Adium for IM with LaTeX

By cjohnson | March 19, 2006 9:59 pm

As many of you know, the Mac OS X platform is just a gift for those who want cross-platform adaptability, good and clever design, elegance, fun, and serious tools all combined. Forgive my enthusiasm, but it’s just perfect for the kind of job I do and I can’t get over how well stuff works even after a number of years of using it…..Ok, better stop there, since I’m bound to annoy someone.

Anyway, I just learned of another excellent tool. Many of you may know of it already, but those of you who don’t might find it a major boost to communications. I use Instant Messaging a lot to communicate a lot with collaborators, students, and friends and family. I use iChat for IM, adding iSight for video sometimes.

Well, my undergraduate student Jeff Pennington IM-ed me last night to tell me about Adium X. It is a new (at least to me) IM program for Mac OS X, and if you have Equation Service installed (don’t tell me you don’t have Equation Service installed!!!), when you type an equation in LaTeX (enclose it inside double dollar signs, e.g., $$LaTeX$$), it shows up fully processed in the IM window!

Here’s a screen shot of a chat I did with…er…. myself, which explains the repetition in the dialogue (well, nobody else seemed to be awake when I wanted to generate the test chat….sigh):

adium chat

This is just so great for those more technical collaborative conversations…..cuts down on faxing equations, or trying to point your camera at your notebook (especially if you don’t have it with you on your travels, etc….) And of course you can save the whole conversation. I’ll bet there are a lot of other features I don’t know about…but the instant LaTeX-ability just makes it click for me. Now if only they’d allow me to connect my iSight camera into it as well….

(Oh, yes, I’d be very happy if someone wrote in and told me that LaTeX works just as well for iChat too…. if so, how do you switch it on?)

You can get Adium X (and read more about it) here.




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