Tuesday, December 16, 2008


New Blog Address

I am going to try out the Blogger hosting service, since it allows much faster publshing. The new address of this blog will be:




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Single-Click Double Click Stuck Problem

On my Dell computer, running XP, the mouse single-click was stuck acting like a double click and opening files. Redoing the setting in Control Panel didn't help. I checked Geeks to Go and it suggested trying a different mouse, which did work. I was using a Dell mouse.



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Monday, December 15, 2008


Bailout Political Pressure

It seems we already have an example of a bank that felt pressured to make bad loans from fear of losing government support. From the American Spectator:

Bank of America was the victim of a concerted shake-down operation that could be replicated around the country. Banks apparently now are expected to give money away to failed borrowers. This could become federal policy when Barack Obama, who supported this new example of Chicago blackmail, becomes president.

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Theft by Princeton

Princeton seems to have been stealing from the Robertson Foundation on a large scale. The Robertson heirs sued, and in a settlement they have been given 40 million dollars in legal fees and 50 million has been put into a new foundation. The complaint is worth recording. Of interest too is this statement about other abuses by Princeton, from page 16:

In 2002 and 2003, a Princeton employee named Jessie Washington conducted an investigation of donations to the University's Office of Religious Life and concluded:...

During my review of endowment accounts for the office of religious life, I discovered many problems with the management of the university's endowed funds. ... (T)hese problems affect every unit in the University that relies on endowment income.

2/20/03 Washington memo to Kalmbach and McDonough. Her Summary of Findings states:

I believe: 1) funding allocations are not in alignment with their intended purpose, i.e. the donors wishes have been ignored; 2) money intended for religious life -17- 925226.1 11/11/04 has been knowingly withheld;...

As one example, a $5,000 gift to maintain a chapel organ was used instead, according to a handwritten note, "to relieve general funds." Id. at Example 2. Another handwritten note states: "Dept. is not to know."

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Sunday, December 14, 2008


Questions for Theorists

From Econjobrumors, on a thread on the worst econ fields to be a candidate in:
From the hiring side: The problem I see with many pure theorists (i.e. those who do not use any data) is the lack of connection between the research and any real-world issues. A lot of job applicants to my department and graduate students in my department have a difficult time answering (a) why is this relevant/important?, and (b) how would I know if you were wrong? If you are a theorist, you'll do yourself a favor if you can answer those questions.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Senate Vote on the General Motors Bailout

From a place I forgot to link:

Voting "yes" were 40 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 independents.

Voting "no" were 4 Democrats and 31 Republicans.

Democrats No

Baucus, Mont.; Lincoln, Ark.; Reid, Nev.; Tester, Mont.

... Republicans Yes

Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Collins, Maine; Dole, N.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Lugar, Ind.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.

... Others Yes

Lieberman, Conn.; Sanders, Vt.

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Commas and Adjectives

Which version is best?

1. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some, “small”, consumers buy just one good while other, “large”, consumers buy two.
2. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some, “small” consumers buy just one good while other, “large” consumers buy two.
3. Both results involve markets where consumers have heterogeneous tastes and some “small” consumers buy just one good while other “large” consumers buy two.

I like version 1, because it replicates the pauses I would make when speaking. I don't know which the grammarians would choose.



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Thursday, December 11, 2008


A Good Photo

What a good photo of Ian Jewitt this is!



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Web Rudeness

A post at Baylyblog inspired me to commment thusly:

'm glad Baylyblog is doing its bit to try to bring civility to the Web. Anonymity isn't the only reason the Web has so much rudeness. The other reason is that we tolerate rudeness. We don't have to. If someone sends me a web comment that would cause me to punch him, admonish him, or walk away from him if it were said to me in person, why should I tolerate it any more just because it is on a computer? The blogger at least has the ability to delete the comment. It is like painting over grafitti. And as with graffiti, it not only reduces the amount of ugliness in the world; it reduces the temptation for the sinner.

