Bibtex going openout_any = p

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Working with multibib, Bibtex started failing me after a recent reinstallation of texlive on xubuntu. On
bibtex <project-path>/src.aux
I got:

bibtex: Not writing to &amp;lt;project-path&amp;gt;/src.blg (openout_any = p). I couldn't open file name `&amp;lt;project-path&amp;gt;/src.blg'

To get rid of the error, open texmf.cnf, which resides in /usr/share/texlive/texmf/web2c through
sudo gedit /usr/share/texlive/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf
Then find the entry...   READ MORE

The Dark Side of the Moon

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Transparency International calls it »the biggest bribery story of 2012«:

In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country....   READ MORE

Germany Fails GRECO Deadline

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When it comes to UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption), Germany is in the good to shady company of Bhutan, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic (many of which buy German tanks, too). These states all signed UNCAC, but have not yet ratified it.

Since it is still legal (or rather: not illegal) to bribe a German member of parliament as long as you are not buying her vote (§ 108e, StGB), Germany can’t even ratify the convention, which has been subject of much deliberation....   READ MORE

Cloud a la ownCloud

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After an earlier failed attempt at owncloud 4 I’m prety happy with OC 5 now and succesfully sync contacts, calendars and some files in between a crunchbang netbook, a xubuntu notebook and my Android phone:

Sync Contacts

Sync Calendar

Desktop Client

  • Setting it up:
    Somehow it only worked as root, chown did the trick (see here):
    sudo chown -Rc USER:USER /home/USER/.local/share/data  
  • Syncing
    Syncing works pretty well – but unfortunately not well enough. I do like that one can connect random folders to sync (for example a local folder »Documents« may be called »docs« on OC). What I like not so much is that you can only run two-way-sync. There is no option »sync only from server to machine« or »sync only from machine to server«. It would be very helpful as I use Unison to sync very large parts of my hard drives among several machines – much more then I want or need in OC. Yesterday I lost some data and I think it was due to owncloud got confused with two machines syncing to it in addition to syncing directly in between each other.
  • Android
    The oc-app allows syncing to the phone on a file-by-file basis, which is neat. It also adds an owncloud-option to the share-menu. What I find really convenient though is that owncloud allows es-file-explorer to connect.

Sharing Files

Further tutorials and resources I used

[article started in August 2012; final, rewritten version from January 2014]

.htaccess redirect with GET variable

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I wanted to rename a part of this website and I knew, I needed a 301 in order to redirect people from the old to the new address. It was easy to find out that this can be achieved through .htaccess and the basic needs were also pretty easy to gather. Create a text-file called .htaccess on your apache-web-server in the root directory of your website. It needs to contain the following two lines to switch the module on:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /...   READ MORE

Redecorating the Place

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I thought I’d adapt my place to the large screens we tend to have now. Also, my eyes are getting weaker and now and again I find myself increasing one website font sizes here and there.

So after six years of tiny letters and narrow columns, I made a new skin. This is how the Brasserie looked until today:...   READ MORE

New Xampp Security Concept

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After quite some time I installed xampp again. Everything worked smoothly, only when trying to access phpmyadmin, I was greeted with

New XAMPP security concept:
Access to the requested object is only available from the local network.
This setting can be configured in the file “httpd-xampp.conf”.
If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
Error 403...   READ MORE

The Right Password Manager

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A guy got hacked recently. He calls the incident »epic« which may well be true from his personal point of view. Also, the apple/amazon shortcomings in handling his sensible information are downright preposterous, but there were a couple of mistakes at his end that made the scope wider than it had to be and the effect far more devestating than necessary.

For instance he did show an epic laxness concerning his personal data by not obeying Schofield’s 2nd law of computing. It states »data doesn’t really exist unless you have at least two copies of it.« I do obey this law by using backintime and I recommend you use something similar....   READ MORE

xubuntu 12.04

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Way too many issues with a first attempt drove me to the decission to reinstall. I had a look around and made eye contact with fedora, arch and debian but in the end thought I’d give a clean xubuntu installation a second chance – and I did not regret it. Here goes:

1. Installation from LiveUSB

First surprise:No issues. Only: apparently all of a sudden my computer needs a /boot partition, so my partition map looks like this:...   READ MORE

The Shocking Truth

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The Guardian has a very interesting and insightful article on »The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy« by Naomi Wolf.

In her article she sheds much light on the many (dim to dark) issues related to the Occupy-movement, and explains how the Department of Homeland Security, local mayors, congress, Wall Street, and businesses are linked to each other and ultimately to OWS.

