[texhax] Distress call

Pierre MacKay pierre.mackay at comcast.net
Thu May 6 14:25:11 CEST 2010

On 05/05/2010 03:15 PM, Dr. Friedrich Katscher wrote:
> Dear friends,
> This is distress call, and I implore help from you.
> I am an out-dated man (really 87 years old), and have not changed my 
> Latex-MikTex software since the beginning many years ago.  (I fear to 
> lose my valuable stored old texts.)
> But it worked very well: I have written thousands of pages of 
> mathematical papers without any difficulty -- a proof of its excellent 
> quality.
> _But today I cannot transform my LaTex text in dvi. _
> With toil I have copied the chinese of the black box, which opens when 
> I click on LaTex, and in general says at the end in German "Press any 
> key you like!"
> Probably you are able to decipher this code, and tell me what error I 
> made.
> And probably it is not difficult to correct what I did wrong.
> <This is e-Tex. Version 3.141592-2.1 (Mik Tex 2.4) entering extended mode
> <Approximations.tex            ((that is the title of my paper))
> La Tex 2e <2003/12/01>
> Babel <v3.8a> and hyphenation pattern for english, french, german, 
> ngerman, italian, dumylang, nohyphenation, loaded.
> <C: \texmf\tex\latex\base\article.cls
> Document Class: article 2004/02/16 v1.4f Standard La Tex document class
> <C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\size10.clo>><C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\fontenc.sty
> <C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\t1enc.def>><C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\inputenc.sty
> <C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\latin1.def>><C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\latexsym.sty>
> <Approximations.aux><C:\texmf\tex\latex\base\ulasy.fd>
> Overfull \hbox <1.669pt too wide> in paragraph at lines 37--50
> [  ][  ]\T/cmr/m/n/10  All we know about Abu Za-kariya <in other 
> manuscripts Abu Bakr> Muham-
> [1][2][3][4][5]
One of the many previous messages suggested that you should insert an 
\end, or a \bye statement early in your document, and get the first 
three or four pages.  That seems to be the simplest and most effective 
approach.  keep moving the statement down through your manuscript until  
what you get looks like this again.

It looks as if you have got to an infinite loop somehow.  TeX usually 
gives you a message about something like an overflow of a stack and 
advises that you should recompile if you need more space.

You almost never do. since the problem can usually be traced to 
miscoding.  At this point it looks as if your entire system is spinning 
its wheels so fast that TeX cannot get a word in.
If you use one of the performance measures (I don't do windows) you will 
probably see that your LaTeX job is taking up 99.9 percent of your cpu 

If the
   page numbers come up VERY fast, you may accidentally be producing 
pages with minimal dimensions.  That could result from a mistyping such 
as 10pt in place of 10pc.  (I have done that all too often).

In any case, what you need is to get even one page out if you can.  Put 
lines 37-50 back in, because there is some evidence that they really did 
set something, and the problem comes a bit later.

Is the line [  ][  ]\T/cmr/m/n/10  All we know about Abu Za-kariya 
<in other manuscripts Abu Bakr> Muham-  shown in your log the very first 
line?  In that case you probably reduced either the page width or the 
page depth very shortly after.  The line you show is a reasonable 
length, so you might start with the \end statement at the end of that 

Pierre MacKay (emeritus professor of Classics and Near Eastern Languages)
(I am only 77, so you have 10 years on me.  The best of good health to you.)
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