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Thesis Update

Not that much done this weekend but I did write up a paragraph on the acquisition of mechanical equipment, which was inserted into the Bougainville chapter. This is not unusual; lots of little snippets are inserted in odd places where they won't interrupt the narrative. The overall effect is that the thesis seems to casully wander off on tangents all the time, exploring various minor subjects. In reality, these digressions are far from casual. Also edited the chapter on the bases to remove stuff related to off-topic 1942, thereby saving 1,000 words.

Apart from completing the remaining two chapters, the big task remaining is to join the documents to gather to form one large document. This is so that the page numbers will increase from chapter to chapter rather than restarting with each chapter. The documents remain physically separate; it is just a use of the subdocument feature. This was commenced, with the first nine chapters bound into the over-arching thesis document. Unfortunately, nothing so far gives me great faith in MS Word's ability to handle a document this large, with lots of formatting problems.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kerravonsen
5th Mar, 2006 23:25 (UTC)
Unfortunately, nothing so far gives me great faith in MS Word's ability to handle a document this large, with lots of formatting problems.

Nothing I have ever heard gives me any faith in MS-Word's ability to handle large documents such as thesises (what is the plural of thesis?). So much so that I'm muttering under my breath "Why oh why is he using MS-Word? Does he want to lose his thesis in a crash? Why isn't he using LaTeX? I thought that was standard in academia?"
hawkeye7
6th Mar, 2006 21:20 (UTC)
At UNSW, LaTex is mandated only by the Mathematics Department. I understand that many universities are mandating it for theses (note correct plural) on the grounds that submissions are now required in PDF form for the online digital thesis program. This is insane, as I can create a PDF document easily enough many ways without LaTex but have no idea how to get LaTex to create one.

(I might add at this point that Adobe Acrobat does not work on this machine and Adobe have no plans to fix it.)

My experience with LaTex goes back a long way. You used to have to mark the documents up by hand, similar to editing HTML documents with Vi. Actually, this was still the case when I looked at it before I commenced writing the thesis. This was not good enough. I needed WYSIWYG support. I needed to know, in large documents, precisely what is on what page. This is needed later, when individual pages are corrected and reprinted rather than the entire document. Actually, MiKTeX and WinEdt are on this machine but I never found any use for them.

In a related subject, my old editor does not work on Win64 :( So I now need a new editor. I've tried several and not one has worked properly so far. I even gave EditPlus a test drive but it annoyed me too much. All I want in a GUI text editor is the ability to set the colours of the keywords etc the way I want them. Note that this is far beyond the capabilities of products like emacs. I looks like I am going to have to spring for a commercial product.
hawkeye7
6th Mar, 2006 21:37 (UTC)
Update: Actually, I can create PDF documents with LaTex, so this might be the way to work it - using PDF to see what is going on.
kerravonsen
6th Mar, 2006 23:17 (UTC)
Yes, I was surprised that you couldn't. I know of at least two ways of making PDF documents from LaTeX; one way is to get it all the way to Postscript form, and use ps2pdf, and another way is to use pdflatex, which is more direct, may give better results, but doesn't always work.

I assume that you need to know the page numbers when discussing things with, say, your supervisor, to refer to pages -- and/or knowing how many pages each chapter/section takes up?
hawkeye7
7th Mar, 2006 07:59 (UTC)
I assume that you need to know the page numbers when discussing things with, say, your supervisor, to refer to pages -- and/or knowing how many pages each chapter/section takes up?
No, my supervisor works only from hard copies. My problem is editing and producing hard copies without having to re-print the lot -- hundreds of pages.

Measurement of the thesis is entirely in words. I'm not sure how you count the words in a LaTex files. Obviously, you don't want to count tags or footnote text. I presume a third party tool is in order.
kerravonsen
6th Mar, 2006 23:21 (UTC)
All I want in a GUI text editor is the ability to set the colours of the keywords etc the way I want them. Note that this is far beyond the capabilities of products like emacs.

It is? I thought you could do syntax highlighting in emacs. You certainly can in vim/gvim.

You might want to check out Cream http://cream.sourceforge.net/ which is a variation on (g)vim which is supposed to be easier to use.
hawkeye7
7th Mar, 2006 08:19 (UTC)
I thought you could do syntax highlighting in emacs. You certainly can in vim/gvim.
Allegedly. I'm not going to argue with the emacs peoples' claims that emacs can do everything, if you're just willing to write a lot of Lisp. None of them have actually done it however so you are entitled to be skeptical.

I want a LOT more than just syntax checking. I want to set my own colours. I want to add my own languages.

kerravonsen
7th Mar, 2006 08:25 (UTC)
I want a LOT more than just syntax checking. I want to set my own colours. I want to add my own languages.

I suspect that most commercial products won't do that easily either.

I know that you can both set your own colours and add your own languages for Vim syntax highlighting, but of course there is a learning curve for the format of the syntax definition files. But that would be the case for any editor powerful enough to have user-configurable syntax stuff.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )