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First proofreading pass; now 41 pages

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Kenneth John Odle 8 months ago
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      003/codex-003.tex

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003/codex-003.tex

@ -131,7 +131,7 @@ All contents \copyright2023 Kenneth John Odle
Although this is now in your hands, and it's also on the web, so if you really wanted to steal this, I've made it pretty darn easy. I can't imagine why anyone would want to, though. However, you don't need to, because this is licenced under a CC BY-NA-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license. More information is at \href{https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/}{\texttt{https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/}} \includegraphics[scale=0.30]{ncsa4-0}
FYI, this is made in \LaTeX \,using the report document class. It then gets exported to a letterhalf (5.5 in x 8.5 in) pdf, which then gets made into a booklet using PDF Booklet (\href{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}{\texttt{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/word \\ press/}}).
FYI, this is made in \LaTeX \,using the report document class. It then gets exported to a letterhalf (5.5 in x 8.5 in) pdf, which then gets made into a booklet using PDF Booklet (\href{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}{\texttt{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}}).
I'm pushing this to my own git server as I write this. You can find it \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}{here}: \texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}. New issues will be pushed after they are complete.
@ -139,7 +139,7 @@ You can just skip over all the diversions in here if you want. It's just how my
\medskip
\noindent \textbf{Errata:} To err is human, to document those errors is divine. A list of errata can be found at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex/wiki/Errata}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex/wiki/Err \\ ata}}.
\noindent \textbf{Errata:} To err is human, to document those errors is divine. A list of errata can be found at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex/wiki/Errata}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex/wiki/Errata}}.
\medskip
@ -159,7 +159,7 @@ I went to away to college in the fall of 1986. Personal computers were still ver
We did have computers available to us, however. Our college owned two mainframe systems: a DEC-10 and a VAX 9000. As I remember, you had to go down to the basement of the science building to use them, where they had a room filled with VT100 terminals.
I wish for the life of me that I remember this experience better. The ``computer room '' (nobody thought of it as a ``lab''—it would be many years before I heard that term applied to it) looked a lot like what one might think: a windowless room with concrete block walls, tile floors, fluorescent lights buzzing away angrily overhead, and lots and lots of terminals.\footnote{There is a pdf of the VT100 manual available at \href{https://vt100.net/dec/ek-vt100-tm-002.pdf}{\texttt{https://vt100.net/dec/ek-vt100-tm-002.pdf}}. It makes for fascinating reading, assuming you are into that sort of thing.}
I wish for the life of me that I remember this experience better. The ``computer room '' (nobody thought of it as a ``lab''—it would be many years before I heard that term applied to it) looked a lot like what one might think: a windowless basement room with concrete block walls, tile floors, fluorescent lights buzzing away angrily overhead, and lots and lots of terminals.\footnote{There is a pdf of the VT100 manual available at \href{https://vt100.net/dec/ek-vt100-tm-002.pdf}{\texttt{https://vt100.net/dec/ek-vt100-tm-002.pdf}}. It makes for fascinating reading, assuming you are into that sort of thing.}
\begin{wrapfigure}[]{l}{0.34\textwidth}
\vspace{-8pt}
@ -167,11 +167,11 @@ I wish for the life of me that I remember this experience better. The ``computer
\vspace{-12pt}
\end{wrapfigure}
People didn't really know much about these two mainframe systems, although I remember hearing the few computer people who were around praising the VAX as being far superior to the DEC-10. (A bit of internet research confirms this—the VAX line of mainframes was intended as a replaced for the DEC line of mainframes.) Everything was from the command line. If you saved a file (and I tried for a few weeks to type up some of my notes from class, but quickly realized that this was pointless, as I couldn't take the digital files with me) and wanted to print it, you had to send it to the print queue, and then go to a different room in the building where the line printer was located.
People didn't really know much about these two mainframe systems, although I remember hearing the few computer people who were around praising the VAX as being far superior to the DEC-10. (A bit of internet research confirms this—the VAX line of mainframes was intended as a replacement for the DEC line of mainframes.) Everything was from the command line. If you saved a file (and I tried for a few weeks to type up some of my notes from class, but quickly realized that this was pointless, as I couldn't take the digital files with me) and wanted to print it, you had to send it to the print queue, and then go to a different room in the building where the line printer was located.
At this point, it was possible that your printout was ready. But it was also entirely possible that it wouldn't be ready. Everything was printed on unperforated continuous feed paper that was 15 inches wide.\footnote{See the Wikipedia entry on ``'continuous stationery'' to see what I'm talking about.} The problem was someone had to be there to tear off your printout after it was completed—the printers had no way of doing this automatically. Somebody had to be there when the printer was done printing your job to tear it off, take it out of the printer's tray, figure out that it belonged to you, and set it on a shelf for you to pick up later.
At this point, it was possible that your printout was ready. But it was also entirely possible that it wouldn't be ready. Everything was printed on unperforated continuous feed paper that was 15 inches wide.\footnote{See the Wikipedia entry on ``'continuous stationery'' to see what I'm talking about.} The problem was someone had to be there to tear off your printout after it was completed—the printers had no way of doing this automaticallytake it out of the printer's tray, figure out that it belonged to you, label it with your name, and set it on a shelf for you to pick up later.
And if nobody was there, the printer just kept printing, and someone would have to separate possibly dozens of different print jobs. If your print job was small, it was entirely possible that someone would miss it and it would be stuck on to the end of someone else's print job. If the paper ran out of paper and nobody was there to replace it, your file just went into the printer memory (or somewhere into the ether if the printer's memory was full) until the paper was refilled. Printing anything was a big investment of time and energy (not to mention hope) and I will gladly take the occasional printer jam over that experience any day.
