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Playing Tenuki

Mid-october is the time for jazz lovers around Lille, with the Tourcoing Jazz Festival. This year it was from Oct. 16th to 23rd, and I suspect whoever invited the artists must have peeked at my music library; I just had to get the whole-week pass.

Like many programmers whose main language is not English, I’ve been facing the keyboard dilemma for a while: keep my native layout even though frequent programming characters like []{}|\ require 2 or 3 fingers, or adopt the standard US Qwerty layout?

In practice, I’ve chosen Qwerty because I write a lot in English anyway, and its advantages outweight the couple of defaults and inconsistencies it does have. The problem is, I’ve recently started learning Esperanto, which requires a dozen diacritics that are not reachable on the basic Qwerty.

So, I made a layout to fix that, plus a couple itches I had with the basic Qwerty layout.

Compiling LaTeX documents can be quite a hassle, because it’s an iterative process, and the dependancies are not really clear. There is one gem of a tool, however, that any regular LaTeXer should know: Latexmk.

Latexmk handles all the common TeX pipelines (DVI, PS, PDF…), detects most if not all the dependancies if your document is split into several source files, and will (re-)run LaTeX, BibTeX, etc. as needed, effectively reducing building most documents to this invocation:

$ latexmk

Very nice indeed, but what about figures created in an external editor like OmniGraffle? Going through OmniGraffle’s menus to export documents to PDF after each change quickly gets boring.

As a researcher, I spend most of my time writing LaTeX, using many tools, among which BibTeX, the bibliography database processor. Our team manages a huge .bib file centralizing all publications we read and might need to cite someday.

Since nearly everything we write uses that file, it gets linked or copied into each the source directory of each new document. Some of us even have a bash alias to automate that copy, but they still have to invoke it for each new paper. But…

Zero cost solution:
Just put the database somewhere in BibTeX’s search path!

I know, this is yet another re-opening-my-blog blog post ;)

I’ve already maintained a blog before; it was a Typo instance running on a venerable Sun Ultra 5 workstation behind my home DSL. As you can guess, Ruby on a 360MHz CPU is not fast, so it was getting painful to edit, and then I moved to Swiss, and the poor server got neglected.

However, I now maintain these static web pages using Webgen, which has recently been given blog support by Matteo Collina. Fiddle, hack, tweak, and here’s the result.

Why the name?
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Last updated on 2012-10-09.  Toggle hy-phe-na-ti-on.
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