Things I’ve learned over the past 24 hours

  • I used to think sweat bands were silly, but if you spend all day typing on a laptop, they’re really comfortable!
  • Eating ramen noodles with two plastic spoons is a pursuit best avoided (though it was nice of the girl at the Students Union to give me the spoons).
  • When submitting a paper to a journal, it’s wise to reference a few other papers from that same journal.
  • If you have a choice (which I don’t), LaTeX likes .pdf files much better than .eps (for the record, pdflatex won’t compile them — you need to use TeX + Ghostscript).
  • If you do end up using .eps files in LaTeX and you’re creating them with Adobe Illustrator, save them as legacy files — LaTeX can’t handle anything newer than Illustrator 8.
  • Ditto be careful when saving image files to use with IDL. .eps = fail.
  • It’s always a good idea to read the “Instructions for Authors”.
  • Make sure you’re printing the correct damn document!
  • It really helps your concentration to get out of the office for an occasional half hour break.
  • It’s surprising how you can actually get used to carrying half a tree’s worth of citations around with you.
  • Don’t use astronomy-style citations when you’re writing a chemistry paper. You end up making work for yourself. Irritatingly, styles vary.
  • Creating figures can be a pain in the ass.
  • I really fancy an ice cold beer about now…

In other news, a book I requested from the library is taking a little longer to show up than I was expecting. I didn’t realise until this afternoon that there’s a good reason for that — it’s kept at the Ningbo campus in China! Oops. Ah well, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait!

That is all.
Now, I’m off to back up some files and send some e-mails…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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7 Responses to Things I’ve learned over the past 24 hours

  1. invaderxan says:

    Oh! I forgot to mention — the LaTeX Wikibook is really good. Helpful for everyone, from beginners to experts. If you have any questions or problems, you’ll probably find the solution in there somewhere…

  2. invaderxan says:

    Certainly feels like a marathon. Actually, it hasn’t been submitted yet. My supervisor’s checking it over, in case there are any changes to be made — though the first draft, so I’m told, is always the hardest part.
    If I manage to save you any trouble, I’m glad — us postgrads have to help each other! :)
    It’s always been the most irritating part of LaTeX that if you don’t know something, you have to go and find it out yourself…

  3. invaderxan says:

    It’s well worth doing man. Equations and things just look professionally done in LaTeX. :)

  4. pax_athena says:

    Ouch, that sounds like a real paper-writing marathon. But you know – posting that you might have saved me a lot of trouble XD And it sounds like the thing is finally submitted, isn’t it?
    And the part with LaTeX accepting or not accepting .pdf or .(e)ps files is always one major fail :/ At some point I’ve spent an afternoon trying to find out what is wrong with my LaTeX that it stopped accepting files, just to find out that I should not use .ps with pdflatex!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I should really learn LaTeX at some point. Good luck!

  6. invaderxan says:

    I figured it would be a good idea to write them down somewhere!

  7. I think your post is VERY informative. :) More to the point, chalk full of good lessons to know.

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