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[Octave-bug-tracker] [bug #35157] Naive users baffled by "complex scalar

From: Clem
Subject: [Octave-bug-tracker] [bug #35157] Naive users baffled by "complex scalar type invalid as index value"
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2011 03:00:57 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; rv:8.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/8.0.1


                 Summary: Naive users baffled by "complex scalar type invalid
as index value"
                 Project: GNU Octave
            Submitted by: clemwang
            Submitted on: Fri 23 Dec 2011 03:00:56 AM GMT
                Category: Interpreter
                Severity: 3 - Normal
                Priority: 5 - Normal
              Item Group: Other
                  Status: None
             Assigned to: None
         Originator Name: Clem
        Originator Email: 
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any
                 Release: 3.4.0
        Operating System: Mac OS



The free Stanford Machine Learning Class (ml-class.org) used Octave with very
good results, so thousands thank you for all your hard work on Octave.

However, some students do not have a good background in mathematics.

A not uncommon error was to use *i* as an index variable and forget to
initialize it, leading to an error like this:

a = [1 2 3]
error: complex scalar type invalid as index value

To the naive user, the word *"complex"* first suggests *"complicated"* and not
"A number from the Complex Number Set".

I suggest an alternate wording (with capitalizations):

*error: index values must not be from the Set of Complex Numbers.*

Admitted a small, five minute change, but it would save a few people-hours of
frustration and confusion.



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