I’ve always enjoyed working and playing with computers. My first computer was a x286 DOS based machine that is still sitting somewhere in my parent’s basement.
On this page, you will find links to various articles I’ve written about computer programming, some do-it yourself projects, and reviews of the utilities that help me keep my life together.
Research and Academics
LyX and LaTeX
- Customizing LyX. Since LyX is based on LaTeX, it is enormously powerful. There is a downside, however, the power is associated with inherent complexity and makes it difficult to customize. But learning how is well worth the trouble. This series of tutorials explains why and provides examples to help you get over the learning curve.
- Create an NIH Grant Proposal Template. LyX and LaTeX work hand in hand, but do very different things. LaTeX is a typesetting system, LyX is about on-screen display. To get a new document type to work, though, you need to work with both. This tutorial explains how.
- Character Styles and the LyX Local Layout. One of the keys to creating a professionally looking document is through the consistent use of styles. This includes section, paragraph and character styles. While LyX and LaTeX abundantly support the first two types, the last is a bit of a hidden gem. This article explains what character styles are, why they can make your life easier, and how-to use them. It also introduces the LyX local layout and how it can be edited.
- Typeset Your Curriculum Vitae
Statistics With R
- Part 1: An Old Dog Learns New Computing Tricks. Why use the R statistical language?
- Part 1: A Halfhearted Manifesto. Why work with Python and .Net over other languages?
- Part 2: A Simple Project. Introduces the projects that will be referenced throughout the series. This includes PodCatcher, a basic podcast aggregator. The download module of PodCatcher is described in detail.
- Part 3: A Beautiful Start. An introduction to using Windows Presentation (WPF) from IronPython. The example shows how to load XAML and runtime and do work in a background thread.
- Part 4: BITS and Pieces. .NET interoperation, extending IronPython and creating a download manager by using the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).
- Part 5: A Rudimentary Download Manager. Here I apply the concepts of part 3 and part 4 to create a basic (but functional) download manager.
- Part 6: From Rudimentary to Functional. In this article, I clean up the user interface and add some additional functionality like Pause/Resume of downloads.
- Part 7: A Summary of Lessons Learned
SVG Graphics and XAML
- Part 1: Introduction to Vector Graphics
- Part 2: Converting SVG to XAML with Adobe Illustrator
- Part 3: Converting SVG to XAML with Inkscape and XamlTune
- IronPython in Action. Michael J. Foord and Christian Muirhead.
Computers and Life
Backup, Share and Sync
- Part 1: Introduction. How to set up a home server for file backup, sharing and sync. Describes the server hardware and software components and how to install the operating system (Ubuntu Linux).
- Part 2: Hard Drive Preperation and Server Configuration. How to attach and mount USB hard-drives and configure Samba so that the hard drives can be accessed by other computers on the network.
- Part 3: Configuring the Server for Subversion. How to get Subversion up and running so that you can access it over http://.
- Backup and Archive. What’s the difference between the two? You might just say that backup is about keeping information safe while archiving is about taking care of it.
- Part 4: Apple Time Machine and Samba. Time Machine is one of the very best backup solutions available on any platform, but it doesn’t play nicely with generic network storage devices (NAS). This article shows how to use a Ubuntu home server for Time Machine backup.
- Part 5.1: Windows Vista Backup (Files). How to use the automated Windows Vista File Backup and Previous Versions feature to make sure that your data is safe and archived.
- Part 5.2: Windows Vista Backup (Disaster Prevention). While archiving files is all well and good, it is only one part of a complete backup plan. Planning and preparing for disaster can save you a tremendous amount of pain and heartache. This article walks you through one solution.
- Back In Time (Part 1): Linux Backup Made Easy. While there are many backup tools for Linux, it can be hard to find one that is both simple and reliable. Back In Time is both.
- Back In Time (Part 2): Over the Network and Across the World. Despite all of its strengths, Back In Time has one major weakness: it doesn’t support backup over a network. Luckily, however, it runs on Linux (the single most customizable operating system in the world). So even though Back In Time might not officially support backup to a remote computer, you can still make it work with a little bit of spit and grit. This article explains how.
Getting Started With Subversion
- Part 1: The Basics. A brief description of how Subversion can make your life easier while at the same time lowering your stress, enriching your existence, and restoring a child-like sense of wonder to the world. Also covered: installation and basic commands.