# Re: Psion Born Again? - Scion

This is a discussion on Re: Psion Born Again? - Scion ; Eric Lindsay's spam trap wrote: > On Fri, 7 Nov 2003 20:57:57 +0000 (UTC), > real-address-in-sig@flur.blti gibbet (Rowland McDonnell) wrote: > > >> The Ghostscript/Ghostview combination are available for the Mac, > >> so QuikScript is a good method from ...

# Thread: Re: Psion Born Again?

1. ## Re: Psion Born Again?

Eric Lindsay's spam trap
wrote:

> On Fri, 7 Nov 2003 20:57:57 +0000 (UTC),
>
> >> The Ghostscript/Ghostview combination are available for the Mac,
> >> so QuikScript is a good method from the Psion.

> >
> >Except that QuikScript isn't up to the job given what I want to do.

>
> What a pity. I was lucky in that the limits of QuikScript were
> close enough to what I needed to do (infrequent changes to the
> number of columns per page, fairly simple tables, not a lot of
> math at all) that I could manage with it. I did use a couple of
> very simple pieces of embedded Postscript as well, but they were
> only for trivial illustrations.
>
> If you are doing something that pushes say LaTeX, then QuikScript
> certainly won't be the right thing to use.

I'm not doing things that push LaTeX. It's just that I want proper
typesetting, and you don't get that with anything but TeX, Adobe's
InDesign, or a few oddities around the edges.

[snip]

> >I would argue that LaTeX has so many advantages over things like
> >QuikScript for anything remotely serious that there's no point in
> >considering anything but LaTeX if you have anything substantial or
> >important to do.

>
> Yes, if you are doing substantial work. I just didn't consider
> 16-40 page documents sufficiently substantial for the extra
> learning curve involved in coming to grips with TeX again.

Umm. Modern LaTeX is surprisingly painless to use - questions on
movie elements in pdfLaTeXed presentations for live projection, and
things like that - graphics inclusion and use of colour, for example are
generally reasonably trivial these days; and even adding new founts is
no longer nearly impossible, and now merely annoyingly fiddly. I've not
actually tried either of 'em myself, but there are a couple of tightly
integrated pdfTeX setups for MacOS X that many people speak very highly
of. For straight Unix and Windoze, there's the rather odd LyX, which
uses a semi-wysiwyg approach and TeX as the final typesetting engine.

The main things about LaTeX from my point of view are the robustness and
stability of the file format - by robust', I mean that even if LaTeX
vanishes from the Earth in some strange interdimensional calamity out of
a bad SF film, the data is still accessible because it's plain text
markup. And on top of that, you get proper typesetting - which is not
the case with QuikScript. Not to mention the enormous flexibility you
have with LaTeX. Okay, so Postscript might well be a more useful
programming language than anything on the TeX side, but it's a right sod
to use directly and there isn't a huge library of code and a large user
sane job and a few insane ones - how about a Basic interpreter written
in TeX? Okay, you've got to get 'em and learn how to use 'em, but
there's a searchable catalogue on the Web and the rather informative
comp.text.tex newsgroup.

And once you know that this:

% %plain
\let~\catcode~76~A13~F1~j00~P2jdefA71F~7113j defPALLF
PA''FwPA;;FPAZZFLaLPA//71F71iPAHHFLPAzzFenPASSFthP;AFevP
AGGFRruoPAqq71.72.F717271PAYY7172F727171PA??Fi*LmP A&&71jfi
Fjfi71PAVVFjbigskipRPWGAUU71727374 75,76Fjpar71727375Djifx
RrhC?yLRurtKFeLPFovPgaTLtReRomL;PABB71 72,73:Fjif.73.jelse
B73:jfiXF71PU71 72,73:PWs;AMM71F71diPAJJFRdriPAQQFRsreLPAI
I71Fo71dPA!!FRgiePBt'el@ lTLqdrYmu.Q.,Ke;vz vzLqpip.Q.,tz;
;Lql.IrsZ.eap,qn.i. i.eLlMaesLdRcna,;!;h htLqm.MRasZ.ilk,%
s\$;z zLqs'.ansZ.Ymi,/sx ;LYegseZRyal,@i;@ TLRlogdLrDsW,@;G
doTsW,Wk;Rri@stW aHAHHFndZPpqar.tridgeLinZpe.LtYer.W,:jbye

gives you a beautifully typeset version of the full words to the song
The Twelve Days of Christmas' when thrown at any TeX installation, what
more reason could one want for never using anything other than TeX for
one's printed output?

