[OS X TeX] An article about LaTeX and word processors
schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Thu Feb 2 17:56:49 EST 2017
I don't know about being in an elite. (I hope not.)
1. It is a bit difficult to tie grammatical errors with software. But even if it were true, what does that prove? That Word does the writing according to the rules and never mind the "author"? Which seems supported by the assertion that "EXPERTS LaTeX users performed even worse that NOVICE Word users" (Emphasis added.) I absolutely detest those paternalistic softwares which "think" they know what I want to do and which I then have to spend a huge amount of time beating down to get them to do what I want.
2. Disclosure: Some fifteen years ago, I lost a big chunk of a Word "long document" and that was the last time I used Word.
3. The first thing I find amazing about LaTeX is that, whenever I have wanted to do something, I have always discovered a package that just does it. My last discoveries have been tcolorbox, cleveref, spreadtab and calculator. All amazing.
4. The second thing I find amazing about LaTeX is that, whenever I have not been able to do something (rather often), I have always found very non trivial help: here, where at least half a dozen people may remember, and, interestingly, from the authors of the packages themselves and also, recently from Stackexchange. But then, indeed, I never asked Bill Gates' help back then. Should I have?
5. What exactly is this "software usability study"? It feels like those studies that definitely prove that the earth is cooling off so that we definitely have to burn more coal and oil to keep it warm. (By the way, you know, it's true: this past night was definitely cooler than yesterday.)
6. What exactly are the ties of Knauff and Nejasmic with Microsoft?
Best, grateful regards
On , at 2017 Feb 2,5:03 PM, Themis Matsoukas wrote:
> I am tempted to call this fake news :) But seriously, those of us who use latex are a true elit that is envied by all others :) :)
> tmatsoukas at iCloud.com
>> On Feb 2, 2017, at 4:54 PM, R Martinez <rm.tech at mac.com> wrote:
>> I thought that the readers of this list would have some fun with this article. :-)
>> As for me, I really enjoy using LaTeX; that part of the article gets it right. I love the polished look of the output and like to treat my writing as a bit of a programming task. Moreover, one can do lots of fancy math typesetting with LaTeX that would be very hard if not impossible to do with MS Word. I suppose that if all one does is type text, then a wysiwig word processor might be appealing. Even so, as a self-taught average typist I like that with LaTeX I don’t have to worry about the spacing between words and sentences. The only thing that causes me some trouble are the floats, which sometimes take some fiddling to get right. But that’s also often the case with wysiwig programs. I use TeXShop as my editor and really like the way it works; I believe it helps my productivity.
>> I find very hard to believe the conclusion that LaTeX users make more grammatical mistakes than MS Word users. Grammar is a function of the user and has nothing to do with the word processing program. A user who does not know grammar well will make the same mistakes regardless of the word processor used. This conclusion alone is so strange that it causes me to doubt the worth of the entire comparative exercise.
>> Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve used MS Word many times in the past (I worked for a while in an all-PC office). My experience caused me to learn to avoid MS Word. MSWord is not even on my MacBook Pro; I use Pages for some documents when necessary. At one point in my career, the contract I was working on required me to write a long, complex technical report using MS Word. I rebelled and convinced the sponsor to accept LaTeX, which I used thereafter.
>> It would be interesting to hear from the list about your experiences and thoughts on this topic.
>> Raul Martinez
>> Friday, January 27, 2017
>> LaTeX reduces writing productivity
>> To assist the research community, we report a software usability study in which 40 researchers across different disciplines prepared scholarly texts with either Microsoft Word or LaTeX. The probe texts included simple continuous text, text with tables and subheadings, and complex text with several mathematical equations. We show that LaTeX users were slower than Word users, wrote less text in the same amount of time, and produced more typesetting, orthographical, grammatical, and formatting errors. On most measures, expert LaTeX users performed even worse than novice Word users. LaTeX users, however, more often report enjoying using their respective software.
>> --Markus Knauff and Jelica Nejasmic, PLOS ONE, on reasons not to be a word processing snob. HT: OM
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