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Some ways I try to be efficient

November 16, 2011

There are various technological ways I try to cut down the number of mouse clicks or complicated processes in order to remain organised and efficient, and I’m open to know what else I can do. Here is a short list of things I recommend others use, some of which are particular to MAC users:

  1. I often use BibDesk to organise my bibtexing. The coolest feature is that it can import directly from MathSciNet; a little browser window opens up, MathSciNet is there, I enter the info I know about the reference, then some papers are listed which match my query. I click on import and it is put in my library. I can then hit CTRL-K to make a cite-key, and then I simply drag the reference into my LaTeX file (in TeXShop).
  2. Papers by Mekentosj is very impressive, and I believe it has won some awards for its design. It organises all the pdfs of papers on my desktop, which I can match with mathscinet bibliographic data. The best feature is that I can search all of my papers for various things quite easily. For instance, just like iTunes, I can create a smart album of all papers which are on “generalised quadrangles” (or “generalized quadrangles”). I’ve put the library of papers in my Dropbox so that I can use it on all of my machines, wherever I am in the world!
  3. TeXShop is quite a good LaTeX typesetter. I can right-click on the PDF and it will show me in the LaTeX file where that part of the file is. I also find it easy to compile PDFLaTeX and BibTeX quickly using key-strokes (Command + L and Command + B).
  4. Cool unix-terminal commands such as “sed” for replacing strings in a file and good old “!” for re-executing a command.
  5. iCal has made me more organised, and I have it synchronised with my email server so that I can change my calendar on any machine. The best feature is that I can right click on a date and time in an email, and it will automatically import an appointment into iCal. Most of the time, I don’t need to edit the title or meeting place (it works this out from the body of the email!).

That’s all I can think of for now. More will be added to this list as they come to mind (or I’m reminded by someone else).

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Simon Guest permalink
    November 23, 2011 9:59 am

    Command completion and abbreviations in TeXShop are really nice. For example if you type \xa and then TAB you get \alpha. You can customize this yourself by editing the command completion file (Source -> Command Completion -> Edit Command completion file).
    The example above is listed as
    \xa:=\alpha
    I have things like
    \<:=\langle #INS# \rangle
    in there. The #INS# tells TeXShop where to leave the cursor when it is finished.
    And
    eqn:=\begin{equation}#RET##INS##RET#\end{equation}
    So type eqn then TAB (or just eq TAB) and you get
    \begin{equation}
    *Cursor ends here*
    \end{equation}
    Also simply having
    minimal polynomial
    as one line in the file means that if you start typing 'min' then TAB you should get 'minimal polynomai'.
    If you also have
    minimum
    in the file then hitting TAB multiple times will cycle through all the possibilities.

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