Feeds a la Tiny Tiny RSS

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[update 2012-10-04] In the meantime, I helped Nic with what he calls scratching some itches for ex-Google-Reader users: we now have gritttt, and gritttt has a) a means to import shared/stared items from g-reader into tt-rss; b) drive-by sharing, meaning you can share any page in tt-rss on the fly; and c) a widget that can display the latest shared items from tt-rss on your website. More here. [/update]

[update 2011-11-10] Both this and Nic’s article have been featured on tt-rss’ project site. There are a bunch of other interesting and useful articles, too, so check it if you’re interested in tt-rss. [/update]...   READ MORE

Strikethrough in LaTeX

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Today I found a second way to achieve a strikethrough in LaTeX (what is done by »line-through« in css: strike out text). If you want to put a line across text, your choices are »ulem« and »cancel«:

Strikethough in LaTeX using »ulem«

\usepackage{ulem} in the preamble gives you two ways to strike out text (and a couple more for underlining):

  1. \sout{text to be striked out} for a horizontal line through text to be striked out (exactly like »line through«).
  2. \xout{text to be crossed out} for many short diagonal lines crossing out the letters of the text to be crossed out

The problem that ulem affects some bibliography styles where otherwise italicised text is then underlined can be remedied through the »normalem«-option in the preamble: \usepackage[normalem]{ulem} (Thanks Fredrik!).

Ulem is part of MiKTeX and TeX Live but also available at ctan.

Strikethrough in LaTeX using »cancel«

\usepackage{cancel} in the preamble gives you four different modes of striking through

  1. \cancel{text to cancel} draws a diagonal line (slash) through its argument
  2. \bcancel{text to cancel} uses the negative slope (a backslash)
  3. \xcancel{text to cancel} draws an X (actually \cancel plus \bcancel)
  4. \cancelto{〈value〉}{〈expression〉} draws a diagonal arrow through the 〈expression〉pointing to the 〈value〉 (math-mode only)

You can get cancel at ctan.


LaTeX strikethrough examples (ulem + cancel)

Click on the image for pdf or download the source file – which looks like this:










\verb+\sout{striked out text}+ renders \sout{striked out text}

\verb+\xout{crossed out text}+ renders \xout{crossed out text}


\verb+\cancel{canceled text}+ renders \cancel{canceled text}

\verb+\bcancel{b-canceled text}+ renders \bcancel{b-canceled text}

\verb+\xcancel{x-canceled text}+ renders \xcancel{x-canceled text}

\verb+\cancelto{<value>}{<expression>}+ renders $\cancelto{value}{expression} $

Cancelto also works with more complicated expressions:

\verb+\cancelto{\frac{num2}{den2}}{\frac{num1}{den1}}+ renders $\cancelto{\frac{num2}{den2}}{\frac{num1}{den1}} $


Deny Internet in Ubuntu

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I have phases in my work cycle, where I want to limit internet access to myself. Thus, I created a »work-user« and in the user’s properties I unticked the boxes 

  • Connect to internet using a modem
  • Connect to wireless and ethernet networks
  • Use modems

I thought that should do the trick, yet it didn’t restrict internet access to this user. I tried various other things to deny access to network and web and finally found something useful at (German):

create a file in /etc/init.d (filename doesn’t matter)

sudo touch /etc/init.d/

Open the file you created:

sudo gedit /etc/init.d/   READ MORE


posted in: Random | 0

I was somewhat flabberghasted when I found out my mobile phone (Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot) was unable to play .mp4, .flv, .avi and what else I tried. It refuses to play all video formats save .3gp.

I was unable to convert to this with avidemux. Google quickly told me that ffmpeg could do the trick. But being unfamiliar with bitrates and stuff I was happy indeed when I found Mobile Media Converter, which is a neat and lean GUI for ffmpeg (Mac, Linux and Win). It even sports convenient batch process via drag & drop. Have fun.

Fonts in LaTeX

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In short: To avoid the standard pixel bitmap fonts and go for smooth, scalable post script ones, use one of the following:


or, for standard post script fonts

\usepackage{pslatex} or
\usepackage{ae,aecompl}...   READ MORE

Position:Absolute in LaTeX

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In css there is the handy absolute positioning. Today I found out how to do it in LaTeX:

In the preamble


In the document
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
The arguments are as follows:

<left handle>,<top handle>]
(<leftmargin>,<topmargin>)...   READ MORE

World Wide Food Chain

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This last weekend I understood a lot about the internet food chain: There are the smart guys and there are the monkeys. The smart guys find out how to crack a system. They publish their stuff and move on. The smart guys are too busy to play around.

