The Intricacies #4 ─ Typesetting hell and working while working

Typesetting Egyptian Hieroglyphs is…

It’s been quite a while since the last update on my book and I therefore thought I should write another blog post. Firstly, I’ve been trying to find a way of easily writing hieroglyphic characters within LibreOffice without having to copy SVG files from JSesh into it whenever I want to insert text written in hieroglyphs. Doing that has the additional disadvantage of all hieroglyphic text being slightly different in size; not distractingly so, but it’s definitely there and I’m unsure if I will ever be able to fix this. And even though Egyptian Hieroglyphs now have their own Unicode block, the signs cannot be manipulated yet; this means that you are able to type hieroglyphs one after another but you won’t be able to format them so that they represent actual, written hieroglyphs from back in the day. Instead, it’ll just be sign after sign ─ and that’s just ugly. Therefore, I have given up on ever being able to correctly typeset my Egyptian text. I hope that the slight differences in size won’t be too distracting.

LaTeX nightmares

My Indian friend has been complaining to me for using LibreOffice for writing my book ever since I started doing it; he instead wanted me to use LaTeX. However, as I have never used it before and would have had to learn it from scratch, I thought I’d rather start writing it in LibreOffice instead. A couple of days ago, however, I discovered that it was “possible” (you’ll understand why this is in quotes in a bit) to convert your ODT file into a TEX file and edit it that way. This could also possibly have been a solution to my problem with typesetting hieroglyphs, as LaTeX has an extension called HieroTex that let’s you typeset hieroglyphs with ease. The problem with doing that, however, soon became clear. Firstly, it took me a long time to actually get the extension for LibreOffice working (the extension that would export your document into TEX) and secondly, when I did… it just didn’t seem to work very well. I did end up with a TEX file but it looked as confusing as you can imagine and even though I chose to keep the formatting from the original ODT, it did a poor job at that. In addition, when I actually tried exporting the TEX into a PDF, it would only export a couple of pages and then throw an error at my face ─ it was then that I decided to just leave it be.


Me working on my book whilst having to wait for the train.

I’ve started the habit of taking my laptop with me everywhere I go. I used to never take my laptop with me anywhere (which kind of defeats the purpose of having one to begin with, I know) but recently I’ve started taking my laptop with me, even when going to work. This has the advantage of me being able to work on my book while I’m on the train or waitig for it. However, it has the additional advantage of me being able to work on my book during lunch break or when there’s not much going on at work. This means that I’m technically working (on my book) while being at my actual workplace. So far, this has worked perfectly. I generally take the short periods of time that I have (usually 10-30 minutes) to look over my book, find errors, comment on certain paragraphs and sentences that could be re-worded or expanded upon etc. All of this has helped me to actually get some work done on my book during the week as well, especially considering I would generally spend this time just idling around, doing stuff on my phone.

I am currently trying to finish the excursus on star calendars (as can be seen on the photo above as well) after which I will most likely post another post on here.

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