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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Free Gnus Mug!

Lars recently posted on the Gnus mailing list that he had a few extra mugs and Tshirts and was willing to give them away for free. Well, I took him up on his kind offer and today I received his package.

A fine mug indeed. Now I have to convince my office colleagues of the earth shaking significance of the mug. :-)

Well....I'm not a good photographer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plotting tables in Org mode

A new tutorial has been added to Org-tutorials site explaining how to plot your org table data using gnuplot.   Another reason not to step out of emacs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Visual Bookmarks package for Emacs

When you use the default bookmarks feature in Emacs, those used to visual feedback on where the bookmarks are made, are let down.

There is none. Although the text based system is perfectly fine, lots of people would find a visual way to see their bookmarks as a better way to locate where they placed the bookmarks. At this point if you don't know what a bookmark is, it's best to read the manual link above.

Enter bm.el which is about as close you can get to mark up your code in technicolor!

Download and put it somewhere in your load path. Add the following to your init file

(require 'bm)

And a couple of customisations that you should set so that creation and navigation is easy. The author recommends

;; M$ Visual Studio key setup.
;; (global-set-key (kbd "<C-f2>") 'bm-toggle)
;; (global-set-key (kbd "<f2>") 'bm-next)
;; (global-set-key (kbd "<S-f2>") 'bm-previous)
you can also tinker with how you want the bookmarks to look like by using one of the following

(setq bm-highlight-style 'bm-highlight-only-line)
;;default, the last one in the pic

(setq bm-highlight-style 'bm-highlight-only-fringe) ;;middle bookmark

(setq bm-highlight-style 'bm-highlight-line-and-fringe) ;; the first one

You can customise the colours by using M-x customize-group bm and changeing the defaults.

One other function that should be useful is M-x bm-show and M-x bm-show-all; both show all the bookmarks set in the current buffer and in all buffers respectively. If you read the commentary of the elisp package, you'd see options to make the bookmarks persistent, annotate them, controlling the size of the bookmarks file etc.

While the default bookmarks bundled is more than adequate, this package is quite eye pleasing without getting in the way. At least for me, I tend to use this where I don't need persistence of bookmarks and throw it all off after I killed the code buffer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dired: Filter file names

If you want to see only files with certain extensions like *.sh, the simplest way to do it is C-x d *.sh to just show shell scripts.  This thread on shows other ways of doing the same.  As you can see there are a number of ways to achieve the same but in my opinion, filtering it by passing the regex to dired is the easiest.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Changing fonts in your LaTeX document

In this discussion on changing fonts on comp.text.tex newsgroup, the reply might be useful in deciding which font to use where.  That is one of my biggest issues with fonts.  I have no taste. :-)

Given a large number of fonts, I'd unerringly chose the one font that would make folks gouge their eyes out with a blunt pencil, I swear.

Assuming what the author wrote is true and people are in general consensus, I'd take those instructions. Not being an expert in Typography, I'm hard pressed to come up with a good explanation of how, what and where different fonts make a good impression.  I used to compile my paper with different font packages to see which one appears good and by the time I tried my fourth font, I'd promptly forget how the first looked like.  Of course, I could have saved each font type and then opened all of them to compare but being the lazy person I am.....

That said, as the thread mentioned, it's better to use the font packages rather than trying to change the individual fonts for specific parts of the document.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Emacs 22.3 released

From the mailing list, we have the bug fix release of Emacs 22.3. In a couple of days, the Windows compiled binary should be available here, as I can't see it so far. And then it would be found in your favourite gnu ftp mirror site in a few days from now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Building TeXLive Binaries on Cygwin

A few months ago I had asked about whether there was a cygwin version of the TeXLive system as the TeTeX system was no longer being actively maintained.

Today I received a response that it can be built successfully on cygwin , thanks to Angelo Graziosi. It might be useful for some. Please read the README so that you don't run into surprises. You have to download the lzma file and install it as suggested in the README.

As for me, I'm sticking with MiKTeX as it works without a hassle and the update feature synchronises all the packages I have installed already. If the cygwin maintainers add TeXLive to the official list of maintained packages, I'd change my mind. It's easier to keep everything under one roof than having to get it from ten different places.

So, if you want a cygwin version, it can be done.