\end{salespitch}

> This
> was especially the case when you consider that by prepending the
> 40k Postscript that makes up QuikScript, I could print directly
> from the Psion to my laser printer (which has IrDA and
> Postscript) without having to pass through another computer. For
> me, that was an enormous advantage.

That, I can relate to as being a Very Good Thing. Me? I suppose I'll
have to wait until I can LaTeX on a hand-held.

> At the time I started using
> that method I had such printers available at home and at the
> office - I got a lot of office memo crap and "cover your ass"
> memos done on the train.
>
> >If you want proper typesetting, TeX is the way to go to. QuikScript
> >can't do decent hyphenation and justification. TeX can.

>
> That is certainly true. Justification in QuikScript is only as
> good as the standard Postscript routines. Unlike TeX, there are
> no specialised hypenation facilities.

If it weren't for that, I'd've been using something like QuikScript
years ago on my Macs (there's something similar available for Macs, or
always used to be, anyway).

> Rowland, had you checked this web site?
> LaTeX Jim Ottaway has Psion Word to LaTeX converter for Linux
> written in C.
> http://website.lineone.net/~j.ottaway/psi2latex.html
> That is a pretty old note from my web site, but perhaps it is of
> interest.

Bigod. Well. Thanks for that - it looks interesting. I'll have to get
the developer tools from Apple and work out how to use the Unix side of
MacOS X properly before I can compile and use it - but... Well, what
more can I say than coo gosh!

Rowland.

--
Remove the animal for email address: rowland.mcdonnell@dog.physics.org
PGP pub key 0x62DCCA78 Sorry - the spam got to me
http://www.mag-uk.org
UK biker? Join MAG and help keep bureaucracy at bay

2. ## Re: Psion Born Again?

On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 03:27:25 +0000 (UTC),

>Umm. Modern LaTeX is surprisingly painless to use

Well, if you say so. It has been a long time since I've used or
supported LaTeX, so it is probably rather different to what I
recall.

>The main things about LaTeX from my point of view are the robustness and
>stability of the file format - by robust', I mean that even if LaTeX
>vanishes from the Earth in some strange interdimensional calamity out of
>a bad SF film, the data is still accessible because it's plain text
>markup.

Funny you should mention stability of file format. That was
precisely why I moved to QuikScript. I was utterly fed up with
word processor file formats changing and old files being hard to
convert. I've lost count of how many formats MS Word went
through from its original DOS days to now. As with LaTeX, my
QuikScript files are all just plain ASCII text markup, and the
ones from fifteen years ago still work fine. My markup is really
plain. %P% for a new paragraph for example. Since it is always
bounded by a set of % signs %, and since I have a list of the
meanings of all the markup, removal of the markup is really easy,
whether automated or in a text editor. As with LaTeX, the last
Postscript printer and the last open source Postscript viewer has
to disappear before I have printing and viewing problems.

>% %plain

Umm, yes, a fine example of obscure code. Cute however!

While I could easily find obscure Postscript examples, I have to
say that the actual QuikScript code is (mostly) pretty clear and
clean Postscript. Makes it very easy to add routines (or change
existing ones), if you are that sort of person.

>If it weren't for that, I'd've been using something like QuikScript
>years ago on my Macs (there's something similar available for Macs, or
>always used to be, anyway).

QuikScript itself should work just fine on a Mac actually, since
you just add 40k of Postscript (itself plain text) to the front
of your markup file. Given that I hear the latest OS X simply
displays Postscript files correctly, this should mean that any
marked up file with QuikScript in front of it should display
straight up on a Mac. I leave changing the justification
routines (which are not terrible, just not up to TeX) as an

Oh, actually, what sort of Mac do you have? Maybe I should send
you QuikScript (40k) plus an example file (say the QuikScript
manual of 200k). It would be interesting to find out whether the
Mac really does just display it. Let me know if interested.

--
Eric Lindsay http://www.ericlindsay.com/guff
Airlie Beach Qld Australia - Great Barrier Reef entry
Psion & Epoc site http://www.ericlindsay.com/epoc
Bait for spammers: root@localhost postmaster@localhost

3. ## Re: Psion Born Again?

