May 052015

I had occasion to look over some old dissertation-related files from twenty-years ago to this month… The directory was an odd mix of half-baked [latexpage]$\LaTeX$ and $\textsc{Bib}\TeX $, readable but clearly incomplete *.RTF, *.DOC, and, of course *.SAM. *.SAM files were created by Ami Pro word processor from Lotus that I had running under windows 3.1 on my almost state-of-the-art Dell i486DX2-S. The *.SAM files were what were printed for submission, the $\LaTeX$ stuff was just for giggles, but I *did* maintain my bibliographies in $\textsc{Bib}\TeX $ format.

More on those *.SAM files in another post, when I have time to look at the content of this ancient work; for now some bib. stuff.

*New* essay3.tex file has in the preamble:

} %no .bib extension if backend=bibtex

and the last six lines of essay3.tex read:

Typeset in \href{}{\LaTeX}

So, there are no great shakes to get this file to start using biber under $\textsc{Bib}\LaTeX $. And biber is the way to go forward… Unicode support, ease of style editing, and so forth. (The student of things archival will wonder if I am now messing with the *record* here. Err, sure, but then I was doing that as soon as the files were moved from those 3.5″ floppies. And, anyway, is not *every* representation different?)

BUT… essay3.tex would not compile! Now I expected *not* to be able to read the olde Ami Pro files after twenty years, but I expected more from these arcane plain text files. I bashed (pun intended) around for a couple of hours, tearing hair, wondering if anyone _really_ understands $*\TeX$ anyway, went for a bike ride, and thought about the last twenty years. What had changed? Blair, obviously. Married to a decent, smart, sometimes funny woman. Two lovely boys. Unicode! Unicode happened. Nope. All files UTF-8.

I start going over the *.bib file (which validates using all the usual tools) entry by entry until:

    Author = {---},
    Location = {Liverpool},
    Title = {Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: Historic Record, 1898-1920},
    Year = {1920}

Here I have an “—”, an m-dash (three hyphens), and I suddenly recall that biber is written in Perl. In PCREs the hyphen “-” is a non-letter character, and in the bowels of biber somewhere there is prolly a regexp checking the contents of the “author” field. Quickfix?

Author = {\textemdash},

Dice! So there you go…. looking stupid so you don’t have to!

Feb 172013

For whatever reason, I’ve bumped into a number of in-browser [latex]\LaTeX[/latex] editing tools recently. I guess these are mostly useful for collaborative efforts, and I can see a reason why one would not want to use Subversion or Git. I mean Eldest is just coming of an age where he’s seeing computers as tools for his own use rather than just vectors of games/educational materials/movies. Because I am a benevolent father-dictator, he’s already familiar with [latex]\LaTeX[/latex] (and actually loves Computer Modern), and has decided to set all his writings in [latex]\LaTeX[/latex] prior to submission. Good for him. I love the fact that he was complaining about fonts on the MacBook Airs at school, and the pain of writing in MS Word. Good boy!

So, rather than having him use my tool chain, which is very much tied to my laptop and TeXstudio, we could use one of these. I might even be able to persuade his Grade IV teacher that [latex]\LaTeX[/latex] is something worth introducing to the kids in its own right. She was, after all, blown away by 74111101’s Christmas writing piece that we set in [latex]\LaTeX[/latex]. I guess I’ll make notes as I evaluate each below and add them here.

[latex]\LaTeX[/latex] can, apparently, be embedded in WP using shortcodes <>, but neither of the below “codes”, for example appear to work out-of-the-box on self-hosted WP sites:

$latex \LaTeX$

So I installed two WP LaTex plugins: Easy WP LaTeX and QuickLaTeX (also

QuickLaTeX is *by far* the crisper of the two, and is what is used for the LaTeX symbol on this page.

[latex]\LaTeX[/latex] rendered w/ QuickLaTeX
[math]\LaTeX[/math] rendered w/ Easy WP LaTeX

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