An abbreviated "git log"

I’ve been getting more into (the version control system) Git as I’ve worked more on LaTeX3 code (mostly though git-svn, although I’m also using Git for my PhD work).

Here’s an alias that quickly calls up a one-per-line list of recent commits:

    recent = log --pretty=oneline --abbrev-commit -n 10

Update June 2010: I now use the following, which reports all of the commits made since the last push to the remote origin/master:

git log --oneline origin/master..HEAD

I find this much more useful in getting my head back on track after coming back to some code that I've been playing with but haven't made public yet. (End update.)

Add this to your .gitconfig file. Then call git recent to get a quick overview of what’s been going on recently. Saves calling up GitX when you just want to remember what’s going on.

Output looks like:

$ git recent
462e945 set_pTF for l3io
ccf25cf set_pTF for l3box
48c9f59 Rename \prg...nonexpandable to \prg...unexpandable
cccc41a \prg_set_pred.. improved
8bca027 New version of cs_generate_variant

Git is nice (but intimidating) in that it allows you to make all these friendly modifications but you need to get some pointers on using it all.


Writing via iPhone

I was really hoping that this site would have a decent mobile view for writing. Alas. Here's hoping for MarsEdit for iPhone sooner rather than later.

Not that typing on this li'l thing feels very good on my thumbs. But that's what a childhood of Mario was supposed to prepare me for, right?

On an unrelated note, am I the only one that's bugged by the fact that the iPhone keyboard uses curly quotes/apostrophes on its key caps but to hit them gives you their 'dumb' (or straight) variants?

Oh, I just happily realise that you can press and hold the keys to get glorious “curly” quotes. Still wish they could be a bit cleverer and auto-correct themselves, however.


TeX Live 2009 freeze date

I’m not sure how many TeX/LaTeX developers read what I write here, but nonetheless.

TeX Live is the major distribution for TeX and LaTeX and related programs, released yearly by the TeX Users Group and coordinated by the tireless Karl Berry. TeX Live contains essentially everything on CTAN modulo the non-free branch, and is now the only supported distribution for Linux and Unix systems, including Mac OS X. (Windows users also have the option of using MiKTeX.)

Karl has just contacted me about fixing up a couple of my packages to go along nicely with a new feature that will be in TeX Live 2009 — a new “shell escape” feature that doesn’t need to be turned on by default and that accepts a restricted (but customisable) set of commands.

Shell escape can’t be turned on in TeX Live because it is a security hazard; one could write an obfuscated TeX document to delete your home folder, for example. However, it’s absolutely essential for some of the more convenient features that I (at least) rely on: being able to convert EPS figures on the fly (Heiko Oberdiek’s epstopdf); being able to pre-compile psfrag graphics from Matlab and Mathematica (see the pstool package), and so on.

So I have to go and look at auto-pst-pdf and the aforementioned pstool to make sure they behave correctly in this new mode, and to see if they can be improved to take advantage of it.

The initial freeze date for TeX Live 2009 is March 31, which has kind of snuck up on me. While TeX Live won’t be ready for some time after that (ironing out the wrinkles can sometimes take months), it would be unfortunate to miss the date.

I’ll have to go and check to see what we can do about the expl3 code, too…