Texmaker and Xetex on OS X

As I am coming from a Linux world I am quite used to some software that is available for Linux. One of the software I used often was Texmaker. After switching to OS X I used TexShop (as it comes bundled with MacTex) for a couple of years. It is a good LaTex editor and it (besides Latex) also supports Xetex (a TeX typesetting engine that uses Unicode and system fonts) out of the box and it nicely updates PDF documents almost on the fly.

But I recently switched back to Texmaker because of some of its strengths that I really like (most UI related):

  • one window
  • tabs
  • auto completition of commands, references ...
  • a lot of icons for math symbols
  • document structure on the left side
  • quick access to almost every LaTeX command from menus and most often used ones from drop down menus
  • a better search box (although I would like it to be incremental like in Emacs :))
  • ...
But it doesn't work with Xetex right away. There is a simple solution to this, though. All it is needed is to change two preferences fields (assuming you have MacTex installed).
Continue reading "Texmaker and Xetex on OS X"

Leave my hierarchies alone - integrating desktop search engine and file manager

The below demo video shows how a real time search engine and faceted search would help users use their file system hierarchy, find their information items and better understand their personal information space. It doesn't address fragmentation of information across different software and formats or even devices. But it addresses some of the problems we are facing while searching for our files. It supports orienteering around the hierarchy as the often used technique for searching with the support of today's desktop search engines.

Key features:

  • typing a text in a search box highlights folders that contain matching items, helping us remembering where a searched file might located in a hierarchy
  • clicking on an item in a list of matching items shows this item in its folder - its semantically related environment and the path to it (all parent folders) can be seen
  • items in the hierarchy that do not match faceted search criteria fade away but are still seen in the hierarchy (they are not removed)


PS: Windows explorer was used as the base for a file manager. Some parts of OS X Spotlight and Mozilla Thunderbird were also used.

Edit 07/06/2010:
Bergman (The user-subjective approach to personal information management systems design, 2003) had the idea that information which wasn't accessed in a log time (according to the time threshold defined by user) can be manipulated graphically by becoming smaller or faded in color. Faceted search over the personal information was used in SIS (Dumains, Stuff I've Seen: a system for personal information retrieval and re-use, 2003). It is important that information not matching faceted search criteria remains there as well (being faded) as we remember also location of items (folders or files) in a list and expect them being in their place (Jones, Keeping Found Things Found, p.106, 2008).

Piles of thumbnails - visualizing document management

In 2005 I presented the paper at the ITI conference. The video below shows some of the ideas from the paper. At the time (after reading Ravisio's paper) the desktop seamed a great space for managing files. I imagined something like (temporarily suspended) Archy - a zoomable interfaced desktop (taken form Pad). But with files and applications. But a lot of us use hierarchies as well :).

Here's a demo video (I have no idea why the mouse pointer is always few centimeters below what it is clicked):