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by Kelle on January 15, 2010

 MacBook Generations
MacBook Generations, alternate view, by Robert S. Donovan. via TUAW.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Varun Bhalerao January 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

For remote troubleshooting across platforms, I’ve found TeamViewer useful. The personal use edition comes for free 🙂

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2 Marshall January 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

In my experience the most convenient way to use Greek letters in IDL is the textoidl package, which allows you to use LaTeX formatting codes instead of learning yet another markup language.

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3 David Fanning January 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

As far as a “language” for Greek letters, I don’t know how much easier it can get than spelling the Greek letters. You might have a moments hesitation with “omicron”, but I don’t think that letter is used much. TeXtoIDL doesn’t mention it.

But the real advantage is aesthetic. I’ve never really liked the Complex Greek that comes back from TeXtoIDL in Hershey fonts (when mixed with my Simplex Roman fonts) and I prefer to use True-Type fonts in PostScript. To me, these Greek letters just look better.

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4 Charon January 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I’ve got to go with Marshall on this… textoidl is awesome. I don’t understand David’s point about ease of use – all you do in textoidl is spell the letters too. And it will correctly interpret ‘erg s^{-1} cm^{-2} \AA^{-1}’. So it’s much more useful than just Greek letters, for anyone who knows LaTeX (which presumably is every professional astronomer, unless somehow you get by without writing papers). For me that’s a whole lot more important than aesthetics.

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5 David Fanning January 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

Sorry, the humor was too subtle there. The Greek program is not really “another mark-up langage”. It’s just a way to get a Greek letter into a text string. And I have no arguments with TeXtoIDL being an awesome program. It’s great. It just doesn’t return Greek letter results that I like for completely aesthetic reasons. I realize aesthetics are not important to scientists. Heck, I work with scientists every day. Can you imagine what would happen if I suggested something other than the rainbow color table!?

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6 IP freeley January 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Hey, we really need an “Ask Astrobetter” section so we can really go crazy swapping tips and tricks. For example, I’m struggling to find a good way to keep up with the astro-ph and want to hear what tools people are using to filter the steady stream of new papers coming out.

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7 Jessica January 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

@IP freeley

You can always email admin [at] astrobetter.com with your idea for a discussion. We are happy to create a blog post about new topics that our readers are interested in.

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8 Kelle January 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

@IP Freely (really, IP Freely?)

you are also welcome to start a discussion on the FB group: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AstroBetter/220025848560?v=app_2373072738&ref=ts

Regarding astro-ph, I highly recommend myADS in conjunction with Google Reader: http://www.astrobetter.com/myads-arxiv-rss-feeds-now-with-abstracts/

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