Meetings

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For those who didn’t make it to the speaker meeting on Saturday, we’ve got various goodies available. First, we’re very lucky that Dick Nickalls brought his camera along, so we have a few pictures of the day.

 

 

 

 

‘Speaking’ of Dick, he and Joseph Wright have made copies of their slides available, so you can pick up what they said about Typesetting the Cube and A Tale of Two Packages.

If you want the full low-down on what was said, we’ve also got videos available of all of the talks and the workshop session. In the order they were given on the day, these are:

 

The annual Speaker Meeting and AGM took place today at Trinity College, Oxford. We had a mix of talks, discussion and of course the AGM. The talks were recorded: they’ll be available soon (after editing), and we’ll post again once that happens.

Morning Session

The day began with informal discussions over coffee: there were some ‘old hands’ and a few new faces, and it was nice to get a chance to chat with other TeX users. The turnout was good, but like last year we had just enough room for everyone!

Simon Dales, UK-TUG Chair, gave us the first talk of the day. He spoke about using Lua within TeX as a general scripting/programming language, running his live demos on a Rasberry Pi (those people at last year’s meeting will remember the set up!).

We then moved on to Dick Nickalls talking about typesetting Rubik’s cubes in LaTeX. Dick told us a lot about Rubik’s cubes: they seem to be big in particle physics! There was a lot in the talk, bnot just the TeX (TikZ-based), but also mathematical notation, speed records and quarks. An entertaining mix.

Back with LuaTeX, Arthur Reutenauer showed us how to load TrueType fonts using Lua: another live demo. Arthur kept things simple, using the plain format to run his examples. There was lots of information about fonts to keep up with.

The morning session ended with Phil Molyneux giving us a meta-talk: a talk about giving talks to train new LateX users! Phil will be giving a variant of the UK-TUG information at a publisher in London next week, and he gave us an insight into the difference between the needs of authors and editors as ‘new’ LaTeX users.

Afternoon session

After lunch and the formal AGM (details already on there way to members), we moved on to the last talk of the day from Joseph Wright. He gave us an insight into looking after other people’s code, telling us about his work on beamer and biblatex.

We then moved to a workshop on ‘new’ TeX developments. There were a range of topics covered, such as direct PDF output, SyncTeX and editors. The discussion was lively, and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

 

The programme for our upcoming speaker meeting is

  • 10:30 Arrival/coffee
  • 11:00 Talk session 1
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 13:00 Workshop: new developments in the TeX world
  • 14:00 UK-TUG AGM
  • 15:00 Talk session 2
  • 16:30 Close

As always, the exact schedule remains flexible, and will be decided by those present on the day, but we will not start talks before 11 am (as members often need to travel to the venue).

The annual UK-TUG Speaker Meeting and AGM will take place on Saturday, 9th November at Trinity College, Oxford, OX1 3BH. The speaker meeting will begin at around 10 am and normally runs to between 4 pm and 5 pm, depending on the number of talks presented and time required to deal with the formal AGM business. Attendance at the speaker day is free for UK-TUG members, and a light lunch will be provided.

We hope to have an exciting day of talks: the day is flexible, with only the slot for the AGM (2 pm) fixed. Members are encouraged to submit talk titles and approximate lengths for addition to the programme. For members who are unable to attend, the committee will be recording the talks again, as happened last year, and uploading them to the UK-TUG Vimeo account.

Some of the day is often devoted to discussion. A suggestion for this year is a workshop-like session on (relatively) recent developments in the TeX world such as XeTeX and LuaTeX, and perhaps also in the LaTeX world (packages such as biblatex). Depending on member feedback, this or indeed some other discussion element may be included in the programme.

This year, the committee experimented with recording the Speaker Meeting talks, which are now available on our Vimeo channel. The recordings this year contain audio and slides. The experiment looks pretty successful, so next year we may try to capture the ‘live demo’ screens too!

Speaker Meeting

The annual Speaker Meeting and AGM took place yesterday. We had a mix of talks, discussion and of course the AGM. The talks were recorded: we hope to make these available soon.

Morning Session

The day began with informal discussions over coffee: there are relatively few opportunities to meet up with other TeX users, so this is an important part of the day. Turnout this year was good, and the committee were pleased that this meant the venue was full, but not so full as to mean people were turned away!

The first talk of the day came from David Carlisle, member of the LaTeX3 Project and author of the longtable package. David explained the history of the package, and how the design reflects the constraints of computers in the late 1980s. He talked about the issues this means when interacting with other packages, an in particular the challenges of bidirection and colour work with tables.

Simon Dales gave the second talk, looking at his experiences with TeX on the Raspberry Pi and using LuaTeX (on the Pi) for programming. Simon gave his talk using a live demo: there were a lot of cables on the meeting table!

The third talk of the day was an exciting event all-round, as it came live from Brazil using Skype. Paulo Cereda told us about his new TeX automation tool, arara, and how it contrasts with existing approaches such as latexmk and Rubber. Paulo has been working very hard with UK-TUG member Brent Longborough on the latest release of arara, and it was very exciting to hear about this international effort.

Afternoon session

After Paulo’s talk, lunch arrived and informal discussion got under-way again, accompanied by sandwiches.

The first talk of the afternoon was from Joseph Wright, who talked about the ‘coffins’ concept that the LaTeX3 Project have developed. Joseph focussed on the user interface layer of the work, rather than the code. This sparked a lively discussion on future directions for TeX-related development in general.

The AGM took place a 2 pm: the formal business is reported in draft minutes to members.

After the AGM, we had a second Raspberry Pi demo, this time from Jonathan Fine. Jonathan highlighted the computing power available in the Pi, and contrasted it with a PC he built from components around 10 years ago. The opportunity to develop ‘typesetting devices’ based on the Pi was a key part of the talk.