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"Torture" in Germany

In October 2002 (from the WSJ):

"Deputy Police Chief Daschner fears that Jakob's life may be in danger. In a memorandum, he writes: "We need to ascertain without delay where the boy is being held. While respecting the principle of proportionality, the police have an obligation to take all measures in their power to save the child's life."...

n the interrogation room, Ennigkeit tells Gäfgen that a "special officer" is on his way. If Gäfgen does not tell Ennigkeit where the boy is, the "special officer" will "make him feel pain that he will not forget." On Gäfgen's own account, the formula is still more menacing: the officer "will make you feel pain like you have never felt before." "Nobody can help you here," Ennigkeit tells him, according to Gäfgen's testimony. "We can do whatever we want with you." On Gäfgen's account, moreover, Ennigkeit already begins to rough him up: shaking him so violently that his head bangs against the wall and hitting him in the chest hard enough to leave a bruise over his collarbone....

In June 2005, the child-murderer and law student Magnus Gäfgen lodged a complaint against Germany with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In his complaint, Gäfgen accused Germany of having violated his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and, more specifically, of having violated the prohibition on torture contained in Article 3 of the Convention.

On June 30, 2008, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Gäfgen's complaint and cleared Germany of the charge of tolerating torture."

Also in October 2002, interrogators at Guantanamo Bay asked for permission to use similar methods on al Qaeda terrorist Mohammed al-Qahtani. The Pentagon said no.

Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, perhaps it is time for American interrogators to revise their practices to bring them into line with European ones.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Can Pornographers Be Prosecuted for Paying for Sex?

Prof. Volokh has a good weblog entry on Can Pornographers Be Prosecuted for Paying for Sex?.

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Will There be Lawyers in Heaven?

A few weeks ago, I was struck by a line in Abraham Kuyper's "Lectures on Calvinism" (1898), one of the great (and accessible!) modern Protestant works on politics and law. In a world without sin, Kuyper wrote, "every rule and ordinance and law would drop away, even as all control and assertion of the power of the magistrate would disappear." Heaven, he suggests, is no place for law or lawyers.

We lawyers come in for a lot of abuse, much of it justified, but I'm not so sure our work will disappear in heaven. The conclusion that law and thus lawyers will be unnecessary seems to assume that in heaven we will be all seeing and all knowing, and all complexity will simply disappear. I'm not sure where that assumption comes from; it doesn't seem especially consistent with the hints of heaven, with all its richness and diversity, that we get in the Bible. The absence of sin doesn't necessarily mean the absence of complexity, and where there is complexity law and lawyers seem to have a role to play. (Professor Skeel)

Can we think of examples of situations where people of good will would find lawyers useful? Here's one. Suppose two people are making an agreement about who will do which tasks before they meet again. A lawyer is useful for making sure they've covered all contingencies and that they really understand each other. "Contracts" are useful even if nobody expects a court to have to enforce them, just to clarify meaning, and ordinary people aren't all that good at making clear agreements.

Any other examples?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Blagojevich Bribes the Tribune with State Money

The charges against Illinois Gov. Blagojevich show why we have to worry about government bailouts resulting in political interference. He conditioned aid to the Chicago Tribune on the support of its editorial page.

...Intercepted calls allegedly show that Blagojevich directed Harris to inform Tribune Owner and an associate, identified as Tribune Financial Advisor, that state financial assistance would be withheld unless members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board were fired, primarily because Blagojevich viewed them as driving discussion of his possible impeachment. In a November 4 phone call, Blagojevich allegedly told Harris that he should say to Tribune Financial Advisor, Cubs Chairman and Tribune Owner, "our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get 'em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support."

On November 6, the day of a Tribune editorial critical of Blagojevich , Harris told Blagojevich that he told Tribune Financial Advisor the previous day that things "look like they could move ahead fine but, you know, there is a risk that all of this is going to get derailed by your own editorial page." Harris also told Blagojevich that he was meeting with Tribune Financial Advisor on November 10.

In a November 11 intercepted call, Harris allegedly told Blagojevich that Tribune Financial Advisor talked to Tribune Owner and Tribune Owner "got the message and is very sensitive to the issue." Harris told Blagojevich that according to Tribune Financial Advisor, there would be "certain corporate reorganizations and budget cuts coming and, reading between the lines, he's going after that section." Blagojevich allegedly responded. "Oh. That's fantastic." After further discussion, Blagojevich said, "Wow. Okay, keep our fingers crossed. You're the man. Good job, John."

