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Re: [Orgmode] Re: org-mode feature is surely a bug!

From: Eddward DeVilla
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] Re: org-mode feature is surely a bug!
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 12:07:28 -0500

You know, this just gave me a nutty idea.  I think org-mode is already
too far along to add this now, but there do seem to be a number of
cases were we want to have one thing in the file and another on the
screen.  We kind of have it with column narrowing, links and other
similar things.

I wonder if it would have been handy to have a general notation for
"display 'this' but store 'that'" and then reuse that for file links,
footnote reference, inline annotations, adjusted table output,
emphasis, etc.

I think it would need to allow multi-line values for 'this' and 'that'
and allow faces to be defined in 'this' and probably only plain text
in 'that'.

We could also allow 'this' be have certain transformation functions
that use 'that' as input.  So table narrowing and transformations
could be handled that way.  File links for just have a plain text
'this' string or one of a series of transform functions that could
inline the file, display it inline if it's an image or display a
summary of some sort of the file's contents.

Links in org-mode already do this to an extent.  I think I'm thinking
of a generalized mechanism in org-mode to hide one thing (or maybe
more?) under another to be used as a basic building block for other


On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 9:44 AM, Carsten Dominik
<address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi Michael,
> Thanks for your mail.
> what version of Org-mode are you using?  We have changed this
> quite some time ago to (float 8) (I see now that the docs still say
> 5, but this is not the case in the code, it is 8, except maybe
> in very old releases).
> The reason why it is not
> larger is more a display issue and a computation issue.  Since
> Org-mode is pure plain text, we need to write all significant
> digits into the table, we do not have the option to make the
> display a shorter version of an underlying more accurate number,
> and writing out all 16 digits of a double precision number
> would make the table columns wide and the tables unreadable.
> We could have #+PRECISION, but you can also do
> M-x customize-variable RET org-calc-default-modes RET
> and change it there, for all your files, at least for now,
> until I have a better option for per-file settings.
> Hope this helps.  Please write next time to address@hidden
> (this is our mailing list) so that a searchable record of answers
> and questions is created.
> Best wishes
> - Carsten
> On May 29, 2009, at 4:22 PM, Dr. Michael Dowling wrote:
>> Hello Carsten,
>> I was adapting org-mode to my applications when I noticed that it could
>> not add up!  I had a table in which one column was a column of figures,
>> and I wanted the sum, and org-mode came up with the wrong answer.  I was
>> flabbergasted when I discovered that this behaviour was documented as a
>> feature!
>> Specifically, the offending line was
>> calc-float-format  (float 5)
>> Apparently, if the calc default of 12 were used, the tables could look
>> ugly, so it was thought better to produce a pretty table than a correct
>> one!
>> At first I thought that this might be merely a display problem, that
>> internal calculations would be more accurate, and that I could get the
>> extra precision that I needed using a printf style print, but no.  The
>> printed value indeed had an extra digit, but that right most digit was a
>> meaningless '0'.
>> I've changed this in my .emacs file, but I would urge a re-think on
>> this.
>> As a numerical analyst, I feel comfortable with rounding errors, and
>> precision, and I accept that it is impossible to supply exact answers to
>> all calculations, but working with only decimal 5 digit precision I find
>> rather frightening.  (How calc came up with a default of 12 I don't
>> know; it's capable of arbitary precision, but anything less that the
>> precision of a double precision of 64 bits (about 16 decimal places),
>> and all the paraphernalia of guard digits etc. that the hardware
>> floating point units use is odd.)
>> Perhaps a line like
>> would be nice so that the user can choose his precision on file by file
>> basis, and keeping the above value at 12, the calc default.  I sixth
>> digit after a decimal point for a tax return is clearly too much, but
>> for financial calculations involving millions, this would be
>> unacceptable.  It follows that this really should not be hard coded, but
>> set on a file by file basis.
>> I don't want to sound negative, though; org-mode is really nifty, and,
>> although I have still to get into it properly, I have great expectations
>> that I am sure will be fulfilled beyond all my hopes!  Great work!
>> Cheers,
>> Mike Dowling
>> --
>> Dr. Michael L. Dowling
>> Gaußstr. 27
>> 38106 Braunschweig
>> Germany
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