And if nobody was there, the printer just kept printing, and someone would have to separate possibly dozens of different print jobs. If your print job was small, it was entirely possible that the person responsible would miss it and it would be stuck on to the end of someone else's print job. If the paper ran out of paper and nobody was there to replace it, your file just went into the printer memory (or somewhere into the ether if the printer's memory was full) until the paper was refilled. Printing anything was a big investment of time and energy (not to mention hope) and I will gladly take the occasional printer jam over that experience any day.
The only other remarkable thing I remember about that early college experience is that everybody had to take a basic computer course. This was a single, university-level course that all freshmen had to take.
@ -187,7 +187,7 @@ I should mention that I went to college with the goal of becoming high school bi
\subsection{2008}
Bush II decided to tank the economy for ordinary people so that rich people could get richer.\footnote{This is the second of three "once in a lifetime" recessions I have lived through. Yay, capitalism!}
Bush II decided to tank the economy for ordinary people so that rich people could get richer.\footnote{This is the second of three "once in a lifetime" recessions I have lived through. Yay, capitalism!} I decided to go back into teaching (which, thanks to current conservative political policies\footnote{Along with the asshole behavior of parents who approve of those policies.} there will always be a demand for), which meant I needed to go back to college to renew my teaching license. But this is a whole other story for which I have run out of space, so it will have to go in a future issue.
@ -196,7 +196,7 @@ Bush II decided to tank the economy for ordinary people so that rich people coul
I graduated from college with a B.S. in Biology and a teaching certificate. I could not find a job teaching biology—as it turns out, biology teachers are a dime a dozen.\footnote{This was a huge surprise to me, because all through college, whenever I told someone I was a biology major, they seemed really impressed and said something like "oh gosh, biology—that's really hard." But note—these were non-science people. If you want to study science, but don't want anything too hard, apparently biology is the default.} As it turns out, chemistry teachers are about ten bucks a dozen, and if you majored in physics with a goal of teaching high school science, you would have your choice of any teaching position you wanted.
Of course at this time (the early 90s), lots of people still wanted to be teachers, unlike now, because teachers still garnered respect from the public, parents, and administrators., and teaching jobs were hard to combine by, unlike now. So I started substitute teaching and doing whatever I could to pay the bills.
Of course at this time (the early 90s), lots of people still wanted to be teachers, unlike now, because teachers still garnered respect from the public, parents, and administrators, and teaching jobs were hard to come by, unlike now. So I started substitute teaching and doing whatever I could to pay the bills.
I eventually managed to find a job at my old high school teaching what used to be called ``night school''\footnote{I have no idea what this is now called, or if it is even still a thing.} and what is still called ``community education''. But names are only labels and are usually irrelevant. My night school students had dropped out of a traditional high school education and were now in search of a GED\footnote{General Equivalency Degree—aka ``high school diploma in a box''.} to help their job prospects. I was there to teach them just enough Earth Science to enable them to pass the science portion of the GED exam.\footnote{There is so much that I could say here, but it is completely irrelevant to our current purpose and so belongs to an entirely different zine.}
@ -208,11 +208,11 @@ So yeah, an interview in which I was grilled about my knowledge of both computer
I don't remember much about this ``Introduction to Computers'' class. It took place in the same room my high school computer class had been in, but all the previous computers were gone and had been replaced by shiny new computers running Windows. As this was around 1992, this would have been some version of Windows 3.
What I do remember the most about this class was that the best way to teach anybody anything about computers was to maintain a completely hands-off policy. That is, if somebody asked me how to do something, rather than grab their mouse and \textit{demonstrate} how to do it, I found that it was better if I stood back, told the student to grab their mouse, and then told them where to point it and where to click. I confess this was partly laziness on my part—you can only \textit{show} someone so many times how to do something as simply as printing a file or turning the computer on before you are completely done with it.
What I do remember the most about this class was that the best way to teach anybody anything about computers was to maintain a completely hands-off policy. That is, if somebody asked me how to do something, rather than grab their mouse and \textit{demonstrate} how to do it, I found that it was better if I stood back, told the student to grab their mouse, and then told them where to point it and where to click. I confess this was partly laziness on my part—you can only \textit{show} someone so many times how to do something as simple as printing a file or turning the computer on before you are completely done with it.
But I discovered a wonderful thing about this: \textit{telling} is very different than \textit{showing}. When I show someone something I tend to use words like ``here,'' ``over here,'' etc. But when I \textit{tell} someone something, I have to use much more specific terms like ``upper-left hand corner'' and ``half way down''.
This meant that telling someone how to print a file meant that I ended up saying something like ``move your mouse\footnote{i.e., cursor. To someone who is new to computers, the two are one} to the upper left-hand corner, find the File menu and click on it, and then go about half way down until you see the word 'Print and click on it.''
This meant that telling someone how to print a file meant that I ended up saying something like ``move your mouse\footnote{i.e., cursor. To someone who is new to computers, the two are one.} to the upper left-hand corner, find the `File' menu and click on it, and then go about half way down until you see the word `Print' and click on it.''