In a further conversation on November 21, Harris told Blagojevich that he had singled out to Tribune Financial Advisor the Tribune's deputy editorial page editor, John McCormick, "as somebody who was the most biased and unfair." After hearing that Tribune Financial Advisor had assured Harris that the Tribune would be making changes affecting the editorial board, Blagojevich allegedly had a series of conversations with Chicago Cubs representatives regarding efforts to provide state financing for Wrigley Field. ...

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Trackback in Blogger

Blogger does not support Trackbacks. To fix that, click on first Greasemonkey and then Stephen Weber. Andrew Beard pointed me to this, but the Singpolyma site he points to is broken.



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Child Services, the Prosecutor, and the Bloomington Planned Parenthood Case

From the IDS:

The Indiana Department of Child Services will take no legal action against the employee who was suspended from Bloomington’s Planned Parenthood on Wednesday.

The employee was suspended without pay after an online video was released of her advising a woman posing as a 13-year-old girl to cross state lines to get an abortion without parental consent. When the woman posing as a 13-year-old girl said the man who got her pregnant was 31 years old, she agreed not to report what would, if it were true, be statutory rape.

Steve Vaughn, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, said child services does not plan to do anything to the employee because there was not an actual minor involved in the incident.

...The county prosecutor’s office could also file charges, but no one from the office could be reached for comment by press time.

Maybe this is just jurisdictional. I am wondering whether this case is different from, say, a pedophile who is caught by someone posing to be a 13-year-old on the Internet.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


David Frum on Christmas

David Frum writes on how Jews should deal with Christmas.



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Vice in the Netherlands

"Amsterdam to close many brothels, marijuana cafes"

Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the so-called "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

"I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals" said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.

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Wide Tires Are Bad on Snow

From Clayton Cramer:

The source of the C5's problems with traction on snow and ice is the combination of rear wheel drive and very, very wide tires. As the tires get wider, the amount of force per square inch declines. There's roughly 700-750 pounds of force per rear tire--and with the standard tires of the Corvette, this spread over an enormously wide piece of rubber. My measurements suggest that the contact patch is about 30-40 square inches--so roughly 19 psi of pressure. At a certain point, the down force is so little that the tires simply have no hope of getting any grip on either snow or ice.

The way that chains work, and studded tires, is by concentrating the roughly 750 pounds of force per tire into a relatively tiny area--perhaps as little as three square inches for chains--so 250 psi, or a square inch for studs (so 750 psi). That's enough to break a hole in the surface of the ice, and allow you to move forward. Ditto for brakes.



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Saturday, December 6, 2008


"Beyond the planet of the crazygirls"

Tom Smith's "Beyond the planet of the crazygirls" has an odd beauty to it.

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A Colorful Hilbert Something or Other

A nice image from the Ogre's Gallery.

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A Global Warming Graph

Sometime I've got to get round to understanding global warming. This is a good graph of the time trend. What we need is not just a theory to explain the recent warming (which has now leveled off, it seems) but the cooling periods, e.g. 1880-1910. Otherwise, whatever causes the earlier cooling-- and it was not carbon dioxide-- might be causing the recent warming.



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Thursday, December 4, 2008


"The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture"

My wife showed me the good YouTube video, "The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture".

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Roman-Protestant Conversions

From First Things:
That “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” issued by the Pew Research Center last February continues to be sliced and diced by various analysts, including Robert Benne, who writes in The Cresset, a magazine published by Valparaiso University. “Continuing the list of surprises about Catholicism,” Benne writes, “ten percent of all Protestants are former Catholics but eight percent of Catholics are former Protestants. ... “The big difference,” he says, “is that they aim at the weakest Catholics while we aim at the strongest evangelicals.” The claim is that evangelicals who are more theologically versed and religiously committed are more open to Catholicism, while Catholics who become evangelicals were, for whatever reason, alienated from Christianity. Put differently, religiously serious evangelicals are more likely to become Catholic, while religiously lapsed Catholics are more likely to become evangelicals. ... Some while back, I spoke at an Episcopal parish in the Northeast and afterward had dinner with the members of the vestry. Ten of the fourteen members present were former Catholics, and seven of them said they would be Catholics today if it were not for their divorces that prevented them from receiving Holy Communion. The pastor of an evangelical megachurch who says more than half his members are former Catholics tells me, with a smile, “I hope you guys don’t change your rules on divorce and remarriage.”



