Thursday, July 15

The revolution is postponed. Please hold..

I've just pissed away my burst of thesis-writing-productivity-mojo from last night/this morning trying to fiddle with a simple table alignment.

The rules dictate that people use LaTex (no, this isn't the wearable variety) for thesis writing and non-trivial documents. Ok, no big deal. We know all the keyboard shortcuts for Word, but we can handle this. Not a crisis. Next ? Diagrams must be converted to some arcane format because you must embed them in the generated PDF. Ok, no problem. EPS, here I come. Try to get the idiot image to align in the middle of a page. LaTex goes "Nope. Bugger off. I want it at the end of the page". Ask nicely. LaTex ain't having any. Break out the weird table* syntax. Nudding doing.
Rinse. Repeat. Curse.

LaTex is probably the nicest way to write formal papers and documents that I know. I'm a Luddite of sorts, still writing all my HTML/CSS/Javascript in a plain text editor (instead of that Dreamweaver jazz) so it fits right in. Magic bullet or Word killer ? Nope. That it ain't.

My blinding flash of the obvious for the day: Picking a tool for a job is about tradeoffs. Perl vs Python or LaTex vs Word or even Linux vs Windows is about figuring out which can do your job faster. (Don't ask about Emacs vs Vi please. That's apples vs oranges. One is an OS, the other an editor *grin*).

But, to quote Calvin, "if life is unfair, why can't it be unfair in my favour?". Why not indeed. *sigh*


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