## WriteLaTeX!

A friend of mine tweeted about a new site that allows people to prepare their LaTeX files online! The site is called writeLaTeX and it is free to everyone. From what I have seen, one cannot prepare XeLaTeX documents. Well, I believe it would not be that difficult to modify the page so to allow people prepare XeLaTeX documents.

## GMailTeX

GMailTeX is a new browser-addon (works with all browsers!) that allows users to enter ordinary TeX/LaTeX commands in their e-mail messages (OK you are supposed to use GMail!) that are rendered as inline or display math text. Very useful tool!

## The Computer Science of TeX and LaTeX

Victor Eijkhout has written a book that is available online and is called The Computer Science of TeX and LaTeX. The book is very interesting as it discusses various “advanced” topics in computer science while it uses TeX and LaTeX as teaching vehicles.

## MathJax

MathJax is a relatively new web technology that allows people to easily add mathematical content into their web documents. For example, the following display

\begin{align}

\dot{x} & = \sigma(y-x) \\

\dot{y} & = \rho x – y – xz \\

\dot{z} & = -\beta z + xy

\end{align}

was generated by adding the following code into the web content

\begin{align} \dot{x} & = \sigma(y-x) \\ \dot{y} & = \rho x - y - xz \\ \dot{z} & = -\beta z + xy \end{align}

That’s simply great! People willing to add mathematical content into their wordpress blogs, should check out the MathJax-LaTeX page.

## An interesting book about a typeface and its use

Last February, an interesting book was published entitled “Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story” by Scott-Martin Kosofsky. The book is about how the Helvertica typeface took over the New York subway. It seems that very few have anticipated the impact of typefaces in our lives!

## An exercise in OCR

Suppose you want to use a symbol in your LaTeX document, but you don’t know the corresponding LaTeX command, then you can use the following URL:

http://detexify.kirelabs.org/classify.html

Just draw the symbol and presto the system will show you a number of commands that produce a symbol that looks like the symbol you have drawn! Kudos to the people who have created this web page!

## New Issue of Eutypon

The new issue of Eutypon has been published and it is available from our web site. In fact, this is a double issue―it includesissues 24 and 25. Happy reading!!!

## Head First Programming

It is widely believed that programming is a difficult mental task that not everyone can perform. Nevertheless, books like “Head First Programming“, by Paul Barry and David Griffiths, are a testimony that programming is for (almost) everyone. In principle, a programming language is an artificial language designed to express solutions to problems that directly or indirectly are mathematical in nature. Thus, everyone can learn to program, provided he/she has some elementary mathematical maturity. In different words, everyone who is familiar with basic mathematical notions, can learn to program. The real problem is how to convince one that he or she is capable of doing some great things with a computer?

Barry and Griffiths have written a book that can convince even the most skeptic reader that programming is indeed a task suitable for everyone. Their book employs some interesting techniques adequate for novice readers. And this is exactly what makes their book special. On the other hand, the book should be of interest even to experienced programmers who aim to teach programming. The book starts with almost silly examples, but in the end they show the readers how to develop real GUI applications, that is, applications with a graphical user interface. More specifically, the book is divided in ten chapters. The first chapter aims to familiarize readers with computer code written in the Python programming language, which is the teaching vehicle of the book. Readers are asked to do a number of exercises that will help them to understand some basic notions (in general, readers are expected to do all exercises). Then the readers are introduced to conditional constructs and their use in programming. The second chapter is devoted to string manipulation, while the third chapter introduces readers to functions. The fourth chapter is about arrays and files and the fifth chapter about hash tables and their use. The sixth chapter is about modular programming and the seventh chapter is an introduction to basic GUI programming. The eighth chapter is about the design and implementation of GUI applications that may accept input from users. The last two chapters present present “advanced” topics in GUI programming.

I am not a novice programmer, but after reading some chapters and skimming through the rest of the book, I dare to say this is a book every newcomer should consider studying. The book has been published by O’Reilly on December 2009 and costs £38.50 or 40€, or $49.99.

## Book on XeLaTeX

It is my please to announce the publication of “Ψηφιακή Τυπογραφία με το XeLaTeX“, which is published by Epikentro Publications.

## Greek indeces with xindy

Currently, xindy can be used to generate, among others, Greek indexes and glossaries. Unfortunately, its coverage of the Greek language is incomplete. To solve this problem I have modified file polytonic-utf8.pl.in. More information about xindy and its use is included in my forthcoming book on XeLaTeX.

Apostolos Syropoulos