And this worked. My students were not familiar with a ``File'' menu, but they were familiar with the concepts of ``up,'' ``down,'' ``right,'' and ``left''. This led me to realize something that I had not been taught in college—you have to work with students where they are, rather than where you wish they were. You can't play the ``if only'' game. (``If only my students knew where the File menu is…'')
@ -240,15 +240,15 @@ So I decided to attempt this quest again, but instead of cooking hacks, I decide
\begin{enumerate}
\item \textbf{Use newspaper as a weed barrier} --- That's right: just lay some newspaper down on the ground, throw some dirt over it, and go to town planting your garden. This is definitely not a hack, it's more like a \textbf{gimmick} that is actually \textbf{really bad advice}. Newspaper will break apart quickly, and is not effective against perennial weeds unless you lay down a really thick later. Besides, the advice was to put dirt \textit{on top of the newspaper}. What's to keep wind-blown seeds from just landing and sprouting on \textit{that} dirt? Save your money and just buy some mulch.
\item \textbf{Use plastic bottles as mini-greenhouses} --- I've seen this so many times and its popularity seems to rely on the fact that people somehow think of greenhouses as magical boxes. The point of an actual greenhouse is to let light in. The watering is still up to you. So yeah, you can cut a bottle in half, fill the bottom with soil, plant your seeds, and throw the top on to keep moisture in until the seeds sprout, but it seems to me it would be easier to just plant the seeds in the bottom and make sure to keep them watered. There is nothing magical about a transparent top, and thus this isn't a hack, but a mere \textbf{gimmick}.\footnote{I suppose this is popular because people can then say ``hey, look at me, I'm recycling!'' but you aren't recycling, you're \textit{reusing}. And the end result is a dirty bottle that \textit{can't} be easily recycled.}
\item \textbf{Use plastic bottles as mini-greenhouses} --- I've seen this so many times and its popularity seems to rely on the fact that people somehow think of greenhouses as magical boxes.\footnote{Clarke's Law applies to greenhouses, apparently.} The point of an actual greenhouse is to let light in. The watering is still up to you. So yeah, you can cut a bottle in half, fill the bottom with soil, plant your seeds, and throw the top on to keep moisture in until the seeds sprout, but it seems to me it would be easier to just plant the seeds in the bottom and make sure to keep them watered. There is nothing magical about a transparent top, and thus this isn't a hack, but a mere \textbf{gimmick}.\footnote{I suppose this is popular because people can then say ``hey, look at me, I'm recycling!'' but you aren't recycling, you're \textit{reusing}. And the end result is a dirty bottle that \textit{can't} be easily recycled.}
\item \textbf{Punch some holes in the cap of a gallon milk jug and use it as a watering can} --- This is definitely a \textbf{gimmick}. Why not just leave the cap off and pour water directly out of the jug the way you do milk? Is that not simpler? The \textit{real} hack is to drill a few small holes in the \textit{bottom} of the jug, fill it water, and set it next to your plants. This is a great way to keep tomatoes and other large plants watered during a hot dry summer without constantly sprinkling them with water.
\item \textbf{Place a kitchen sponge in the bottom of a pot to soak up extra water and avoid root rot} --- The problem with this \textbf{gimmick} is that sponges absorb water and hold onto it until it evaporates (and not a lot of evaporation is going to happen if it's been buried). If you give your potted plant too much water, the ideal situation is to have something large---stones, for instance---that don't lock together that will keep the dirt in while letting the excess water out.\footnote{Or you could just learn how to water your plants properly.}
\item \textbf{Place a kitchen sponge in the bottom of a pot to soak up extra water and avoid root rot} --- The problem with this \textbf{gimmick} is that sponges absorb water and hold onto it until it evaporates (and not a lot of evaporation is going to happen if it's been buried). If you give your potted plant too much water, the ideal situation is to have something large---stones, for instance---that don't lock together that will keep the dirt in while letting the excess water out.\footnote{Or you could just learn how to water your plants properly. I admit to not being an expert at this (ADHD makes tasks like this interesting), but it seems better to err on underwatering, which is easily corrected, rather than overwatering, which is not.}
\item \textbf{Use wine corks with a toothpick as plant labels} --- This \textbf{gimmick} was described as a great way to recycle, but I don't know that our landfills are overflowing with wine corks. Corks are just oak bark, and will naturally, if slowly, break down in the soil or in a compost pile. Just use some popsicle sticks and let the kids use the corks in their craft projects.
\item \textbf{Use toilet roll cores as seedling pots} --- Most people just throw out the core from a roll of toilet paper, but this is a true \textbf{hack}, as it uses up something that you are just going to end up throwing in either the trash or the recycling anyway. And it will break down in your soil and add some organic matter, as well.
\item \textbf{Use seeds from store-bought vegetables (e.g., tomatoes and peppers) to start your own garden plants} --- This is just \textbf{bad advice}. Most supermarket vegetables are hybrids anyway, and won't come true from seed. Also, starting plants from seed is really hard work! If you're going to go through all that work, you might as well fork out for some high quality seeds.
\item \textbf{Use ordinary table salt as fertilizer} --- This is just \textbf{really bad advice} because excess levels of salt can damage or even kill most plants. Maybe they were thinking of \textit{Epsom} salts, which can be used as a fertilizer when properly diluted, because it contains high quantities of magnesium. (Nope, they actually list that one further down the list.)
\item \textbf{Make homemade weed killer with vinegar, table salt, and dish soap} --- This one would actually probably work, because again, salt is really bad for plants, and vinegar will kill the leaves. But it won't kill the roots, which is I suppose why they are including salt. Also, in lieu of the previous ``hack'', is salt going to kill your plants or fertilize them? Leave the salt out and I'd be willing to call this a technique, but I'm not sure why weeds are even a problem, what with that thin layer of newspaper you put down all over the place. Again, this is just \textbf{bad advice}.
