This is my personal home page. If you are looking for the Cracklock utility go to this section. You can download other freewares that I have developed on this page, and if you want to know about my PhD research then go to this page.

Big Climb Fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 
Do you want to help blood cancer research? You can do that by donating at my Big Climb fundraising page before March 22nd.

The Big Climb is a stairclimb up the Columbia Center - the tallest skyscraper in downtown Seattle. There are 69 flights of stairs, 1311 steps, and 788 feet of vertical elevation. All proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Thank you for your support!

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On text sorting, the fact that Notepad++ is the best text editor, and 2011 wishes!  
UPDATE: Version fixes intermittent crashes.

A few years ago I spent some time looking for the best text editor for Windows. After testing pretty much all the editors available at the time (Notepad2, Notepad++, UltraEdit, UltraPad, TextPad …) I finally reckoned that the most powerful and versatile one was Notepad++. I have been using it since then and I regularly recommend it to other people.
I could not convince my father to ditch TextPad though because of its superior text sorting feature. It's true that the standard sorting plugin shipping with Notepad++ is pretty basic. It only lets you sort the file at a given column and by lexicographical order only.
TextPad on the other hand lets you define a sort criterion based on up to three user-defined columns. Also for each column the comparison can be either numerical or lexicographical.

The thing is that I am very stubborn: Notepad++ *is* the best editor for Windows, and so to prove it to my father there were no way round it: I had to implement the missing sorting features for Notepad++!
Because Notepad++ is open-source I was able to start from existing code. It thus took less than a day to implement the missing feature as a plugin! Of course it had to be superior than TextPad's implementation. Hence it lets you define an unlimited number of columns, unlike TexPad which is limited to only three.

I figured out that my father may not be the only one interested by the plugin so here you go: You can download the plugin including sources at

To install it just copy the plugin DLL (under 'Unicode Release' in the zip file) to the Notepad++ plugin directory (%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++\plugins if your Windows is 64bit; %ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\plugins if your Windows is 32bit).

I take the opportunity to wish you a great year 2011 and hope that all your problems will be sorted in whichever order you prefer be it lexicographical or numerical!

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Plotting thesis word count 
I have been playing around with PowerShell lately. Here is the little exercise that I set myself: measure and plot the evolution of the number of words in a TeX document.

The script takes a list of folders as parameters. For every TeX file found it calls to counts the number of words in the document. The total number of words is then saved to a CSV file and two graphs are plotted: one using GNU plot and the other one using the Google Visualization API.

I did not have this script at the time of my studies, but since I have been using Subversion to backup and manage revisions of my writings throughout my studies I was able to retrieve past revisions of my work and generate a few word count measurements. The graph below, generated using the PowerShell script, shows the evolution of word count in my D.Phil thesis.

The graph reveals few facts to the reader. For instance that I was not very productive during the first year... But it also shows that I started writing up early on (thanks to my supervisor's advice). Some doctoral students prefer to postpone writing up till the last few months. I am glad I did not adopt this strategy; it made the whole writing process very smooth and eliminate a lot of stress towards the end.

The graph also shows two particularly productive periods corresponding to two important milestones in the D.Phil process at Oxford: the transfer and the confirmation. The thesis reached a plateau on October 5th 2008, the date when I submitted the thesis to the examiners. There were subsequent minor modifications requested by the examiners after the viva, as well as some cosmetic changes for the camera-ready version sent to the Bodleian.

Here is the script in case you are interested: twc.ps1. I suggest you to use it to monitor your progress on your writings by setting it as a daily job under the Windows Task Scheduler.

The usage syntax is
./twc.ps1 [-tag name] [-date date] [-output outputdir] inputdirs

For example the command
./twc.ps1 -tag first_version -date '16 Nov 2010' -output c:\report c:\thesis
creates a datapoint named 'first_version' at the specified date whose value is the total number of words in TeX documents under directory c:\thesis; the CSV file and graphs are stored under c:\report.

For more examples just run the command without argument.

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SyncTeX-related news 
- Most TeX distributions (TeXLive 2008 and MikTex 2.7) have now been updated to support SyncTeX. The option is activated with the -synctex switch at the command-line as follows:
pdflatex -synctex=-1 mybook.tex

This command produces a file name 'mybook.synctex' which can then be used to perform PDF<->TEX synchronization. The file can be large so you can instead produce a compressed version (mybook.synctex.gz) with:
pdflatex -synctex=1 mybook.tex

- The SyncTeX patch that I've developed is now maintained in the main development branch of SumatraPDF; it is part of the latest official release (version 0.9.3).

I will still continue to publish my own builds of SumatraPDF to my website (the executable is updated regularly even though I am not posting about it): at the moment the only difference with the official release is the presence of a dialog box to let the user configure the inverse-search command. (In the official release this is done by passing command line parameters to SumatraPDF.exe.)

- I wrote a short documentation to help you configure your favourite editors for synchronization with SumatraPDF.

- Editors configuration
- My own build of SumatraPDF
- SumatraPDF official build
- MikTeX and TeXLive

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SyncTeX and SumatraPDF 
The author of the pdfsync TeX package, Jérôme Laurens, has developed a new technology called SyncTex that will eventually replace pdfsync. SyncTex is directly integrated in pdftex. This has many benefits: there is no need to load a special package in your .tex document, there is no more incompatibilities with latex packages, and the synchronization is more precise. One disadvantage is that the generated synchronization file can be huge, and for that reason it has an option to zip it.

Installing SyncTex

SyncTex is not yet released in current TeX distributions (TeXLive 2007), but you can install it by following these steps:
1- install the TexLive distribution
2- replace the following three files:
by pdftex.dll, pdftex.exe, and kpathsea356.dll.
3- Regenerate the format files using the setup program from the TexLive CD

Using SyncTex

Now to generate .synctex files you just need to specify the --synctex command-line argument to pdftex as follows:
pdflatex --synctex=-1 test.tex

Synchronizing with SumatraPDF

The author has provided a reference parser implementation for synchronization files generated by SyncTex. I have integrated it in SumatraPDF. If people are interested to test it, a binary version is available here.

I plan to commit my changes to the Sumatra code base in the coming days if I see that it works well with me.

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