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The Miktex Tex Processing Freeware Program

This is a post from 2005 that I'll copy here, with the old comments as part of the post.

The free Miktex (http://www.miktex.org/) looks to be an excellent latex and tex Windows processor program. I’ve been using SWP, and putting figures in looks to work better in Miktex. Miktex gets PDF’s right, which my version of SWP does not always do, and it processes straight from myfile.tex to myfile.pdf. On the other hand, it has some problems, noted below, which make it unhandier to use.

(1) I have a suggestion for the standard installation instructions: say more about the Windows command prompt. I haven’t used it for years, though I happened to remember it was in Accessories. Also, the user should know that he can change the default directory in teh command prompt to wherever he keeps his tex input files– say, d:/smith/latex-input, using the Properties (reachable by right clicking the command prompt).

(2) The command prompt requires you to type in all your commands, which is burdensome if they are long, e.g.,

pdflatex D:\_home\_HomeWD\INCOMING\FIGURECOPY/myfilewithalongname.tex

You can’t copy and paste in the usual way with CTRL-C and CTRL-V. What you can do, though is to copy to the clipboard with CTRL-C and then paste by rightclicking on the Command Prompt program and choosing PASTE.

I will put a comment line like this at the start of my tex files:

% pdflatex chap07_MoralHazard.tex

then I can copy all but the % part and paste it into the command prompt, and it will process chap07_MoralHazard.tex and write to chap07_MoralHazard.pdf

(3) Something better would be a graphic interface to replace the command prompt. I don’t know how to write such an interface, but here is what it would be: It would be simple: just a window in which the user could do two things:

1. Browse and choose a tex file to process, e.g., myfilewithalongname.tex, instead of having to type in the full name in the command prompt, and instead of having to have it in the command prompt’s directory.

2. Issue the processing command— most simply “latex myfilewithalongname.tex”, or “pdflatex”, or others that might be useful. There should be two to five choices, and the user would check the box of the command he wants to use.

The command would take the file from (1) and put the output in the same directory as the input.

The interface could be fancier, but that covers what the user needs every single time he uses Miktex, and it would save a lot of tricky typing.

(4) Miktex is fouled up by carriage returns, even ones that are not hard breaks. Thus, before I tex my files using it I need to strip off all the carriage returns, thus making all my equations, nicely separated into separate lines for visibility, into unreadable paragraphs. The solution, from Alan, the commentor below, is to make sure my input file is in UTF-8 Ascii, not ANSI. What I do in Textpad is (a) make sure it is set to UTF-8 as the standard encoding, (b) copy the entire file, and then close the file, (c) open a new file and paste what I copied, (d) save the new file with the old file’s name, on top of it. That converts from the ANSI coding I initially had to the UTF-8.

(5) The command which takes us straight from myfile.tex to the output myfile.pdf produces pdf files which are not crystal clear on the screen. The commands

latex -job-name=chap07_MoralHazard temp.tex dvips -Ppdf chap07_MoralHazard.dvi

do better, but then I can’t use JPG files in my input.

(7) Will I switch from SWP to Miktex? Money is not really a concern for me, but usability is. I’ll try it for a while and see.

13 Responses to “The Miktex Tex Processing Freeware Program”

  1. Alan Says:


    I am not a user of SWP myself, but I do believe there are a number of ways in which SWP deviates from “standard” LaTeX (I’ve had these cause problems when sharing files with SWP users). MiKTeX, along with TeXLive, teTeX, and most other TeX distributions will have the same issues you describe here with respect to SWP. That said, allow me to attempt to address a few of your points:

    (2) and (3): I have rarely invoked LaTeX from the command line, whether using MiKTeX or another LaTeX distribution. Many, if not most, LaTeX users use an editor that handles the direct interaction with the LaTeX executable and friends. SWP is really nothing more than a very fancy LaTeX front-end. While the editors that most folks use are not as fancy, they do handle all of the command line work and make invoking LaTeX transparent to the user. Some popular Windows-friendly text editors than can be configured in this way are WinEdt (shareware), TeXnicCenter (freeware), and Emacs with appropriate plug- ins (open source), though there are a number of others.