\item \textbf{Make fertilizer tea from your weeds to feed your plants} --- This \textbf{gimmick} is just silly: take the weeds that you've just pulled up, put them in a bucket and cover them with water, wait for a few hours, get rid of the weeds and then water your garden with this miraculous, nutrient rich water. For one thing, you're just going to get that many nutrients out of freshly picked leaves in a few hours. This is more like putting some leafy greens in a water bath to perk them up. Second, you still have to get rid of the weeds. It would make more sense to just put the weeds in a compost pile, which is probably where this idea came from because compost tea is a real thing.\footnote{Although if you're going to go through all the trouble of making compost, you may as well just apply it to the soil and let your garden make its own compost tea every time it rains or you water it. Why are you going through extra steps?}
\item \textbf{Make homemade weed killer with vinegar, table salt, and dish soap} --- This one would actually probably work, because again, salt is really bad for plants, and vinegar will kill the leaves. But it won't kill the roots, which is I suppose why they are including salt. Also, in light of the previous ``hack'', is salt going to kill your plants or fertilize them? Leave the salt out and I'd be willing to call this a technique, but I'm not sure why weeds are even a problem, what with that thin layer of newspaper you put down all over the place. Again, this is just \textbf{bad advice}.
\item \textbf{Make fertilizer tea from your weeds to feed your plants} --- This \textbf{gimmick} is just silly: take the weeds that you've just pulled up, put them in a bucket and cover them with water, wait for a few hours, get rid of the weeds and then water your garden with this miraculous, nutrient rich water. For one thing, you're just not going to get that many nutrients out of freshly picked leaves in a few hours. This is more like putting some leafy greens in a water bath to perk them up. Second, you still have to get rid of the weeds. It would make more sense to just put the weeds in a compost pile, which is probably where this idea came from because compost tea is a real thing.\footnote{Although if you're going to go through all the trouble of making compost, you may as well just apply it to the soil and let your garden make its own compost tea every time it rains or you water it. Why are you going through extra steps?}
\item \textbf{Make holes to plant your seeds in by putting corks on the end of a garden fork} --- This is not a hack, it's not a gimmick, nor is even just a ridiculously terrible idea, it's also \textbf{physically impossible}. Most garden forks have tines that almost as wide as a wine cork is, so there's no way you're going to be able to stick a cork on there. (It's notable that even though this ``hack'' was accompanied by a picture of a garden fork stuck in the ground, there was not a wine cork to be seen anywhere.) And even if you could, this would just become bad advice because 1) not all seeds should be planted the same width apart, and 2) how difficult is it to make a hole in your garden soil to drop a seed in there? If your soil is that hard, you've got bigger problems and all the winecorks in the world aren't going to solve them. For what it's worth, here's the entire process, in all it's ridiculous glory:
\begin{quote}
\textit{Sowing your seeds just got simpler! Rather than digging individual holes all along your garden bed, enlist the help of recycled materials to turn a garden rake into a makeshift sower. Just press an old wine cork onto each prong so that it's just just} (sic) \textit{ as long as you'd want your holes deep, then push the tool into the dirt. When you pull it back up, you'll be left with a row of holes ready for seeds.}\footnote{Yes, this comes from Bob Vila's website. I know that there used to be a Cult of Bob Vila who thought he could do nothing wrong, but I beg to differ. The byline on his website is ``Tried, True, Trustworthy Home Advice'', but this bit of advice has not been tried and is definitely not true, which makes me question just how trustworthy the rest of the advice on his website is.}
@ -271,7 +271,7 @@ What I've learned from this:
\section{Standard Notation}
I have a couple of guitars in the corner of my living room that I keep intending to dust off and play again someday. Of course, with the way my mind works, I thought I should also brush up on some music theory. Because I am an inveterate note-taker, but also have less-than-ideal penmanship, I thought I should figure out if it's possible to write music (and also guitar tablature) in LaTeX, and if so, how much work is it?
I have a couple of guitars in the corner of my living room that I keep intending to dust off and play again someday. Of course, with the way my mind works, I thought I should also brush up on some music theory. Because I am an inveterate note-taker, but also have less-than-ideal penmanship, I thought I should figure out if it's possible to write music (and also guitar tablature) in LaTeX, and if so, how much work it actually is?
As it turns out, there are a number of packages that enable you to include music in a LaTeX document.\footnote{For much of this early research, I am highly indebted to Martin Thoma, who has an excellent introduction at \href{https://martin-thoma.com/how-to-write-music-with-latex/}{\texttt{https://martin-thoma.com/how-to-write-music-with-latex/}}.}
@ -287,7 +287,7 @@ There is also the \texttt{harmony} package, which offers up some additional symb
\medskip
\AAcht ~~~ \Acht ~~~ \AchtBR\AchtBL ~~~ (which is actually two symbols stuck together: \AchtBR ~~ and ~~\AchtBL ) ~~~ \AcPa ~~~ and a whole lot of very tiny notes: ~~~ \Acht ~~~ \Sech ~~~ \Zwdr ~~~ and some very tiny rests: ~~~ \ViPa ~~~ \AcPa ~~~ \SePa ~~~ \ZwPa
\AAcht ~~~ \Acht ~~~and~~~ \AchtBR\AchtBL ~~~ (which is actually two symbols stuck together: \AchtBR ~~ and ~~\AchtBL ) ~~~ \AcPa ~~~ and a whole lot of very tiny notes: ~~~ \Acht ~~~ \Sech ~~~ \Zwdr ~~~ and some very tiny rests: ~~~ \ViPa ~~~ \AcPa ~~~ \SePa ~~~ \ZwPa
And it also has what I believe is chord notation (although I could be—and probably am—wrong; it has been a \textit{very} long time), some of which can be quite complicated:
@ -401,7 +401,7 @@ The first package I found is \texttt{guitartabs}. Unfortunately, this introduces
\subsection{songs}
The \texttt{songs} package\footnote{Which is available on SourceForge---see my later comments about that site.} says that it produces guitar \textit{tablature}, but what it really produces is guitar \textit{chords}. This should not be surprising, since it is really designed to produce church hymnals. I have very little (none, actually) use for church hymnals, but if you do, I recommend you look into this package because it is fairly powerful.
