The computer geeks / mathematicians rant thread

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by ClaireTalon, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. ClaireTalon

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    I absolutely hate it if things are being imposed on me. I've spent over 20 years in the military, but this urge remains with me, and now it has been roused again.

    Let me explain a bit. So far, if I wrote official papers, it was completely free to me what word processor I use to type them. I could have handed in typewriter pages, if I had wanted, but I was using the standard Microsoft Word, the 2002 version, and a little add-in called MathType for formula print. And now I'm holding an official internal communiqué which says that due to reasons of standardizing the electronic archive, all documents now have to be handed in in the format of the scientific tex-file format.

    To those who don't know, this means I will now have to buy the (in my eyes) most unhandy piece of word processing software on earth, Latex. I have taken an attempt to write with that two years ago, and was close to throwing my computer to the floor and stomping it with 3" chunky-heel biker boots. Have you ever tried to write not a letter, but to program your computer to write a letter? That you have to learn an own manual of keywords and codes to make your computer tell the printer where to set the ink dots? And at the same actually think about what you're writing?

    I'm wondering right now which computer freak had that idea. What makes Word a worse program, can't files with that format be archived just as good? Sometimes I think all computer specialists should take at least one year of their college studies in a subject called "The Real World" (aka "beyond the power supply"), where they are taught that not everybody has the time to spend five hours tampering with source codes before he can use a program, or learn manuals of code words before.

    Or maybe I'll apply for a secretary. Someone has to do the head work, others do the handcraft.

    Arrrggghhhhh!!!!

    Who has similar experiences? Feel free to rant about them here!
     
  2. Shelby

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    At first I thought maybe you were pulling our legs. I mean c'mon, Latex?

    Anyway I looked around and it looks like there's a program called LyX under getting started on the link that might help.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    Concur about the frustrations of employers' seeming random choices of preferred software.

    My employer forced us to go through:

    DOS to Win 3.1 to OS/2 (and we were told we'd never need to learn a new operating system again) to Win95 to Win NT to UNIX and then back to Win XP and now to Linux. We also went from WordStar to WordPerfect to Word. We went from Lotus123 to Quattro Pro and then to Excel. We went from one database software package to another...

    sigh
     
  4. headbang8

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    Nowadays, surely it shouldn't matter. They all read each other, no?

    I am currently struggling with Lotus Notes. Now THERE'S a programme out of the ark.

    I was told that I hjad to delete my copious volume of work on the server because (get this) if it got any bigger, they'd need to use two backup tapes every week instead of one. I told them that I was actually so productive that I needed the space. They said that didn't matter. So I decided to goof off three days a week so I'd be under the limit.
     
  5. JustAsking

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    Claire,
    There is a kind of religious war in the computer geek world where a big group of revolutionary programmers see Microsoft as the Evil Empire. For them, the one true path is Open Source software, which includes all the Unix derivatives and the sorry applications that run on it.

    There is even an extremist faction that feels that all software should be written by volunteers for free and put into the public domain in a form that others can easily take it and enhance it for themselves. Here is one of their rebel outposts.

    This is why you will see a glazed eyed IT person in some companies or especially in academia, standing in front of you trying to use the Jedi Mind trick to convince you that something like LaTEX is way better than the evil MSWord. If they had their way, they would love to get back to the days of teletype input and paper tape, when men were men and geeks were geeks.

    To be fair, at times sometimes some very excellent stuff comes out of this wierd cultish world, but it usually fails to get packaged and commercialized very well so only geeks are actually able to use it.

    In my last company there was a faction there that was pretty fierce. They were still using some text-oriented browser that did not show the graphics of a website as well as some text-only oriented email client. Sometimes they would harass me for sending them html email, so I got in the habit of sending them printed copies in inter-office mail. Most of this stuff is an astonishing waste of time.

    Anyway, I forgot to say that I am very sorry this is happening to you, and I completely understand how assinine that edict is, how much time it will cost you and us taxpayers. As my son would say in Internet-speak: Sux2bu. (That seems to be usually offered in sympathy, not in sarcasm).

