TeXtalk: an interview with Mico

Welcome to TeXtalk! Our interviewee is Mico. Mico has collected 158k+ rep, 3,000+ answers, and 730+ badges on TeX.sx. He is a regular participant in the chat room.

Paulo Cereda
Yay, our interviewee is here! Welcome, Mico!
Mico
Thanks, Paulo! It’s good to be here.

:-)
yo’
It’s gonna be long, have you got enough refreshments?

:)
Mico
Hi there!
yo’
Hello!
Mico
Catching up on the news about the election of the new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino. He’s from the same town as my mother was, Brig, in the canton of Valais. May his time in office be successful and scandal-free!
Paulo Cereda
Oh cool, in Switzerland!
Mico
Yeah, I’m reading that he’s of very humble origins, and that he’s made his way through sheer pluck and determination. Go Gianni!
Paulo
Let us hope for the best.

:)

Oh we still have one hour to go! I always get confused with time conversions…

Tom, what time is it supposed to start?

:)
yo’
In 1 hour, right?
Paulo
Yep, I was ahead of time.

:)
Mico
I was also under the impression that we still have an hour to go.
Paulo
Ducks are terrible with time.

:)
Mico
Jabba is usually even worse with time…
Paulo
Meesa think it could be worse.

:D
Mico
I liked the latest Star Wars movie a lot, but I still thought that it lacked a truly fabulous villain… — something like my illustrious, tragically mis-understood ancestor…
Paulo
Poor Han… I almost left the cinema after seeing him die…

Oh sorry, SPOILER ALERT.

:)
Mico
I doubt many people in this chatroom are in the dark about Han’s fate…
Paulo
ooh let us ping some blokes and check it out!

:)

@RomainPicot @Alenanno

:)
yo’
I should not even say it loud, but I’ve seen only one SW movie, and I don’t even remember which one it was.
Paulo
It was Captain Picard!

:D
barbara beeton
hi, mico. (it looks like the hordes are gathering, albeit slowly.)
yo’
still time to fix some dinner (and do some L3 coding

:)

)

Paulo
Hello, is there anybody in there?

Just nod if you can hear me…

Is there anyone at home?

:D
Mico
nod.
Paulo
ooh

:)
yo’
nod. (sorry was busy playing alone my own game for at least 8 players)
barbara
nod. (catching moments in between vetting

amsmath

bugs.)

Paulo
nod.
Mico
nod
A Feldman
Nod
Paulo
Yay!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, ducks and mallards, welcome to the TeXtalk!

Our interviewee is Mico!

Mico
Yay!
Paulo
You guys know the gist of it, right?

:)

Let’s start then!

Could you tell us a little about you?

:)
Mico
I’m an economist. and I’ve been using LaTeX for almost 25 years. My first experience with LaTeX was right after graduation, when I was busy revising a couple of chapters of my dissertation to issue them as working papers.
Paulo
Very nice! Was it love at first sight or it took some time to grasp the TeX arts?

:)
Mico
I’m no longer an academic economist, but I have the good fortune to work for an organization that values scholarly research and expects its professional staff to keep doing — and publishing — high-quality research. Hence my continued interest in LaTeX.

It was love at first sight, really.

:-)
Paulo
:)
barbara
are you still a practicing (if not academic) economist?
Mico
Indeed, I still do lots of research in economics, attend academic conferences to present my papers and to act as a discussant of others’ papers, etc.

I really like teaching. Last month, I taught a lecture course at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and very much enjoyed reliving the full-monty teaching experience.

“full monty” being purely a figure of speech…

barbara
when we first “met” (in email), it was about hyphenation exceptions. you’ve since expanded on that with the

selnolig

package, which deals with implementation and restriction of “archaic” ligatures (and the concomitant hyphenation problems). What got you interested in that?

Mico
Believe it or not, it was reading the TeXbook that introduced me, inter alia, to ligatures as a typographic device. I then started thinking about how to program up selective ligature suppression…
yo’
The TeXbook is known to be a source of inspiration

:)
barbara
well, tex has been the downfall of i don’t know how many grad students! (a marvelous distraction.) it’s a good thing that you had already completed your ph.d.
Paulo
Oh no!

