
flipping the bill so the gov has made SEC data available and Sarbanes-Oxley 
has made filings more transparent. As for getting Stock market trading 
information free I think at end of day it is free from the exchanges but 
realtime feed is well controlled so entities can make their money from 
selling and reselling the data. I looked into FD for a project but I was 
getting the data elsewhere so found no reason to use an experimental 
service. There were other issues such as company normalization. On the WRI 
website they request feedback as to what kind of data we would like to see 
in FD 

In this and other thread of late there is mention of how to get Mathematica 
to be a publishing standard. Well I think that more Curated data would a 
great help. Richard Feynman stated that having a bag of tricks is a great 
way to impress new users to your field of interest. Curated data in 
Mathematica can help establish some standard bag of tricks. For example, I 
suggested that WRI curate Observed Tidal data. Political or not it would be 
great to get all tidal data and actually show from data sea level trends. 
Having curated data would allow in forming hypothesis, as the data would 
serve as observation by proxy. If user want permance of data as a result of 
doing mission critical work, then I don't think curated data would fit. It 
would be like using the Astronomical data to calculate rocket launches. 
Possibly can be done but is it the valid thing to do.

Mathematica could have more curated data.
    Tides (, links to Eathquake, 
some station also monitor Meterological data
    Sloane's Integer Sequence For example, I find a great pivot point to 
get people interested in Math or just to ponder.
    [Already are cross references between MathWorld and Sloane's (But a 
quick builtin function that parses or generates Sloane's sequence would add 
to a bag of tricks.)]
    Census data or
    Etc.. Data does not have to be managed by WRI alone as it could be on 
loan or data that is parked with WRI. (It would be nicer if there were more 
data web services.)
    A curated science and math bibliography.

To reduce the cost of entry to using Mathematica, find a way to have access 
to a remote Kernel Farm that works as an ASP. Running and Evaluating 
Tutorial Free. Ad hoc calculation would depend on how fast you want the data 
back (priority)  from a Kernel Farm (A way to tax GridMathematica). How to 
compete with SAS at Student license fees of ~$30?

I think WRI and Mathematica should set some focus on the life and medical 
sciences. Mathematica can Export and Import DICOM but pays little attention 
to HL7, X12, CCR, CDA. For clinical research being able to Import these 
formats can cut out the need for a data repository, researchers just get the 
raw data. HealthCare IT is growing for many reasons but one of the growing 
needs is for analysis and reporting of collected data. Mathematica does this 
well. (SAS is entrenched here, epidemiology, bioinformatics, may be there 
are more mathematica users in these fields than my guess.)

WRI is doing fine just that more items need to be integrated and connected. 
I read recently that the show Numbers draws about 11 million viewers and 
that some viewers say that the mathematical explainations makes them feel 
smarter. I think that Mathematica needs this quick bag of tricks.  The 
demonstration site is a good start but IMO not all GUIs need a slider or 
button, these new GUIs need more controls. I think there is a need to ease 
new users to Mathematica some will  be more casual users, but have a bag of 
tricks to show to other potential users; some will be dedicated users and 
they will have their bag of tricks too. Just as something as a soap film or 
soap bubbles can attract curious kids to top notch physicists. The tricks 
brings them in but it is because there is something both fun and serious.


"robert prince-wright" <robertprincewright at> wrote in message 
news:fssr67$bi2$1 at
>I share your concerns, but hold more hope that Wolfram realise that 
>charging ~$2500 for a license and $500 for Premier Service results in some 
>obligations to their customers.
>  That said, I was disappointed that their Tech Support didn't follow up on 
> the concerns I expressed about 6mths ago - is their statement that 
> FinancialData is 'experimental' a caveat intended to warn us all that it's 
> not to be used for serious work? I hope not. We are all now pretty used to 
> the fact that Mathematica is well written, and that QA/QC is exceptionally 
> good (despite those who think they or others can do better). Given this, I 
> am sure they have fully understood just how powerful the curated data 
> facilities can be for the user. Renegging in the FD function would not be 
> acceptable to me and I suspect many others.
>  Now, you mention the data paclets could be at risk and that Yahoo could 
> suddenly start charging WRI (if they are not already). The solution would 
> be simple, however, since I know there are many financal data providers 
> out there who could fill the gap - at a cost.
>  I would like to hear from WRI about this since its a key issue.
> AES <siegman at> wrote:
>  I've never heard of this function, but have one immediate strong
> reaction/question:
> Is there -- or will there soon be -- a fully open, officially
> standardized, fully and openly specified, widely and near universally
> accepted, stable, long-term, NON-proprietary set of **formats**
> for the data and information that is to be transmitted back
> and forth between data providers and data users in this
> system?
> [Something akin to the more or less open, universal and stable graphics
> standards that have emerged over time.]
> Lacking that, I wouldn't personally go near this kind of financial data
> distribution system and related tools like FinancialData for building
> anything that was of any real and continuing importance to me.
> Think of mapping data, GPS and topographic data, or satellite imagery
> and related software tools as an analogous system. I play with some of
> this data, plan journeys using MapQuest, hiking trips using Google Earth
> (an incredible tool), etc -- but if someone suddenly decided to change
> all the standards for this data, I could still use all my old stored
> data and tools -- or just do without. (There would of course be many
> important commercial enterprises that would be much more seriously
> impacted.)
> But then suppose people get important, continuing personal or business
> activities deeply involved in an information system that uses tools like
> FinancialData; the data providers and Wolfram somehow get cross-wise
> commercially; and the data providers threaten to change their formats
> just enough to screw Wolfram (and all FinancialData users).
> Or, suppose the data providers decide to throw digital rights management
> complexities all over their data, as is the case now with music, films,
> video -- and the deep pockets financial data providers manage to bribe
> Congress to require that all computer tools like FinancialData contain
> provisions to enforce these DRM complexities.
> This may all come across as paranoid fears, and maybe it is -- but look
> what has actually happened in other areas of widely distributed
> electronic information distribution . . .
> Robert Prince-Wright
> Houston
> TX, 77006

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