No more LaTeX

I made jokes about this before, but it actually happened: since I no longer use LaTeX, I removed it from my laptop and got rid of the config from my .vimrc. It’s nothing unusual, but I somewhat feel that the departure from LaTeX marks an important (sic!) moment in my life. LaTeX was my “gateway drug” to programming. I kid you not. Since I was interested in publishing as a teenager (even ran a small but successful magazine for a while), got very disappointed in MS Word’s DTP capabilities, had no money or supported OS to run Adobe or Quark, LaTeX was for me, sadly, the only option to put my magazine together.

Stop using LaTeX, switch to MS Word

A hilarious article appeared in PLOS ONE recently (thanks for the link, Pim). StackOverflow already made some good comments, but here’s my two pennies’ worth. While I find the study methodologically flawed1 and I have a strong dislike for MS Word for numerous (un)sentimental reasons, I cannot disagree with the fact that LaTeX sucks. It has a complex syntax (take a look at Markdown or reStructuredText for comparison), meaningless error messages, it comes as a ginormous zip file full of obsolete stuff and it’s not exactly easy to customize (even installing new fonts is non-trivial).

Previewing LaTeX symbols without preview-latex

This blog’s most popular post is the Emacs howto entry, so I thought I’d share one more LaTeX-related tip for all your Emacs needs. Besides the traditional preview-latex way of generating TeX formulas inside Emacs buffer, there’s a faster and neater way to do this using Emacs’ unicode support. My friends Erik Parmann and Pål Drange made a simple package that turns many math symbols and Greek letters commands into corresponding unicode characters.

Continuous list enumeration throughout the document with LaTeX

Karolina asked me today to create a macro for having a continuous list enumeration throughout the whole document, i.e. This is the first list: Item; Another item; And here goes the second list: Third item; And yet another item. You can obtain an effect like that by using LaTeX counters and a custom definition of your own enumerate environment. First, we need to \usepackage{enumerate}, and then define the following counter and an environment in the preamble:

Emacs as the Ultimate LaTeX Editor

Everyone knows, that GNU Emacs is THE Best Programmer’s Editor. Not everyone knows, though, that when you combine it with AUCTeX macros, it also becomes THE Best Editor for LaTeX. The biggest problem with Emacs is that it’s not a particularly intuitive piece of software, to say the least, hence many users flee after their first encounter with it. Emacs has its complicated keyboard shortcuts, enormous documentation and config files written in a Lisp dialect (called Emacs lisp), so at first it might seem very unpleasant using it.