> This whole "it's apples to oranges" claim is bullshit. Both Word as well as LaTeX can be used for anything from writing a resume, making a technical paper with a few simple equations, to writing an entire Vector or Linear Algebra textbooks. When you have two options for doing the same task it's very much comparing apples to apples.
So can HTML. Would you compare Word to HTML? You can also write your resume in Notepad. Does that make Word comparable to Notepad? If you want to compare anything, compare LyX to Word. At least that makes some sense, even if the output of the latter just sucks in comparison to the former.
TeX is at its core a typesetting engine. Word is largely a GUI markup editor. It doesn't even do anything coming close to typesetting.
> * the steep learning curve: throw your 14-year-old who's doing a math assignment Word vs your favourite LaTeX editor, see what happens;
Are you sure? Customizing LaTeX can be hard, but using it in a straightforward way is no more difficult than HTML. Sure, it may be a bit more work than using a GUI, but once you get the hang of it it's a lot quicker than Word's formula editor.
> * lack of WYSIWYG-like feedback-loops: you have to wait a full minute on decently sized documents to see the result of adding that equation that took you 10 seconds to add;
In my experience it's a lot faster than that. The reason for this is simply that TeX does actual typesetting. This has a certain computational complexity, and cannot just be done on a line-by-line basis. Word is fast because it doesn't do anything like that. Again, Lyx has WYSIWYM (What you see is what you mean), which gives you an approximation of the output instantly, minus the proper typesetting.
> * syntax holdups: you miss an underscore and your document is broken. All the way through. And can take an hour to fix even if you're skilled. People writing documents that need LaTeX's power aren't always coders, and debugging is not a fun or planned-for activity for anyone.
It more commonly takes a minute, not an hour. Every had Word corrupt a file and mess up the styles in the middle of your 150 pages document? That's not exactly a quick fix either.
To sum up: If you want a WYSIWYM editor for TeX use Lyx. Otherwise, comparing LaTeX and Word makes about as much sense as comparing HTML and Word.
I don't mean to be difficult, but lots of laypeople actually compare HTML and Word for a common purpose, usually for making simple websites. Yes, people actually do generate their front-end page formatting using Word's HTML export. Again in that context, it's technically comparable (or worth comparing, rather). And they each have their flaws. I have used HTML/CSS for lots of documentation, and experimented with it for styling my resume even though those can be classically considered Word's domain. So I actually think comparing HTML and Word is really not that strange for a non-zero number of contexts. Typesetting via "formatting" is a pretty big part of the Word experience, and is a totally worthwhile context in which to compare it to LaTeX.
> Customizing LaTeX can be hard, but using it in a straightforward way is no more difficult than HTML.
I used LaTeX for every document I created in undergrad, but mostly because I wound up spending hours the first week of every course tuning a document to match the lab report/homework format, and there was a legacy of standards passed down from upperclassmen (ie plenty of nice handholding). After I left college, I've pretty much never wanted to open a LaTeX editor (or Word really, for that matter, because I prefer Google Docs).
I would bet money most middle schoolers, if given a blank LaTeX editor page and a blank page in Word/GDocs to write just a bunch of math formula (some fractions, arithmetic symbols and some exponents maybe?) would give you something better and sooner with the latter.
> In my experience it's a lot faster than that.
This unfortunately wasn't true for me, or for a lot of other people. Maybe large amounts of images, or the wrong image formats, or numerous other causes can make exports slow. I don't know the details of why, but it was there, and it sucked. Maybe a side-by-side editor+constant re-render in a custom output format (that's optimized for TeX rendering way faster than making a pdf), would be pretty cool, for instance. I don't need to export to pdf after every tiny edit after all.
> It more commonly takes a minute, not an hour.
I'll completely admit I got a little overdramatic by that point =]. Sure it's more commonly a minute, but it's still full of much more "Badness 10K" than I ever had Word throw an Error dialog at me. And in my (weak) defense, I have wound up spending an hour fixing a LaTeX bug from a missed closing brace, and I couldn't create the document. and it would have helped if I could have noticed it the moment it happened (as opposed to after my next recompile which took 30 seconds). I feel constant debugging shouldn't really have a place in document-writing. Perhaps better error tolerance (a la HTML) and/or debugging would be nice.
