# Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

## PhilTeX

Just a quick update to say that I am a contributor to the PhilTeX group blog for philosophers who use LaTeX. If you fit into that (rather niche) category, chances are you’ve already heard of PhilTeX, so this update is almost certainly completely superfluous.

That is all.

Written by Seamus

July 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

Posted in internet, LaTeX, philosophy

Tagged with , ,

## Reverse LaTeX?

I know LaTeX better than I know how to do accents in word or equivalent. What I’d find useful is a way to type TeX commands and have something automagically replace that command with the unicode character.

For example: I’d type \’a and it would transformify into á. That would be cool. I can’t imagine many people would use it…

I actually quite like how my phone handles it.* You hold down the letter in question and a little menu appear containing a useful symbol, and then various accents you can put on the letter. Could that be implemented on laptops? Could you hold down the “a” key until a menu of accents popped up? I think that might have more appeal than my TeX geekery idea…

____________
*Yeah. I typed this blog post on my phone. Welcome to the twenty first century, baby!

Written by Seamus

May 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Posted in LaTeX, linux

Tagged with , ,

## Backwards compatibility

A long time ago, I decided to see if I could rewrite an essay I’d written as an undergrad in Open Office in LaTeX. I gave up soon after because (1) it was pointless since I had since then written a better paper (in LaTeX) on the same subject (the conventionality of spacetime geometry, if you must know) and (2) it was really irritating going through doing things like changing “…” into “…”  and so on.

Now, recently I was again recovering old ground and I wanted to write something similar to something I mentioned in an essay I wrote (in LaTeX) as an MA student (About coin flipping and partitioning the space of initial conditions…). I was surprised to discover that even that was laborious to update. I had to do things like go through and replace \citet and \citep with \textcite and \parencite as appropriate. This is because I moved to using biblatex rather than bibtex. I know about the natbib=true compatibility option, but it doesn’t behave properly all the time, particularly with multiple citations… And I had to add signposts to my \labels. That is, write \label{fig:zebra} rather than \label{zebra}. OK, “had to” is probably a bit strong. I wanted to, because I think it’s a good idea to signpost whether it’s a figure or an equation or a section or what have you that you’re referring to.

Today I discovered that it is reccommended that I use $$…$$ instead of $…$ for inline maths in LaTeX. This means that even a paper I wrote a couple of months ago (about the principle of indifference) which I now want to work on again has to be updated in a non trivial way before I can use it. (This is a change I can’t just do Find and Replace for… On the other hand, it’s an aesthetic thing rather than a functionality thing. $…$ still works fine, but I like to follow proper practice…)

So I suppose that means I should stick to writing about new stuff rather than recovering old ground if I want to avoid having to laboriously fix minor pseudoproblems with my LaTeX code…

Written by Seamus

September 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in LaTeX

Tagged with

## Biblatex

I recently changed from using boring old BibTeX to exciting new BibLaTeX. There have been some slight problems with the transition (aren’t there always!). First, citations started appearing as: “Name, Year” instead of “Name (Year)” like I wanted them to. I got around this by adding the option “natbib=true” to the \usepackage{biblatex} command and replaced all my \cite commands with \citet commands. Not the most elegant solution, I’ll grant you, but it works. So I was casting around for a better solution. I thought I’d try the APA standards packages. They didn’t work at all until I did a “sudo texhash” and after that they didn’t solve the problem. (Though they did fix an annoying bibliography quirk: the biblatex standard authoryear bibliography style writes things as “Author, Year, Paper-title In: Journal” The APA packages do at least get rid of that annoying “In:” Tomorrow I’m going to see if Harvard or Chicago bbx and cbx files can get me out of that mess.

Two other outstanding gripes with biblatex. First is that I can’t have “X et al” appear in the citation while still having “X, Y and Z” appear in the bibliography. This was standard with whatever set-up I was using before (natbib and chicago probably). This is because the “maxnames” option controls both citations and bibliography. Not ideal.