:)
barbara
(yeah, you’d better watch out …)
Paulo
<3
Mico
I couldn’t put it better,“a marvelous distraction”.

:-)
yo’
Well, it would also be a source of memory problems on <64kB RAM computers…
Mico
I’m sure you’re right. For sure, without LuaTeX there would be no ‘

selnolig

’ package.

Paulo
How challenging is it to deal with ligatures?

:)
Mico
I believe, deep down, that DEK didn’t bother providing a method for programming up ligature suppression rules simply because the need to do so for English language documents isn’t all that pressing. It’s a very different matter for German language documents.
barbara
ligature suppression, it seems to me, is intimately connected to something missing from the tex hyphenation approach — the ability to apply multi-level choices for break-points that take into account a language with heavy compounding. (it would be useful in english, but is vital in german … or chemistry.)
yo’
Out of curiosity, do you know what is your Erdős (

Erd\H{o}s

) number?

Mico
I believe my Erdős number is either 2 or 3.

:-)
yo’
wow! (Well, I thought so, many people in topics close to Erdős do something in financial maths…)
barbara
your name isn’t in the “erdos1” file (files.oakland.edu/users/grossman/enp/Erdos1.html) that lists co-authors with erdős himself, and the “next generation”, namely their co-authors. but that list may include just actual mathematicians.
Mico
I’ve thought about it some more, and I now think my Erdős number is 3, not 2. One of my co-authors published a piece with a person with computer science/math background, who, you guessed it, published a piece with Erdős.

Thanks for the link! The #1 person is Ed Howorka, and he published a piece with Alain Chaboud, with whom I published a piece. So my number is 3!


yo’
funny enough, I’ve got 3, but it’s unrecognized by the system

:)
Paulo
I cannot even typeset this bloke’s name properly.

:)

(egreg would kill me)

yo’
\H

for “the Hungarian accent”

:)
Paulo
:)

Which TeX engine do you use nowadays?


Mico
For my working papers, I still use mostly pdfTeX, since most publishers don’t support any other engines.

:-(

One of the things that’s really neat about LuaTeX is that it has opened up the paragraph building algorithm. There’s a group of German language specialists that’s been assembling advanced hyphenation patterns. By “advanced”, I mean that there are more desirable and less desirable potential break points within compound words.


yo’
Do you have any plans or ideas for new useful packages?
Mico
A good challenge for some smart computer science whiz kid will be to write a hyphenation algorithm that incorporates information about the more and the less desirable break points.
barbara
yes, that’s a good start on the problem. but there’s an information gap, i think, which is the lack of good references that are authoritative in showing “staged” hyphenation points. actually, the compact british word list that i have (which was allegedly the source of the british patterns) does show preferences.
Mico
Sorry, I didn’t mean to slight your contribution! It’s just that I’m more directly familiar with the work of the German hyphenation working group.
Joseph Wright
Have you talked with Frank about this?
Paulo
Do you have any hobbies?

:)
Mico
Sailing and photography. Unforunately, I once had a semi-serious accident while in a regatta, so now I do it purely for recreation.
yo’
So you do not just sailing, you used to do competitive sailing, wow!
Paulo
Wow indeed!
Mico
Well, the accident (involving the left knee…) put an end to any pretenses to being competitive. I still enjoy sailing as a marvelous way to blow off an entire afternoon, or even a whole day.