The \texttt{songs} package\footnote{Which is available on SourceForge---see my later comments about that site.} says that it produces guitar \textit{tablature}, but what it really produces is guitar \textit{chords}. This should not be surprising, since it is really designed to produce church hymnals. I have very little use (none, actually) for church hymnals, but if you do, I recommend you look into this package because it is fairly powerful.
This code:
@ -433,6 +433,10 @@ As it turns out, this package can also be used to produce tab. However, because
\section{Lilypond}
As it turns out, there is a free and open-source software package which is excellent at setting music—Lilypond. I downloaded this several years and one or two machines ago, and remember thinking that it was big, powerful, and somewhat complicated to learn. ``Well,'' I thought, ``we'll just pack that one along for later when we have time.''
It is now \textit{later} and, well, here we are. I still haven't figured out Lilypond. But it is an exceptional program, and if you are interested in typesetting music, I encourage you to check it out.
\section{Summary}
As it turns out, incorporating musical notation into a text document (which was my original goal) is not that easy in \LaTeX{}. Most of the packages out there are either too simple to produce something useful like a music tutorial or even music notes. The \texttt{musixtex} package seems to have the most potential for something like this, but it is far from intuitive. (If \verb+\Notes\ibu0f0\qb0{cge}\tbu0\qb0g|\ql+ makes sense to you, I think we are definitely buying donuts in different donut shops.)
@ -440,9 +444,17 @@ As it turns out, incorporating musical notation into a text document (which was
I realized that even though I've mentioned that the reason I created this zine was to learn how to use LaTeX, and even though I've mentioned the things I've learned about LaTeX while writing it, I've never really provided a basic guide for others who might be interested in learning \LaTeX{}. So here goes…
\paragraph{A Caveat} First, I am far from an expert in these matters. What follows is pretty much a listing of what I've gleaned from hours spent searching the internet and trying things out myself. Second, some things will look differently and behave differently for you depending on variables such as the document class (see below) you are using and which other packages you have loaded. As I always say in such matters, \textit{your mileage may vary} \textit{practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make it less shitty}. A willingness to experiment is your best guide.
\paragraph{A Caveat} First, I am far from an expert in these matters. What follows is pretty much a listing of what I've gleaned from hours spent searching the internet and trying things out myself.
Second, some things will look differently and behave differently for you depending on variables such as the document class (see below) you are using and which other packages you have loaded. My rules for learning things like this are always:
\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep]
\item Don't compare yourself to others. Your mileage can—and will—vary, because people learn things at different rates and in different orders.
\item Practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make things less shitty.
\item A willingness to experiment is your best guide.
\end{enumerate}
Also, if you have access to the source code so you can see how other people have done things, so much the better. You can view the source code for this zine at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}}.
Also, if you have access to the source code so you can see how other people have done things, so much the better. (You can view the source code for this zine at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}}.) In particular with \LaTeX{}, it can help if you create an MWE (minimal working example) when working with new things, to rule out interference from other bits of code.
\section{Files}
@ -489,11 +501,11 @@ Every \LaTeX{} document has two parts:
\item A \textbf{document} environment which contains the actual text of the document.
\end{enumerate}
(If you are familiar with \texttt{html}, these correspond roughly to the \texttt{<head>} and \texttt{body} elements.)
(If you are familiar with \texttt{html}, these correspond roughly to the \texttt{<head>} and \texttt{<body>} elements.)
\subsection{The Preamble}
Within the preamble, you can declare the document's \textit{class}, which is a description of the type of document you are creating. The most common ones are \texttt{article}, \texttt{report}, \texttt{book}, \texttt{memoir}, and \texttt{beamer} (for presentations). A typical class declaration looks like:
Within the preamble, you can declare the document's \textit{class}, which is a description of the type of document you are creating. The most common classes are \texttt{article}, \texttt{report}, \texttt{book}, \texttt{memoir}, and \texttt{beamer} (for presentations). A typical class declaration looks like:
\begin{Verbatim}
\documentclass[twoside]{report}
@ -537,7 +549,7 @@ Notice that we have the option \texttt{[Books]} which describes how this chapter
\chapter*{Books I Have Read}
\end{verbatim}
For best results, stick to the hierarchical structure shown above, as this is also how each section will be numbered. See the table of contents of this zine.
