With another academic year around the corner, whether classes are in person or online, now is a good time to look into a useful tool that you may come across. LaTeX (pronounced “lay-tek”) is a typesetting tool that is very widely used in academic papers, and many textbooks as well. If you’re studying a math-heavy field, it will save you a lot of frustration.

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A document in Overleaf, a browser-based LaTeX editor.

While you’re probably familiar with writing papers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, LaTeX is a very different beast. Instead of having a graphical interface where you use the mouse to click through menus and manually modify text until it looks how you want (“What You See Is What You Get”), which can be a laborious process for more complicated documents, the LaTeX philosophy is more What You Get Is What You Mean. You write plain text files with special syntax outlining your content, focusing solely on the content, and the software generates a clean, consistently styled document for you. …

Have you ever wanted to whip up a quick and dirty graphical interface for a utility you made, and give your Python script a first-class presence in your Dock? Apple doesn’t make it easy to give programs the graphical treatment without breaking out Swift/Objective-C and learning the whole Cocoa ecosystem. Fortunately, there is an easier way…

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I’m the conflicted sort of computer user. One half of me loves the text-based world of terminal software, from piping data around in Bash to editing text in vim when it suits me. I’ve never touched a GUI when using Git, and I dabble in tiling window managers when I use Linux. The other half appreciates quality GUIs…and I’m certainly picky about them. I’ve been a fan of the Macintosh ecosystem since it was a minor fringe thing, and firmly believe that applications should strictly follow Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. …

I have long been a proponent of static site generation, even before the (relatively) recent wave of tools like Jekyll, Hugo and Gatsby. …


Matt Harzewski

Programmer, blogger, robotics enthusiast.

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