:-)
yo’
that’s sad. But still, this is impressive!
barbara
have you ever felt it necessary (or even desirable) to learn celestial navigation? (much more useful for extended voyages than day-sailing.)
Mico
Funny you should ask! I did teach myself the basics of celestial navigation, but that was at a time just when GPS-based navigation became widely available, so I never really got to practice reading a sextant and all that very much.
barbara
the u.s. navy seems to have re-instituted the teaching of celestial to their prospective officers. (concerned about what to do when the satellites are jammed.)
yo’
this is a big concern indeed!
barbara
but i gather they are also appreciative of the “sail” tradition.
Mico
Indeed, it’s a valid concern. Reintroducing a good working knowledge of celestial navigation may be a good idea for the navy, but I doubt it’ll make much of an impact in aeronautics.
barbara
probably so. i still remember heading toward a gate at laguardia airport, when you could still see outside, looking down into a cockpit, only to see a road map (from a now-defunct gasoline distributor) on the dashboard.
Mico
Shortly before my older daughter was born, our friends, my wife, and I painted the nursery. I painted a sailboat on the wall right next to the crib. I suspect that’s how she got her introduction to sailing!
barbara
so you indulge in the graphic arts too?
Mico
Among the graphic arts, my strongest affinity is to photography. I remember being reasonably good at free-hand drawing in middle and high school, but I didn’t pursue it further. A shame, maybe.
Paulo
And it seems you are a Star Wars fan!
Mico
I suspect there are some much bigger Star Wars fans in this group than I am. The idea of using Jabba as my SE avatar was a lark. A couple of years ago, my daughters gave me a lego set of Jabba’s sail barge (yes, there is such a thing!) as a birthday gift, complete with a figurine of Jabba. Oh, my daughters are huge SW fans!
yo’
you can’t not be a fan of something like this that your children adore, I guess… How many children have you got?
Paulo
Cool! Do you like any TV series?
Mico
I must confess I don’t what TV much anymore.
Paulo
Oh.

:)

How did you become aware of the TeX.sx community?

:)
Mico
I’m going to have to look up when I joined tex.sx…

I recall now: It was in the spring of 2011. I was searching how to implement a TeX macro, was googling for help, and that’s when I learned about TeX.sx. I was “lurking” for a few weeks at first. The very first answer I ever posted, it turns out, got accepted by the OP, and I was hooked!

Paulo
:)
barbara
that’s known as “positive feedback”. deserved, i’m sure.
Paulo
Speaking of which, do you have a favorite answer of yours in this site?
Mico
And what was more, you issued a kind “welcome to TeX.sx” to me, and you edited my posting to indent the LaTeX code by four spaces! I’ve never forgotten your kindness!!
yo’
how sweet!

&lt;3
Paulo
Really?! Oh my! /blushes
Mico
I’m very gratified that several of my answers have been upvoted a lot. Maybe my personal favorite is the answer to Show inline math as if it were display math.

:-)
barbara
that is indeed a very nice answer. and i like your caveats, especially the one that says “Using the

\displaystyle

command (to force the creation of large symbols) while in inline math mode is an even worse idea than using

\limits

.” (i think we need to conscript you into a “best practices” coven.)

A Feldman
do you have, in addition to an economics background a programming background, I notice that you have some amazing lua programming chops.
Mico
My dissertation was in applied time series econometrics, so I had to acquire some reasonable programming skills. The Lua stuff has come only recently, kind of a side product of building up the ‘

selnolig

’ package. I should hasten to add that I received some amazing, vital, crucial help from some truly gifted programmers who provided most of the Lua code for

selnolig

. I’m just a rank amateur, in comparison.

I guess that one of the things that’s always appealed to me about TeX and LaTeX is that the documents are programs.

:-)

yo’
I think this is a common ground to many people here. This, plus the beauty of the result (if things are done properly).
barbara
unfortunately, that also seems to be a feature that scares away some people who otherwise would likely find tex to be a very useful tool.
Mico
Another thing that I find appealing about Lua as a programming language is that it’s definitely not built around a macro expansion paradigm. Nothing wrong with the macro expansion paradigm, of course!!, but I’ve never found it easy to master. In constrast, I find programming up various tasks in Lua beautiful and easy.

In recent months, as some of you have no doubt noticed, I’ve made it a bit of a hobby to post LuaLaTeX-based solutions to complement the more “standard-line” solutions.

:-)
A Feldman
I did notice that, and that it seems like you can do things with LuaLaTeX which might not be possible at all elsewise.
egreg
Sorry for joining just now!
barbara
sorry for joining, or sorry for being delayed? (we’re glad you could make it.)
Mico
welcome!

:-)
Paulo
Glad you could make it!

