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Re: How to write reports and books in Mathematica


My experience with Windows Vista is that I can't remember the last time I
had a problem with losing a notebook. Perhaps not since Version 6 came out.

I do have occasional problems with FrontEnd crashes, usually with dynamic I
think. Annoying if I've forgotten to save recently. This doesn't happen
often, and usually when I'm trying something new and have made some
programming mistake to boot.

So, for me, this does not rise to the same level of problem as for you.

My impression from reading MathGroup and from private communication is that
Mathematica is most stable on Windows, almost the same on Mac, and it trails
off after that. With some systems you may have to become an expert System
Engineer and Administrator. I suppose this might all be a matter of hot

If your time is valuable (and it is!) spend the money to have a system that
Mathematica works well with and don't skimp on operating systems.

David Park
djmpark at  

From: Alexei Boulbitch [mailto:alexei.boulbitch at] 

Dear David,
I would like to comment on your following statement:

"At the present time, the single most serious problem with writing reports
and books in Mathematica is that people who do not have Mathematica can't
easily read them."

I believe that I faced a more serious problem that prevents a broad using of
Mathematica for creation 
and keeping documentation. Namely, already several times (to be more
precise, about 5 to 6) 
the notebooks I have created appeared corrupted and impossible to repair.

This year I prepared a course of uni lectures totally using Mathematica
including notebooks 
with the lecture drafts and notebooks with demonstrations. It was fun and
pleasure to use such a tool
for this purpose, the feeling that I believe I share with you. However, you
can imagine my disappointment 
when I have found out that several months after their creation some of these
files I cannot be open any more,
while some others I can open, but this only leads to a computer hang up. It
happened with about 5 files 
out of several tens, but still each of them required a lot of my time.
Especially strong is this disappointment,
since I am going to give this course several times in future. 

OK, I have several machines and keep these notebooks on every of them, so
things are not that dramatic 
in my personal case. I have really completely lost only few of those files
(though even this is no fun at all). 

However, I think that this lack of stability is the most serious problem of
the program preventing its future 
propagation and should be seriously addressed.

Indeed, what will a person do, if he loses an important document due to such
instability of Mathematica? 
Assume that this person is not a Mathematica fun (as both of us are), but
only wants to use it as a comfortable
and powerful tool. And what, if it happens just an hour before he is going
to present the document to his boss,
or to shareholders of the enterprise he works in, or to his bank?
What will I do, if the day of the lecture (that I believe is ready) I find
that I cannot open the corresponding file? 
I think the answer is unique: such a person will never use Mathematica any
more (at least for creation 
of documentation or of presentations).

There is a second problem about Mathematica, which I classify as less
serious, but still very unpleasant. 
Rather often it informs that the system made a heavy error and will close
without saving. We know that other 
programs like for instance, Word also exhibit sometimes this nice trick.
However, my personal feeling is that 
Mathematica  makes it considerably more often. Of coarse one can overcome
this problem by a personal discipline 
by often saving notebook one works on. Therefore, I classify this problem as
a secondary one though still important.

I place these notes in a strong hope that these problems may be fixed by
Wolfram in future Mathematica versions.  

Best regards, Alexei

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