Monday, September 26, 2005

bug sex

Grasshoppers are dirty too. AND IN PUBLIC!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

emacs and AUCTeX

Warning: I'm a nerd. Also, I don't want to start a holy war about Emacs vs VI. They're both good, I had my reason for learning Emacs first, so shaddup.

So today I opened up my trusty text editor to do some work, but to my dismay it crashed! Funny thing is it worked before I installed the latest Mac OS X security update.

This made me really angry since I just recently figured out how to get AUCTeX properly working with Emacs on my computer. It turns out there was a problem with me having some certain utils in /sw/bin... I'll discuss the fix later. (For those of you who don't know, AUCTeX is the greatest thing imagineable for Emacs based LaTeX editing). Pissed off, I tried reinstalling Emacs from the binary I made last week, but that TOO crashed! Steamrolling, I retreived the source and built it again from scratch. This gave me an opportunity to upgrade to the latest CVS build, although slowly, and I had a meal while it compiled.

I had trouble remembering how to get AUCTeX to install with the OS X binary I built, but once I figured it out I was very pleased -- the preview-latex package works now! I can preview my equations and figures right inside the text editor! This is naturally as close as I want to get to WYSIWYG.

Anyway, I'm going to post my steps here so I can do this much more quickly next time -- that and for the people who want it.

0. Set up global environment variables
This step is confusing. The emacs binary won't adapt AUCTeX properly unless the global environment knows where a few needed tools are. If you're a FINK user (like me), these utilities are in a nonstandard place: /sw/bin.

[sid@lappy] ~% mkdir .MacOSX
[sid@lappy] ~% cat<<EOF > environment.plist
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist
SYSTEM "file://localhost/System/Library/DTDs/PropertyList.dtd">
<plist version="0.9">
[sid@lappy] ~%

1. Get Emacs and build it

[sid@lappy] ~% cvs -z3 co emacs
[sid@lappy] ~% cd ./emacs/mac
[sid@lappy] ~% ./make-package --self-contained
[sid@lappy] ~% open ./EmacsInstaller.dmg

Then run the installer.

2. Get and configure auctex.

[sid@lappy] ~% wget
[sid@lappy] ~% tar xzf auctex-11.81.tar.gz
[sid@lappy] ~% cd auctex-11.81
[sid@lappy] ~% ./configure
[sid@lappy] ~% make
[sid@lappy] ~% sudo make install

3. Append .emacs file to use AUCTeX and preview-latex

(setenv "PATH" (concat "/sw/bin;" (getenv "PATH")))
(require 'tex-site)
(load "preview-latex.el" nil t t)

4. Launch Emacs, and enjoy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I got my housing deposit refund check today from the evil empire, and it had only one deduction on it: $75 for contract cleaning.

I called them up:
Me: WTF?
SB: Hang on, let me check.
Me: * whistles to pass the 5 minutes on hold *
SB: Apparently we had to call in the cleaners.
Me: Are you kidding? I was told it was perfect when I moved out.
SB: Yeah, the person who moved you out is here... she agrees. We'll cut you another check.
Me: Good. *click*

For the unix people:

[sstamm@world]% /usr/bin/smite --user=asbp
--refuse-deductions --with-bitchslap
> extracting funds ... 100% complete
> moving ~sstamm from /apts/asbp to /apts/ods
> creating /pub/
> slapping /apts/asbp/
> smiting complete!

good? press

Well I was mentioned on the first page of the IDS today! Apparently I was on the radio too, though I haven't heard that yet.

The IDS Article (Warning: there's a severe edit problem near the end of the article -- don't be confused)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

votes are in

The votes are in (what votes?) ... readers say I should blog more. Well, the last two weeks have been incredibly crazy. Here are the highlights from today:

  • My landlord installed a dishwasher for me

  • I met some people interested in my research, who seem to want to give me money

  • I solved an interesting mystery revolving around spyware, trojans, and porn sites

  • No, that mystery doesn't involve my computer or browsing habits

  • I got interviewed for the newspaper and the radio

  • I have yet MORE projects to work on

More to follow.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

hole digging

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to spend hours in the sandbox digging "a hole to China." I always wondered how that would work, when you poked your head out would you be hanging down out of the hole or up? Where would up switch to down, etc?

Well, lucky for us, now we can find out EXACTLY where we would pop out if we dug a hole through the center of the earth. (Link)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

mac phidgets drivers

Wow. These new Mac OS X phidget drivers are pretty nice. They're only in Beta, and they have pretty much all the functionality of the original Windows drivers. "You Rock!" to all those nice people at This is a huge improvement over the drivers I hacked together last year! Granted, now I know how to write USB drivers (shudder). Kudos to Chris for bringing these to my attention.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

a sigh of relief

I passed my qualifier exam -- there's proof that I can pump amongst other things... Thank god, it only took me two years. Now I can relax a bit and jump through the next hoop.