A Day in the Life

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Forays into LaTeX

Or, How I Became A Bigger Nerd.

You may not know it by my overly messy dorm room, but I'm a stickler for aesthetics, especially in printed products. Even in 9th grade, I turned my nose up at Romeo and Juliet reading quizzes written in Comic Sans, butcher paper posters made with thin-point Crayola markers, and VFA homework with crappy-ass looking 2-inch margins and 9 point Times New Roman text. That kind of shit just makes everything look so half-assed, regardless of how much work you actually put into it.

Always the enterprising fellow, I've discovered a way where I can do the exact opposite: put very little work into something, and make it look awesome. It's a typesetting language called LaTeX (pronounced "luh-TEK"), and it's basically like HTML for the printed page. I'm not going to go into how it works -- the learning curve is admittedly a tad on the steep side -- but as I get more and more comfortable with it, I find myself actually enjoying doing menial little typed homework tasks. It's especially useful for math equations (most math textbooks are typeset with LaTeX), but that's not something that I have much use for. Sarah, however, is kind of excited about learning to use it for chemistry and physics papers (either that or she's just humoring me).

For more information on LaTeX, check out CTAN.


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