Geek stuff

Settling in …

Logic Matters seems to be settling comfortably into its new home with a different hosting company, though a fair bit remains to be done.

  • For a start, pages now load much faster (mostly, within a second or two). The laggardly behaviour on Bluehost was an annoyance, a major reason for moving in the first place, so it is good that Siteground is indeed considerably snappier.
  • The new Astra theme is, as they say, “responsive” (meaning that it knows whether you are on a computer, tablet or mobile, and makes visual adjustments accordingly).
  • To help keep pages loading fast, I have kept things simple (with e.g. a minimal number of plugins.).  And I’m really pretty happy with the understated look’n’feel of Logic Matters on a tablet or mobile. After all, this is basically a wordy text-based site, so visual drama seems inappropriate. On a desktop, if you open a big window then you do get a really boring expanse of grey around the content areas. But replacing that with even a very low-key abstract background gives a surprisingly distracting effect; so I’m inclined to keep things as plain as they are. So I hope people like the simple layout (though I’m certainly open to suggestions for fine-tuning the design).
  • The content of the footer area on tablet/computer pages is a bit unimaginative: but I’m not sure what would be more interesting/useful (again I’m open to suggestions).
  • The blog is now 15 years old (I missed its birthday), but I’m for the moment keeping all the legacy posts online, if only because they are the nearest I have to a diary of recent years. A link-checker tells me that a lot of old links within the blog no longer work but I’m not going to worry about that. I might set up a page, however, linking to past blog highlights (i.e. linking to posts which are mini-essays of one kind or another that might have more than ephemeral interest).
  • One bit of functionality I still need to restore is being able to sign up to notifications of posts. It’s on my to-do list.
  • Meanwhile, I’m rather slowly and sporadically checking/reworking the other, static, pages. In particular, the much-visited LaTeX pages are more than overdue for a bit of attention: but don’t hold your breath — updating these and some other pages always seems to take an inordinate amount of time (if only because web-searches for relevant materials take me off down distracting byways).

I’m glad I made the hosting change and updated to a modern WordPress theme. It’s been a bit of a palaver, because of course you always underestimate the amount of fiddly work involved in this sort of thing. But it’s been worth it, and we’re getting there …

LaTeX for Logicians — a new look (and time for new content?)

Here are the new-look pages for LaTeX for Logicians.

The LaTeX for Logicians front page got over 35K visits last year, with some of the other individual pages getting 15K visits. So these pages are evidently still being found useful. I haven’t updated some of them  for well over two years, and I am certain to have missed some more recently added LaTeX resources that will be of interest to users of these pages.

So this is your moment: as I update these pages, do please let me know what’s missing!

A LaTeX indexing trick

Oh, the joys of indexing … Though using the LaTeX indexing tools reduces the pain a bit. Encountered one problem, however:

Suppose you mention Aristotle (as you do) at the top of p. 40. And then you discuss a quite different point from Aristotle e.g. from the bottom of p. 41 over to page 43. Then you surely want the index entry to read

Aristotle, 40, 41–43

So you put \index{Aristotle} in your text around the top p. 40, and then mark the start of the page range with \index{Aristotle|(} near the bottom of p. 41 and finish the range with \index{Aristotle|)}. Only to find to your annoyance that Makeindex produces

Aristotle, 40–43

Drat! What to do?

As I discovered from tex.stackexchange, the thing to do is to use the imakeidx package, and so your preamble has

\usepackage{imakeidx}
\makeindex[options=-r]

The option suppresses adjacent page numbers for an index heading being crunched into a page range, so that page ranges are given only in response to explicit codings for ranges using \index{headword|(} and \index{headword|)}.

Maybe everyone except me knew that! — but I will add a note for posterity to LaTeX for Logicians.

Email notifications

I’ve made some minor under-the-bonnet changes to this site, hopefully not breaking anything in the progress by updating the PHP engine and so forth. An aesthetic upgrade will have to wait till I’m yet older and greyer.

One very small addition: in the side bar, you can sign up to get  email notifications when there are new posts or new pages. A bit old-fashioned, I know: but a few may find this handy. (You can unsubscribe again from the foot of any email you later receive from server.)

Duet display again

IMG_1772cropped

I’m relatively minimalist about techie stuff these days, and am mostly a late-adopter or never-adopter. But let me share a warm recommendation for something I have recently (re)-adopted, which actually does make work-life better. Yes, really! It will be no news at all to the more computer savvy: but this post is for the rest of us.

In fact, I first posted about using an iPad as an external monitor three years ago. However, I rather fell out of love with Duet Display when various changes with the Apple OS caused issues and when I also had a long undiagnosed cable/connection issue (I thought I had trouble with my MacBook ports, but as it happened it was two dodgy cables). But the developers have sorted the Mojave issues, I have sorted my cable issues, and Duet Display and my laptop are best friends again. So, by way of a public service announcement, let me spread the very good news once more (below the line, if you want to read on).

LaTeX for Logicians updated

Setting aside the other logic-related things I really ought to be doing, I’ve just been going in for a bit of constructive procrastination, systematically checking through the LaTeX for Logicians pages for the first time in almost three years. There’s some very minor re-arrangement, some renewing of broken links, and just a few new links.

As I’ve said before, whatever one’s issues and reservations about LaTeX for more general use, it is still surely quite invaluable for logicians. The LaTeX for Logicians pages continue to be heavily visited; so do please let me know how these pages can be improved, what new LaTeX packages of use to logicians that I have missed, etc.

Nerdy annoyance

Lost a number of hours, too many, on a mysterious LaTeX problem. It turns out that fitch.sty (useful for setting Fitch-style proofs) loads a package mdwtab.sty which isn’t fully compatible with the standard tabular environment (useful for setting truth-tables). So when I added  fitch.sty to the preamble to the book source, a few truth-tables mysteriously lost horizontal lines. Took me longer than it should have done to find the culprit. Warning, and a solution, now added to the page on natural deduction packages in LaTeX for Logicians.

Right: back to thinking a bit about how I want to handle empty domains later …

Setting tableaux using prooftrees.sty

[Updated] The first edition of IFL was typeset using FrameMaker (long since defunct on a Mac), so I’m having to LaTeX the second edition from scratch. I’m using Clea Rees’s fairly new package prooftrees.sty for downward-branching tableaux, a.k.a. truth-trees, since this seems to give the right level of control over trees, allows line numbering and line comments, and beats other options by some way.

I have therefore added a link on the LaTeX for Logicians page on tree proofs to a document on setting tableaux using this package [New version 12 Feb] This contains some initial notes on using the package and also gives a few examples.

I’d be very happy to hear about any tips and tricks for this package from other users that could also be shared at LaTeX for Logicians. (And of course, all other suggestions and  corrections for L4L are always welcome!)

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