Battle of the crashing typesetters

I’m trying to get a Keynote presentation written on function notation for the precalculus class, needing to get it done before my 3:00 meeting today. Obviously this involves a lot of math typesetting. My preferred weapon for such things is LaTeX-iT. But this program is inexplicably crashing every time I open it, even when I do nothing (i.e. just open it and let it sit there). I tried a reboot, making sure I had the most recent version, even uninstalling and reinstalling it. Nothing. Still crashes. I used the very same program last night without problems.

[Update: I meant to mention that the same crashes happen even when I run the program off the disk image I downloaded from the above site, after I had removed the program from my hard drive.]

So I found PDF Equation, a more lightweight app that does basically the same thing as LaTeX-iT (typeset single expressions at a time without having to format a whole LaTeX document, and drag-drop the result straight into a Keynote or Pages document). It’s a little sparse — no syntax highlighting or nice pallettes like with LaTeX-iT — but it appeared to get the job done. That is, until it started crashing too, not upon startup but at odd intervals, most recently right after I had just typed up a huge equation array and had clicked the “Typeset” button. PDF Equation is in version 0.6, so the crash problem here might not be related to the previous one.

If there are others out there using LaTeX-iT and are experiencing the same problems — or if somebody with better tech skills has an insight — I’d love to know. Otherwise it looks like the typesetting gods are against me today.

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Filed under Apple, Math, Technology

3 responses to “Battle of the crashing typesetters

  1. Just another liberal professor

    What’s wrong with the old-fashioned way: using LaTeX and then converting the .dvi to a .pdf?

  2. Thom

    It sounds like you might have a corrupt font. Just a guess though.

    Font Book (comes with OS X) has a ‘Validate Font’ command in the ‘File’ menu. I don’t know how good it is, but it’s worth a try. You can select all the fonts at once (‘Select All’ on the ‘Edit’ menu), and batch-validate them.

    Good luck

  3. Well, I did try the batch validation, and everything came up OK. And besides, LaTeX-IT doesn’t use fonts from the font book; and my usual LaTeX software (TeXShop) works just fine. But any guess is as good as mine.