Joseph then returned to present slides from the TeX Gyre Math Project: these were given at the EuroTeX meeting last week. Joseph gave his own thoughts on the slides, and several other members also contributed to a lively discussion.

The last session of the day was taken up with discussion on some of the topics which had come up during the day. One key possibility that was raised was running a TeX graphics course, something the committee agreed to look at.

Notice of 2012 AGM

The 2012 UK-TUG AGM will be held on Saturday 20th October at 14:00. The meeting will take place as part of the UK-TUG Speaker meeting at Trinity College, Oxford, OX1 3BH. We hope that as members as possible will be able to attend the AGM and the Speaker meeting.

Election for Chair

The two-year term of office of the Chair, Alan Moon, finishes at the end of the AGM. Anyone who wishes to stand should ask a member to nominate them for the post: in case of difficulty, please approach the committee. Nominations should be sent to the Secretary by 23:59 on the 5th of October. The candidate should also confirm that they are happy to stand, and may be send a statement for circulation to members in support of their candidature.

If there is a contested election then there will be an electronic ballot. Details of the candidates and supporting statements will be circulated on Sunday 7th October and voting will close at 23:59 on Thursday 18th October.

Elections for the committee

The term of all committee members expires at the end of the AGM (with the exception of the Chair, as detailed above). Anyone who wishes to stand should contact the Secretary at any time before the AGM. Most of the business of the committee is carried out electronically, so a remote location should be no barrier. The mechanism for nominations is similar to that for Chair, with a nomination from a member along with confirmation from the candidate, although there is no need to submit any kind of statement.

Motions for the AGM

Any member may submit a motion to the AGM. Motions should be sent to the Secretary at the e-mail address above, and should be received by 23:59 on Friday 5th October. Motions and supporting documentation will be circulated on Sunday 7th October. Voting on motions will be possible by proxy for members not able to attend the AGM. Full details will be given with the motions when circulated.

The annual UK-TUG speaker meeting will take place on Saturday 20th October in central Oxford. Attendance will as usual be free for UK-TUG members and a sandwich lunch will be available. The event typically runs from around 10 am to 5 pm: the full schedule is still being arranged.

The committee hopes to have a varied programme of talks and discussion on the day. We are therefore looking for speakers for talks of any length. The day will be very informal, and there is always a flexible schedule, so new speakers should not feel intimidated.

At the same time, it is very useful for us to have some idea of numbers, so we can plan the catering and venue capacity. It would therefore be very welcome if members would let the committee know if they are
planning to attend.

The annual UK-TUG Speaker Meeting and AGM took place yesterday at Trinity College, Oxford. The audience was small, but discussion was very lively.

Morning session

Joseph Wright began the day’s discussions with a report on the LaTeX training events run by UK-TUG in the last two years. He explained how the materials have been developed, leading to the source being available on GitHub. Joseph explained that the training is delivered with short sessions at the screen with a lot of opportunity for students to work on examples. Jonathan Fine suggested that videoing parts of course would be an opportunity to make the training more widely available. For this, an on-line LaTeX system would be needed. Joseph pointed to ScribTeX as an existing example. Jonathan also wondered about using the slide source to generate an HTML version of the material. Joseph said he’d look at this.

Simon Dales spoke next about documenting TeX sources. He described using Doxygen, a C tool, to take source comments and turn these into documentation in a variety of formats. He explained that this approach can avoid the need to decided in advance how to document code, but that Doxygen is too linked to C-style syntax to be the ideal tool for TeX. He showed a proof of concept demonstration using Doxygen, then described his second-generation approach to the problem, which he is currently implementing in Lua.

After lunch

Jonathan Fine gave the first talk in afternoon, looking at the opportunities presented by iPad and similar mobile devices. He first explained the Knuth was motivated to write TeX because of the limitations of photolithography in reproducing his books. Jonathan explained that the ePub format, used by most devices except the Kindle, is a compressed HTML5-based set of files. HTML5 features SVG as a key component, and Jonathan described how this allows typography in the webpage. Jonathan described how conversion from DVI to SVG can be used to get TeX quality output into ePub output. There was then a lively discussion about the challenges of mobile device typography.

AGM

The formal business of the day followed at 2 pm. A draft of full minutes for the AGM has already been circulated to members. The make up of the new committee was also announced:

  • Simon Dales
  • Jonathan Fine
  • Alun Moon
  • John Peters
  • Joseph Wright

The new committee will be making some more announcements in due course about other matters arising.

Afternoon session

After the AGM, Simon Dales talked about using LuaTeX for programming. He showed a simple Hello World document using Lua to include the text in a LaTeX file, then described the ability to load Lua modules. He showed how you can create your own modules to be loaded by Lua. As a fuller demonstration of the use of Lua, he showed how it allows processing of structured data to produce complex table.

Joseph Wright then talked about the TeX.sx site, and what advantages it has for new users over more traditional threaded lists and forums. He described the various features of the site, such as the Q&A structure, voting, reputation and the ability to edit material. Jonathan Fine is also registered on TeX.sx, and added a number of useful comments.

The day ended with a short stroll around Trinity College, which in the autumn sunshine was very pleasant indeed.

The committee are making initial arrangements for our yearly speaker meeting and AGM. This initial notice is very much to allow for forward planning. This year’s meeting will be taking place on the 22nd of October at Trinity College in Oxford. The arrangements for the day have yet to be finalised, but based on previous years we would expect the formal AGM business to take place early in the afternoon, with talks and TeX-related discussion surrounding that. Suggestions for talk titles, topics for discussion and so on are very welcome.

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