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Re: unser-interface problems using Mathematica as a calculator

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  • Subject: [mg131992] Re: unser-interface problems using Mathematica as a calculator
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 00:15:50 -0500 (EST)
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  • References: <20131111050512.D010D6A1E@smc.vnet.net>

Many things are confusing to somebody who doesn't know the basics. And 
yes, this is one of them. But you can undoubtedly find the same 
confusing situation with an ordinary handheld calculator, if you try.

With Mathematica, if you're unhappy with the default 6-digit display, 
you need only open the Preferences (aka Options, on Windows), select the 
Appearance tab, then the Numbers sub tab and globally change from 6 to a 
higher value the setting Displayed precision: Number of digits 
displayed in output.

You may accomplish the same thing, either globally or for a specific 
notebook, or even for selected cells or cell group, by using the Option 
Inspector: search for PrintPrecision there.

And for particular output, you may control the print precision 
programmatically by using the NumberForm function.

Of course that just pushes the problem further to the right of the 
decimal point, and you will eventually encounter the same difficulty.

On Nov 11, 2013, at 12:05 AM, Alan <alan.isaac at gmail.com> wrote:

> The example below illustrates why Mathematica's display rules for 
approximate numbers are very confusing for students. Should this be 
considered a user-interface bug? If not, why not? In any case, can the 
default display be changed to something more familiar from spreadsheets 
and other computing languages?
> Thanks,
> Alan Isaac
>
> In[217]:= tv = TimeValue[1, 0.04, 3]
> tv == 1.124864
> tv == 1.12486
>
> Out[217]= 1.12486
>
> Out[218]= True
>
> Out[219]= False
>

---
Murray Eisenberg                                    
murray at math.umass.edu
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.      
Lederle Graduate Research Tower           
University of Massachusetts 
710 North Pleasant Street  
Amherst, MA 01003-9305








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