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Work - Queue
August 26th, 2005
02:04 pm

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LaTeX can be a motherfucker, sometimes.

I can pretty much always eventually make it do what I want it to do, but it often feels like I'm just kludging my way through. I wish I actually had the time to sit down and figure out an elegant solution to every problem that comes up.

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From:shadesong
Date:August 27th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
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Is there ever a time when LaTeX is not a motherfucker?

(Reading docorion's friendslist in a procrastination tactic. Ignore me if you'd like. But damn, I hate LaTeX.)
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From:queue
Date:August 27th, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC)
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Well, I think my work would be a lot more difficult without it. I mean, the automatic cross references and keeping track of figure numbers and such is nice, as long as authors use it correctly.

The problems start to creep in when authors try to do weird things, and also when we're trying to fine-tune the exact placement of things and when what we want to do is slightly different from LaTeX's default behavior.
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From:shadesong
Date:August 27th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
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The problems start to creep in when authors try to do weird things

...which is my default experience with LaTeX, sadly; I deal with LaTeX documents from 30+ math professors ranging in age from their 30s to their 70s, each using the version of TeX that they were first taught. 90% of which is incompatible with what's on our server. So my first objective when dealing with any LaTeX document is to attempt to determine the vintage of the crack being smoked, then determine what exactly the professor in question was trying to accomplish...

None of which was in the job description. *laugh*
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From:queue
Date:August 28th, 2005 11:08 am (UTC)
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Luckily, someone else deals with the math professors at my work :-)

I get to deal mostly with the computer people, which means they generally have a bit more of a clue. Of course, it sometimes means that they're more likely to try fiddling with things, which makes the job interesting at times.

For our books, we have a style file that we try to send to the authors before they start writing so that they can set things up how we like it. We don't have the same thing for our journals yet, but that's something that we're going to be doing pretty soon. Of course, not everyone will use them, or use them correctly, but it at least makes it easier in some cases.
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From:shadesong
Date:August 28th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
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I deal with both the math and computer guys, but you're correct in that the computer guys tend to have more Clue - also, there are fewer of them, and they're significantly more self-sufficient.

Hm. We ought to set up a style guide.
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From:queue
Date:August 29th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
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A style guide is really a must. A style file can make some of the things in the style guide automated, so people can have the correct page geometry, font size, heading style, etc. automatically.

What sort of publication do you work on?
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From:shadesong
Date:August 29th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
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Not a publication - I'm a secretary in the math/computer science department of A Major University. :) My work with LaTeX is primarily editing/posting abstracts for seminars. So it's not a massive part of my job, but it's an unvarying pain in the ass whenever it comes up.
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From:queue
Date:August 29th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
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I would imagine that a style file for something like an abstract would be a relatively simple thing to do, since I imagine there's not a whole lot giong on layout-wise in an abstract.
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From:shadesong
Date:August 29th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
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*nods* Basic layout, true... it's all the funky mathematic symbols they fill the damn things with. *makes a face*

I am moving to Boston to be with docorion soon; this will then cease to be a problem. But in the meantime, the school year's beginning, and I'm getting bitchslapped with this stuff.

What sort of publication do you work for?
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From:queue
Date:August 29th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)
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http://www.akpeters.com/

So I work with math books, computer books, and a computer journal. Sometimes we do things in InDesign, but everything I've worked on so far has been in LaTeX.
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From:shadesong
Date:August 29th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
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Ah!

We don't use any of your textbooks, sadly. *sigh* I could always use an in with a publisher, but no...
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