    You deserve far better than Unix applications from the days of teletypes.
     
  6. JustAsking

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    Beyond the Power Supply - priceless. thanks for that.
     
  7. bigdalten

    bigdalten New Member

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    I at one time wrote a lot by hand, then on the typewriter. In the 60s I programmed a lot using main frame computers and punch cards. Based on IBMs poor support and diagnostics, I swore to never use computers and develop any more software ever. I didn't touch a computer from 1970 until about 1982 and then I had to use computer terminals attached to minicomputers.

    I worked in one place which made us use WordPerfect for everything while I was personally writing in WordStar which I preferred. Microsoft kept creeping in with Word, a piss poor excuse for a word processor in the early days with (and it still has) poor punctuation and grammar. The first two are and remain superior. All of these make you have to think too much in formatting even though all are powerful.

    Back in the 1980s, I programmed a lot on super computers and we used simple text processors without the fancy formatting. They were and are simple and do not make you think other than what you are writing.

    My thought now is that computers, Windows, and Microsoft have become a burden to us and fill our brains with too much garbage, too much information, and too many opportunities to waste our time. I believe the computer software developers have us guys by the balls and you girls by the tits and are strangling us. As you say, they need real world experience before they should be allowed to develop software. They should also have to take some good good English grammar courses and learn how to spell and punctuate. They should have to take some logic reasoning aptitude tests also so the software would be more intuitive.

    I agree with all you have said. Thank you for starting this thread.
     
  8. ClaireTalon

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    I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Actually, instead of doing some real work, yesterday I researched a bit in LaTex and found out it's actually used by a number of institutes, organizations and companies, yet there are more academic institutions than profit-oriented companies out there. And tonight I took a detour to the bookstore to buy a manual, or something like that, and spent FUCKING $ 50 for one. It's resting here beside me. Do I know now how to type something? Forget it.

    I made my way through college on an electric typewriter. I have no problem with a limited choice of options for text formatting, but I damn want to SEE what I type on the paper, and I don't want to have to write 20 lines of programming code before I can start a project, just to find then that I chose the wrong page style. and all the text is crammed into the neat center of the paper.

    By the way, headbang, yes: All usual word processors read each other. The problem is that LaTex is so warped, you can use the Windows Editor to write for it, and then you have to pull the generated *.TEX-File through a DOS-operated compiler to turn the code file into a DVI-, PS or PDF output file. So much for compatibility.

    The problem why I can't evade this matter by handing in printed documents, for example, is that all documents HAVE to be prepared also in an electronic form. Nobody could tell me then why LaTex has been favored, but I guess someone from the Jedi Empire of free software screwheads has gotten into a position of power and is now abusing his office for an evil revenge campaign against Microsoft, Lotus and all the other makers of intuitive software.
     
  9. JustAsking

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    Claire,
    It really smacks of software religious dogma. A PDF file would be a far better choice for satisfying the electronic copy requirement. A PDF file would be the most agnostic to the software used to create the file and would not require 300,000 government employees to have to go out and buy a $50 manual and take a course in markup language.

    Anyway, I found this product, Word2Tex that converts Word docs to LaTEX. The site says it supports the equation editor stuff as well. I don't have any experience with it, but it seems to have a following. There are a number of converters out there, judging by what Google comes up with for MSWord LaTEX converter.
     
  10. matthi

    matthi Well-Known Member

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    on the plus side, at least you won't have to buy it! :)
     
  11. ClaireTalon

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    I'm no longer in government service, but still there would be more than enough people who'd have to buy manuals. And that the actual software is free is just little consolation. I talked to my intern, who seems to be quite fond of this piece of software, and he warped completely and raved about it just seeming so complicated at the beginning, but after some months of regular work it will be more easy than word and on and on and on he went. I am quite sure I'll not learn that.

    I took at look at the converter, and I have to thank you. This is exactly what I need. The samples show that the equation stuff is supported, and I guess $ 99 won't be too much. I'll file it for expenses, and if someone tries to give me a shit, I'll forward him to the EDP/IT crooks.
     
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