[OS X TeX] Semi-OT

Curtis Clifton curt.clifton at mac.com
Sat Jan 22 12:26:00 EST 2005

On Jan 22, 2005, at 10:29 AM, Will Robertson wrote:

> On 23 Jan 2005, at 2:44 AM, Maarten Sneep wrote:
>> On the other hand, when you cite references [2-14], the author-year 
>> makes me forget what the whole sentence was about in the first place, 
>> because you'd have to read past half a page of authors and years.
> Ah, that's true. Certainly wouldn't have an easy way around that with 
> author-date.
>> Since most physics articles use numbered references, I've never 
>> published with an author year system. What I tend to do to prevent 
>> the above mess, is to cite like: "... and it was claimed by Robertson 
>> et al. [45] that such-and-such ..."
> That's because -you're- clever :) In that situation I have basically 
> no problem with numbered references. It's the mis-use of numbered 
> references (using them as nouns or whatever) that gets me. I realise I 
> sound a little contradictory at this stage. Forgive me, it's late.

For my dissertation, I'm using natbib and switching between author-year 
style for drafts and numbered style for the final version.  I find this 
combination quite convenient.  One has to use the right natbib citation 
commands for this to work.  With natbib, the example "... and it was 
claimed by Robertson et al. [45] that such-and-such ..." can be 

and it was claimed by \citet{Robertson-etal05} that such-and-such

In number style this typesets just like Martin's example.  In the 
author year style it typesets as "... and it was claimed by Robertson 
et al. (2005) that such-and-such ...".

Back to Jason's question.  I use LaTeX because:

- management of references (esp. with Bibdesk and its auto-completion 

- better appearance of output: hyphenation, spacing, margin kerning, 
microtype (though I haven't done much with that yet)

- hacking my own macros

- it doesn't think it's smarter than I am (Even with all the 
auto-whatever features turned off in Word, the layout system is still 
opaque.  In LaTeX the system may be obtuse, but it is documented, 
understandable with some effort, and customizable.)

- the listings package for formatting source code (I'm a programming 
languages/software engineering researcher, so my documents tend to have 
lots of code samples.)

- Fourier/GUTenburg package for body text and mathematics plus Optima 
(converted from fonts shipped with the OS) for display text looks great 
to my eye

The only thing I miss is spell checking while I type.  I use Excalibur 
for checking my LaTeX documents and it works great.  I've tried Cocoa 
ASpell, but it doesn't seem to work well with BBEdit's new support for 
spelling services, and in other applications it isn't able to ignore 
TeX commands in check-as-I-type mode (for OS reasons).


Curtis Clifton, PhD Candidate
Dept. of Computer Science, Iowa State University

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