    (4): Not sure why you’re experiencing problems with hard carriage returns. My files are chock full of them and MiKTeX handles them without complaint, so I suspect SWP is to blame here. Perhaps it is using an odd end-of-line character? Open one of your SWP files in a plain text editor (Notepad — but not Wordpad — will do) and see if it is read correctly, or if garbage appears at the end of the line. Alternatively, write a dummy LaTeX file with hard carriage returns using Notepad and see how it goes. Finally, I understand there’s a way to export files from SWP in a way that is supposed to make them more compatible with “standard” LaTeX systems — if true, you might try exporting your files in this manner before running them through MiKTeX.

    (5): The problem here is that pdfLaTeX is using Type 3 Postscript fonts instead of the more desirable Type 1 fonts. Since I don’t use pdfLaTeX myself, I can’t tell you for sure how to change it (though installing the cm-super package via the MiKTeX package manager might do the trick). A search of the usenet newsgroup comp.text.tex (via groups.google.com) should get you an answer pretty quickly, though.

    (6): MiKTeX does not recognize \tag because it is not part of standard LaTeX. To use it, you must call \usepackage{amsmath} in your preamble. Apparently, SWP does this for you whether you like it or not. Fortunately, amsmath is distributed with MiKTeX and virtually every other LaTeX distribution, so it should already be installed.

    (7): SWP insulates you from some of the low-level LaTeX drudgery at the cost of making your .tex files a little less portable. Another side-effect of this insulation is that you don’t always know what’s going on “behind the scenes,” as you saw when you tried to use the \tag command without \usepackage{amsmath}.


  2. Administrator Says:


    Adding \usepackage{amsmath} makes the tag command work again for equation special labelling.

    I still have the problem with line returns. It isn’t SWP– I actually write my latex files in Textpad, a text editor, and then used SWP only as a front-end— hence its inferiority to Miktex for me, since I don’t use most of SWP’s special features anyway. Also, the line return problem occurs when there are line returns in equations.

  3. Administrator Says:

    I updated the original post in light of Alan’s comments, so his comments won’t apply well any more.

  4. Stefan Moebius Says:

    On (3): Maybe a tool modelled after OggDrop (http://www.vorbis.com/software.psp?pid=2) would be what you need? You just grab the .tex or .mp or .dvi file and drag it to a floating icon. Dropping it would invoke the correct program based on file type and configuration (e.g., pdflatex or latex).

  5. Administrator Says:

    Yes, Stefan. Oggdrop is just for sound files, it seems. What would be a nice utility is a program that lets you say that any file dropped into an icon gets sent to the command line and processed using a particular command, with the output returned to the directory of the original file. I tries looking in the freeware site http://www.nonags.com/nonags/cl.html but couldn’t find such a thing.

  6. Harald Oehlmann Says:

    I use Textpad too (but pdftex to generate postscript directly). You can invoke the pdftex processor from the editor by assigning for example Cntrl-1 to invoke latex. I use: Menue: Config->Settings:Extras -> Add Program and edit properties: Parameter: $File

  7. Stefan Grosse Says:

    I also must say that using command prompt is a very unusual way for working with miktex. The perfect editor for me is winedt where you just have to push a button for texifying and pdf-texifying.

    With the carriage return- I noticed that there is a problem by opening a book chapter from your page. Winedt corrected it but I did not try to compile since there was a lot of scientific word stuff inside.

    If you like to use scientific workplace with miktex as LaTeX distro see the notes of Prof. Söderlind: http://home.tiscalinet.ch/paulsoderlind/Software/Software.html

    By the way the game trees do not look that great there is a package of Martin Osborn using pstricks to improve that: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~osborne/latex/index.html

  8. Misha Says:

    Actually, I have another suggestion on how to improve MiKTeX. It takes relatively long to load all the definitions and packages every time TeX starts. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a running instance of TeX, that would remember all those .sty files. In this case, LaTeX would just invoke that process rather than loading the definitions again.