For best results, stick to the hierarchical structure shown above, as this is also how each section will be numbered. See the table of contents of this zine as an example.\footnote{I am a stickler about hierarchical structures because they represent logical, organized thinking about a subject. Not all subjects lend themselves to a perfectly hierarchical information structure, but we should always strive to be less disorganized (i.e., less shitty).}
\subsection{Environments}
@ -597,16 +609,16 @@ As an example, we'll use the above example, but in a bulleted list:
\paragraph{The First Punic War}
\begin{itemize}[noitemsep]
\item Carthage and Rome
\begin{enumerate}
\begin{itemize}
\item Beginning of Foreign Conquests
\item The Origin of Carthage
\item Government of Carthage
\end{enumerate}
\end{itemize}
\item Operations in the First Punic War
\begin{enumerate}
\begin{itemize}
\item Outbreak of the War in Sicily
\item Capture of Messana and Agrigentum
\end{enumerate}
\end{itemize}
\item Events Following the War
\end{itemize}
\end{Verbatim}
@ -629,14 +641,14 @@ As an example, we'll use the above example, but in a bulleted list:
\end{itemize}
\item Events Following the War
\end{itemize}
\vspace{2mm} \hrule
\vspace{2mm} \hrule \vspace{2mm}
\noindent{} You can also replace the bullets with any math symbol availabe in \LaTeX{} like this:
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, label=Bullets Example, framesep=3mm]
\begin{itemize}[noitemsep]
\item[$\otimes$] First item
\item[$\oplus$] Second item
\item[$\Box$] First item
\item[$\aleph$] Second item
\item[$\triangle$] Third item
\end{itemize}
\end{Verbatim}
@ -644,8 +656,8 @@ As an example, we'll use the above example, but in a bulleted list:
\noindent{} which produces this output:
\begin{itemize}[noitemsep]
\item[$\otimes$] First item
\item[$\oplus$] Second item
\item[$\Box$] First item
\item[$\aleph$] Second item
\item[$\triangle$] Third item
\end{itemize}
@ -678,7 +690,7 @@ The Pythagorean Theorem is \[x^2 + y^2 = z^2\]
\paragraph{Installing \LaTeX{}} I realize that I haven't talked about how to install LaTeX, but that really depends on what system you are running. Trying to include every possible operating system could easily turn this from a zine into a book. The best approach is to search for your operating system + ``install latex''.
\paragraph{Installing \LaTeX{}} I realize that I haven't talked about how to install LaTeX, but that really depends on what system you are running. Trying to include every possible operating system could easily turn this from a zine into a book.\footnote{And a quickly outdated and inaccurate book, at that.} The best approach is to search for your operating system + ``install latex''.
\chapter{What's to Like About Linux}
@ -687,7 +699,7 @@ The Pythagorean Theorem is \[x^2 + y^2 = z^2\]
This doesn't come up for me every day as I use Linux, but one of my favorite things about Linux is that it's open source. That is, the source code is easily and freely available, provided you know where to look for it. This means two primary things:
\begin{enumerate}
\item I can download the software for free and install and use it on as many machines as I choose to.
\item I can download the software for free, and install and use it on as many machines as I choose to.
\item I can download the source code and make whatever changes I like. I can then keep them to myself, or release those changes to the world for other people to use.
\end{enumerate}
@ -729,7 +741,7 @@ Order a ham sandwich for lunch online? That is now data. We know you like both h
Order a ham sandwich on Monday, but order a turkey sandwich on Friday? That is also data. Now I know lots of things about you:
\begin{enumerate}
\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep]
\item You like sandwiches.
\item You sometimes order out for lunch.
\item You prefer pork-based products early in the week.
@ -754,7 +766,7 @@ Which brings us to point \#2.
\subsection{You Can Alter the Source Code}
This is really the greatest thing about open source projects: if you find something you don't like, you can change it. For example, if I want to change something about Linux, I can head over to \href{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}{\texttt{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}} and either become a contributor or \textit{fork} the software and create my own version.
This is really the greatest thing about open source projects: if you find something you don't like, you can change it. For example, if I want to change something about Linux, I can head over to \href{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}{\texttt{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}} and become a contributor, or I can \textit{fork} the software and create my own version.
That's a huge advantage, because it is not something that you can do with either Windows or macOS. But it comes with a huge price tag: you have to know how to write code.
@ -764,11 +776,11 @@ That phrase---``write code''---covers a \textit{lot} of territory, because there
So yes, there is a price, but if you decide to pay it, it has the additional benefit of making you more knowledgeable than you were before. Learning to code anything, even something as simple and straightforward as basic \texttt{html}, requires that you think logically and systematically about what you want to achieve and that you develop a systematic way of solving problems. Because, yes, nothing ever just works the first time you use it (if I had a dollar for every error message I've ever received while using LaTeX, I could probably afford to take a year off of work) and a \textit{systematic} method for diagnosing and solving problems is a lot more efficient than just guessing.
\subsubsection{A side note:} An optional benefit if you learn to write some code is that you can---and should---learn a revision control system, which will keep track of your changes and let you go back to an earlier version if you \textit{really} screw something up, which you are bound to do at some point because really screwing something up is part of the learning process. I like and use \texttt{git}, which is included in the Ubuntu default repositories, but others such as \texttt{mercurial} and \texttt{bazaar} are also available. I like \texttt{git} because it's what I've worked with the longest and know fairly well, but that doesn't make it the best one; it's just the best one for me. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and the point is not to find the perfect one, but to find one that will meet your needs. Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
\subsubsection{A side note:} An optional benefit if you learn to write some code is that you can---and should---learn a revision control system, which will keep track of your changes and let you go back to an earlier version if you \textit{really} screw something up, which you are bound to do at some point because really screwing something up is part of the learning process. I like and use \texttt{git}, which is included in the Ubuntu default repositories, but others such as \texttt{mercurial} and \texttt{bazaar} are also available. I like \texttt{git} because it's what I've worked with the longest and know fairly well, but that doesn't make it the best one; it's just the best one for me. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and the point is not to find the perfect one,\footnote{The perfect one doesn't exist. The entire idea of perfection is one which has entered our culture through the door of religion, and it is an idea which we much abandon to regain our cultural sanity.} but to find one that will meet your needs. Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
\section{Containerization}
Thanks to the Unix Principle, a Linux-based operating system is not one big piece of software, but rather, consists of a number of smaller software packages that work together (more or less). That means that if you don't like the way something behaves and you can get it to do what you want it to do through its preferences, you can often replace it.
