01.26.2005 10:37

PracTeX Journal Launched

The TeX Users Group has launched a new, online journal, PracTeX, devoted to practical, day-to-day use of LaTeX and TeX.

The premiere issue includes articles on using CTAN, creating presentations, documents, and posters from the same LaTeX source, tweaking LaTeX, and a q&a column, Ask Nelly, along with lots of other material.

PracTeX looks like a useful resource for beginners and oldtimers, alike.

While I'm at it, I should mention that we have a CTAN mirror here at Mudd. It's currently located at http://yum.math.hmc.edu/ctan/. I'm not currently updating it regularly, but if there's more interest, I can start doing so.

yum also houses the math department's mirrors of CentOS (the Red Hat Enterprise Linux rebuild distribution that we use). Fedora, Red Hat's next generation Linux distribution, and the Fedora Legacy support packages for older Red Hat distributions (we will probably stop mirroring these soon).

All of these mirrors are available for use within CUC. I'm interested in having the CentOS and CTAN mirrors be available to the public, but doing that right would require better hardware than I can currently devote to the mirror right now, I think, as well as an okay from CIS for the bandwidth.

Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: News, LaTeX

01.19.2005 14:42

elijah and ramandu back!

To my amazement, New Egg came through incredibly quickly and elijah and ramandu are now back on line with shiny new video cards and readable screens. Enjoy!

Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Linux

01.18.2005 14:03

elijah and ramandu have bad video cards...

Both elijah and ramandu have bad video cards. As a result, they're pretty much unusable interactively until I can find replacements, get them ordered, installed, and configured. Sorry for the inconvenience.

You can help avoid equipment downtime in the future by actually reporting it!

Yes, it's true, now that my office is no longer inside the lab, I don't get into the lab as much these days. That means that I rely on you, the users of the Scientific Computing Lab, to let me know when something's a bit funky. If the machine is reachable on the network and responds to various network-oriented tests, I'll have little reason to assume it's not working fine. But you can tell me if its keyboard is sticky, or the mouse is wonky, or the video is all wavy, or some other problem that's only obvious from sitting directly in front of the machine is present. Please tell me. I won't get mad (unless you tell me you deliberately poured a soda into the keyboard to see what would happen -- please don't do that). And the sooner I know about the problem, the sooner I can try to get it fixed.


Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Linux

01.18.2005 12:32

Epidemiological Risks to Our Computational Infrastructure

Over a long break, students, staff, and faculty scatter around the country and the globe, visiting friends and family, and encountering new variants of diseases that they bring with them on their return.

Those of us who took our computers with us may well be exposing other computers at the college to similar risks. If your anti-virus software wasn't up to date before you left, plugging into dad's company's network, your brother's LAN party system, or your high-school friend's DSL line may have infected your machine with a virus or worm that you've brought back to share with everyone else at Mudd.

Now that you're back, take a minute to make sure that your anti-virus software is updated, and run a full scan on your machine. Make sure that there's nothing (unintentionally) weird going on with your machine.

You might not care what infects your machine, but your neighbors (and CIS) might.

Sophos Anti-Virus

If you don't already have anti-virus software on your machine, CIS provides Sophos anti-virus software for the Mudd community.

They have detailed instructions for installing it for Windows.

Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Linux

01.12.2005 13:33

New LaTeX Packages Added

I've added some additional LaTeX packages to the system for the creation of presentations. Beamer and FoilTeX allow you to create PowerPoint-like presentations using LaTeX, with transitions, backgrounds, templates, and so forth.

You should be able to use these packages by opening your document with the appropriate \documentclass command or by loading packages with \usepackage. If you need to look at the source code, you will find it under /shared/local/share/texmf/tex/latex. Documentation can be found under /shared/local/share/texmf/doc.

As usual, we welcome suggestions for LaTeX packages of general interest for shared installation -- if there's a LaTeX package that you find useful, let us know about it and we'll look into installing it so that everyone can take advantage of it!

Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, LaTeX

01.11.2005 17:15

New Apple Toys

Lots of new toys from Apple today, including the Mac mini, a 3 lb. baby Macintosh for around $500. We already have a full size Mac at home, two Powerbooks, and one iBook, and I'm still tempted by the idea of having one of these for the living room. It looks really cute.

For those of you who've been tempted by a Mac but thought it was too expensive, here's your chance to get your feet wet. It's much nicer than a Windows machine. Once you get TeXShop running, you'll never want to go back. And once you get some of the cool Omni software, you'll wonder why you waited.

Don't be surprised if some of these start showing up on campus soon.

Posted by C.M. Connelly | Permalink | Categories: News, Macintosh