  9. Administrator Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for these very useful comments. Harald Oehlmann’s suggestion seems to work perfectly, though I had to set it up a bit differently than he suggested, perhaps because of my version of Textpad. Here is what I’ve just added to my latex notes in http://rasmusen.org/x/myfiles/latex-rasmusen.txt


    Harald Oehlmann told me how to do this. Here are precise instructions for running miktex from Textpad 4.7.3. Maybe other text editors have similar features.

    1. Click on Configure, then Preferences, then Tools.

    2. In Tools, click ADD, then choose DOS Command. A box will appear, and write “pdflatex a file” as a title for the tool. Then click APPLY.

    3. Click on the + sign next to Tools. Several tool titles will appear, including your new “pdflatex a file”. Click on it, and a Properties box will appear with various things for you to type in.

    4. Under Parameters, type in “pdflatex $File”. Make sure that under Initial Folder,there is $FileDir. Make sure none of the options boxes are checked, including CAPTURE OUTPUT. Click OK when you’re done.

    5. Load a tex file into Textpad. To process it, click on Tools from the front set of headings (File, Edit, Search, View, Tools, … ) Then click on “pdflatex a file”, which you will have added.

    6. The Command Prompt window will appear, and the tex file in textpad will be processed. The PDF file will be generated as output.

    I hope I didn’t miss any steps.

  10. Bob Says:

    First, hello Eric, from the distant past. We knew each other at MIT.

    Here’s another simple way to compile a .tex file using the MikTeX texify command. (I have to admit I live at the command prompt. Just a matter of preference. I also live in Emacs!) I turn .tex into .pdf using this batch file:

    texify %1.tex dvips -tletter -Ppdf -G0 %1 call ps2pdf13 %1.ps %1.pdf

    You put these commands in a file called “makepdf.bat”, and place the file somewhere in your path. Then if you have a .tex file called “foo.tex”, at the command prompt you type

    makepdf foo

    and you will end up with a pdf version of your document.

  11. bob wolfe Says:


    I used to be an avid fan of SWP. I now use Miktex.

    1) I used to run into problems with carriage returns. They all arose when I shared files with colleagues who used UNIX. They have now all switched away from UNIX (despite them calling me all kinds of nasty names a decade ago for using Windows) so the problem is now fixed.

    2) SWP is not standard. I use a lot of math. \mbox does not work right in SWP. That prevented me from sharing with lots of colleagues who use standard latex. I think there are other things that are not standard in SWP. That makes it a pain to collaborate.

    3) SWP consultants used to have an attitude. Maybe the attitude is now fixed, so I apologize for any aspersions suggested by these comments. When I asked for work arounds on how to solve the problem of working with colleagues who use standard latex, the SWP consultants were extremely defensive in their responses. Not vulgar, but close to it. Almost as bad as the Apple community used to be towards Windows users.

    4) The real raison d’etre for SWP is its integration with Maple. Beautiful. Wonderful. I love the concept. Maple does simple math very well, up to algebra and closed form calculus. It does not do hard problems well at all, such as infinite sums. So, you have to do the math to see if it is right anyway, and then it is about as easy to type it in yourself in latex as to use the simplify verbs available in maple. If you are teaching calc 101 or high school algebra, then SWP is great. If you are teaching quantitative graduate courses, then be careful with SWP.

  12. Maciej Radziejewski Says:

    Your idea of having a simple IDE (point (3) of your original post) is already implemented in Windows! Well, almost.

    You can browse your files using Windows Explorer. Then you can compile (texify) by right-clicking a TeX file and selecting an appropriate command from the context menu. You just have to define a context menu action for .tex files. I usually define “Latex”, but you may prefer to use pdfLatex or to call some batch file for more complex processing.

    Defining actions takes some knwoledge and it may be a good idea to suggest it to Christian Schenk to do it in the installer as an option (if it is not already there). You can define actions using the “file types” tab (in WinXP accessible from the explorer window - Tools - Options) or using regedit (dangerous if you misuse it).

