Thursday, May 20, 2010

License: Obtained

Having previously downloaded and filled out the form, we went to the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s office this morning and got our marriage license. :-)

It was surprisingly (disturbingly?) simple: we gave the clerk the form, she typed up a copy which we both had to sign, we had to swear that we had filled it out honestly, and then we gave her $30 and that was it. We didn’t have to provide any identification or any other documents or anything. The whole process took less than ten minutes, and we spent the majority of the time waiting while she typed.

And the “swearing” just consisted of saying “yes” with our right hands raised. (I guess swearing on a Bible has gone out of fashion.) I’m sure people find it much more difficult to lie when they have to concentrate on keeping their right arm elevated… especially those sinister lefties.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Where Did April Really Go? or, How Do I Use Pretty Fonts With LaTeX?

It has recently come to my attention that my vast readership is unhappy with the quality of postings of late. I’m sorry. On the plus side, I verified that I can write something in MacJournal and use the “send to blog” menu item and have it do approximately the Right Thing™.

So what did I actually do in April? Work has been busy, but I can’t really say much about that. I can report that my company celebrated its tenth anniversary last Friday by treating us to dinner on a boat.

Outside of work, preparations for certain upcoming events have seemed to dominate evenings and weekends. Things are coming along, though. I hope everybody likes our cake topper which I made all by myself. I think we’re approaching a lull as we wait for everybody to RSVP.

So anyway, here’s a totally hypothetical situation for you: suppose you want to create a nice-looking event program and you want to do the typesetting with LaTeX because WYSIWYG editors are lame. How do you make something which is the size of your blank cards and which doesn’t use Computer Modern (which is an awesome font, thanks Donald E. Knuth you’re awesome dude, but is too recognizable as “that font from scientific papers and textbooks”)? It turns out to be very simple.

LaTeX has a lot of fonts available. For a program heading, Calligra is nice. I find it difficult to read for the main body, though. A nice serif font like Palatino is better. (I always used Palatino for my papers in high school because I thought it had the nicest capital letter J, which was, of course, one of the first letters the reader would see.)

To use a non-standard paper size (like, say, 4.25 inches by 6.375 inches), the geometry package is your friend. It lets you easily specify the dimensions of the paper and the sizes of the margins.

Finally, what about color? Also very simple. All together we get a preamble which looks something like this:

\usepackage[paperwidth=4.25in, paperheight=6.375in, top=0.25in,
left=0.25in, width=3.75in, height=5.875in]{geometry}
\usepackage{calligra} % cursive font
\usepackage[sc]{mathpazo} % regular font
\pagestyle{empty} % no page numbers

Thankfully, Calligra and Palatino play nicely together; Palatino assumes the role of the default font, while Calligra only takes effect following a \calligra directive (which is limited in scope to the surrounding curly braces).

Hooray for LaTeX!

Where did April go?

Oh well, the one-per-month thing was more what you’d call a “guideline” than an actual rule.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mobile Me, Back to My Mac, and ssh.

For several months now I’ve been using MobileMe’s Back to My Mac (BTMM) feature to securely access my home computer from work. It usually works through my Netgear router, although there are occasional hiccups. Anyway, I had been using it for VNC and for disk mounting, but I didn’t know how to ssh through it. In particular, I did not know what domain name or IP address to use. As with most things Apple, the technical details remain largely hidden, which can be a blessing or a curse (and sometimes both simultaneously).

So, I had my router set up to forward port 22 to my laptop, and then pointed ssh to the IP address given to me by Comcast (actually, to my DynDNS domain name, but same thing). This works, but I would like to have all the comms protected by BTMM’s Kerberos-authenticated IPv6-based VPN goodness.

Yesterday I got curious about it and did some searching and found this Mac OS X Hint from 2008. It turns out to be very simple. Each of my machines, while it’s logged into BTMM, automagically gets a domain name of the form My MobileMe username happens to have a period in it, which is escaped with a backslash (so my domain name is actually along the lines of host.user\

This domain is only resolvable from other machines logged into my BTMM account, and it doesn't depend on router port forwarding, so I don't need any complicated firewall rules in place. The only downside (apart from the occasional flakiness, which seems aggravated when I initiate other VPN connections) is that I will no longer be able to log into my computer using iSSH on my iPhone. But I hardly ever do that anyway.

The moral of the story is: to remotely log into my home laptop from my work laptop, I just need to type:
ssh host.user\\
in a terminal. That extra backslash is to keep my shell from interpreting “\.” as “.”; the escape character is escaped. I could equivalently quote the entire argument, like:
ssh "host.user\"
Oh and the trailing period is intentional (but optional).

OK, I admit it. I just wrote this to keep up with my recent post rate of 3.80265176e-7 Hz.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of This I Have No Doubt

“We look forward to you visiting us again for your next online payment.” —

Thursday, January 7, 2010