Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Interference" seems like an appropriate name

I got a request from a marketer that I link to his product from this blog:From him:
Inference is a Microsoft Office add-in that has a point-and-click interface for adding MATLAB code, .m files, and structured data to Word and Excel documents. If you use Microsoft Office, Inference is an alternative to EX Builder and Notebook for generating reports, reproducible research, and Office applications. And regardless of whether you use Office, Inference has an integrated development environment (Inference Studio) with an intelligent editor that features breakpoints and edit-and-continue.
I have no idea why you would possibly need such a thing. I view software like this as predatory—it preys on people who think they're helpless. They end up overlooking existing easy solutions (like using the debugging features of MATLAB's own editor) and get distracted from finding truly good solutions.

Perhaps I'm being a little too harsh. Interference's own website gives a better description of its features:
Inference for MATLAB allows you to:
  • Execute MATLAB code directly inside of Microsoft Word to create formatted reports that contain explanatory text and graphical/code output.
  • Execute MATLAB code directly inside of Microsoft Excel to create dynamic spreadsheets that leverage existing Excel functionality.
  • Store all of your MATLAB code, data, and M-Files inside a single Microsoft Word and Excel document.
If you have use for such a thing... Give it a whirl, but don't come to me for help.

(by the way, my LaTeX build environment does the equivalent of "Interference for MATLAB" for LaTeX users. Among other things, if you \includegraphics{image_name} and the build environment finds an image_name.m file, it will automatically generate an image_name.eps (or image_name.pdf) whenever the MATLAB script gets updated)

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