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Bio for Tim Null

Writings for The PracTeX Journal

I worked from June 1984 through June 2004 for a quarterly journal called Psychometrika (theme: quantitative psychology; distribution: 1,600). Recently I put up a “shingle” at, and I have been doing freelance work.

I began using TeX in 1999, when Psychometrika began using LaTeX for composition. Psychometrika switched to LaTeX in response to author demand. I coordinated, and supervised the switch. I also developed the LaTeX packages for Psychometrika authors.

I am particularly proud of my involvement in the creation of the the Psychometrika CD set. I acted as general contractor for the creation of the CDs. All the back issues of Psychometrika from 1936 through 2000 were scanned (over 3,600 articles), then turned into bookmarked PDFs, and put on CDs. (One cool feature is a searchable abstract list that serves as a master index with hyperlinks to the full articles.)

I have always worked in production environments where it is necessary to integrate output from a diverse range of software. Given this background, I have always stressed the importance of smooth interoperability between TeX and the commercial software used in publishing. For example, after Psychometrika switched to LaTeX, I began handling the preparation of figures, and, out of necessity, I began using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I have also worked for an online journal, which used Microsoft Word for composition, and Adobe Acrobat and GoLive to produce PDF and HTML, respectively. Since becoming a freelancer, I have used Adobe InDesign as one of my primary tools. The integration of these various tools with TeX is sometimes sublimely simple, sometimes absurdly complex, but almost always highly beneficial.

I am very much an “end-user” as far as TeX and other software is concerned. I learn what I need to know to get the job done, then I move on. I'm not trying to become an expert. I just want to be competent, and provide my customers with quality products at good prices. As a reader of The PracTeX Journal, I won't be that interested in articles that first require that I learn a scripting language like Perl or Python. I probably won't be that interested in projects that will consume hours of my time, because my time is limited. What I will find interesting is articles that solve my real problems. Articles that give ideas that can be quickly implemented. Articles that share ideas that will save me valuable time. Articles with quick tips. Articles with little snippets of plug-in code. Articles with small little useful packages. These are the types of articles I will be looking to find and read. If you have article ideas along these lines, I hope you will consider writing for The PracTeX Journal.

As for my personal life, my interests are not unlike Houghton Lake in my native state of Michiganall over the map, but not too deep. Let me provide several samples. (1) My interest in recorded music has been revived by the recent MP3 craze—years ago I collected about ten linear feet of vinyl LPs, and now I have collected over 20 gigs of MP3s (they're all legal personal copies, so don't bother notifying the RIAA). I take my Zen Xtra, wherever I go (checkout Kris Delmhorst). (2) In April of 2004 I purchased a Minolta DiMage A1 digital camera, and I took up photography as a hobby (see photos on my website). (3) I inherited an interest in family history from my father. (Please contact me if you know anything about William Dodge Cory [1840-1910; wife Laura]) or Levi Null [1794-1875; died in Ohio]. (4) Allow me to give you one last example of stuff I like, I very much enjoy SciFi movies and TV shows (see

Date: June 9, 2010 ; The PracTeX Journal; TUG home page; search; contact webmaster.