Older blog entries for fxn (starting at number 295)

2 Apr 2004 (updated 2 Apr 2004 at 09:47 UTC) »

haruspex, dyork: Yeah, simulated small caps are not true smalls caps.

In case someone does not know this stuff, simulated small caps play with upper-case letters of a normal font in different sizes to get something that resemble them. True small caps, however, are fonts in themselves. To give an example anyone can try, LaTeX comes with Computer Modern true small caps. Compare that with the small caps used by Safari in dyork entries. The former looks smooth, well-proportionated, whereas the latter looks somewhat ugly.

dyork: They look right in Safari 1.2.1.

Quote of the day

From footnote 21 on page 35 of David Foster Wallace's Everything and More: A Compact History of ∞:

[If you're interested] Let's explicitize at the outset that the 'you might recall' and 'it goes without saying's and so on are not tics but rhetorical gambits whose aim is to reduce annoyance in those readers who are already familiar with whatever's being discussed. No particular experience or recall of college math is actually required for this booklet; but it seems only reasonable to assume that some readers will have strong math backgrounds, and only polite to acknowledge this from time to time. As was briefly mentioned in the Foreword, the rhetoric of tech writing is fraught with conundra about various different readers' expertise-levels and confusion-v.-annoyance curves. None of this is your problem, of course—at least not directly.


D'angelo, Playa, Playa.

I finished the proof-reading of the Beamer user's guide. I spotted 60+ typos, little inconsistencies, doubled words, etc. The patch was posted in its page at SourceForge and sent to Till Tantau, its author.

21 Mar 2004 (updated 21 Mar 2004 at 13:20 UTC) »


I noticed the last release of listings comes with the revised list of Ruby keywords I sent a few months ago.


I just came across Beamer yesterday. I don't know how could I miss it when I looked for LaTeX presentation packages last year. I find it awesome:

  • Designed to generate PDF via pdflatex, though it supports dvips as well.
  • It is very easy and flexible to write slides with overlays.
  • You can organize presentations using sections and subsections, parts, or lectures. With commands for selective compiling, automatic TOC, side bars, etc.
  • Bodies can be divided in columns in a breeze.
  • Slide cross-references with PDF links and buttons.
  • Support for appendixes, where you can put additional slides that could be useful for questions or whatever.
  • Slides can have notes associated, and the document compiled including them or not.
  • Support for footnotes.
  • It is themable.
  • It features navigation bars.
  • Compatibility layers for Prosper and Seminar.
  • ....
Oh, and the 100+ pages user's guide is just excellent. It is both a tutorial and a reference, and gives hints for writing presentations. It has typos, but I am proof-reading it.

I have seen some features I planned for Halk, some others I could borrow, and some I doubt it'll offer in any early release.

I've alredy received all the prizes of the last Perl Haiku Contest from ActiveState. They said in a nice letter they received for about 350 entries.

I could choose between a license of Komodo and a license of the Perl Dev Kit, which was the one I chose. My main computer is a PowerBook, but I'll leverage the kit for sure somehow. In addition, they sent a couple of mugs, stickers, balloons, a T-shirt, and an ActiveCD.

2 Mar 2004 (updated 2 Mar 2004 at 11:29 UTC) »

Encryption with Emacs

After having a glance at a few shareware password managers for Mac OS X I wondered whether one can edit encrypted files in Emacs.

Of course dude! A quick search in the Emacs Lisp List pointed to crypt++.el, which knows how to use a few external utilities transparently (it installs hooks for reading and writing). In particular, it can be easily configured to use mcrypt. Now I finally have all my passwords but one in a file and not in my head.

I was invited to join Orkut. Let's see what's all the fuss about.

OK, I'll forget altogether about writing Halk in Ruby, I think it's the most reasonable thing to do. I'll switch to Perl and will base the program on PAR.

13 Feb 2004 (updated 13 Feb 2004 at 18:32 UTC) »

I am stuck with Halk, I have to face it. The idea is more or less clear, and the implementation more or less defined as well up to some point. I think that's because I had to stop studying Ruby a few months ago, and now those initial 300 lines look hard to work on again.

Learning Python interferes, and the extra work I have lately does not help either. I have forgotten a lot of Ruby, I'd need to invest time again to feel more or less comfortable.

I wanted to implement Halk in Ruby to do an immersion and learn, but if that's not possible now and in the forthcoming months I'd better think about it.

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