Font alignment corrections, beta3

I uploaded a new beta (1.92 beta3) today because I found an annoying bug in former version. All italic Greek symbols were pushed too much to the left, therefore letters in any equation that contained Greek symbols were not spaced evenly. I think it is much better now.

Even stranger bug was that the Function Plotter showed wrong values on both axis, x and y, if values were below 0.001 (the error was three orders of magnitude, lol). Funny that I didn’t notice it before.

Regarding the new default italic-serif font, I must admit that I don’t like the ‘f’ letter. Too fancy for my taste. Still, I am keeping the italic-serif font as default.

Serif or sans-serif font in equations

Today I was reading about serif and sans-serif font opinions and recommendations, trying to reach some conclusion. Unfortunately, it seems that there are no consensus among experts and so I single-handedly decided as follows:

  • by default, Math-o-mir will use sans-serif-upright font for plain text (same as before)
  • by default, it will use italic-serif font for math variables (before it was italic-sans-serif)
  • digits are cast in upright-sans-serif font (same as before, but this is debatable)
  • function names are cast in greenish upright-serif font (same as before)
  • measurement units are cast in pale upright-sans-serif font (same as before)

The reason I decided to change the default math variable cast from italic-sans-serif to italic-serif is because with sans-serif readers have difficulties differentiating between uppercase ‘i’ and lowercase ‘L’ – both letters commonly used in math… For long time I was reluctant to use italic-serif font for math variables because I was thinking that on a low-resolution monitor, tiny serif fonts will be hard to read. It seems however that fonts are ‘intelligent’ and adapt to low resolution well.

I decided to leave the upright-sans-serif for plain text because I wanted better contrast between math and text. This way a user is quicker to realize if he/she is typing in a wrong typing mode. The problem is that users (like myself) that are lazy to switch between math and text typing mode are now going to be forced to do this more often because otherwise their ‘sloppiness’ is going to be clearly visible.

In any case, if you are not a new user and you already saved your preferred settings, you will see no change after you install the new Math-o-mir version. Only new users will be affected by new defaults. You can download the new 1.91 beta2 from here.

There are no other news except the fact that by default, after software gets installed on a systems with high-resolution monitor, the default zoom level will be set to 120%… And of course, several bugs are exterminated.

I am having difficulties solving following problems:

  • double-stroke letters are turned into Greek symbols even when I don’t want it. For example: Vcc, Vdd, mm
  • finding a simpler way to type single math variable while typing plain text. For example to type: “therefore x becomes zero”, the alt+spacebar must be hit before and after ‘x’ in order to switch the typing mode.
  • finding a simpler way to select (highlight) the last typed variable. You can do it by holding down the shift key and then hitting the arrow-left key, but this is wearing. Ideally one single key would suffice…
  • deciding about how to handle the Enter key when plain text is written inside tables – should the Enter key wrap a text line or should it jump into the next table cell (the similar question about the Tab key also)

Some moths ago I introduced a new experimental feature: it is possible to delete some portion of an equation using backspace key, and then to ‘paste’ the deleted portion somewhere else using the Spacebar+comma combination. I am however not happy with this feature and I am thinking to remove it (backspace is used too often and you don’t even realize you used it – this produces many garbage entries into the temporary local clipboard).

Very recently I introduced a feature where using shift+backspace you can splice last typed variables into a single word. This proved effective an I like it. The question is now should it work as it is now (splicing letter-by-letter) or should single shift+backspace strike splice all the letters left of the cursor, up to the first non-letter sign.

Early beta, v1.92

You can download the Math-o-mir v1.92 beta from here. There are not many news, but I still hope that whoever tries it will send me some feedback.

  • It is easier to type measurement units now, at least in some circumstances. After you typed a number, just hit the dot key and then continue to type the measurement unit. For example, if you type 34.4.mm the software should understand that mm is the measurement unit and will produce 34.4 mm. The good thing is that this works even for rare and/or non-standard units; the bad thing is that this works only if used the procedure after a number.
  • When you move your keyboard cursor to position just behind an existing number and you start typing some digits, these digits will be appended to the existing number (until now the multiplying dot was automatically inserted between digits you type and the existing number making it difficult to append a number with additional digits).
  • also, if you move your keyboard cursor inside some multi-letter variable and start typing, the typed letters will be inserted into the multi-letter variable (until now, the multi-letter variable was split in two parts making it difficult to correct mistyped variables).
  • Number of guidelines was increased from 8 to 12.
  • The “Headline” toolbar icon now has changed functionality. You can hit it multiple times to increase the headline size (there are three sizes, and then it cycles from beginning).
  • I added the Wh measurement unit (watt-hour) into the list of known units.
  • It is possible to create different line endings for open-path lines/curves. After you draw a line, right-click on it and select the line ending style from the popup menu. You can choose from arrow, narrow arrow, and dot ending styles. The selected line-ending style will be applied to both endings of the line/curve, except if you right-clicked the line/curve very closely (within 15 pixels) to one end (then the selected line-ending will be applied only to that end).

