The most important tip for confident LaTeX newbies: Don’t reinvent the wheel! (and try a Minimal Working Example instead)

Today I wanted to address a common issue I see in troubleshooting LaTeX errors, on StackOverflow and in personal questions. It usually stems from newbies who aren’t yet aware of all the functionality provided by standard packages and thus, try to reinvent the wheel when something doesn’t work the way they expect. Why reinventing the wheel is a problem In my experience, even from me helping people with packages that I’m not all that familiar with myself, it’s always best not to reinvent the wheel (even if you succeed, the result is likely sub-par unless you’re actually really good at what you’re doing). Ask yourself if the functionality you want is something that’s likely to be a common problem. Then maybe somebody has already solved it in a comprehensive way! That’s what packages are for and that’s why they’re (hopefully) maintained by people who have given the problem at hand a good bit of thought. It is very likely that

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Long-Term Twitter Strategizing: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 4

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains long-term Twitter Strategy. This involves a few elements which might not seem so important at first but will be to keep your Twitter presence active and at a steady growth rate, without having to constantly put in lots of effort. This includes scheduled Tweets and using analytics and reflection to determine how to best cater to the interests of your followers. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a

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Bio Engineering, Tweet Structure or How to lure your audience: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 3

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains how you can improve the rate you’re gaining followers at by immediately providing them with reliable information about what value you provide for them. The best and quickest way to achieve that is by a one-time improvement session for your bio! If that’s not a life hack 😉 As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. More Twitter Growth/Strategy advice 8) Set up your

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Retweet Bots and Hashtags: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 2

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. This part explains all you need to know on retweet bots and hashtags. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. More Twitter Growth/Strategy advice 4) Use the power of (retweet) bots. During the last year, I have played around with bots or partly-automating retweeting on some Twitter accounts (like the epigrammetry blog’s Twitter) using bots. I created a feminist bot, a #100DaysofDH challenge bot, a #digiclass

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Improve your Twitter Strategy: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 1

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. I will start with the basics and common advice you can find online in this first post and then add some more info and reflection on my personal experiment in the next one. Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. This first one will start with the very Twitter basics and why you might want to start your own “Twitter Engagement” experiment. Am I back to

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Does LaTeX count as “programming”?

Today I wanted to talk about a common question I come across: Does LaTeX count as programming? Many people dismiss this question directly with a no. But I say the answer is not that simple and depending on how you practice LaTeX can definitely be ‘yes’ much more than you might think! Also, something I really don’t appreciate is people meaning to  degrade LaTeX when saying using LaTeX has nothing to do with programming (because it does and most people who think that way have just never seen LaTeX being used more like programming). LaTeX is, strictly speaking, a programming language and Turing-complete. Or rather, LaTeX is a macro package for TeX which is the actual Turing complete programming language. The typesetting-specific tools LaTeX provides probably can’t, however, be considered a full programming language on their own anymore. You could theoretically do anything with it, though it might just not be the easiest possible way to accomplish your ends (unless

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Understanding Scalability and Relative Values

What is the difference between 12pt and “format as heading“? Between 50px or 0.5\textwidth? Most of us know that we should always prefer relative to absolute values. But many who are new to webdesign or LaTeX don’t really get why. All of us who typeset papers and conference proceedings know that years of using MS Word does not necessarily teach you that difference either. This short post will try to remedy this in a quick and painless way 😉 In a WYSIWYG texteditor: Fontsize 12pt or “Format as Heading” In the case of a text editor, it is advisable to use the format templates rather than manually changing headings and so on for simple reasons: The information is stored as markup and if we tell the program what we want formatted as a heading, the machine gets semantic information about the text. Most people will understand that something is meant to be a heading when the font size is manually

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Algorithms, Variables, Debugging? Intro to Programming Concepts

Since I am about to prepare a workshop on natural language processing and a pre-workshop-workshop where I need to quickly/crashcourse introduce my (non-digital) Classicist friends to some basics on programming, let me share a list of programming concepts I compiled with you. I would be happy for your suggestions and comments regarding mistakes. I will probably publish this together with some key concepts of quantitative text analysis (blogpost to come) on a cheatsheet or as slides for you later 😉 Intro to key concepts of programming This list of concepts is not super-structured and meant to work as a ‘reference tool’ as well as a text to be read, so I tried to give it a more or less useful ‘chronology’, meaning that later parts kind of build on earlier ones. I start off with what a computer program or algorithm actually is and how we translate between source code (the code we write) and the code which gets fed

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