USMThesis Updated (Again)

Following the most recent feedback from the Main Campus, USMThesis has been updated to v1.6.3 today. The changes this time are in usmthesis.tex, where the List of Publications is moved after the appendices (so now Main Campus and Engineering Campus are on the same page now!) Pun unintended.

Looking at the ChangeLog, usmthesis v0.1 was Nov 2005 — so it’s been 10 years!! In fact if anyone wants to host a meetup/talk or something, ping me.

USMThesis Updated

USMThesis has been updated to v1.6.2, following feedback from IPS that the page numbering of appendices should be turned off in the table of contents.

If you already have the template (v1.6.1) from September 2015 and don’t want to re-download the template again now, just add these lines before \appendix in your thesis.tex:

\addtocontents{toc}{\protect\cftpagenumbersoff{part}}
\addtocontents{toc}{\protect\cftpagenumbersoff{chapter}}

Also, from recent feedback, it looks like Main Campus-IPS requires the List of Publications before the abstracts; while the Engineering Campus IPS requires the List of Publications after the appendices. So do check with IPS of your respective campuses before you print your entire thesis!

Another thing — when printing out the PDF, do remember to set paper size to A4, and Scaling to 100% or None in the Print dialog. Many PDF viewer applications would set it to 92% or Fit on page by default, and then the font sizes would come out too small and the page margins too wide!

LaTeX Cookbook and Beginner’s Guide ebooks at $5 Each

Until January 6, that is!

Both books are written by Stefan Kottwitz. The LaTeX Beginner’s Guide came out in 2011, and I still consider it as a very valuable book to newcomers — e.g. a useful tome to assign your new research student as prerequisite research-skills reading. (You can read my review of it here) (whoa where did I find the energy to write such long form back in the day?!)

The LaTeX Cookbook is actually still quite new, having been published just a couple of months ago in October. (Which makes this deal even more amazing, especially with the currency situation in this part of the world right now…) Anyway! amazing deal or no amazing deal, this book is another one in the “keeper’s” category. Kottwitz continues his style of accompanying lots of useful code with an equally illustrative amount of explanations and best-practice tips. You know how some cookbooks are all “You want to do this? OK take this code” without too much explanation? This isn’t one of them. So in a pinch, you may be thinking “why can’t I just slap this code in and get it done with” (well actually most code in this book will do that for you anyway), but trust me, you’ll learn much more about LaTeX if you spend a few minutes reading. It’s written in a very easy-to-ready way anyway.

This book doesn’t beat around the bush with introductory material much, but digs into all the interesting things that you’ve probably wanted to do after writing up that first paper with LaTeX, or for writing up your own thesis or book — How do I change the fonts exactly the way I want? Can I draw my circuits/plots/chemical diagrams/flowcharts in LaTeX now? (Yes I enjoyed the chapter on Creating Graphics a lot — in fact you can download it as a sample chapter!) Mmmm you think your doc needs some pretty decorations, let’s see how we can spruce it up — Ah! Ornaments, coloured lettrines, images with rounded corners or badge-shaped, so designer-ish! (Come on, admit it, you know when those creative/productive procrastination mood hits…)

Another chapter worthy of mention is on how to ask a good question, and formulate a minimal working example (MWE), to make it easier for others to help you solve a problem. Having lectured students myself, I cannot emphasise enough how important this skill is. *meaningful nod*

So. Should you get these books? You bet. $5 per book until 6 January 2016!