Re: Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg104860] Re: [mg104824] Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)*From*: "David Park" <djmpark at comcast.net>*Date*: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 06:01:46 -0500 (EST)*References*: <200911917250.789293@jfultz2winlap> <hdbhn2$jol$1@smc.vnet.net> <29948190.1257934266130.JavaMail.root@n11>

Well, there is the ColorSchemes palette, where colors can be clicked in, but not always the shortcut version. And there is ColorData[] and ColorData["Gradients"] // Column But a casual user of Mathematica might not know about that. Options in String form are probably a reasonable solution for many special facilities and keeps the 'official' list of Mathematica symbols from ballooning. It would help if they were better documented. 1) I think Bill Rowe made a good point that much of Mathematica mirrors mathematics so one is not learning an entirely new subject. 2) I for one think the Mathematica documentation is fairly good and allows one to drill down to special topics. Of course, it can always be improved in places and extended but I think WRI has made a tremendous effort with the documentation. 3) Nevertheless, there is so much to Mathematica such as learning basic syntax, the core commands, functional commands, plotting, use of options, equation solving, color specification, etc., that I am dubious about advanced students taking on advanced topics with only a brief introduction to Mathematica. I suspect they may only do well in a limited way, such as modifying a basic scheme already set out for them. (I may be biased in this view because of my own limitations.) 4) It would be far better if students heading for a technical career started learning Mathematica in high school and didn't have to struggle with the basics when they got to college. 5) It will help if Mathematica gets more "settled down". Version 6 was really jarring to many users - and yet, I for one, really appreciate the new capabilities that came with it. David Park djmpark at comcast.net http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/ From: fd [mailto:fdimer at gmail.com] I believe that any user of a complex software (like MS word for example) will use just a fraction of the functionalities in it - a knowledge which generally increases with time. From my experience it is usually easier to do things in Mathematica than in any other program. Compare with SPSS, which I tried to use a while ago: I had to navigate through many menus with heaps of functionalities, and very difficult to reproduce steps. Mathematica has some it functions not well documented for sure, like GeoPosition for example, what I understand as it is quite recently incorporated. What I'm not quite happy with is when some options are given as strings (for e.g. the ColorFunction option in DensityPlot[Sin[x y], {x, 0, 3}, {y, 0, 3}, ColorFunction -> "BlueGreenYellow"] ), this confuses me a bit as I can't know all the options available apart from looking in the documentation (how could I know there is also an ColorFunction->"Rainbow"? Is there a general way of finding all possible names a option my have?).