A XeLaTeX flavour for LaTeX-make

Wednesday 31 August 2011, 10:15

I like using Danjean and Legrand's latex-make package to handle automated compilation of my LaTeX documents. Unfortunately, there are several other packages with very similar names and functions, and this isn't the most popular one, so it's often hard to find on the Net when I want to install it on a new computer or recommend it to collaborators. In fact, I've ended up checking a copy into my own SVN repository so I can just check out from there when I want to create a new installation. Another gotcha is that it doesn't know about XeLaTeX, which has become an issue now that I'm using XeLaTeX for a lot of my newer documents (to achieve Japanese/Unicode and OpenType font support).

Below the cut: a Makefile fragment to add XeLaTeX support to latex-make. This can be used instead of the one-line default Makefile for a directory full of LaTeX document stuff, to replace the default invocation of pdflatex with xelatex.

Media from Toronto trip

Wednesday 17 August 2011, 15:02

Now online: photo gallery, PDF presentation slides, and MP3 audio recording of my talk from my recent Toronto trip.

写真のガレリー

Friday 5 August 2011, 18:36

迫り来る日本の旅行ので、ディジカメラを買ってガレリーを作りました。これは、テストの書き込みです。

[ペニシリンG]

What (not) to say to someone who is alone

Monday 1 August 2011, 17:01

A friend's Twitter stream pointed me at this item on what to say to someone who is sick (with cancer, in the authour's case) and it touched me. It also reminded me very much of some of the things I've read about the experiences of people fighting infertility, and it reminded me of my own experience too. It seems no matter what problem someone suffers, they can count on their friends and loved ones to make personal contributions to the pain with ignorant, clueless, and hateful repeated attacks that masquerade as caring attempts to help. I don't have much hope that my writing about this here will change anything; the fact that not many people really care what I say about such things is itself an example of the problem. But I'm going to write about it anyway, this one time today.

Big-oh is not a total order

Wednesday 31 December 1969, 16:00

Anyone who's studied computer science should be familiar with the Landau asymptotic notation, or "big-oh" notation. But how well do you really know it?

Given two functions it seems intuitive that one at least one ought to be big-oh of the other; in some cases maybe they are both big-oh of each other, in which case they are theta of each other and in a certain sense can be said to be equivalent. It sure feels like a total order, with a place for everything and everything in its place, and it is a total order on all the kinds of functions we normally care about. I've certainly marked down plenty of students for incorrectly claiming that n log n can't be compared either way to things like n and n2.

But today I had occasion to wonder if it's really true that O() induces a total order on all functions for which it is applicable. I looked on the Net and couldn't find anyone discussing this issue; I did find this archived final exam in which someone asked it of students as a true/false question and apparently was looking for the answer "true." Unfortunately, the correct answer is "false."

Counterexample below the cut. If you've got a computer science background you might want to think about it a bit yourself before going further. It shouldn't really be hard if you look carefully at the definition.

The parable of the tricycle

Saturday 26 July 2008, 20:44

Imagine a young man nearing his 16th birthday, the day when he'll be eligible to get a driver's license. And let's imagine this is before graduated licensing was a big thing, or else imagine that he's maybe a little older and getting ready for the final level of the graduated system instead of the first level, or something like that. The point isn't exactly his age, just that he's about to get to the point where having a vehicle of his own would be a pretty good thing.

"Grimoire" fonts

Sunday 26 June 2011, 10:15

Here's a project that provides, among other things, free vector fonts of magical glyphs from the Lesser and Greater Keys of Solomon. I found it by way of sourceforge.jp's flagging it as a similar project to Tsukurimashou.

Gas prices and the Conservative tax on everything

Friday 13 May 2011, 07:04

I've been hearing a lot of grumbling about gasoline prices recently. People who ought to know better on my social-networking friends lists circulated that asinine one-day "boycott" message a little while back. My alarm clock wakes me with CBC Radio every morning, and today they were talking to someone from Consumer's Union who was hoping to pressure the Federal government to Do Something. I'm of the opinion that the Federal government has already Done way too Much in this matter, and they ought to butt out already.

One of Harper's talking points in the recent election was to accuse the Liberals of pressing for a "tax on everything" (a scary renaming of the carbon tax that anybody who cares about survival of the planet, including a clear majority of Canadians, actually supports). But when you fill up your car's gas tank and pay today's prices for it, you are paying the Conservative tax on everything, which they implemented without a vote and which never received proper discussion or coverage. Let's put the blame where it belongs.

Disclosure: I don't own a car, and I do own units of a real-return bond index fund, which makes more profit in nominal terms when the price of everything (including gasoline) goes up. I don't think that really means I benefit from higher prices, only that I lose less than some other people. I've written about inflation-indexed bonds before. I'd rather have prices stay low and my bonds not make so many dollars.

Dream: a box of cards

Monday 18 April 2011, 08:06

Dream transcript from the morning of May 2, 2009. I posted it in my Dreamwidth journal at the time, and I'm pretty sure I know what it meant because it tied into events in my life at the time, but I felt like posting it again today.

4月17日の日記

Sunday 17 April 2011, 13:01

久しぶりに日記を書きました。日本語の勉強したいので、ここによく書くようにしています。しかし難しいです。たいていな友達は日本語をよめません。読まなかったら、書き物の意味ありませんか?