Eric Lindsay's spam trap wrote:

> On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 03:27:25 +0000 (UTC),
>
> >Umm. Modern LaTeX is surprisingly painless to use

> Well, if you say so. It has been a long time since I've used or
> supported LaTeX, so it is probably rather different to what I
> recall.

If you last used LaTeX in the 2.09 days before about 1994 when 2e
started to creep out, I can assure you it's an *entirely* different
world these days. LaTeX is still LaTeX with all that implies, but 2e is
so much less fiddly to use and so much easier to play around with, and
there's a *huge* amount of support available via the Web and Usenet.
The sheer number and variety of bolt-on packages is astonishing, never
mind what they can actually do without the user having to invent any new
code.

> >The main things about LaTeX from my point of view are the robustness and
> >stability of the file format - by robust', I mean that even if LaTeX
> >vanishes from the Earth in some strange interdimensional calamity out of
> >a bad SF film, the data is still accessible because it's plain text
> >markup.

> Funny you should mention stability of file format. That was
> precisely why I moved to QuikScript. I was utterly fed up with
> word processor file formats changing and old files being hard to
> convert.

Me too - but way back when, I didn't have reliable access to PS
rendering, so while I occasionally considered looking at direct PS
typsetting which a lot of people seem to like, it wasn't really
practical for me until I'd got a huge investement in LaTeX built up.

> I've lost count of how many formats MS Word went
> through from its original DOS days to now. As with LaTeX, my
> QuikScript files are all just plain ASCII text markup, and the
> ones from fifteen years ago still work fine. My markup is really
> plain. %P% for a new paragraph for example. Since it is always
> bounded by a set of % signs %, and since I have a list of the
> meanings of all the markup, removal of the markup is really easy,
> whether automated or in a text editor. As with LaTeX, the last
> Postscript printer and the last open source Postscript viewer has
> to disappear before I have printing and viewing problems.

That is indeed a huge advantage.

[snip]

> >If it weren't for that, I'd've been using something like QuikScript
> >years ago on my Macs (there's something similar available for Macs, or
> >always used to be, anyway).

>
> QuikScript itself should work just fine on a Mac actually, since
> you just add 40k of Postscript (itself plain text) to the front
> of your markup file. Given that I hear the latest OS X simply
> displays Postscript files correctly, this should mean that any
> marked up file with QuikScript in front of it should display
> straight up on a Mac.

Very nearly. The latest MacOS X (10.3) has gimp built into it, and
neatly integrated so that if you double-click on a PS file, the OS fires
up gimp, converts it to pdf, and then uses the OS's Display PDF screen
drawing routines to render it using a simple preview app (I have this
from an OzTeX user with 10.3 who tried it). Oh yeah, and X Windows is a
standard fitting. Wahey! Macs might have lost a bit of usability, but
oh boy is Apple making up for it with power! Hehehehe. If only they
could make it *reliable*...

> I leave changing the justification
> routines (which are not terrible, just not up to TeX) as an
> exercise for the reader :-)

> Oh, actually, what sort of Mac do you have?

A 512Ke and a few others up to this 1.25GHz 2G4 running 10.2.6 (with a
frankly obscene 1GB RAM and ridiculously huge 170GB disc space - which I
most likely won't start moaning about being inadequate for at least 6
more months).

> Maybe I should send
> you QuikScript (40k) plus an example file (say the QuikScript
> manual of 200k). It would be interesting to find out whether the
> Mac really does just display it. Let me know if interested.

At the moment, my Mac won't - although I could install fink, fink
commander, and then gimp and probably set things up to do an
auto-conversion almost as MacOS 10.3 does - but that'd be a lot of work
which I won't need when I get 10.3 installed. I'm on 10.2 at the
moment, and I'm not shelling out for 10.3 until a few updates have come
out to get rid of the inevitable bugs introduced by what is in some
respects a massive re-write.

But, erm, send it to me anyway (email address in sig) - and assuming I
can put it somewhere that'll mean I remember, I'll take a closer look
when I do get 10.3. Hey, my 5mx's Agenda program has a `todo'
list, does it not? Might as well to have something on-topic in the
post...

Rowland.

--
Remove the animal for email address: rowland.mcdonnell@dog.physics.org
PGP pub key 0x62DCCA78 Sorry - the spam got to me
http://www.mag-uk.org
UK biker? Join MAG and help keep bureaucracy at bay