2009-10-27

A case for LaTeX against WYSIWYG

Nobody would argue that Word, WordPad and OpenOffice writer are easy to use tools that quickly produce output. In comparison with LaTeX even more so!

However, often hidden information is transported in files of aforementioned editors like the username, date of creation, even version histories with previous edits. With LaTeX you really see and permanently work on the (hopefully) only input to the tools that then actually produce the pdf or other output format. Thus it eliminates hidden information in your own documents. Last week a professor recommended copy and pasting the text into a new WordFile before submission - what an utmost ugly solution, and ineffective with for instance usernames and "white font" text etc.

Another thing that I just recognized is that LaTeX sources might enable an easier semantic search on text documents. Like in programming you abstract when you write documents. I just finished some document where I used the dialogue package to state that this part of the document forms a dialog between persons, but not just by formatting it like:

A: lorem ipsum
B: ipsum lorem
C: A habla lorem ipsum

but:
\begin{dialogue}
\speak{A} lorem ipsum
\speak{B} ipsum lorem
\speak{C} \refer{A} habla lorem ipsum
\end{dialogue}

This has the advantage that a software can automatically deduct that a dialog is actually going on and which persons are speaking, etc; in contrast to the first part where it is only deductable that some colon was used.

Of course the dialogue package only uses this info for formatting reasons. But imagine searching semantically for dialogues where Socrates has some say and getting better results through such a technique. Of course some tasks would be harder in WYSIWYG editors.
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2009-10-25

Video Surveillance

With all the growing video surveillance in the cities and everywhere else, one has to wonder which spots are actually free as in freedom? Also of interest, how are the videos retained and who has access to the tapes?

If there isn't one yet, one should create a database with the cameras and overviewed places.
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