Precompile pgfplots using tikzexternalize

Using pgfplots allows you to quickly create very beautiful plots, that look like they belong to your paper, by automatically using the correct fonts and styles. It does this by using the latex compiler to make the figures. This approach is very powerful but has a major drawback: the latex compiler was not made to do this. As a result, latex tends to run out of memory very fast, and projects with a lot of pgfplots tend to take a long time to compile. »

Extending latex memory

Latex is a very powerful typesetting application. A powerful package to be used with this is pgfplots, which allows you to render your plots using the latex engine. Unfortunately the default latex settings assume you’re running latex on an ancient 20 MHz 486 with less ram than your average mobile phone. This is ok if you’re just asking it to process text, but if you’re using pgfplots it will run out of memory trying to draw your images. »

Latex formula as a native powerpoint object

It’s always a dilemma: latex is great for formulas but well, not so much at making slideshows or posters. Powerpoint on the other hand is great at the latter, but sucks balls at the first. No matter which tool you use to create your powerpoint, a lot of frustration, broken coffee mugs and hairloss ensues. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just typeset formulas in powerpoint using latex? »

Boot ISO files from USB with grub4dos

The goal is to make a universal bootable usb device with a small boot partition and a data partition on which we’ll store the iso files. This means you can just download almost any bootable iso and boot it without having to burn a cd or unpack the iso. We’ll install grub4dos as boot loader, using the ‘triple mbr’ feature to increase the compatibility with different mainboard and BIOS configurations. We’ll be using command line linux applications to reach our goal, any distro will do. »

Hello world!

This article originally appeared on I’ve copied it over to my current blog to consolidate all my blogging efforts over the years in one place. Welcome to this blog. We’re two phd students maintaining a bunch of computers in the lab. This blog just serves as our notebook. Instead of wondering “how the hell did we solve this last time” each time something goes wrong, we’ll just post it here. »

Author image Wouter Dullaert