The Lumber Room

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Archive for May 2007

Online LaTeX

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Someone has collected a useful bunch of links: Using LaTeX in WordPress » Online LaTeX

(Pasted from somewhere, to be cleaned up –)

For typesetting mathematics, there is LaTeX, of course. But what does one do next with the LaTeX file, if you intend the document to be viewable online? Using PDF files for online viewing is frowned upon. There is simply nothing better than HTML, and so one might consider using latex2html. This, however, usually uses images for almost everything leading to huge files and slow-loading pages. Much better in this regard TtH, which tries to make the mathematics display in plain HTML by hook or by crook, but this ends up looking ugly and defeats what was probably one of the major goals in using LaTeX in the first place. One could use MathML — writing a MathML document by hand is absurdly painful, but there is TtM which can convert LaTeX to MathML. But MathML creates XML (not HTML) files, and thus doesn’t plug into general text easily; it also requires the user to have some specific fonts installed, etc., and if a browser (like IE6) fails to display it correctly, the result is a mess. I just discovered that there is ASCIIMathML, which seems to handle everything very well. LaTeX-style formulas work (one can also use their simpler language, it appears). It still needs the fonts to be installed and everything, but when it fails (if JavaScript is disabled, for example), the user will simply see the “source code” of the mathematical text, which can still be readable.

docbook? tex4ht?

tbook?

Written by S

Mon, 2007-05-21 at 19:34:26 +05:30

Posted in compknow

Tagged with , , ,

Productivity

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In 1987, John M. Carroll and Mary Beth Rosson published their paper “Paradox of the active user” (PDF here, reprinted here), in which they observed that most users don’t read the manuals but start using the software immediately, and that once they figure out how to do something they will not learn a new way of doing it even if it is going to be faster.

Also mentioned here,
Wired article,
The Good Easy essay (for Mac OS 9… terribly useless),
something about it,

the guy (Mark Wurst) has also written a paper called “Managing Incoming Email”, which is basically worthless — see the comments here.

Written by S

Mon, 2007-05-21 at 05:18:22 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Random funny stuff

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I’m so pleased about this advance warning, giving me a chance to cogitate on the early stages of beginning to anticipate the eventual opening moments of the new dawn of an opportunity to gear up for a period when, soon, there will be a new, imminent development foreshadowing the approaching onset of the start of my chance to, on a first-come, first-served basis, pre-order this thing. — /.

Written by S

Mon, 2007-05-21 at 01:46:17 +05:30

Posted in funny

Pidgin “now playing” plugins: updating status messages to song being played

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Plugins for Pidgin (the IM client formerly known as Gaim) that update the status message to show the currently playing track, somehow getting it from your music player. Found so far, in what I think is the descending order of something no particular order:
[Note: Before you install any of these, you should be aware that most of them have been known to crash Pidgin rather frequently, and ask yourself whether it is worth it. Your friends really don't care what you're listening to. Really.]

  • D-Bus script by Pidgin developer: works with Rhythmbox and Quod Libet. Will almost certainly not cause a crash. If you are on a Unix system and using one of these two music players, just run “python [name of script]” while Pidgin is running. If you’re on Windows… it’s not so easy. (And you’re probably using different music players anyway.)
  • musictracker

    MusicTracker is a plugin for Pidgin (previously known as Gaim) which displays the music track currently playing in the status message of various accounts such as AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Gtalk (Jabber), etc., i.e. any protocol Pidgin supports custom statuses on. Support for a wide range of audio players on both Windows and Linux platforms is planned. Currently supported players: Amarok, Rhythmbox, Audacious, XMMS, MPC/MPD, Exaile, Banshee, Quod Libet on Linux. Winamp, Windows Media Player (9+), iTunes, Foobar2000 (incomplete support) on Windows.

    Is apparently the best option, but also a very frequent cause of crashes.

  • Pidgin-currenttrack

    Current Track plugin will update your Gaim/Pidgin user info, available message or away message, and buddy icon from iTunes, Winamp, RealPlayer, WMP, Musicmatch, MediaMonkey, XMPlay, Yahoo! & Foobar2000 in Windows and XMMS, Rhythmbox, & Amarok in Linux.

    Has been known to crash Pidgin. I’ve heard it has a feature where you can type “/currentrack” in a conversation window to send your current track, which is pretty cool. Not very useful if it crashes Pidgin though, is it?

  • Pidgin Now Playing

    This plugin will replace %now-playing in your status message with metadata from the currently playing song in a MPRIS compatible media player (currently including BMPx 0.4, VLC SVN trunk, Audacious 1.4.0 devel), if any.

    It appears that MPRIS is an informal standard for music players to support a common interface. In an ideal world, all music players would support this standard, and in the real world, this may or may not happen. Amarok is also probably supported already.

  • MusicInfo

    MusicInfo is a plugin for the Pidgin instant messaging client. It lets you display the music that you are listening to in your away message, available message, and profile.

    For Winamp, and some players that have a Winamp emulation mode.

  • Autoprofile

    AutoProfile is an extension to Gaim that allows users to create customized away messages and profiles using dynamic “components” that automatically update on a regular basis. Generated text can include song names from XMMS/Winamp/iTunes, fortune quotes, computer uptime, the contents of a Web page or a text file, the output of a program, and timestamps.

    Is for Gaim 2.0.0beta3, not updated for Pidgin as of 2007-11-11 (last updated 2006-04-05, so don’t hold your breath).

  • AmarokPidgin

    A plugin for Amarok that updates your Pidgin status message with what you are currently listening too.[sic]

    Is for Amarok only.

  • Pidgin-Rhythmbox

    The Pidgin-Rhythmbox plugin will automatically update your Pidgin user info and status message with the currently playing music in Rhythmbox. If the artist and title are known, it will also attempt to create a link to the song’s lyrics by using Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature. Pidgin-Rhythmbox will replace %rb in your user info and status message with the song information.

    Is for Rhythmbox only.

  • Write your own script. You can set status from the command line with purple-remote "setstatus?status=whatever&message=whatever". For example, purple-remote "setstatus?status=available&message=" will clear the status message. You can also use D-Bus. There is a very good introduction to D-Bus here, and Ars Technica has some examples of using Pidgin’s D-Bus interface. This is essentially what many of the above plugins do (those that don’t crash your Pidgin). Assuming that you have a way of getting the song (or whatever string you want in your status message) somehow (through D-Bus, maybe) in a script, this is certainly the most flexible option, as you can do exactly what you want with the status message (append to it v/s replace it, add the current time, artist but not title, whatever). You can also look at D-Bus Howto for Pidgin (who wrote that? :), but the harder part is getting the current song from your music player.

Note: While MusicTracker seems to be the plugin that the maximum number of people have been successful in using, it appears that it sometimes crashes Pidgin as well (especially on non-ASCII characters in the title/artist). Evidently, no plugin is perfect (except one that you write yourself :P) and you should take a moment to consider whether you really need a plugin of this sort. I know it seems cool and several IM clients provide a feature like this, but is it really necessary? Do your friends really care what music you’re listening to?

Written by S

Sun, 2007-05-20 at 21:19:06 +05:30

Protected: [Paris] 4th day: Things to say

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Written by S

Sat, 2007-05-05 at 03:51:55 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

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