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Frequently Asked Questions

WReach? Is that connected to WRI somehow?

The "WR" in my name has nothing to do with the company that develops Mathematica. It is just a coincidence.

Why do you start all your global variable names with $?

I use dollar signs for ad hoc global variables because I have been bitten too many times by accidentally assigning an own-value to a symbol that I happen to use, for example, in a symbolic equation. So I am in the habit of writing $x instead of x. I stick to that convention even for longer symbols like $initialUrl. Just like the regular symbol convention, Mathematica's predefined global symbols all start with a capital letter after the $. My ad hoc symbols always start with a lower case letter, so there is no conflict.

Why do you put semicolons and commas at the beginning of the line instead of at the end like a normal person?

I don't think of it that way. Rather, I switch from horizontal to vertical layout when a single expression is too long to fit on one line. This has the interesting side-effect of making the important delimiters stand out and line up. I first ran into this practice in the SQL community. SQL "programs" have the unpleasant property that they must be written as a single statement -- even if that statement is a hundred lines long (or more!). Sometimes Mathematica expressions share that property.


Oct
11
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
elaborated upon the cause
Oct
11
revised Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
added 1 character in body
Oct
11
comment Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
Note: I tested this on Windows 7, which exhibited the problem as well albeit at a much higher iteration count. I expect the solution to be the same on MacOSX, but I am not in a position to test it directly myself at the moment.
Oct
11
answered Error when implementing StartProcess[] in loops (Do, While, Table)
Oct
10
answered How to make several DateListPlot have the same scale?
Oct
9
answered Non sequitur in documentation of MemberQ
Oct
8
revised Dataset seems unable to handle ListDensityPlot and ListContourPlot
added the note about Dataset wrapper definitions
Oct
8
answered Dataset seems unable to handle ListDensityPlot and ListContourPlot
Oct
5
comment Replacing columns of a matrix with zeros
+1 If the OP's goal is to leave everything in the original code unchanged except m | n, then I suggest zeroColumns[mat_, m_ ;; n_] := ReplacePart[mat, {_, i_ /; m <= i <= n} -> 0].
Oct
1
comment How a novice user better understand the Q/A
You might find this wiki question useful, especially this answer and this answer.
Sep
30
awarded  Explainer
Sep
30
awarded  Good Answer
Sep
30
revised Multiplayer game in Mathematica: how to communicate between kernels?
changed `Hold` to `HoldComplete` in `LinkRead` after advice from JacobAkkerboom
Sep
29
awarded  Nice Answer
Sep
29
comment Is there a comprehensive list of functions with V10 operator forms?
@RunnyKine Good idea. Done.
Sep
29
revised Is there a comprehensive list of functions with V10 operator forms?
added a required Needs statement
Sep
29
revised Bug in Operator Form of StringCases
edited body
Sep
29
revised Bug in Operator Form of StringCases
added the notes about the complexities of currying `StringCases` and `Cases`
Sep
29
answered Bug in Operator Form of StringCases
Sep
29
revised Is there a comprehensive list of functions with V10 operator forms?
added the note about `StringCases`