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Re: Mathematica 9 for Windows

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  • Subject: [mg128973] Re: Mathematica 9 for Windows
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2012 04:59:13 -0500 (EST)
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Let the user choose!

By default, the new interface doodads -- autocompletion, Suggestions 
Bar, and dynamic highlighting -- are enabled. And this is probably a 
good thing for the new Mathematica user who just wants to start using 
the system as quickly as possible without a long learning period.

The experienced user need only open Preferences/Options and on the 
Interface tab uncheck the corresponding items.

In the case of autocompletion, there's even the option to leave it 
enabled but set a popup delay.

For the new cell insertion point, the little + icon is hardly 
distracting. In fact, to the unknowing eye, it merely suggests this is a 
place where you can add some input. It's not until you click the + sign 
that you see the choices, including free-form/WolframAlpha input.

And the + icons gives those who want it another way to insert a Text 
cell without having to revert to the main menu or the keyboard shortcut 

Perhaps there's a way to use the Option Inspector to turn off, too, the 
+ icon at the new cell insertion point; I haven't discovered it yet.

I agree that it would be useful to have the choice of these interface 
doodads readily available to unset or reset on a menu or a palette.

On Dec 5, 2012, at 3:13 AM, djmpark <djmpark at> wrote:

> I'm concerned too. I think WRI is mashing and corrupting one of their
> primary assets, a clean notebook interface.
> The principle here is that a user should be able to obtain help WHEN 
> WHERE HE ASKS FOR IT and not otherwise.
> The primary point in the interface is the new cell insertion point. 
> should be completely unadorned. There should be nothing there until 
> writer asks for it or types something. Similarly as a user types there
> should be nothing else unless and until he asks for it. The writer 
> not be constantly presented with "in your face" requests for which the
> answers are overwhelmingly no.
> WolframAlpha is a nice feature but I think it would be only 
> used in most notebooks. It can be obtained by using "=" as a 
shortcut, or by
> typing WolframAlpha[...]. I don't see why it couldn't be added to the
> context menu. We don't need a constant little advertisement for it at 
> primary point of interface. It's like walking into a store when you 
> exactly what you want but first having to fend off a sales person 
> you various items of information or specials and reappearing before 
each new
> purchase.
> The Input Assistant at first seems like a good idea but it has a way 
> turning into a huge dynamic distraction. I also find some difficulty 
> completing the symbol entry, sometimes getting the wrong symbol and
> sometimes having to grab the mouse and click in the notebook. You may
> complete the command you want but the list will still be there needing 
to be
> dealt with. Also, in the instructions when WRI says "Tab" I'm not 
certain if
> they mean the arrow keys instead. Also the command completion 
sometimes does
> not appear to work and other times does. The entire thing is a bit 
> complex than is convenient. I think the pre-Mathematica 9 method was 
> It only appeared by request, using Ctrl+K, and then often completed at 
> point. If M9 gives a better context sensitive list of completions then 
> could still be incorporated.
> Templates should be obtained only if one uses Ctrl+Shift+K. It is just 
> easy to type that as it is to grab the mouse and click a temporary 
> It appears now that in M9 WRI is obtaining the templates from the 
> entries in the Function page Usage cell, with perhaps some method to 
> additional ones. But they use this only in their in-house Build 
process and
> don't yet make it available to developers. WRI really has to work on
> updating Workbench. I don't think it's been updated for over two 
> Many of these things, including the Predictive interface, might be 
better if
> they were on a context menu, always available but otherwise invisible. 
> they might be buttons in the docked Toolbar at the top of the 
> There seems to be plenty of room there and they might be more useful 
> the justification buttons. One of the problems with Mathematica is the 
> number of commands. Rather than writing code, I would think a more 
> Predictive interface feature would be to give direct links to Guide 
> that had routines related to the context of one's work.
> Keep the notebook interface clean, like a blank piece of paper, and 
> beginners` aids to tutorials, context menus, optional Toolbars or 
> David Park
> djmpark at
> From: Arne Eide [mailto:arne.eide at]
> So much about the (rare?) blue screens. Now I am more concerned about 
> route Wolfram indicates with the new Mathematica version. Each 
> version of Mathematica has represented important steps forward, 
> well-known features and adding others. Even those versions that gave 
> loads of work to do, rewriting older notebooks, have been appreciated,
> increasing the net benefit of the software. I am not equally 
> about version 9 (up to now). Does it represent a turning point in the
> development of the Mathematica software? It seems to me that the 
> of the Wolfram-Alpha ideas into the Mathematica environment is 
changing the
> simple and attractive structure of Mathematica. Do we have to move 
into the
> Math kernel shell to get back to the original Mathematica experience? 
I hope
> you will maintain Mathematica as the unique tool it was and still is 
and let
> Wolfram-Alpha develop alongside, maybe also as a first Mathematica
> experience. Co-existence instead of a pre  dator-prey relation.
> Best regards,
> Arne
> On Monday, 3 December 2012 09:30:48 UTC+1, John Fultz  wrote:
>> Some users who upgraded to Mathematica 9 for Windows have reported
>> encountering blue-screen system crashes.  The system crashes seem to

>> be
>> caused by a Windows bug in handling how we update fonts, and can
>> potentially happen even when not running Mathematica (for example,
>> opening the Fonts control panel might cause a blue screen).  The 
>> only affects Windows machines which had older versions of Mathematica
>> installed.
>> The issue is rare and was not found during extensive internal and
>> external prerelease testing.  However, we're taking the issue very
>> seriously, and we recommend that you don't install Mathematica 9 for
>> Windows until we can provide you with a patched installer, which
>> should
>> be available for download from in the next 
>> days.
>> If you have already installed Mathematica 9 for Windows and have not
>> encountered this issue there is nothing you need to do.
>> If you have installed Mathematica 9 for Windows and have encountered

>> the
>> issue, you can find a solution for the problem here:
>> Or, feel free to contact Technical Support and they can help you walk
>> through deploying the fix.
>> We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
>> Sincerely,
>> John Fultz, Director of User Interface Technology
>> Arnoud Buzing, Director of Quality Assurance
>> Wolfram Research, Inc.

Murray Eisenberg                                    
murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.      
Lederle Graduate Research Tower            phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                               413 545-2838 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street                         fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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