[texhax] detect characters in strings

Brandon Kuczenski brandon at 301south.net
Thu Jul 8 02:40:00 CEST 2010

Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> On 7 July 2010 Brandon Kuczenski wrote:
>  > At least my urgent problem is solved-- the numbers that happen to
>  > come up in scientific notation are all very small and I'm now
>  > replacing them with zero for the time being.  [...]
> Somehow it all sounds like patchwork.  Doing arithmetic in TeX is
> extremely painful.
> Please consider LuaTeX.  Then you don't need a macro package in order
> to find out whether your number contains the letter "e", LuaTeX
> supports scientific notation natively.  No need to replace small
> numbers with zero.
> Regards,
>   Reinhard

Thanks for the tip.  I'm not at all familiar with LuaTeX.  can you point 
me towards some documentation that would assist a LaTeXer with printing 
scientific data from some delimited input file?  I would love native 
scientific notation support.  Yes, fp.sty does feel a bit like a 
colossal hack.  but a very impressive one.

Speaking of "painful" "patchwork," try accomplishing anything remotely 
robust in MS Excel!  I don't know how it became the dominant 
computational tool, but it is like swimming through mud.  copy-this, 
paste-that, right-click, preferences dialog, edit preferences; 
copy-this, paste-that...

Douglas Adams must have been thinking about Microsoft office when he 
wrote (of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation), "It is very easy to be 
blinded to the essential uselessness of [their products] by the sense of 
achievement you get from getting them to work at all.  In other 
words---and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the 
Corporation's Galaxy-wide success is founded---their fundamental design 
flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws."

(so long, and thanks... chapter 35)

my good spirit persists in bald-faced defiance of an increasingly 
unachievable deadline...


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