LaTex and Inkscape

In about a month and a half I’m going to be presenting a poster at the DCL/DE workshop in Oregon.  Since I don’t currently have a copy of Illustrator, I’m trying to decide what to use instead.  I downloaded Inkscape onto my imac, and started playing around.  The first thing I did was try to make a small annotated sketch.  It was all going fairly smoothly until I tried to add in symbols… and then I remembered how I ran into this problem last time I played with Inkscape.  So it was pretty much the same thing.

Here’s what I did:

1.  Install Inkscape from their website:  inkscape.org.  This part was straightforward.
2.  Download Textext, unzip the folder.  It’s found here: http://pav.iki.fi/software/textext/
3.  Copy the files textext.py and textext.inx to the inkscape extensions folder:

cp *text* ~/.config/inkscape/extensions/

4.  Then get Pstoedit:

fink install pstoedit

5.  In Inkscape, go to Extensions -> Render -> Textext,  and fill the Tex code into the GUI that pops up.

            

There is an error message that comes up saying:

textext.py:55: DeprecationWarning: the md5 module is deprecated; use hashlib instead
import os, sys, tempfile, traceback, glob, re, md5, copy

I recall getting a message something like this last time I installed Textext. It is annoying, but doesn’t seem to be a huge problem, and the extension still works.

53 New Posts

So, you might have noticed (okay, probably not) that I am now on post number 159.  Yup, that’s a big jump from the 100-post mark a few days ago.  How did I do that, you ask?  Well, for one, I finally realized that I could still import posts from my original WordPress.com blog (duh.  I’ve even done it before).  So I added those 53 posts from late 2009/early 2010 – sweet!  Now you can search back through the glorious dorkiness of my pre-grad school days.  Well, actually my between grad school days.  I used to be so into linux and python.  What happened?  I am going to make an effort to get back into it.  What better time then summer, during the few sunny days we get here in Seattle.

Kim was asking me lots of questions about Python and Linux this afternoon before she left.  It made me realize just how much I’ve forgotten (or how little I knew to begin with).  And it was a good kick in the butt to remind me to get back to learning about, and embracing, the world of Ubuntu and Numpy and Matplotlib…  Nerdy posts will resume!  But since a few people very dear to me enjoy my daily sketches, I will endeavor to continue those as well.  (I love you guys!)

Maverick Meercat on the netbook

I have all but abandoned all things Linux for several months, pretty much since I started at the UW.  But tonight, while working on my seismology homework, I decided to play around a bit.  I upgraded my Eee Netbook from Ubuntu 10.04 to 10.10.  And then, since I still wasn’t done my seismology homework by the time I finished with that, I decided to go ahead and try out the Netbook remix, just for fun.  The last time I tested it was over a year ago.  I started off running it directly from the USB drive.  As expected, this method was a bit slow – but enough to make me wonder if I’d given up on Netbook remixes too soon (um, I don’t even think anyone calls it a “netbook remix” any more.  I’m so behind the times).  Which led me to a quick search for Jolicloud, to see what they’ve been up to lately.  And it looks pretty fancy.  Perhaps I’ll give it a go, just for fun… it looks way different than how I remember it.  More webby….

Installing Emacs on Windows

I tend to do everything I possibly can on Linux, but once in a while, I need to figure it out on Windows (*cringe). For example, today I am going to install Emacs on Windows. I quite literally have no clue how to do this, but a quick Google search turned up this page, which describes it in painful detail.

Adding a user in linux

I figured I should add John as a user on my netbook…okay, mostly just so I could learn how to do it, but that’s okay.  It’s really easy:

sudo adduser john

Then just follow the prompts and hey presto – it’s done.  I guess there’s also useradd, but I guess if you’ve got a Debian-based distribution, then adduser is better and takes care of most of the details for you.

Learn LaTeX again?

On the drive home, I thought of other things.  Such as how much I missed writing up neat little documents in LaTeX.  They turn out so sharp and professional-looking, much better than I’d generally ever get out of Microsoft Word.  I did my thesis in LaTeX, which still left me quite far from expert status, although I like to think I know a bit more about this typesetting language than the average person on the street (by a tiny margin).

As I drove down the free-way, exhausted from a long day on the water, I actually contemplated writing up some of my longer test procedures in a LaTeX document.  It’s really so much cleaner-looking.  Creating tables, references, embedding scripts, and showing equations would be easy, and look great. When I got home, I dug out my old “LaTeX Companion” book – a 1090 page, dog-eared, coffee covered, cross-referenced LaTex reference bible.  I can’t quite see a truly good reason to actually write anything in LaTex. No one else at work uses it, so if I wrote a test document, no one but me could edit it.  Which is really quite short-sighted.  Still, I can’t help but want to do it.

The LaTex website recommends using Tex Live for Linux operating systems.  I can’t remember what I used for my thesis, it was a full GUI program in Windows (TeXnicCenter, maybe?).  I kind of remember one of my profs doing all of his LaTex stuff on the command line – that seems much more difficult.  But I think it’s always cooler to be able to lightning-type in the terminal to make things happen.  It makes it seem like magic (Arthur C. Clarke did say that “Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic).

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) – so far so good

Just a quick update – I’ve been running Karmic for about a week now, and I am very happy with it.  It’s working great, running on my EEE 1000HE.  I’m excited to try it out on a ‘real’ computer (not just my wimpy – but awesome – little netbook).  I sort of got swept away by Jolicloud, and its pretty colors.  Oh yeah, and that invite thing always makes things seem that much more special.  Until that part wears off.  Jolicloud is made installing things really easy, but one thing that I started to realise after a while was that a lot of the ‘apps’ in the jolicloud ‘app store’ were actually just websites that were displayed on the desktop using Prism.

I’ve been able to get pretty much everything I want (so far) to run on Karmic, with pretty minimal effort – both Skype and the Flash plugin were really easy.  The Software Center makes installing standard software very straightforward too.