Overleaf supports visual tables directly

In the past, I used the TableGenerator to create tables for LaTeX. It was quick and easy to upload a CSV and then format the table. I then copied the LaTeX code to Overleaf.

Overleaf always had a macro for the generation of tables on the code level, but now they also have a visual table editor. To use it you have to switch to the Visual Editor and clicking on the three dots icons reveals the new insert table option. Similar to office applications, you can draw the number of rows and columns you want.

It is not yet possible to draw individual borders, such as horizontal lines. You can only select all or no borders. The menu does, however, announce that they are working in more border settings. TableGenerator is still ahead on this one.

You can enter data directly or copy and paste data from your spreadsheet program. You can also set the alignment of columns.

Merging cells also works already.

The complied table is clean and simple.

The resulting code is clean and correct.

 & \multicolumn{2}{c}{Data}\\
         Month&  Sales& Profit\\
         January&  100& 50\\
         February&  200& 70\\
    \caption{Test of the table feature}

Visual Metaphor Gone Wrong

UC uses wrong design for cyber security campaign.

The University of Canterbury is making an effort to increase awareness for the need of strong passwords. For this purpose they ran the “Longer Is Stronger” campaign, including a poster that is still being shown on displays across the campus.

The problem is that the visual metaphor of a chain is completely wrong. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and with an increasing length of the chain the likelihood of a particularly week link increases. A longer chain is weaker than a short one. I really hope that our IT security experts are smarter than our visual designers.

A password is indeed usually stronger the longer it is. Encouraging students and staff to use long passwords is a step in the right direction. It would be even better if UC would offer password managers, such as 1Password or LastPass to all its members. That way our passwords could not only be long, but we would be able to conveniently access them. But putting money where you mouth is, is a skill that UC still needs to practice. Purchases of password managers are still being processed on an individual basis and it can take months to complete a purchase.

Design By Numbers Course

Most art and technology projects pair artists with engineers or scientists: the artist has the conception, and the technical person provides the know-how. In this assignment you will be both, an artist and a computer scientist. You will learn to view the computer not as a substitute for brush and paint but as an artistic medium in its own right. Design By Numbers is an assignment on both the philosophy and nuts-and-bolts techniques of programming for artists. Continue reading “Design By Numbers Course”

Visual Design Course

Visual Design is a fundamental skill for Industrial Designers. It is important for the design a graphical user interface, to communicate their ideas to a customer and create visual appealing products. The recent developments of computers and software enabled the designer to express his or her creative ideas faster and more precise, given sufficient knowledge about the software tools and techniques. The students shall develop a visual sensitivity that enables them to perceive and create visual designs. This includes awareness of colors, typography and composition. At the same time they should learn the technical foundations that enable them to use visual design tools effectively and efficiently. The activities include the creation of several visual designs, such as a product information flyer, a report and a magazine article. In a final bigger design the students will demonstrate their visual design skills. More details will be available at the start of the assignment. A sequence of obligatory discussion sessions will accompany the assignment. Continue reading “Visual Design Course”