Sunday, May 31, 2009

LaTeX, Bread and Butter

That's how my Facebook twitter sounded like a couple of days ago. And yes, it was actually like that, except the bread and butter part, of course. Not that I would have minded them, it's just that I am more like a "coffee with milk & a banana" type of person.
So, yes, about two weeks ago I slowly started to migrate my work from Scientific Workplace and Word to LaTeX. Initially I tried to get support from people here at RPI, but they all seem to have magically disappeared and to this day, I only exchanged a couple of emails with a person that was nice enough to care. Of course, no help there.However, motivated by whoknowswhat I started to dwell in to it myself and look for online resources to deal with it. There are some nice websites (just google your question) that will get you a long way but in my case, just like yours, I suspect, the problem is the actual understanding of how LaTeX really works. Like the fact that &, % or _,are not accepted in a sentence unless they're treated as special characters or in math mode. Various stuff like that I would have liked to learn from somebody rather than searching the web and applying the old try& fail techniques. Oh, well, now it doesn't matter. 150 pages of nice LaTeX output awaits to be defended, printed and deposited in the library. I almost forgot all the trouble that I went through just to insert some graphicx or tables in my thesis. And two weeks is not a bad performance at all considering the slope of the learning curve involved:)

Friday, May 08, 2009

PDF Repair Tools

Today I was again scanning some tables of data and some pictures from a book on the international rubber industry. The cool thing about it is that the scanner sends it automatically to your email or a specified folder. The bad thing about it is that this time it didn't came through. I has 110 MB of scans (only 2 X 30 pages) in two batches (first came out wrong). Thank God I was forwarding all my emails to Gmail, otherwise my RPI account would have been flooded (or not? - i don't know the limit nowadays). Anyways, all well...but when to open the files, errors on top of errors. Again, very lucky that wasn't anything essential; just some add-on facts to my paper (best case). However, I was a bit pissed off, thus attempted to recover whatever is to recover. Not a lot of free software out there.. and the results are far from perfect. Try pdf tools online (here) if you don't mind a bit of watermark (i didn't!) or some of the shareware programs on the web. I give the pdf online tool a big thumbs up: fast upload, good recognition and easy interface; plus no installation is necessary. Cheers.