Principia Narcissus finished

I just finished the last revisions on it today. If you like, you can purchase a bound copy from Lulu at cost. You can also download a copy from them, but it does not look like it will have the cover (or at least as part of a single download). I am hoping I can put together a PDF that contains the front cover for download.

One of the things that rather surprised me when I was making the final tweaks to the cover was that the width of the printed book Lulu sent me is actually 209mm rather than the 210mm you would expect for A4. However, this did not seem to impact anything, so I will not worry about it. My best guess is that a millimeter or so of the page width is lost due to the binding process. I was surprised to find that I had managed to quite accurately center the large orange text on the cover quite well by eyeballing it.

This final version contains a number of typographical fixes and small wording changes. Chapter 5 received the greatest number of edits as I decided to proofread the entire chapter again. It was the last chapter written and had received the least amount of scrutiny.

I really hope that somehow I did not introduce some kind of terrible printing problem or mistake in the process of fixing all the things I noticed that were wrong with the draft printing I received. If I did, I expect most of the recipients will probably not tell me.

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Implementing my dissertation

Okay, I am finally getting around to writing something, as requested, about how I implemented my dissertation.

I used pdfLaTeX for several reasons:

  • I needed to integrate material from existing papers written in LaTeX.
  • Using standard LaTeX means that you need to fiddle dvips/dvipdf so that that they will find the appropriate fonts. Using pdfLaTeX requires some configuration too, but it all happens in a single step.
  • It has support for microtypography, which generally produces better looking text with fewer bad breaks.

I had thought about trying luatex to allow me to automate a few things better, but I decided against it because it might have slowed me down.

I then used the memoir class. I was able to use that with relatively little configuration. The only major change I made from the defaults involved the configuration for the chapter titles. I did however wind up needing to use a slightly modified version of the class file itself. This was necessary so that I could use raised dots (·) instead of periods as separators; there was simply no way to configure this for some parts of the document otherwise.

For the bibliography I used Chung-chieh Shan's McBride BibTeX style. I made a slight change to that so that the three emdashes for repeated authors did not have space in between them.

I use Didier Rémy's mathpartir package for typesetting inference rules.

I used my tool otftofd to generate all the LaTeX infrastructure for the OpenType fonts I used. I hacked up some custom OMakefiles for the TrueType fonts. The bits I used for Dejvu Sans Mono are now part of the package I have made available.

I wrote a small sed script for converting my examples written in InforML with some special markup in comments into a form that could be accepted by LaTeX.  This mostly involved escaping some characters and inserting uses of my macro for highlighting text.

That is everything I can think of from a high level.  If there is something specific I did in my dissertation that you would like to know about, let me know.

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Step one complete, and an upgrade

I've finally handed off a draft of my dissertation to my committee. I hope that I will find time to update more frequently from here on out.

In other news, I've finally taken this opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress in the hopes that it will prevent the spread of that malignant blogroll spam that you may have been noticing. I guess this is what happens when you run software written in PHP. Maybe I will have time to think about a custom theme before too long as well.

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