Unveiling some Makefile Black Magic

Go back to the shadows.

Reading time: about 4 minutes (652 words).
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Whilst my higher education started off in the computer science realm, I quickly became disillusioned and, excluding a decent temporal shift, moved more into the physical sciences. Whilst I never finished my CS degree; what I completed gave me an adequate understanding of development life cycles, program design and sufficient competency in c++ to get shit done. When I started heavily coding again, forces shunted me towards Matlab and higher level quick and dirty rapid prototyping. As we all know; you can only go so far in this world and I've recently found myself back into the depths with c, fortran and even a little assembly.

Ultimately though, my c++ programs never needed to link to external libraries or worry about machine specific configurations the -o switch was the only one I needed when calling gcc pretty much. Now I'm building MPI tools to run on supercomputing clusters that need the highly optimised linear algebra routines; written down by our forefathers in a more civilised age.

Using datatool and TikZ to generate figures from data

Or just use print screen and MS Paint, you know, what ever is easiest...

Reading time: about 4 minutes (735 words).
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If you're not already using PGF and TikZ for figures in your LaTeX documents, I suggest you take a few evenings and get acquainted with a number of examples, so you can grasp the magnitude of its' capability—you certainly won't be disappointed.

Building static diagrams and graphs (adding PGFPlots into the mix) is fine, but I find myself constantly wanting decent plots from real data, that don't fit the usual line/surface paradigm. The datatool package is perfect for this kind of work.

Octopress and jQuery

It's always the little things that take hours to figure out.

Reading time: about 1 minute (192 words).
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In the process of theming Axiomatic Semantics, I came across a virtually undocumented (in the Octopress sphere) caveat when including jQuery elements. A number of javascript functions in the Octopress source use $ as a variable. This is not uncommon; although jQuery aliases to $ - which causes some confusion in the processing of Octopress' functions. My issue was the GitHub aside constantly being stuck at the Status Updating... phase. To overcome this issue, the simplest method is to insert the jQuery include in after_footer.html, but if you need the call before then for whatever reason and want it in head.html; you're gonna have a bad time.