Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review: LyX and viXra

Been busy the last few days between work learning about LaTeX. Widely used by the academic and research community to write up high quality documents, scientific papers, books etc and especially useful for writting out mathematical formulae with their many special formatting requirements. The text it produces is beautiful.

I tested out LyX, which is a free Windows based Graphical User Interface (GUI) document processor for LaTeX and automatically will download MiKTeX during installation which is also required for your computer. Seems to work very well on my small laptop. Once you write up your document, you can preview it with Lyx's DVI previewer. Once you're happy with it, export the document in Adobe PDF format and you're done. LaTeX has many formatting tags if you look at the source code and although Lyx has also many GUI buttons, it's useful to sometimes type in the code by hand. There's also an excellent beginer's guide to LaTeX which I found handy called A Gentle Introduction to TEX. Great thing is, MiKTeX and LyX are both free for download! Google Documents also have the ability to insert equations and their online chart rendering feature has LaTeX command options (see links for the following):

 A few days ago I also found out about the new e-print archive. Unlike, this is open to anyone who wants to publish a paper and you don't need a "sponsor" (which is required by arXiv). This is great for people who aren't affililated with a research institution, university etc or can't find someone to endorse their paper. There are many Physics papers out there that are highly speculative and many academics aren't willing to be affiliated with a paper that at first appearances could be junk. The only problem is this doesn't help scientific progress. Their Why page explains all this in more detail. Because this is open to anyone, many junk papers will be found there however there are some interesting ones as well worth a read, all in all think viXra is a great idea. Worth keeping an eye on.

Attached photos: Students practicing survival at sea skills, liferaft deployment etc at the Qantas training pool, Sydney Airport.

No comments:

Post a Comment