As soon as the smart guys make the security hole public, the swarm of pimple stricken milksops with teenage angst who read what the smart guys publish come marauding. They upload a bit of this, toy around a bit in that and then claim they »hacked« something while they really only hacked their pants once more.

This way the smart guys don’t have to bother telling the people about their security holes (probably assuming backup copies and a restore script anyway; if this doesn’t exist – more valuable lessons learned): they have their monkey baggage to do so for them.

Section Footnote in LaTeX

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I left biting marks in the table on this one. I don’t know if it’s a general issue or just my document. Anyway:

I wanted to have footnotes from inside sections, subsections, and subsubsections. They work similar to footnotes in tables, you need to address them similar to this:

\section{Some Section in my Document\footnotemark}

\footnotetext{My boring footnotetext.}

Only, when I did it like this, it worked on some occasions, but not on others (reason for me biting the wood).

I finally found out that it did not work on all occasions where I did it exactly like in above example, but always rendered

TeX capacity exceeded, sorry [input stack size=5000]
However, it did work on all the occasions where I specified the (optional) short title for section/subsection/&c:

\section[Section in Document]{Some Section in my Document\footnotemark}

\footnotetext{My boring footnotetext.}

The optional shorter title appears — as far as I know — in the table of contents and in left-/rightmark. Also, Kile uses it to display the document structure, too. So if you have rather long titles (like I do) it is a good idea specifying a short one anyway. If not, I guess you can just as well repeat the full title in the optional argument if you need a footnote.

When using the starred variant (\section*{My merry section}), don’t provide a short title.

Groucho Marx Job Application

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After graduation naturally comes application. Now it seems that application naturally comes with frustration.

Each and every company knows exactly what they want to a degree that just saw me printing 14 pages of a single job description – the job being »PR nut«.

You must be flexible, proactive, and willing to work at unsociable hours as well as come with considerable experience. And, most important of all, you are willing to work for a monthly bag of rice and some mutton fat in this exciting times for this thriving company.

All this had me rather depressed until I spoke to my wise friend. He said it was all too similar to the famous Groucho Marx statement:

I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.

Only the companies seem to have a slightly altered statement written all over their job descriptions:

We want somebody who is so qualified that they’d never work for us.

»Might Make You Laugh«

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Yesterday we arrived in London for a short holiday. In the early evening we were rambling the streets, not sure what to do. When at last we made our minds up and opted for cinema, a couple stopped us. Something was with their daughter, I did not quite get what, but it was the reason they couldn’t make it to the theatre. If we fancied to see »Absurd Person Singular« at the Garrick in fifteen minutes? He said it was a comedy and that it might make us laugh.

Given my theater experiences lately I honestly wasn’t too keen; but A. already had taken the tickets – and off they went in a great hurry.

So, unknown couple: thank you ever so much. It was a lovely play, indeed the first theatre experience I had in some ten years that was not only not dreadful but far from it. It did indeed make us laugh.

Continuous Footnote Numbering in LaTeX

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By default LaTeX starts the footnote counter at zero for each chapter when you use the class {book} or {scrbook}. If you want to avoid that and have a continuous enumeration, here is how it works:

Create a folder <remreset> in your local package repository. Save the file remreset.sty into this folder.

Open your preamble and add
Should you get an error message like this
You can’t use ‘\spacefactor’ in vertical mode. \@
or like this
Command \@ already defined.
embrace the stuff with \makeatletter and \makeatother:

ΛαΤεΧ in Greek

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There are various possibilities to include Greek text in your LaTeX document. The three ones I found are these:

  1. $\Gamma\rho\varepsilon\varepsilon\kappa$ gets you Γρεεκ allright, but it looks clumsy and lacks all the accents etc.
  2. betababel. It does not work with my customised control sequences, and I am too lazy to change them and learn them all anew.
  3. polutonikogreek. Neat, slim, worked straight away.

Nos. 2 & 3 use ngerman, so make sure they don’t start a fight with german.



