Explaining maths via Internet is a lot easier if you are able to display formulas correctly, instead of typing things like:

e^(x + i*y) = e^(x)*(cos(y) + i*sin(y))

Surprisingly, this problem is not quite solved. During my searches I found found the TeXIM Plugin, which should work with Gaim and amsn, thus allowing both Windows, MacOS, Linux and FreeBSD users to chat.

I, however, tried gaim-latex. The version in the ports of FreeBSD didn't work, so I downloaded the release version (0.3) at sourceforge and compiled it (you have to use gmake instead of the standard FreeBSD make). The resulting binary LaTeX.so is to be copied to ~/.gaim/plugins. Then Gaim has to be restarted and told to use this plugin - done.

There are also a number of other plugins out there, for example a MathMode plugin for Miranda (an ICQ client for Windows). But they don't work like gaim-latex or Kopete's plugin: Instead of typing $$ my Tex code $$ you have to use strings like [MathMode] [/MathMode] or something like that. There is definitely a need for some standards - or aren't there mathematicians longing for LaTeX conversations (please note the spelling!)?

Posted Friday evening, May 12th, 2006 Tags:

The battery of my Thinkpad has a very limited capacity of about 15 minutes. So I bought a new one at eBay. To prevent memory / leakage effects, I accidentally stumbled over a diagnostic program for IBM Thinkpad T2x series. It is provided by David Jason Smith and can be downloaded here. Being the nice man I am, I set up a local mirror.

Using the program is straightforward. Just boot with the .ISO and go through the menus. There are some interesting options such as benchmarks and generic system information. Battery rundown can be found under Utility. I hope it works for you, too.

Posted Saturday evening, May 13th, 2006 Tags:

Being the playful nerd I am, I changed some things in the plugin's sourcecode. There is a diff file available, although the list of changes is rather small:

  • The packages amssymb and amsmath are now used, thus providing you with
  • more symbols and equations. I changed the deprecated equation environment
  • to the gather environment. I don't know if that makes sense.

Still, rendering some symbols such as \LaTeX doesn't work. Apparently, this is a restriction of LaTeX's math mode. However, the LaTeX plugin for kopete seems to handle this.

Addendum: I found a solution: If the plugin ignores any errors LaTeX encounters while trying to build the .dvi, the use of \TeX works in math mode. Download and apply this diff if you want a more kopete-like solution.

Posted mid-morning Monday, May 15th, 2006 Tags:

After countless hours of portupgrade and make buildworld, my Thinkpad is now running FreeBSD 6.1. There were no major problems except:

  • Gaim doesn't accept the gaim-latex anymore. I will have to get the CVS version and adjust it to my needs.
  • Opera complains about a missing motifwrapper.
  • syscons is somewhat buggy.

At least I have found a solution for the Opera problem. It's right in pkg-message. For your convenience, I will post it here. Just add the following to /etc/libmap.conf:

# Opera - Motif
libXm.so.1              libXm.so.3
libXThrStub.so.6        libXtst.so.6
libXm.so.2              libXm.so.3
libXThrStub.so.6        libXtst.so.6
libXThrStub.so.6        libXtst.so.6

Maybe you are lucky and it works...

Posted Sunday evening, May 21st, 2006 Tags: