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From Readers

 

Jim Hefferons's article CTAN for Starters is a useful and clear introduction to CTAN and I am impressed by what is now possible.

David L. Elliott
Institute for Systems Research
University of Maryland
USA

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David Allen's Screen presentations looks like a useful package. I would say you are doing the world a great favor by providing an alternative [to MS PowerPoint] that smart people will be proud to use in front of other smart people. You are giving the world a great tool!

Charles L. Hethcoat III
Space Shuttle Cargo Integration
Houston, TX USA

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I just browsed the PracTeX online journal and read Dave Walden's article Travels in TeX Land, and yes, I wish someone had clued me in to how to do some of these modifications years before I eventually found them by skimming through many LaTeX books. Thanks for doing a nice job of writing it up.

Bob Jantzen
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Villanova University
USA

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For those of us who may own a shelf of LaTeX books but still prefer to learn from examples, Dave Walden's piece Travels in TeX Land was right on the money. I took a few of his examples, modified them some, and am putting them to good use. Thanks, Dave.

Bob Sekuler
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Brandeis University
USA

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I am a mathematician teaching at a community college. In order to make the text I had been developing in MS Word available under a GPL, I started to learn LaTeX. This was less than a year ago, on the Mac with TeXShop. I had a hard time.

So, the first thing I read in PracTeX, was the Douglas Waud and Tim Null column \begin{here} % getting started. While indeed going extremely slowly, for me and my colleagues it would not be easy to read or follow.

Here are a few suggestions based on the premise that people who might want to learn LaTeX will not want to do so for the sake of beautiful typesetting and therefore will want to get over with the preliminaries as quickly as possible.

- Do not try to accomodate all platforms in the same text.

- Keep in mind that beginners are not in a position to make intelligent choices, so don't give them a lot of options.

- For beginners used to installing commercial software, installation of LaTeX systems is difficult and is the primary deterrent.

In other words, what is initially needed is something like the instructions for building a kit. For OS X users, here is what I would recommend ...

A. Schremmer
Philadelphia, PA USA

[Mr. Schremmer took time out from working on his book to write a simple guide for installing a LaTeX system. See his article in this issue. -Ed.]

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What a great idea! This is exactly the sort of thing I need to improve my skills. I've read all the articles, and while it will take me a while to explore them in depth (that's a good thing), I wanted to write immediately to praise the effort that went into this.

The only way it could have been better is if it came out sooner (I started using LaTeX about 6 months ago; I use TeXLive and WinEdt).

Thanks again, I look forward to future issues!

Peter L. Flom, PhD
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
National Development and Research Institutes
New York, NY USA

[Peter Flom wrote an article in this issue about his experiences when first using LaTeX. -Ed.]

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Congratulations on the first issue of The PracTeX Journal. An excellent start to 2005 for TUG.

Wendy McKay
Caltech
Pasadena, CA USA

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One of the nice things I liked about HTML and the browser concept was that I could always look at the source and see how the author did something in HTML. I suggest that besides providing a pdf of the articles that the journal also provide a way to view the TeX source used to create the article. Nothing teaches like reading others' code.

Robert Heckendorn
CS Dept
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho, USA

[This journal encourages authors to include their source files and some do. -Ed.]

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I am very pleased to be able to peruse PracTeX and consider its appearance very positively. I may add that personally I would like to have a pdf version to print and read at leisure - but my preference to read paper versions may be a question of age.

Keep up the good work,

Lionel Lovitch
Department of Physics
University of Pisa
Italy

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Great job with the new journal! I think this could end up being a valuable resource for intermediate TeX users.

Would it be possible to combine a whole issue into a single PDF file? It would allow people to print it all out nicely and give it a greater feeling of "permanence".

Will Robertson
Mechanical/Mechatronic Engineering
University of Adelaide
South Australia

[There have been several requests to put each issue into a single pdf file, and the Editorial Board will look into providing this. -Ed.]

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I am the editor-in-chief and technical editor of an academic journal, International Journal of Shii Studies. It's done in ConTeXt, and has some of the best Arabic and bidi typesetting you can find in academia.

Professor Idris Samawi Hamid
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
USA

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I am the author of the book entitled Quaternions & Rotation Sequences published by Princeton University Press, Dec. 1999. I mention this, not in any sense suggesting that this book is the ultimate reference on its particular subject, but merely to illustrate what I have done (or, what can be done) using TeX/LaTeX. All 400+ pages, with well over 100 figures, emphasizing the mathematical concepts, were included appropriately in the text. It is a beautiful book (at least, structurally, if I may be so bold as to say so).

Jack B. Kuipers
Professor emeritus
Mathematics & Computer Science
Calvin College USA

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