I had a slight problem with polutonikogreek and titletoc. Whenever I used something like
which referred to this entry in the preamble:
the .toc-file looked like this at the corresponding place:
\contentsline {section}{\numberline {1.1}KAPITEL-1.1}{14}
\contentsline {subsection}{\numberline {1.1.1}UNTERKAPITEL-1.1.1}{14}
\select@language {polutonikogreek}
\select@language {german}
\select@language {polutonikogreek}
\select@language {german}
\contentsline {subsection}{\numberline {1.1.2}UNTERKAPITEL-1.1.2}{20} […]
Wherever \select@language appeared in the toc, the styling of my toc entries of the subsection level was being messed up. I style subsection entries in the toc in a way that they all get written in a single line. It looks like this:


There are two solutions.

  1. Ignore the problem, compile your document, open the .toc-file, delete all \select@language entries and compile again (but only once).
  2. Use the following specifications in your preamble:

    and then put the greek text directly into your document like this:


Custom Counter in LaTeX

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How it does work:

Here is what we do: We define the counter
then we add
after it, and it works. Thanks to Axel for his help on this.


How it does not work:

When you define a new counter like this
And later use it like this
\roman{MyCounter}. Beispiel eins
And then reference it like this:
And now I reference an example \ref{example}. \end{document}
Then LaTeX still interprets it as something like
So it results in an arabic number. This is not what we want. We want to reference the counter in lower roman (or upper roman or alph or what have you), too.

Timestamp your LaTeX Documents

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While working on a somewhat larger scale document I always end up with numerous prints, .dvis, .pdfs and so on and so forth. Once, I lost all my original .tex documents and thus had to copy everything from a pdf and reformat it. In a case like that, it sure is handy to know exactly with which version you are dealing and which one is the latest. So for my thesis I wanted to add a little automatic timestamp to each print. Sure enough I found timestamp.sty. Just go to your local package repository, create a folder called <timestamp> and save timestamp.sty into it. With
in the preambel and
anywhere in your document, you can then add the – you’re guessing it – timestamp. The output will look like this:
2007-03-23 14:34

Now, I never liked this date format, so if you, too, prefer DD-MM-YYYY, open timestamp.sty and scroll to the very bottom. Replace

\ifnum\month<10 0\fi\the\month-%
\ifnum\day<10 0\fi\the\day\ \xxivtime}
(the last three lines above \endinput) with
\newcommand{\timestamp}{\ifnum\day<10 0\fi\the\day.\,%
\ifnum\month<10 0\fi\the\month.\,%
\the\year\ — \xxivtime\,h}
\timestamp then produces
23. 03. 2007 – 14:34 h
However, the version I use looks like this:
\newcommand{\timestamp}{compiled on \ifnum\day<10 0\fi\the\day.\,%
\ifnum\month<10 0\fi\the\month.\,%
\the\year\ at \xxivtime\,h}
So the output reads
compiled on 23. 03. 2007 at 14:34 h

A Mighty Hunter

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In the course of writing my thesis I came across Nimrod, grandson of Ham, great grandson of Noah (Gen 10, 1-12). Now Nimrod is not only »a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.« (Gen 10, 9), according to Wikipedia, he – under the name of Namrūd ibn Kan’ān – also tried to build a tower so he could reach Allāh and dispossess him. Allāh did not at all approve of this plan, so he came up with a rather creative punishment:

Allāh ließ eine Mücke durch die Nase in sein Hirn fliegen. So wurde Namrūd 400 Jahre gequält, bis er starb.

(Allāh had a midge fly through his nose and into his brain. This tortured Namrūd for 400 years until he died.)

03 Oct 2007 – 12:23


A worm crawls into Nimrod's brain

In the meantime I found a source for the bug-in-brain thing in Jo­hann Hein­rich Zedlers Grosses voll­stän­di­ges Uni­ver­sal Lexi­con al­ler Wissen­schafften und Künste. However, in this version it is not a midge but a worm that crawls into Nimrod’s head. The worm causes that much pain that Nimrod has other people beating him over the head with a stick from time to time in order to get some relaxation.

The scientific community laughs about Johann Becanus

I also enjoyed the opening paragraph of the article.

»Then, I grab a TEXAS«

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From a time when intellect apparently sold:

Willi Baumeister grabbing a TEXAS

»Then I grab a TEXAS…«
says Prof. WILLI BAUMEISTER of the Academy of Arts Stuttgart
Combining flavour and sweetness so auspiciously, she regains my sympathy each day anew.«
»Whenever a whole lot of thoughts is at work within my head, I grab a Texas, who became a dear friend of mine.

Then again: maybe intellect didn’t sell all that well, or did you ever come into a situation where you actually could have grabbed a TEXAS? Anyway, here’s the German Original.

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