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Re: Re: Re: UNDO and Mathematica - how useless

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg98461] Re: [mg98417] Re: [mg98357] Re: UNDO and Mathematica - how useless
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 04:54:28 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <> <>
  • Reply-to: murray at

Ordinary saving the notebook keeps overwriting with the new version.  A 
much better solution, in the absence of a more complete undo/redo 
facility, would be DrMajorBob's "Bare Bones Backup" button or, for more 
complete control, the backup facilities in David Riess' WorkLife FrameWork.

DrMajorBob wrote:
> The best advice I can givi is "save early and often"... but I admit that's  
> not a replacement for Undo.
> I've gotten used to the situation, as most of us have, but Meitnik still  
> has a point.
> Bobby
> On Wed, 08 Apr 2009 01:48:55 -0500, meitnik <meitnik at> wrote:
>> An open letter to WRI, struggling with undo.
>> I am a disabled user (but am creative and intelligent) and a
>> prospective Home Edition buyer (I have finally got the funds in place
>> today). I *need* an Undo that really works. I make lots of typing
>> errors and yes logical errors too. Besides, being creative and
>> learning is making big and small mistakes and rethinking ones
>> direction. Forgiving software was part of the tech paradigm shift in
>> the 80s and 90s. Did WRI miss that while mastering CA patterns? While
>> learning Mathematica using a trial version, I already lost time/code
>> and become frustrated several times dealing with undo (sometimes it
>> sorta works sometimes its just stupid). Why make it so hard to undo?
>> Does not your QA fight for a real undo? Does not marketing understand
>> undo is a key selling feature? Perhaps for many all the power of
>> Mathematica alone compensates for its limited undo.
>> I have owned hundreds of software apps, beta-tested just as many over
>> my 30 years. I have never seen software that just fails so badly at
>> understanding undo. Perhaps a tutorial on how to deal with undo is
>> wanting, does one already exist?. At least document well how undo
>> works now. Offer tips and tricks how to manage mistakes/errors in
>> one's work other than the brute force of save as and duplicating
>> cells. Finally,  As a Mac user, undo is one of the prime directives of
>> OS X gui guidelines. WRI, don't you like having and using a real undo
>> for all your Mac apps (and later for Windows too). Yes, doing a real
>> undo is hard, but it is worth it and shows real respect to your users
>> both new and old. Come on guys, you are all smart enough!
>> If you are wanting to make the Home Edition market succeed, than you
>> need a reasonable undo working shortly in 3-5 months, not 2 years
>> later. I do not need to buy now Home Edition but I really want it now
>> but at the cost of dealing with unpleasant software? I value my time
>> and efforts, and yes undoing mistakes. Important features matter to
>> overall productivity and a sense of polish -- undo is one of them. You
>> want a sale, I want software that works as expected. I can wait it
>> out, for I waited 20 years for Mathematica to be within my reach at
>> age 50. A few more months or years is ok with me. I can set aside
>> those funds for another day. Maybe a formal petition is needed for a
>> proper undo??
>> If I have erred in my reasoning or understanding how undo currently
>> works, please educate me to be a better productive user of
>> Mathematica. I am willing to learn from my mistakes. Forgiveness in
>> people or software is cool.
>> Thank you for enduring my rant. I am off to soak my painful fingers
>> now...

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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