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Re: Does Mathematica really need more printed, introductory documentation?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg88231] Re: [mg88197] Does Mathematica really need more printed, introductory documentation?
  • From: "Richard Palmer" <rhpalmer at gmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 06:48:19 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <fuhfdc$ihb$1@smc.vnet.net> <fuhrka$s88$1@smc.vnet.net>

I have an additional concern regarding current on-line documentation.  Some
of it does not have a resizable font.  That makes it difficult for people
like me that have glasses and use portable computers with smaller screens.
I hope that can be fixed in a subsequent release.

Regards, Richard


On 4/28/08, AES <siegman at stanford.edu> wrote:
>
> In response to Andrzej Kozlowski's comment
>
> >    Judging by quite many "ordinary  users" I known, the views you have
> been
> >    expressing, particularly those on the need for printed software
> manuals
> >    rather make you a memeber of a minority, and moreover a rather
> >   rapidly declining one. I for one, . . .
>
>
> Does Mathematica really need printed, more introductory level
> documentation (aka books, or manuals) to add to its excellent, but less
> readable, online documentation?
>
> Let's take an experimental or "reality-based" approach to this question
> (however much that approach may be out of favor with our current
> administration in Washington . . .)
>
> Adobe Illustrator is, in my opinion anyway, an excellent piece of
> technical software, comparable in quality and usefulness and at least
> somewhat comparable in technical complexity, to Mathematica.
>
> There's probably a sizable overlap --- or at very least, a very sizable
> _potential_ market overlap --- between Illustrator and Mathematica users
> (new graphics commands that are very Illustrator-like have in fact been
> added in 6.0).
>
> Both programs have something of an initial learning curve for "ordinary
> users"; both have excellent detailed online reference documentation.
>
> Mathematica is, I would judge, actually substantial more complex and
> requires more learning for an average individual than does Illustrator.
> On my Mac, Illustrator 11 is 75 MB for the app itself, plus another 75
> MB of supplemental stuff.  I didn't try to dig inside the Mathematica
> package, but it's over 1 GB in my Applications folder, plus whatever
> additional material is stuffed away elsewhere on my HD.  Illustrator
> manuals tend to be 300 to 500 pages; the Mathematica Book for v5 was
> just under 1500.  Mathematica users, especially less experienced ones,
> might need more forms and varieties of documentation, that Illustrator
> users.
>
> So, to get some idea what sort of introductory printed books and manuals
> might be useful for Mathematica, we might ask: what sort of introductory
> printed books and manuals are readily available, right now, for
> Illustrator?   (Noting again that Illustrator also has good, well
> organized, readily accessible online documentation, Help files, and
> tutorials --- along with helpful user forums on its web site.)
>
> A quick look at amazon.com then brings up a list of at least twelve (12)
> such introductory books or manuals on Illustrator (list appended below).
> All of these books are currently available in stock on amazon (and three
> are on my bookshelf) --- as compared to _none_ (as yet, anyway) for
> Mathematica 6.
>
> At least half of these Illustrator manuals can be identified as current
> editions of earlier versions that were published for earlier versions of
> Illustrator.  In other words, earlier versions apparently sold well
> enough that authors were willing to write and publishers were willing to
> bring out 2nd, 3rd, even 4th editions of these manuals, updated for the
> current version of Illustrator.
>
> Or in other words, for me anyway:  The experimental evidence is that
> these books  _clearly meet user needs_, sufficiently so that authors are
> willing to invest their energies in writing them; publishers publish
> them; and users buy them, including more than once;
>
> Should Wolfram maybe recognize this point?
>
> =====================================
>
> *  Adobe Illustrator CS3 Classroom in a Book by Adobe Creative Team
> (2007)  $35
>
> *  The Adobe Illustrator CS3 Wow! Book by Sharon Steuer (2007) $24
>
> *  Adobe Illustrator CS3 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques by Karlins
> and Hopkins (2007) $10
>
> *  Real World Adobe Illustrator CS3 by Mordy Golding (2007) $20
>
> *  Illustrator CS3 Bible by Ted Alspach ( 2007) $25
>
> *  Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design by Susan Lazear (2008) $35
>
> *  Fashion Designer's Handbook for Adobe Illustrator by Centner and
> Vereker (2007) $50
>
> *  Illustrator CS3 for Windows and Macintosh (Visual QuickStart Guide)
> by Weinmann and Lourekas (2007) $20
>
> *  Adobe Illustrator CS3 Revealed by Chris Botello (Aug 31, 2007) $45
>
> *  Best Practice: The Pros On Adobe Illustrator by Toni Toland (Aug 16,
> 2006) $35
>
> *  Adobe Illustrator CS2 Revealed, Education Edition by Chris Botello
> (2005) $40
>
> *  Illustrator CS for Dummies by Ted Alspach (2003) $25
>
> =====================================
>
>


-- 
Richard Palmer


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