:)
egreg
I’ve always wondered what’s your mother tongue.
Mico
That’s a good question! My parents were from the canton of Valais and spoke Walliser Deutsch with me — my mother and Gianni Infantino have the same home town — but we lived in many different places, and I remember speaking Indonesian, Dutch, French, Swahili, and Dutch more fluently than my parents’ dialect of German. My first school was an American International School in The Hague, Netherlands.
egreg
Very nice mix! So that’s why you could learn Lua so well!
Paulo
Lua is from a Brazilian heritage.

:)
Mico
We also lived several years in Germany (a small town on the Rhine, half-way between Dusseldorf and Cologne). My parents got married in the Duomo of Milan and spent their honeymoon in Venice.
yo’
that’s an impressive life!
Mico
My maternal grandmother was from the canton of Ticino, where Italian is the main language. Even though she was born and raised in Brig, in a nominally German area of Switzerland, she didn’t speak German, really, until she was about 5 or 6.
egreg
You should learn Italian, so
Mico
Ma si, ma si. Capisco l’italiano perfettamente, ma ci sono gia tanti anni che non o piu parlato in italiano.

:-(

My sister, though, is married to an Italian, and she and her family now live in her husband’s home town in the Romagna.

:-)

Her Italian is flawless; I’m envious.

egreg
Your Italian is better than my German.

;-)

Have you ever thought to make some notes about table typesetting, especially for economics? You should have several examples at hand.

Mico
Thanks! I do work frequently with my fellow in-house economists to improve their table-related skills, but I haven’t thought about writing this up in a systematic way.

:-)

As you and others can probably tell, I actually quite enjoy simplifying and clarifying tables so that they become visually appealing. if something is visually appealing, it’s much more likely to be noticed and absorbed. There’s a connection to Barbara’s earlier question about my interest in graphic arts!


barbara
perhaps you should become “ambassador for beautiful tables”.

(known more accurately as arm-twisting, i think.)


egreg
Yes, that’s the idea: ugly tables make the reader skip them or, at the least, they hinder catching their meaning.
Mico
It is indeed surprising, and frankly discouraging, how little effort some researchers appear to put into improving the visual appeal of their tables.
yo’
I can confirm this so much! (I think about 80% of articles I meet as a typesetter fall in the category “we do not care about the visual appearance.”)
egreg
Not to mention carelessness of some publishers.
barbara
wouldn’t have happened 40–50 years ago.
Mico
I was recently re-reading a couple of papers published in the 1950s, and I was very impressed by the typographic quality of the pieces and by the conciseness of the tabular material.
Paulo
Any plans for a package?

:)

Another one, that is.

:)
Mico
I keep thinking that what Lua(La)TeX really needs to take off, i.e., to become the engine of first choice, is a couple of “killer packages”, which would do something in a way that pdfLaTeX simply cannot do. However, I haven’t figured out yet what these killer packages may be! Maybe an advanced hyphenation algorithm, maybe a good suppression of “rivers”.
barbara
(pardon my cynicism) what it needs first is to become fully stable. once that’s in place, then both hyphenation and “hydraulics” are good topics.
Joseph
Did you see the v2 plans

;-)
barbara
not yet, at least not that i remember. (but i’m very distracted these days.) i’ll look.
Mico
I agree that some more stability in LuaTeX would be welcome. That said, the past year has seen some very significant progress toward version 1 of LuaTeX — in no small part because of gentle and constructive pressure exerted by David Carlisle.
Paulo
Do you use TikZ or PSTricks?
Mico
Somehow, don’t ask me how, I haven’t gotten into TikZ and PSTricks so far. I’ve taught myself some of the basics, for sure. However, maybe because of the research I do (various forms of applied empirical economics), I haven’t felt the need to become truly proficient.
Paulo
Let’s bring David Carlisle to the party.

:)
egreg
He’s probably listening to some beautiful trombone music.
Paulo
LOL
David Carlisle
clarinet only (and it’s 100miles away

:-)
yo’
I wonder what’s your favourite dish(es), given you’re so cosmopolitan, this could be interesting…
Mico
Oh boy, I like so many dishes! Having spent a few years in Hong Kong, I can no longer go without frequent consumption of Chinese dishes. The spicier, the better! But I also like Japanese food, central American and TexMex — and, last but certainly not least, just about everything Italian. And, next weekend, I’m going to host a cheese fondue party for twenty [20!] people!