  13. Eric Wilson Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something here. Why not use WinEdt? It’s a great editor, designed particularly for LaTeX. TexShop is ok for macs.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The 2008 Christmas List

1. The BFG, by Roald Dahl (1982). The Big Friendly Giant is good for kids and adults both. It has the flavor of science fiction, and the way the BFG talks is hilarious.

2.Netflix instant movies. Netflix appeared in a previous list, but what is new is being able to watch movies instantly on your computer. Netflix.com.

3. The Coincraft coin shop across from the British Museum. Roman coins for only one pound each, and wonderful browsing in the shop, catalog, and website.

4. The TeXbook, by Donald Knuth (1984). This famous computer manual will teach you TeX, typesetting, and a lot of good quotations. It's for reading through, not looking up.

5. Evidences of Christianity, by William Paley (1794). Paley's watch-in-the-forest argument for God, from another book, is better known. This book argues for Christianity specifically, using historical rather than design arguments. Free at Gutenberg.org/etext/14780.

4. Economics and Jewish Law: Halakhic Perspectives, by Aaron Levine (1987). The questions in this book on ethics and economics are as good as the answers.

5. Stomp Rockets . It's amazing how high a rocket powered merely by jumping-propelled air can go. Even Faith could make it rise a few feet. See Stomprocket.com.

6. Youth hostels . These are better than hotels for families, as well as cheaper. We stayed at the Eu castle kitchens in Normandy, Melrose in Scotland, near the Abbey (the best), and Hawkshead in Cumberland.

7. English country walks. The countryside and weather are ideal for walks, with varied scenery, marked paths, villages, and sheep.

8. Britanny's gites (farmhouses). We rented one near Languenan. In France, having your own kitchen is good.

9. To Teach the Senators Wisdom; or, An Oxford Guide Book by J.C. Masterman (1952). This is a mix of travel guide and novel, as college fellows converse about what sights are the essence of Oxford. It's the best Oxford guide I have seen.

10. Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior by Kate Fox (2004). Dr. Fox is an anthropologist who studied English manners and conversation and wrote them up humorously but analytically.

11. Wacky Wednesday, by Theo LeSieg (Dr.Seuss) (1974). I didn't know the LeSieg Seuss books, a bit different from his usual style. This one is about a day when detached feet appear on ceilings and mice chase cats.

12. Portsmouth. The Victory, other old ships, helicopter simulations, the modern naval base, naval museums, an artillery museum (the Royal Armoury), a partly Roman castle, the sea... It's easy to get to and good for many visits.

Lists of good things from other years are at Rasmusen.org/_amazon/special/amazon.htm. Some other items this year: Fraser's Flashman, McCall-Smith's African mystery books, Sights of Britain, Salisbury Cathedral, Bern, St. Malo, Walking with Dinosaurs, HREF="http://wwsdsd.housemdddd-guide.com/"> Rummy, English sausages. The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends music CD. The Silver Chair movie (1990, Alex Kirby), pommeau aperitif, Harry Potter books. British Museum coin exhibit. Bernard Cornwell's Sea Lord , Richard Fortey's The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum , Carreg Cennen Castle .

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Arrest of an Oppositino Leader in Britain

It's amazing what Britain has come to. A leader of the opposition party was arrested and his House of Commons office searched by the special anti-terror police after he publicized information of government incompetence leaked to him by a civil servant. He was not accused of any crime. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/henryporter/2008/dec/01/damian-green-humanrights.

I don't worry so much about government overreaching with respect to ordinary citizens. The government has no motive there to go after a person without reason to think he did something wrong. But when it comes to going after political opponents it is time to worry.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Loony Indictments

We must expect county prosecutors to go insane (literally) once in a while. What is more depressing is that a lunatic could get a grand jury to indict. See this story on the indictment of VP Cheney and AG Gonzalez, among others.

Five of the indictments - against two district judges, two special prosecutors and the district clerk - were dismissed because Guerra was the alleged victim, witness and prosecutor. The indictments accused the five of abusing their power by being involved in a previous investigation of Guerra.

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