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Topic: why .ps ?
Replies: 39   Last Post: Aug 9, 2000 3:13 PM

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Posts: 175
Registered: 12/12/04
Re: why .ps ?
Posted: Aug 6, 2000 9:31 AM
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some short answers and comments to posts from
Lynn Killingbeck,Jeremy Boden,Steve L,Stephen Montgomery-Smith

Lynn Killingbeck wrote:
>QSCGZ wrote:
>> why is most mathematical online-information only available in
>> .ps or .dvi encrypted format ???
>> I assume , that .ps can handle pictures , greek letters , integral
>> symbol etc. , but there are usually ways to do this in ASCII as well ,
>> with only small decrease of readability.
>> (snip)
>> disappointed , qscgz .

>On what do you base this claim?

e.g. usenet-postings (=ASCII)

>Pictures in ASCII?

rectangles , triangles , many graphs - no problem.
watch out e.g. Bill Taylor's posts , although it's usually humour ,not math.

>Greek letters in ASCII?

ASCII 224-235 . But I meant , that often Latin letters or indices
can be used instead of Greek ones with only small loss of readability.

>Integral symbols in ASCII?

>Oh, I can do etc. in ASCII - etc. - but that's about it.
>With small decrease (well, if you consider nearly
>unintelligible as small...)...

most math usenet posts use ASCII , are they nearly unintelligible ?
(for that reason)

>Perhaps you are trying to read these intermediate languages directly. If
>so - don't do that! They are aimed at machine intelligibility, not at
>human intelligibility. Use the appropriate viewer.

..with the already mentioned disadvantages

>I don't speak TeX or PostScript languages, but understand that each is
>far more capable that plain text, when viewed with the appropriate
>viewer. I've written small papers with mutliple integrals and loads of
>super- and sub-script stuff (such fun things as COV material, taking
>partial derivatives with respect to y' and y'', for example), and can't
>imaging conveying the content in plain-vanilla ASCII. (I used the
>equation editor from Microsoft Word, some old version - and, frankly,
>getting the things to look reasonable was, using the proper technical
>jargon, a bitch.) ASCII and readable and your list (pictures, greek
>letters, integral symbol, etc.) don't live in the same universe!

but they can coexist.
Maybe someone can test it ? Make .ps _and_ .txt versions available online,
get it stored at searchengines and then count accesses/downloads !


Jeremy Boden wrote:

>In article <>, QSCGZ
><> writes

>>why is most mathematical online-information only available in
>>.ps or .dvi encrypted format ???

>.pdf or .html is usually also available

I rarely find .html

>For typeset quality you will find .dvi to be (usually) the best option.

>It's more due to the fact that mathematicians tend to work in
>Universities. These institutions tend to use Unix. This in turn strongly
>favours the use of postscript printers.

>Actually, software is available to convert .tex -> .html (and other
>types), albeit somewhat imperfectly.

.html -> .txt is also available (without pictures)

>Perhaps you'd like to convert a few pages of your favourite algebra text
>into ASCII and compare it with the original?

I'm a bit familiar with algebra-ascii , from newsgroup reading and
computer programming. I don't consider it a big restriction.


Steve L wrote :

>> it takes longer with modem and can't be read and answered online ,
>> like other emails.

>Sure it can. IE doesn't have any problem displaying .ps files for me. If
>I wanted to comment on a complicated .ps file I'd probably drop into TeX
>to describe some of the problems.

fine for you. But how many % of -say- sci.math.posters can do this too ?

>The .tex files aren't _that_ bad to read normally.

>> sci.math e.g. can live pretty well without pictures.
>In fact, it has to; sci.math is a no-binary-allowed group. On sci.math we
>try to stick to a text-with-LaTeX-bits but if binary stuff is allowed, we
>should use them -- and binaries should be allowed.

sometimes I see pics here , and it works.

>> If .txt can be converted to .tex and .tex can't be converted to .txt ,
>> then how can .tex be better ? (except for graphics)

>tex, properly compiled, can do everything plain text can do, and it can
>do more.

keyword-search ?

>And if a person reads the abstract and finds that they want to read the
>paper, they download the paper itself.

yes, but that's only -I guess- 20% of cases. You read lots of
abstracts before one download.

>>>... but now try to write a matrix,let's say a 50-by-50...
>But when you compile it, it appears perfectly fine.

OK, but now write a computer program to read the values into an array.

>But let's say you
>have a 50-by-50 matrix in which most of the elements in each row are
>negative (but a different set for each row) -- when you display that
>matrix in text format, unless your window is set much wider than 80
>characters (which is somewhat standard for newsreaders) you're going to
>have to wrap or scroll.

yes, I get more than 80 characters per line. No big problem IMO.
And you could also switch the display-modus.

>How do you work with matrices? When working with matrices, would []
>represent row and column indices?

we still have ()

>> hmm, maybe ascii 236 : ("equal EC")
>It showed up as an accented i, not the infinity sign you (based on
>context) wanted to see.

must be your newsreader , that changed it. Look up the ASCII-table.

>I have no problem viewing .ps files online.

I guess, you're in the minority with this.

>I don't remember what SW is.

software, pardon.

>File size, if it's _reasonable_, isn't that much of a consideration
>Faster printing -- depends on the printer.
>Convertable -- there are programs to convert .tex to .dvi to .ps to .pdf
>.. between just about any two formats you want, I'd imagine.

not to .txt , though.

>Let's say there are half a dozen papers, and each author is writing it in
>plain text. Each author might use different conventions for how to write
>integrals, functions, etc. Classifying them (which is what I think you're
>thinking of using the machine readability for) will still be difficult.

some standards will establish soon. But remember , I did suggest to publish
both , .txt AND .ps (or .tex ...) .

>installed at all, try reading the HTML code for webpages rather than
>reading that additional web browser software. Let's see how adept you can
>be at viewing webpages from that, complete with pictures.

I use htmstrip , no pictures , though.

>>> .. why .tex files are not released it's too easy to change them
>>> and claim that the file is yours.

not a math-specific problem. Imagine e.g. journalists would use
similar codings in ezines for that reason ...

>We don't see a need to abandon a perfectly-good format (TeX and ps) and

I never told to do this. Use both. But often , once someone has it in
TeX or ps he thinks , there is no more need for txt .

BTW. I had to delete lots of "=20" , "=2E" ,... (equal20,equal2E...)
from your post. Was it TeX , that created them ?


Stephen Montgomery-Smith wrote:

>..x^y (with the carot),
>.. suddenly I was unable to solve even the simplest equations.
>I{0 to oo} .... dx
>that it would have actually set mathematics back a few years.
> students submitting their homwork as text
>.. I find them hard to read, and usually full of mistakes,
>which the student would not had made had
>he used pen and paper.)

for paper and pencil calculations , of course , you/they shouldn't
use carots , or I{} , or ..
Only for displaying the result e.g. to newsgroups or webpages
or homework.

>Now TeX has really freed us. Anyone can post their
>papers on the web, and anyone can freely read it.

with some additional effort the first time.

>Programs that typeset TeX, or preview dvi files, or
>print them out, are free, and will operate on all but
>the very oldest of equipment. (I found a 286 amply
>powerful, although AMSLaTeX and LaTeX-2e killed it.)
>No-one can complain that TeX is elitist. Every effort

for non-mathematicians it might appear as such.

>has been made to make TeX and its related programs
>as accessible as possible...


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