:-)
Paulo
ooh cheese!

:)

(cue for the cheese shop sketch)

yo’
Interesting. I especially like the “cheese” part

:)
Mico
For a Swiss male, preparing a fondue dinner is the ultimate in showing off one’s …hood. Sort of like doing a great BBQ for North American and Australian men! It’s the wine (must be bone-dry), the individual cheeses, how the cheeses are mixed, etc.! Great fun!
yo’
Interesting. Sounds like great fun indeed! (Interesting how this differs culture by culture; in Czech, you’d most want to show your pastry abilities.)
Mico
One more thing about dishes — for fondue wine, I actually prefer Orvieto to any Swiss white wine.

:-)
barbara
you must share a recipe! (idea: with the number of people here who enjoy cooking, what about a tex.sx cookbook?)
egreg
Good dry wine indeed! Orvieto is on my list for a tour, but it requires two days. Which makes it good for tasting the wine and having a good dinner.

:)
yo’
It would be great, given you can get the proper ingredients where you live (the biggest problem of localized recipes.)
Mico
I can’t help but recognize the influence that Viennese cuisine has on you!

:-)

Of course, Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia used to share, and still share, so many good things!

yo’
Include Bavaria

:)
Mico
Of course, Bavaria. And Hungarians should feel included too.

:-)

Which brings us back to Erdős…

yo’
I’m not sure what you mean exactly now…
David
Hi. I’m even later than egreg
Mico
Welcome!
yo’
Consider that the people who typeset these were true typesetters. That’s craft (art?) not non-similar to carpentry.
egreg
You’re on the heels of lockstep for becoming number 10 in rep on TeX.SX. What do you think of the rep system?
Mico
I won’t get ahead of myself in terms of rep count.

:-)

About the rep system: it’s addictive, no doubt about it. There’s immediate gratification for getting a few up-votes, but also longer-term satisfaction from helping solve real tasks. Equally importantly, I’d say, is that I feel that my own LaTeX-related skills have improved a lot over the past four or five years. As a result, the LaTeX code in my own papers has become a lot cleaner.

Now if only I could say that the economics in my papers was showing an equal amount of improvement!!

egreg
Writing a lot of code for others to understand is a good way to improve one’s style. The same for writing mathematics or any other subject, provided one likes being understood.
Paulo
Speaking of ancient papers, I was particularly pleased with this wonderful answer of yours. I even checked with my English copy!

:)
Mico
Only a real German speaker could recognize a ‘y’ in that lettershape.

;-)
Paulo
Indeed!
yo’
Let be, my dad’s got a Czech bible written in blackletter.
barbara
yesterday, i saw a letter combination that i’d never seen before. it was in a book from the time of galileo, in what appeared to be part latin (late latin?) and part italian. the combination was an almost-ligatured “ij”, but in a scripty shape that i would bet is a reason for a y-dieresis to be included in unicode.
yo’
If it’s the ij in Dutch, then this has a status similar to eszett I think — it’s not a ligature anymore. (Ah sorry, I misread you, forget my comment)
barbara
definitely not dutch (although as a former student of german, i decry the “improved, modernized” spelling). the book was published in italy.
Paulo
How do you feel about TeX.sx?

:)
Mico
TeX.SE is a simply wonderful community. I mentioned earlier that my own LaTeX skills have improved a lot over the past 4+ years. To a large part, this is because of all the stuff I’ve learned from the regular (and sometimes the not so regular) members of this community!
Paulo
That’s awesome!
A Feldman
Do you end up using a lot of your own tex.sx solutions in your economics papers?
Mico
I certainly think that the tables in my own papers have become a lot better. And, preparing bibliographies has become much less of a dreaded chore than it used to be.

