Monday, June 30, 2008

The return of the prodigal son, Day 3, 4, 5, and 6

Fighting off distraction is a very tough job... and I realized how easy it gets to just start typing (esp now FF and IE have auto-complete) and start time-killing...

Another tough part is setting up the machines correctly: I remember when I was first starting the thesis writing I started using a combination of Eclipse and TexLipse plugin.  It ran fine on Linux but on Windows I needed to use MikTex and then all hell broke lose.  Because McGill thesis template requires several external packages, it took me several days to find those packages on some obscure, configure them, and make MikTex produce a correct DVI of the thesis sample.

I remembered when I first came to Seattle and attempted to work on the thesis.  MikTex just had a new version (2.6) but my laptop had an older version and I had tons of troubles using 2.6 to keep working, I had to literally mirrored the whole file system from my laptop to one of the desktop machine so I can work using the desktop as well?

The main reason I didn't want to use the laptop to write was also because Eclipse 3.2 was taking so much memories and it took forever to generate a DVI layout, and I needed to terminate every essential service manually so the system wouldn't crash.

So as I am "rebooting" my effort, I decide to go back to the good old Emacs and MikTex.   To my surprise, MikTex 2.7 has this very neat feature that download missing packages on-the-fly!  So as I ran 'latex mythesis.tex' command, it automatically downloaded the packages that I so painstakingly tried to configure before!

I also go back to Emacs as the primary editor... not that I don't like TexLipse... but my 7 years with Emacs tells me that it's by far the best editor available - no I will rather die than to use Notepad...

So after a few emacs tweaking, I re-acquaint Emacs again back to my college days!

Now I can start working!

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