Friday, November 23, 2012

Mathjax, note 10.1 and more

I have become really tired of the problems to have a proper way to display math in blogspot. I had previously used a latex renderer but I have had problems with it. On one hand the server has changed in a few occasions, and in another the blogspot people have deleted the modifications of the template that allows the to be used.

 Because of that I had become somewhat frustrated. After all some entries with maths in this blog doesn't work any more and I don't like the idea of change the template every time that the server of latex changes in the future.  I have been observing that from a months to now the Lubos blog uses mathajax and it looks like it is an stable solution so I have decided to give it a chance.

 This a text equation using the mathajax plugin:

 $$  ds ^2=H^{-2} dt^2 + H^2 dx^2 $$

Ok, to have an easy way to display formulas is fun, but it is only part of the game. You need to write them. That seams a trivial task, write the latex code. Yeah, it is truth, I know the latex code for math and I know how to write a full Latex document also, of course. But, you know, that is "last year technology. I mean, this year has arrived the note 10.1, the tablet version of the note family of tablets. It was presented in February  at the MWC in Barcelona (Spain) and it arrived the stores (and my home the very first day it was on sell) this September. Among the many goodies of that tablet is the math handwriting recognition that you can see working in this video:

That feature works really ok. it recoginzed well ther formula  (the plain text handwriting recognition works also fine, of course) and send the equation to wolphram alpha (if you want so) but it has an annoying aspect, it doesn't allows you to get the latex code that correspond to the formula. This feature has also been added to the phablets and I have used it in the note 5.3 (the original) form around march, long before getting the note 10.1. That means that writing an equation using latex has become a "too primitive" way to do things.

 Well, I have been learning to do android programs. But as far as I have had a bad experience in the recent past with writing for the symbian platform (I ended an app, send it to the nokia store, passed the quality standards, but never seen it published in the store so I have not made any money of the app) I have been somewhat reluctant to get too involved in that business. Still I have learned enough to know the theory of how to do a virtual keyboard that could allow write latex in a really easy way. I mean, for writing an alpha letter you need to type \alpha, and similar for other greek letters. It would be easiest to have an \[ \alpha \] symbol in the keyboard and that when you type it it would appear in the suggestion bar (candidate view) the option to write the latex code (that would be the default one), the mathajax code or the actual character. And similarly for many other math symbols. Maybe in the future I could make this keyboard, but if somewhat reading this blog entry decides to do it before I wouldn't ask him any money for the idea ;).

 Well, a latex keyboard would be fun. But it would be better still that the math recognition of the note would allow the option to show the latex code. I know that there is a SDK for the S-pen of the note, but I don't know if it allows access to the code of the math recognition program (I seriously doubt it, but I still have not watched too much the SDK). If so it would be fine that somewhat would try to write a variant of the S-note program that would include that latex presentation option. Of course if someone of Samsung reads this entry they are invited to include that functionality in an update. I really like the note tablet and I absolutly think that is the best tablet of the moment, specially for people who need to use equations often. If that LaTeX extra functionality is added it would convert a wonderful product into an even better one :)-


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