:-)
barbara
do you participate in any other stackexchange communities? there must be one for economics.
Mico
I did pay attention to the econ.sx group for a while, but I’ve come to conclude that the stack exchange model is not a good model for serious economics. Economics is a fairly subtle science, and developing new ideas (or refuting the ideas of others!) is not something that can be done cleanly in only a paragraph or two of space.
yo’
well, this is true for any of the scientific sites I think, with the exception of MathOverflow maybe…

(btw, having cheese and bread just now for dinner)

Paulo
Besides The TeXbook, do you have any other TeX resources?
Mico
About books — I have two copies of the TeXbook, and I think I can say that I’ve read just about every single chapter of the LaTeX companion many times. I also have lots of books about typography; my wife thinks I’m somewhat crazy in this regard…
barbara
“somewhat crazy” … only somewhat? (pretty much my husband’s opinion on the same topic, although he humors me.)

expanding on Paulo’s question, what tex resources would you recommend to someone just getting started?

Mico
About TeX resources for beginners: Tobi Oetiker’s “Not so short introduction to LaTeX” is a great point to start, though I wish from time to time that he and his co-authors would streamline and simplify further some of the material.
barbara
if you have concrete suggestions, i’m sure they’d be happy to receive them. (as it is, “not so short” creeps into the “less and less short” category as time goes on.)
Mico
A truly great book, by the way, for people who need to typeset math using LaTeX is George Gratzer’s More Math into LaTeX.
Joseph
Keep meaning to buy a copy!
barbara
ah, thanks for the good words. it quite accurately follows the ams requirements. a 5th edition is due out soon, but unlike the previous editions, i didn’t see this one beforehand, so i can’t give an opinion.
Mico
I should make an effort to meet Tobi Oetiker in person; I believe he doesn’t live all that far from me.
Paulo
Could you name something you like in TeX? And something you don?t like?
Mico
One of the things I really like about TeX (and LaTeX, etc.) is that it treats you like an adult: no condescension, no “let me hide the tough stuff from you because you’re not smart enough, and it’s up to me to decide if you’ll ever be smart enough.”
Paulo
100% agree!
barbara
wish more people could see it that way.
Mico
There aren’t things I truly dislike about TeX, but I’ll confess that macro expansion just isn’t something I can easily get my mind around. A few

\expandafter

s and a few

\noexpand

s here or there, and I’m quickly lost. That’s probably also why I’ve made an effort to learn Lua and LuaTeX.

yo’
Have you tried to give a chance to LaTeX3? Good expansion control is one of its great achievements.
Mico
I must confess that I have not. Maybe my impression is not correct, but my sense is that the learning curve for LaTeX3 is quite steep. Maybe we need something like Frank et al’s LaTeX guide, but this time for LaTeX3.

:-)
yo’
yEah. This is difficult for a project still in development. But I know egreg has something in mind!
Mico
If anyone can do it, egreg can!
Paulo
Since you mentioned FIFA, I must ask: do you enjoy football?

:)
Mico
I do love watching football.

:-)
Paulo
Any teams?

:)
yo’
You’re pushing Mico onto thin ice …

:)
Mico
I’ll admit that one of the most amazing and entertaining games ever was Germany-Brazil at the World Cup in 2014. I’ll understand if you personally felt it to be not so entertaining…
Paulo
Oh no!

:)

Bullying

^^ :)
egreg
Definitely. Ask him what Switzerland did at the World Cup.
Mico
Switzerland lost 0:1 to Argentina.

:-(

In the final minute, a Swiss player hit the upright — it was SOOO close to going to penalty kicks!

I suppose I can’t help but root for the Swiss, which is easier these days now that the Swiss national team is decent. Ever since the days I lived in Germany as a child, I’ve also enjoyed watching the German national team.

Paulo
Deutschland über alles!

:)
Mico
Didn’t you feel (somewhat) good when Germany beat Argetina in the final?
Paulo
Of course! I even learned the German national anthem!

:)

Have you ever attended (or have plans to attend) a TUG conference (or any TeX-related conference)?

Mico
I’m afraid I haven’t attended any TUG events yet. (I am a TUG member, though…) Last July, when the annual TUG conference was held in Germany, I happened to be on an assignment in Singapore.

:-(
Paulo
I missed the conference as well.

:(
yo’
You both should come to Prague, even without a conference.
Paulo
I will.