Thanks to the Unix Principle, a Linux-based operating system is not one big piece of software, but rather, it consists of a number of smaller software packages that work together (more or less). That means that if you don't like the way something behaves and you can't get it to do what you want it to do through its preferences, you can often replace it.
For example, I became unhappy with Nautilus, the default file manager in Ubuntu. (The file manager is what you see when you open a folder on the desktop.) There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it---it just lacked a lot of features that I wished it had. Sure, I could learn to code my own file manager, or I could attempt to contribute\footnote{Sometimes open source projects become so large that they are difficult to contribute to---the equivalent of banks being ``too big to fail''. Unless you are one of TPTB in the project, chances are you you won't be able to make the kinds of changes you want to. But I have enough experience with this (I'm looking at you, WordPress) for a longish article or a shortish book, and I don't want to spend too much time here discussing it. Just know that it's a thing that happens.} to the Ubuntu source code and get Nautilus to behave close to what I was envisioning, but I didn't need to because there was already a file manager available that did what I wanted---Nemo.
@ -786,7 +798,7 @@ gsettings set org.nemo.desktop show-desktop-icons true
\noindent{}What each line of this code does:
\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep]
\item Installs Nemo (the \texttt{-y} flag automatically answers ``yes'' to any questions you get)
\item Installs Nemo (the \texttt{-y} flag automatically answers ``yes'' to any questions \texttt{apt} sends your way)
\item Makes Nemo the default file manager in Ubuntu
\item Disables the handling of the desktop by Nautilus
\item Enables the handling of the desktop by Nautilus
@ -803,7 +815,7 @@ sudo apt autoremove
\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep]
\item Makes Nautilus the default again
\item Enable Nautilus to draw desktop icons
\item Enables Nautilus to draw desktop icons
\item Uninstalls Nemo
\item Removes any dependencies used only by Nemo
\end{enumerate}
@ -832,19 +844,19 @@ Yes, this is how computers ``think''.
\noindent{}Back in issue \#2 I wrote about what a complete and utter disaster Ubuntu 22.04 had been for me and for many other users. I'm pleased to say that most of those issues have now been taken care of through numerous updates. But it has definitely been an uphill climb that left me questioning my sanity at times.
Most notable is that I still have not been able to configure Python2 on Ubuntu 22.04.Which is \textit{not} a big deal really, as we all should have moved on to Python3 by now. (This is something that the powers that be at Python have acknowledged by deprecating Python2.) What I really needed Python2 for was PDF Booklet, which is what I use to turn all of these letter-half sized pdf documents into booklets that I can print and staple together.\footnote{What PDF Booklet does---and does well---is handle the page imposition. That is, it puts the pages in the order that you would get if you took the staples out of this zine and examined the pages---you'll note that the first sheet has pages 40 and 1 on one side and pages 2 and 39 on the other side. This pattern continues until you get to the last page which has pages 20 and 21 on one side and pages 22 and 19 on the other. Page imposition is not at all complicated, but it never fails to amaze me how many people simply can't wrap their minds around it until they see it in action. I was one of them, once.} I actually met the author of this package on SourceForge where it is hosted and he told me how to remove the Python2 dependencies, which I did. I figured out how to configure it as an installable (i.e., \texttt{deb}) package, but then I lost track of him on SourceForge and have no idea how to contribute to that project.
Most notable is that I still have not been able to configure Python2 on Ubuntu 22.04. Which is \textit{not} a big deal really, as we all should have moved on to Python3 by now. (This is something that the powers that be at Python have acknowledged by deprecating Python2.) What I really needed Python2 for was PDF Booklet, which is what I use to turn all of these letter-half sized pdf documents into booklets that I can print and staple together.\footnote{What PDF Booklet does---and does well---is handle the page imposition. That is, it puts the pages in the order that you would get if you took the staples out of this zine and examined the pages---you'll note that the first sheet has pages 40 and 1 on one side and pages 2 and 39 on the other side. This pattern continues until you get to the last page which has pages 20 and 21 on one side and pages 22 and 19 on the other. Page imposition is not at all complicated, but it never fails to amaze me how many people simply can't wrap their minds around it until they see it in action. I was one of them, once.} I actually met the author of this package on SourceForge where it is hosted and he told me how to remove the Python2 dependencies, which I did. I figured out how to configure it as an installable (i.e., \texttt{deb}) package, but then I lost track of him on SourceForge and have no idea how to contribute to that project.
\medskip
\noindent{}\textit{…slides out soapbox}
\noindent{}\textit{…slides out soapbox}
\medskip
I'm going to take this moment while I have your attention to say that I detest SourceForge will all my heart. It's ugly, it places ads first and foremost in your user experience, it's ugly, it has a confusing interface, it's ugly, it's slow and clunky, and on top of it all, it's also ugly. It's like something designed by an alien who can only see half the visible spectrum and all of the ultraviolet spectrum. And it's been like that \textit{forever}. Why is this thing still a thing.
I'm going to take this moment while I have your attention to say that I detest SourceForge will all my heart. It's ugly, it places ads first and foremost in your user experience, it's ugly, it has a confusing interface, it's ugly, it's slow and clunky, and on top of it all, it's also ugly. It's like something designed by an alien who can only see half the visible spectrum and all of the ultraviolet spectrum. And it's been like that \textit{forever}. Why is this thing still a thing?
