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Re: Mathcad question

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Michael Bryson wrote:
> I just got an e-mail last week from the Mathsoft people (it took a long
> while for them to respond) on this very topic. There isn't any way to
> display intermediate results, which is too bad because this would make the
> calculations very readable and easy to spot errors. The reason given to me
> was that there probably wasn't enough interest in this feature to warrant
> Mathsoft incorporating it. Maybe we could form a lobby to get them to
> consider it!

The problem is that Mathcad wasn't designed with engineering calculations in
mind. It is basically a number-cruncher. It is powerful with respect to symbolic
manipulations and linear programming, statistical functions, etc., but it is
somewhat arcane.

It is actually more useful for mathematicians and scientists than for
"shirtsleeve" engineers, but it IS very powerful.

We've had the "Mathcad vs. Excel" wars in here, about half as often as the ASD
vs. LRFD scuffles, which is to say, pretty often.

I am actually on the sidelines in this respect (a stark surprise to most here
who know me). I use the one for some things, and the other for other things.

In the ideal world (where Microsoft didn't so dictate the way we use computers
to get our work done) we would long ago have realized the potential of
Object-Oriented software tools like the now-defunct OpenDoc, where you would
take a "widget" from one program and combine it in a "container" with a "gadget"
from another, and build your own custom tool to do whatever you wanted, the way
you wanted.

But that wasn't in MS's best interest, as the more software titles (and
upgrades) you purchase, the better for their bottom line. "Proprietary software
solutions" has long been the bane of applied computing.

Someone else mentioned TEDDS. It sounds good, but again, the last thing I want
is another "special purpose" tool to add to the huge collection I've bought
already. Wouldn't it be great if we could just build our own from scrap parts?