Second gripe, I want my bibliography to be titled “References” rather than “bibliography” I had a work around for this using the memoir class and bibtex, but it no longer works with biblatex. I suppose I will explore this issue further tomorrow.

And why am I spending so much time playing with my bibliography? Well, because it’s a superb displacement activity and I have a huge project due in next week, that’s why!

Written by Seamus

September 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Posted in annoying, LaTeX

Tagged with , ,

## Learn the rules! Establishment, establishment…

Cyclists who ignore traffic lights or otherwise disregard the rules of the road annoy me. As do cyclists who cycle on the pavement. Obviously cyclists are much more vulnerable than people in cars on the road. Does that not give cyclists even more incentive to obey the rules? apparently not. I regularly see cyclists run red lights. To my mind, they deserve to be knocked down. You are on the road and there are rules you should obey. A couple of days ago I saw someone on a bike go through a red light on her bike with no helmet on whilst talking on her mobile phone. You stupid stupid woman.

In other news I have migrated from Texmaker to Kile. I originally avoided Kile because I objected to using programs made for KDE in Gnome. But since then I’ve realised that Kile is significantly better than Texmaker. I can also get Kile on both my main computer and my little Acer Aspire One. Linpus linux that ships with the One doesn’t have texmaker in its repositories. (Check this out for how to get a package manager on Linpus and other cool stuff.)

Written by Seamus

October 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

## The LaTeX figure environment

with one comment

Instead of doing any proper work, I’ve been adding pictures to my dissertation. It’s a fiddly process. First, I find a Creative Commons or other free license picture (normally on wikimedia commons) in SVG format. Then I open it up in inkscape, and save as EPS. then I save another copy ar PDF. This is because latex and pdflatex like different picture formats. So, in the same folder as my mainfile.tex, I have npc.eps and npc.pdf So once I’ve done that I make my figure environment where I want the picture to appear. The environment looks like this:

\begin{figure}
\centering
\includegraphics[width=2in]{npc}
\caption{The nine point circle for a certain scalene triangle}
\label{fig:npc}
\end{figure}

If I latex-ify the document it looks for the EPS file. If I do pdflatex then it looks for the PDF file. I have discovered, through much experimentation and gnashing of teeth, that the order in which the things appear makes a great deal of difference. If the \caption is above the \includegraphics the caption appears above the figure. If below, the caption is below. Fairly straightforward. The \label has to be below the \includegraphics and \caption commands. If you put it anywhere else \ref{fig:npc} will reference the section or subsection containing the figure environment. The “fig:” thing is just a convention, it serves no functional role.

Was all this faffing about really worth it? Probably not, but it sure beats doing proper work!

Written by Seamus

August 21, 2008 at 11:51 am

Posted in LaTeX

Tagged with

## Beware the angry monkey

with one comment

I thought this was too funny not to mention.

I haven’t done a whole lot today. I spent a good long while just sitting here going “Yes, but what is a structure?” Which probably suggests I don’t quite have what it takes to be a structural realist. Shame.

I also spent rather too long trying to get LaTeX to play nicely with Kig. Now, kig can export pictures you have drawn as TeX files. But when you try and \include{thefile} in another file it messes up. So you can also export kig constructions as SVG files, which vector graphics software such as inkscape can transform into EPS, which is what should work with LaTeX. I haven’t actually tried this circuitous route to LaTeX picture perfection, because I don’t have any vector graphics software installed and I forgot to save my kig file of the nine point circle.

I have actually written a little bit today, and planned the next few weeks’ work. So it hasn’t been a totally wasted day.

I was thinking a bit more about my complaint about the kilo. I was wondering whether you could define a kilo in terms of the weight of a certain volume of a pure liquid, say water or mercury. But would that depend on the temperature and pressure? I don’t know. Or by making use of Einstein’s useful little mass/energy equivalence define a kilo as a certain amount of energy? A certain number of electron volts or some such…

Incidentally, I have started assigning tags as well as categories to my posts. This means that going through my old posts and tagging them could well become my displacement activity of choice…

Written by Seamus

July 9, 2008 at 12:33 pm