:)
Mico
I’ve never been to Prague. I should do something about this, shouldn’t I?!
yo’
Indeed. If you come alone, I can offer cheap (the cheapest) accomodation

:)

even for 2, it would be sufficient I think

:)
Paulo
I went for my first international trip last year, and I stayed in only one country, so I’ve never been to Prague either. 😛
Paulo
Any plans to attend this year, in Canada?

:)
Mico
I will actually be in North America in late July — but not in in Toronto. I’ll be attending a huge family reunion on my wife’s side, in Sheboygan, just north of Milwaukee. My mother-in-law, still alive, had 8 siblings, they all had a quite a few kids, who had quite a few kids, etc. I think there will be more than 200 people attending! Help!
yo’
goodness!
Paulo
Oh my!
Mico
Maybe I should figure out how to disappear for a couple of days and hop on over to Toronto!
barbara
do it! it’s not really that far, not when you’ve come all the way from switzerland.
Paulo
Beware of mooses!

:D
barbara
that’s “meese”, and sheboygan is almost certainly too citified for that kind of large wildlife. (no, it’s not “meese”; “moose” is plural as well as singular. but it’s fun to try to corrupt your english.)
Paulo
ooh it makes sense! Goose = geese.

:)
yo’
and Paul Gessler lives there as well I think.
barbara
yes, i’m pretty sure that’s so.
Mico
That’s a really neat and unexpected connection! My mother-in-law’s parents were born in the Netherlands and moved to Wisconsin when they were young kids. Sheboygan had a reputation for a while as being quite rough, as the place where “the Germans” and “the Dutch” were constantly fighting with each other…
barbara
golly, another wisconsinite! (my father grew up in milwaukee. his mother and sister are buried in the same cemetery as knuth’s parents.)
Mico
Excuse me for about five minutes, please.
barbara
at least they distinguished between the two origins. one of my mother’s brothers was always called a “block-headed dutchman”, even though that side of the family came from hesse (grossmom) and saxony (grosspop).
Mico
Ok, I’m back.

:-)
Paulo
Welcome back!

:)
Mico
Back to the question about TeX.sx as a community: One of the reasons I’ve hung around for some time now is that it’s truly a community, with a common focus but also with a sense that people appreciate each other as real persons, rather than posers of questions and providers of answers. Also, it’s a place without flame wars, thank goodness.
barbara
we get those in too many other places. tex.sx is peaceful, while often posing interesting challenges. i’ve met some of my most valued friends through tex contacts, and somehow expect the rest of the tex world to be as community spirited.
Paulo
&lt;3
Mico
I’m sure I speak for others as well when I say that it’s a special gift and blessing to have you be a part, and a very important part!, of the TeX.SE community!
barbara
thanks for the kind words. it’s surely a place where i enjoy spending time. kind of a like an on-line tug meeting. (you really must try to come to toronto.)
Paulo
what’s your TeX environment (OS, distro, editor)?
Mico
For the most part, I use my personal 13″ MacBookPro and MacTeX for my TeX-related work. I use TeXworks as my main editor. At work, I do have a PC (sob), with MikTeX 2.9 and WinEdt 9.1. However, because of corporate policies [!] MikTeX only gets updated every 9 to 12 months, and I don’t like the fact that as a result, various LaTeX packages can be seriously out of date on my PC. Sigh.
Paulo
Cool.

:)
Paulo
Friends, any further questions to our special guest?

:)
barbara
i think we’ve imposed enough on his time and good will. thanks, mico!!!
Paulo
:)
Mico
Thanks, everyone! Happy TeXing!!!
Paulo
Thank you very much for being with us today! It was a privilege to us all! Awesome interview!
Mico
Thank you, for being such a wonderful host!!
egreg
Nice interview! Thanks for being a member of this community.
Paulo
I will leave the interview open for now, so other people can ask questions.

:)

As @egreg said, thanks for being a member of this community.

&lt;3
Mico
Good idea. I’ll keep checking in.
Paulo
;)
yo’
Thanks, Mico!
Mico
Let me return the compliments and thank you as well.

:-)
A Feldman
Thank you Mico.
Mico
You’re most welcome!

:-)

And thank you for your questions, and for your contributions to TeX.SE!

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