Presentation using beamer via pandoc

09 Apr 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

Beamer is a tool to create slide presentations using Latex. Since I was "forced" to use Latex for a project I am involved with, I am trying to use it as much as possible to get acquainted with its quirks; which, by the way, are a lot.

Some time ago I heard of Pandoc. A tool that allows you to export text created with markdown (supposedly the most intuitive way to format text without using an interfaced software such as Libreoffice). The idea of exporting my notes, such as below, directly to a slide(image further down) is very appealing to me, so I decided to combine both to generate a pdf presentation directly from my notes.

## The lesson plans

- 12 lessons plans grouped into 3 packs (one per term);
- Worksheets + Comments for the teacher + cut-outs;
- Topics covered:
    - equivalent fractions,
    - comparison of fractions,
    - addition and subtraction,
    - mixed numbers and improper fractions,
    - word problems.

slide generated with pandoc and beamer

You can check the complete file with my notes in markdown (actually, just a part of it - just enough to show the most important codes in markdown) and the resulting pdf presentation.

Once you have pandoc and latex (with packages to run beamer) installed, use just have to use the following command to compile the presentation:

pandoc inputfile.md -t beamer -o output.pdf

Basically, pandoc generates a latex file and then uses latex+beamer to create a pdf formatted as a presentation.

Some comments

  • The first block of content is the metadata, which generates the front page and set some parameters regarding the layout. The slide_level parameter determines how many sections and subsections (marked by # in the md file) are before something is an actual slide. The header-includes are some parameter to change the layout of the theme I used. The others are sort of self explanatory;
  • I really do not like beamer's default themes, so I used metropolis. It is well documented and very elegant. It has some limitations and small bugs, but it does work and looks really nice;
  • The standout slide (last one) did not work perfectly for me. When I used it in the middle of the presentation it affected the title of the next slide. I guess it is a problem in the interaction between pandoc and the theme;
  • Beamer does not offer fields for supervisors and funders, so I had to improvise. Apparently it is possible to solve this issue by tweaking the theme and I will try to do so when I get some spare time.
  • I decided not to use any reference system because in presentations I use to include just a few references, but bibtex should work as usual;

The complete presentation can be seen here.

Aspects of the social research process

20 Feb 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

Martyn Hammersley is my favourite methodologist in the social sciences. His views are pragmatic without being superficial, simplistic or favouring certain tendencies or approaches.

Recently, he published the paper What is ethnography? Can it survive? Should it?. By the end of the paper, the author proposes a table showing the options for the design of research in social sciences and this table is complemented by a diagram attached in the end of the paper. Because the diagram was poorly designed, I contacted the author asking for clarifications. Martyn kindly answered and even provided some complementary notes on the table and diagram.

As a result, I compiled all the information in the diagram below.

Diagram based on Hammersley's view on research design

The svg file can be downloaded here.

I find it extremely useful to clarify ideas related to research design and choices that a researcher has to make during this process.

Some comments

Some choices in one stage may limit, or even determine, the options available in the next stages. So, it is not possible (or it just does not make sense) to combine all the possibilities freely.

The table is not a suggestion of order in terms of when the choices should be made.

The "Choice of cases" aspect is discussed in the chapter So, what are case studies? in the book What's wrong with ethnography?.

Hammersley recognizes that the item Data Analysis deserves more details, but he had " not even attempted to map the dimensions involved [t]here".

Credits

The content of the post was totally based on papers by Martyn Hammersley and should by treated/referred as usual in academic papers. When I contacted him, he was clear that I could use the extra material for whatever end I wanted. However, the diagram above is my reading of his work and was not extracted directly from his papers.

Public Money, Public Code in Barcelona

23 Jan 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

Another reason to love Barcelona: City of Barcelona Dumps Windows For Linux and Open Source Software.

This is the first result of the Public Money, Public Code campaign headed by the Free Software Foundation in Europe. Let's hope it is not the only!

Gong: two good bands under the same name

28 Dec 2017 / Leonardo Barichello

I discovered the band Gong about 15 years ago when I was more into psychedelic music in general. The albums from the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy are a truly psychedelic experience somewhere between rock and jazz. Good stuff.

Time passes and interests change. Now, I am not so interested in psychedelic stuff, but when I decided to revisit some old albums I came across Gong. After some wikipedia research, I decided to have a go with Pierre Moerlen's Gong: a new formation of the band with more percussion, jazz-driven and less psychedelic. Also, they issued an album called Expresso II. I am not sure the name is a reference to coffee (it apparently was, but I could not find any reliable source), but of course it was enough to get my attention.

Although the style is completely different from the Radio Gnome Invisible albums, I really enjoyed the sound: somewhere between rock and jazz with a really good vibe.



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