\medskip
\noindent{}\textit{…slides soapbox back under the sofa…takes meds}
\noindent{}\textit{…slides soapbox back under the sofa…takes meds}
\medskip
Anyway, because I could figure out how to get this on SourceForge, I just dropped it into my own personal git server at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/pdf-booklet}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle\\/pdf-booklet}}. Enjoy.
Anyway, because I couldn't figure out how to get this on SourceForge, I just dropped it into my own personal git server at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/pdf-booklet}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle\\/pdf-booklet}}. Enjoy.
As I write this, the release of Ubuntu 24.04 is less than a year away. Unlike the release of Ubuntu 22.04, I am not in the least bit excited. And I will \textbf{not} be upgrading immediately, if at all. (Ubuntu 22.04 has ten years of security releases,\footnote{See \href{https://ubuntu.com/about/release-cycle}{\texttt{https://ubuntu.com/about/release-cycle}} for more information.} so I will be good for a while.)
@ -970,7 +982,7 @@ Mischief managed!
\section{What I learned About \LaTeX{} While Creating Something Else}
For reasons I don't understand I went down an internet rabbit hole reading about the book \textit{Flatland}, by Edwin A. Abbott. This is a book I had purchased years ago in my youth (thank you, Dover Thrift Editions!) but had never gotten around to reading. I found a copy in \LaTeX{} at \href{https://github.com/Ivesvdf/flatland}{\texttt{https://github.com/Ivesvdf/flatland}}. It was old---twelve years old, in fact---and it was set up as a single-sided A4 document. If you've been following this journey this far, you know that I'm pretty fond of booklets, and that I'm in North America, so everything has to be lettersize paper.\footnote{As an American citizen, I am bound by the U.S. Constitution to both completely disavow the metric system and be utterly confused by it, and to decry it as terribly confusing despite the fact that is based on the number 10. I do believe it is our sworn duty to vehemently oppose anything which makes sense and also makes life better, such as universal health care. I don't know, something about eagles and gravy and guns.}
For reasons I don't understand I went down an internet rabbit hole reading about the book \textit{Flatland}, by Edwin A. Abbott. This is a book I had purchased years ago in my youth (thank you, Dover Thrift Editions!) but had never gotten around to reading. I found a copy in \LaTeX{} at \href{https://github.com/Ivesvdf/flatland}{\texttt{https://github.com/Ivesvdf/flatland}}. It was old---twelve years old, in fact---and it was set up as a single-sided A4 document. If you've been following this journey this far, you know that I'm pretty fond of booklets, and that I'm in North America, so everything has to be lettersize paper.\footnote{As an American citizen, I am bound by the U.S. Constitution to both completely disavow the metric system and be utterly confused by it, and to decry it as terribly confusing despite the fact that is based on dividing and multiplying by the number 10. This is part of our constitutional duty to vehemently oppose anything which makes sense and also makes life better, such as universal health care. I don't know, something about eagles and gravy and guns.}
So I downloaded it, and decided to play around with it to see how much I could make it look like an actual book. My original purpose for starting this zine was to learn how to typeset things in \LaTeX{}, but it can be limiting since I've already figured out the format. Since I learn best from projects, another project was in order. This one fell into my lap at the perfect time.
@ -999,7 +1011,7 @@ As it turns out, you make the text an optional argument to the \verb|\part| comm
\makeatother
\end{verbatim}
\texttt{makeatletter} changes the \texttt{@} to letter category code so that the current document has access to package internal macros. \texttt{makeatother} changes it back to a letter so you can use it in your document.\footnote{This gets into the internal workings of LaTeX and so is far beyond the scope of this zine. However, there is some good information at \href{https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/8351/what-do-makeatletter-and-makeatother-do}{\texttt{https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/8351/what-do-makeatletter-and-makeatother-do}} and at \href{https://www.tug.org/pipermail/tugindia/2002-January/000178.html}{\texttt{https://www.tug.org/pipermail/tugindi \\ a/2002-January/000178.html}} if you are interested. A complete list of category codes can be found at \href{https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/TeX/catcode}{\texttt{https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/TeX/catcode}}}
\texttt{makeatletter} changes the \texttt{@} to the ``letter'' category code so that the current document has access to package internal macros. \texttt{makeatother} changes it back to a letter so you can use it in your document.\footnote{This gets into the internal workings of LaTeX and so is far beyond the scope of this zine. However, there is some good information at \href{https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/8351/what-do-makeatletter-and-makeatother-do}{\texttt{https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/8351/what-do-makeatletter-and-makeatother-do}} and at \href{https://www.tug.org/pipermail/tugindia/2002-January/000178.html}{\texttt{https://www.tug.org/pipermail/tugindi \\ a/2002-January/000178.html}} if you are interested. A complete list of category codes can be found at \href{https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/TeX/catcode}{\texttt{https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/TeX/catcode}}}
\verb|\let\old@endpart\@endpart| says ``take the old value for \texttt{endpart} (which is part of the \texttt{part} function) and give it this new value that I'm about to describe''.
@ -1050,6 +1062,6 @@ somewhere \textit{after} the start of the page.
\item If you want to add a degree symbol to inline text, the simplest way I've found (so far) is to just pop in and out of math mode with this: \verb|$^{\circ}$| which gives you this: $^{\circ}$
\end{itemize}
\paragraph{I almost forgot to add:} If you are interested in seeing this project, you can view it and download it at \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/Flatland}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/Flatland}}.
\paragraph{I almost forgot to add:} If you are interested in seeing this project, you can view it at and download it from \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/Flatland}{\texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/Flatland}}.
\end{document}
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