line_endingsThe implementation of line-endings is far from perfect (for example, line-endings will also stretch if you stretch the line), but I hope it can help. I myself often need to draw measurement lines and find it useful to have the option to quickly draw two narrow arrows on it.

Short review from giga.de

A German-language site GIGA, made a positive review of Math-o-mir. This made me very happy. Not that much because the review was mostly positive, but because there are still software sites that are willing to invest more than 15 minutes of their time to make a meaningful software review.

And especially because Math-o-mir is not a smartphone application.

Math-o-mir 1.91 build 2

U updated the latest 1.91 version; the build 2 can be downloaded from the homepage.

There are few bugs corrected in this version, like following:

  • digits that are part of a variable (like in ‘X1′ or ‘n8′) are now cast in the same font style as letters in that variable. Of course, when you write a pure number (like ’34’ or ‘34.23’) then digits are still cast in straight, non-bold font.
  • the symbolic calculator will now only suggest converting a number into scientific form if the number is larger than 9999 or smaller than 0.001. I found it annoying when it was suggesting to replace, say, number ’22’ with ‘2.2*10^1′.
  • Also the symbolic calculator will now decompose a number into factors if you just type, say, ‘126??’. Until now you either had to hit the space-bar key between ‘126’ and ‘??’ or you had to enter the equal sign in between.

I also implemented a simple experimental feature: You can now use the Shift+Backspace as an alternative way to build multi-letter variables (supposing that the default, Simple-variable-mode is what you use when are typing your math). Normally, a multi-letter variable is written by starting it with the apostrophe key. However if you forgot to type the apostrophe key, then instead of one milti-letter variable, you will end up with several single-letter variables that are visibly spaced. Now you can hit the Shift+Backspace several times to squeeze (splice) these separate letters into one word.

bobi

The above feature was actually motivated by the fact that it was not easy to write multi-letter variables that contain both, Greek and Latin symbols (for example, deltaX). Now this is doable by typing the Greek delta character first (‘DD’), then ‘x’, and then using Shift+Backspace splice the two together.

I dropped the ReadMe file from this version and the ReadMe file will not be shown after installation. I suppose nobody reads it anyway. So I added a short legal stuff into the about box.

about

Math-o-mir 1.91 released

Well, I uploaded the official Math-o-mir 1.91 and you can download from the homepage. In this version I was tying to improve mouse handling, but of course, there are other improvements as well. In addition to the program itself, I also upgraded the manual and the typing tutorial… all downloadable from the homepage.

I implemented a new type of insertion point – the “newline insertion point”. This insertion point is displayed, as a green or blue vertical line, when you move your mouse pointer near the left edge, under the last line of a plain-text box or multi-line math box. You can click at it to start a new line, or you can place down something there… Until now you had to click at the end of the last line and then hit the Enter key to start the new line.

insertion_pointWhen any hand-drawing tool is selected and you move your mouse pointer above some math/text, insertion points will now be visible. But I am displaying them thin and pale. This way you know where characters will be placed if you use the quick-typing feature, but you are also aware that you cannot start the typing mode by mouse click (the mouse click will start drawing).

insertion_point2It is now possible to touch multiple objects by mouse click-and-drag action even if you are already carrying something with your mouse. Until now, to multi-touch objects while you carried something, you had to use the Shift key… In the example below we replaced the ‘2x+a’ with ‘2y’ using the mouse only: while carrying the ‘2y’ we pointed the arrow at ‘2’ clicked and dragged to ‘a’ to make the selection. Then we released the mouse button and clicked again to place the ‘2y’ over the selection.

multitouchWhile typing, if you delete something using the backspace key or the delete key, objects you deleted are stored into special auto-clipboard and you can later ‘paste’ them by using either the Insert key or the Spacebar+comma combination. This is an experimental feature and I hope it could prove useful while editing equations like in the following example: You wanted to enter ‘sin(x)=a+b’ but you forgot to hit the Enter key on time and as a result you actually wrote ‘sin(x=a+b)’… now, using the backspace, you delete the ‘=a+b’ part, hit the Enter key to exit the sinus function, and then hit the Insert key to paste the ‘=a+b’ to the place where it should be…. Anyway, It remains to be seen if there is any benefit from this feature.

