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Re: More /.{I->-1} craziness. Schools are conservative. So are [people]

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  • Subject: [mg106798] Re: More /.{I->-1} craziness. Schools are conservative. So are [people]
  • From: Richard Fateman <fateman at>
  • Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 07:37:15 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <hjbvc0$2tp$>

Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:

> This functionality is entirely lost if you replace an .nb or .nbp file with a pdf.
 > Its usefulness obviously depends on the area one applies it to.

1. There is, by now, a well-established model for writing Java Applets 
for illustrating mathematical concepts. A google search will find a huge 
number of them. Mathematica, while providing a simple interface from
the programmer level to (say) plotting, is hardly unique.
  And, I daresay,
to the extent that other computer system designers approve of neat 
interactive plotting and manipulation ideas, they will reproduce these 
facilities. I am aware of only one such project, but there may be more. 
  Just as Mathematica took the clue from other systems (that for years 
allowed the real-time rotation, zooming etc. of 3-D plots,) this may be 
the kind of development that will happen more widely.

Still, Java is easy to post and can be run on most computers.
Other stuff can also be used (e.g. Javascript, Ruby, Python) for 
interactive demos as well.  The idea that Mathematica is somehow more 
universal suggests (a) Everyone has Mathematica; (b) Every program 
written for Mathematica past will run on every version of Mathematica;
(c) People who read a PDF are unable to link to dynamic functionality.
These are all false.

As for printed journals having one foot in the grave (or not), that is 
pretty much irrelevant to Mathematica.  Most of my school's library 
journal collection consists of online access (only!) to journals that 
are still mostly "printed in principle".  That is, except for possible 
links to references, search, copy, paste and maybe a few other simple 
tools, they do not take advantage of the computer capabilities.  They 
could, perhaps be much more ambitious.  And PDF allows for additional 
plug-ins that access additional layers of encoding.  Why is this 
irrelevant to Mathematica?    Because (with the exception, perhaps, of 
"journals" published by WRI) no provider of a journal would be likely to 
ever require a Mathematica installation of its readers.

Some people are reading books and newspapers on e-readers (Apparently 
Sony and Barnes&Noble and Amazon's Kindle have incompatible competing 
formats, and I have heard from several people that they are happy to 
read books on an iPod or iPhone).  Perhaps the future of scientific 
publication is going to appear on these devices, along with um, 
iMathematica (I'd love to see Apple and WRI sue each other over the name 
but remember you saw it here first (c)RJFateman 2010).

Finally, the demise of conventional scientific journals has been 
predicted, studied, promoted, for quite a few years now. The WWW made it 
all possible, but somehow companies still find it commercially viable to 
begin new publications of journals which have at least a possible "dead 
trees" component. There are online book publishers who will take a text 
file of some sort and print a book copy for you.  Books and printed 
paper articles are still pretty common. You can read them on the beach. 
You can write on them, cut them up, etc.

By the way,

I remind readers that AK did not respond to the problem that .nb 
presentations incorporate Mathematica design flaws, e.g. for certain 
values of zero  ( :) ) we have

  {x >== 1, x > 1, x > 0, x}
      evaluates to
  {True, False, False, 0.}


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