Author Archives: jeff

Bringing Ustream and Justin.tv back to life

Tried to watch the Make: Live! webcast about the Arduino this evening, but was unable to view the video stream on my computer. All I got was a black screen. Tried viewing the webcast directly from the Ustream site, but still got nothing. Marching through the standard troubleshooting steps, I removed all script blockers and […]

Posted in Computer Tips and Tricks| Tagged , , | Comments closed

Making Beamer Better

I use Beamer a lot for presentations, and I’ve gotten pretty good at the editing cycles that it requires. Unlike in PowerPoint, Beamer doesn’t allow me to simply click and drag an object to a new spot. Rather, to move something on the slide, I have to edit the LaTeX code, entering a command like […]

Posted in Research Tools| Tagged , , | Comments closed

When to introduce the matrix exponential?

In the study of linear systems, a familiar relationship is the homogeneous state-space equation , where is an -vector, and is an matrix. The time-invariant solution, (i.e., when is a constant matrix), is . When this subject is first introduced, the solution is often assumed, rather than derived. The thinking is that since the solution […]

Posted in Engineering Curriculum| Tagged , , | Comments closed

Getting Inkscape to play nicely with PSfrag

While browsing through some of the old TeXtip posts on Twitter, I was reminded of the possibility of using Inkscape to generate LaTeX-compatible illustrations. Given the vast amount of cruft that Illustrator includes in its EPS files, this sounded like it might be a good alternative. However, Inkscape seems to be having some of the […]

Posted in Research Tools| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Getting Illustrator to play nicely with PSfrag

When creating diagrams for inclusion in a Beamer presentation, I used to use the drawing package in Open Office. Then I could use PSfrag to replace drawing text with text rendered in in . This made all the symbols in the presentation match symbols on the diagram. Alas, I am no longer able to make […]

Posted in Research Tools| Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Adding MathJax to WordPress

If your blog is hosted on WordPress.com, you can already render mathematical equations using LaTeX code (at least, that is my understanding). However, since I run WordPress on my own server, I would have to add a bit of software to produce similar results. A long time ago I tried using jsMath to generate math […]

Posted in Mathematics| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Mathematicians write like novelists

As I attempt to teach myself something about stochastic calculus, I have been reading a great many articles, and several textbooks, on the subject. It has left me with the distinct notion that mathematicians hate to spill the plot too early in the story. Each proof builds upon clues that have been scattered throughout the […]

Posted in Mathematics| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Career, Teaming, and Entrepreneurial Methods

Well, now that the fall semester has started at Purdue, I’m going to make an effort to post more regularly. Of course, just one post a month would be more regular than my recent performance. Anyhow, today’s e-mail brought a brochure for a course (IE 590 & ChE 597) titled, “Career, Teaming & Entrepreneurial Methods […]

Posted in Engineering Curriculum| Tagged , , | Comments closed

The Marshmallow Challenge

Ever hear of the “Marshmallow Challenge?” Small teams of individuals are given the following assignment: use twenty sticks of uncooked spaghetti, one yard of masking tape, and one yard of string to construct the tallest possible free-standing structure that supports the weight of a marshmallow. Most people assume that since a marshmallow doesn’t weigh much, […]

Posted in Engineering Roles| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Secret Tools of the Engineering Grad Student, Part 4: BibConverter

As you begin writing academic papers, you will need to cite the work of other researchers. From the prior two posts in this series, you know about using LaTeX to typeset your paper, and using JabRef to store your bibliographic references. However, typing in all the citation information by hand is rather tedious. Your ability […]

Posted in Research Tools| Tagged , , | Comments closed