Some other, less prominent, new features:

  • If you right-click at any color or line-width button inside the color box, the color/line-width of the last drawn object will be changed. This way you can quickly change line properties of a drawing if you forgot to did it before drawing.
  • When you paint lines, ellipses, rectangles… you can hold down the Shift key to force vertical/horizontal lines, circles, squares… But since now, you can also hold down the right-mouse button key for the same effect (that is, you hold both mouse buttons simultaneously). This way you don’t need to reach for the keyboard so often.
  • Even if you have ellipse or rectangle drawing tool selected, you can now still draw vertical/horizontal lines by just drawing a very thin ellipse or rectangle. If an ellipse or rectangle is only few pixels width, it will be degenerated into a line.
  • I increased inter-line spacing in multi-line text boxes for easier readability.
  • I added the ‘auto-resize’ option for the toolbox/toolbar size. If you, say, maximize the program window, the toolbox too will be enlarged.
  • Page-numbering is implemented. Only few options are available at the moment.

There are many bugs exterminated in this version. I hope not that many new ones introduced… I wish you a good luck using Math-o-mir, the charming note-taking tool for coolest engineers. Let me know how you manage.

Two days ago I was contacted by Maxim who found a bug in Math-o-mir symbolic calculator. Obviously Math-o-mir was not able to calculate quadratic equations ‘ax^2+bx+c=0′ where ‘a’ was neither 1 nor -1. I hope this is corrected in v1.91… Thanks Maxim!

Math-o-mir 1.91 beta6

The new beta6 can be downloaded from here.

This time I experiment with an “auto-clipboard” feature. The idea is that, as you edit the document, the software automatically stores some expressions into special (private) clipboard so that you can paste these expressions at some later time. The auto-clipboard can contain up to 3 expressions… Here is what gets automatically stored into the auto-clipboard:

  • expressions you ‘placed-down’ either from the toolbox or from some other source. This way you don’t need to access the toolbox every time you want to place the same symbol that you placed just a moment ago. This feature is not completely new, but is now more elaborate.
  • expressions you deleted using the backspace key or the delete key. This way you can just delete something (without using ctrl+x to cut it) and then paste it to some other place.

Note that this private auto-clipboard is a completely separate thing from the standard windows clipboard (Ctrl+X,C,V). To paste from the auto-clipboard, instead of the ‘Ctrl-V’ you need to use ‘Spacebar+comma’ (or alternatively the ‘Insert’ key) while the typing mode is active. When you hit the Spacebar+comma, the freshest expression from the auto-clipboard will be pasted – but if there is more than one expression stored in the clipboard, a semi-transparent menu will be also displayed where you can choose an alternative option (using a mouse, or using the keyboard down-arrow key).auto-clipboardThe menu is made semi-transparent not to distract you too much, and if you just continue to type it will go away. If you access the menu with the mouse or the ‘down-arrow’ key, it will become opaque.

In general, this is what I am trying to do:

  • say that you want to type something like: sin(x+y)=0.5
  • however you forgot to hit the enter key after the ‘y’ and so you typed something like: sin(x+y=0.5)
  • so you hit the backspace key 4 times to delete the ‘=0.5′ part (the MoM stores this into the auto-clipboard)
  • now you hit the enter key to exit the ‘sin(x+y)’ expression
  • finally, you hit the Spacebar+comma to paste the ‘=0.5′ part from the auto-clipboard

The experiment is to see if this can be useful in practice. There are several obstacles… First, the Spacebar+comma is not an easy keystroke to remember (but is easy to type). Second, if you hit the backspace/delete key too many times (say, one keypress more than actually needed) the software will store more than you wanted into the auto-clipboard and you will have to re-edit this after you paste.

In this beta I also tried to make the software aware when monitor resolution (or orientation) is changed to redraw itself properly. I hope this will work…. And for sure, some bugs are exterminated.

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