To sum up: I'm not trying to put down LaTeX. But it has lackings, which can be addressed. I also wouldn't suggest to make LaTeX function like other WYSIWYG/WYSIWYM editor, but to attempt to address the root problem, ie, the feedback-loops times. Lyx tried to do that, but WYSIWYM wasn't the right answer (for all the people who still use regular LaTeX editors instead).
Well, I actually don't even write documents very much anymore so maybe I'm pretty disconnected from the whole ecosystem for a while, but from what I gather the tools haven't really evolved much at all in the last 4 years.
I have a hard time seeing how anything but a teeny tiny fraction of scientific results would ever be amenable to such an automatic checking. And I am a mathematician -- in principle this should be easiest in mathematics, since at least we have well defined axioms and in principle one could derive everything from those axioms. In practice, this seems completely unfeasible for most mathematics, at least currently.
I'm guessing you're not alone, I would go so far as to say that validation software would offend most authors - the same way code validation tools hurt programmers' feelings.
"But I'm right and the tool is wrong! The tool doesn't understand the complexity/brilliance of my work!" And sometimes you're going to be right with that assertion. Other times, however, it will push you and your reviewers towards better quality.
I find it fascinating that the entire article is in fact about this issue, the copyright thing is purely incidental.
Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 had lots of fun themes. The cursor of the science theme was a glass tube with some chemical bubbling inside. Unfortunately, I can't even seem to locate pictures of those themes.
What does that have to do with serializable transactions?
"The Serializable isolation level provides the strictest transaction isolation. This level emulates serial transaction execution for all committed transactions; as if transactions had been executed one after another, serially, rather than concurrently."
If you don't get the right behavior with serializable transactions, as you seem to be claiming, it seems to me that serializable transactions should be considered buggy. In this case they do not provide the guarantees they are claimed to provide.
Funny, after visiting the site I went straight to the comments to see if anyone else had the same feedback. It goes slightly transparent (not blank) but the standard hand/cursor pointer would be enough to let me know that the image is clickable, and the icon-forward does even more.
I suppose I might leave my mouse pointer hanging out in the middle of the screen a lot, but my intention was just to scroll through the site and look at the large pictures. Unfortunately, whatever is front and center (the one I want to look at) goes jarringly faded because my mouse is usually unintentionally hovering it. I could live with a more subtle opacity: 0.90. :)
That said, nice site. For something similar, if you have not seen it, you might be interested in builtwithbootstrap.com.
(2) is incorrect in that the tensor product is not the category theoretical product in Vect.
The product of Vect is given by forming the cartesian product of the vector spaces (with the usual vector space structure on it; and the usual projections into the components are the morphisms you need for the product).
The coproduct is the direct sum of vector spaces: In the product construction, take all those vectors where only finitely many coordinates are non-zero (but the morphisms you need for the coproduct are the embeddings of the components into the direct sum).
Of course, if you take products or coproducts of finitely many vector spaces, the two coincide.
The tensor product is neither a product nor a coproduct in Vect, as the universal property it satisfies is rather different from the product/coproduct ones.
(If you consider tensor products of algebras over a commutative base ring R, then the tensor product is the coproduct in the category of R-algebras, but this is probably not what you had in mind.)
> the tensor product is not the category theoretical product in Vect.
Oh, you're right and I'm a twit. (Not simply because I got it wrong, but because if I'd spent 30 seconds to think what the product construction does in Vect rather than relying on my plainly-unreliable memory, it would have been obvious that it isn't the tensor product: there are obviously no candidates for the required projection morphisms.)
Thanks! (And apologies to Jeremy for having made an invalid argument, though in fact I think the arguments "the product is the tensor product, the cartesian product is actually a coproduct, so they're very different" and "the product is the cartesian product, the tensor product is an entirely different kind of product, so they're very different" are about equally convincing modulo the fact that the first one's key premise turns out to be false.)