Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fixing the "No TeX detected. Please install Tex before compiling." error for Rstudio on OS X

If you use RStudio on OS X you have probably seen the following error at least once

 No TeX installation detected. Please install TeX before compiling.

For some reason I have found it near impossible to google a answer for this one easily.  You usually find pages that go into a bit of detail about the issue, but no clear and easy answer on how to fix it.  Then if you do fix it, something will happen to your system that breaks the fix and you have to go searching all over again.  I am posting the fix here in the hopes that no one else will ever have to go through a frustrating search like I have had to do more times than I would like to admit.

I found the fix on an RStudio Support page (

Dave Dyer posted this

I had the same problem, and the following two symbolic links fixed it:
sudo ln -s /Library/TeX/Distributions/.DefaultTeX/Contents/Programs/texbin /usr/texbin
sudo ln -s /usr/texbin/pdflatex /usr/bin/pdflatex
Not sure that it matters, but I am using TeXShop, and didn't have to re-install anything.


Hopefully someone else will also find this useful

Friday, May 2, 2014

Soylent has shipped! The future of food is here!

Soylent has finally shipped!  For those of you who have already forgotten, Soylent is a nutritional drink that promises to be healthy, cheap, and simple yet provide everything the human body needs.

It was a bit of an internet sensation when it first was announced and was rather polarizing with some people loving the idea and wanting it immediately and others seeing is as a sign of everything that is wrong with humanity today.

Personally, I have always wanted something like this and have even experimented a bit with various nutritional drinks but they were just never cheap enough to be a viable food replacement.  I have ordered a two week supply of Soylent and will make sure to post my thoughts about it as soon as I get it.

For now here is a review from some lucky guy who already got his order

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An anti-consumerism song worth listening to, Macklemore x Ryan Lewis "WINGS" Official Music Video

I haven't been all that big a fan of Macklemore x Ryan Lewis and personally think their thriftshop song is an insult to anyone with the ability to hear.  Still the song "Same Love" was good and it is impressive to have a hip hop artist so publicly support gay marriage and equality.  Randomly I heard another song called "WINGS" on the radio and it might be the most anti-consumerism song I have heard on commercial radio, possibly ever.

I especially enjoyed the Phil Knight reference.  It is a really great song, please check it out.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mass Incarceration in the US

By basically all accounts, the US criminal justice system is in need of major reform.  This is a great video about some of the issues we need to deal with.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Shapiro-Stiglitz "Shirking" Model: An Efficiency Wage Hypothesis Model

Thought someone out there might enjoy the slides from a presentation I was a part of in my Advanced Macro class.

If you have any questions please post them in the comments and I will try to answer them in the future.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Crux by Ramez Naam

Nexus is one of the best books I have read in years.  It had a fast paced plot dealing with the morals and ethics of our transhumanist future along with a nice bit of Buddhist philosophy.  Also the unique setting of a cyberpunk Bangkok was pretty awesome.  Crux is the sequel novel that deals with the aftermath of the events in Nexus.

There isn't much I can say about the plot without somewhat spoiling Nexus but I will say that we find the surviving characters of the previous novel each dealing with the new reality from those event in their own ways.  They have changed the world in ways both good and bad and might have a few chances to make things better.  In the end the book is about the good and bad impact transhumanist technology can have on a society.  Technologies that are developing in the real world much faster than anyone would have though just a few years ago.

The most common complaint I have read about Crux is that the quality of writing isn't very good.  Although I see what those reviewers are talking about and Crux isn't going to win any awards for literary style, I feel that these critics are missing the point of a book like this.  It isn't about the quality of the prose, but the quality of the ideas which is important.  This is the major reason the Sci Fi tends to be viewed poorly by literary types.  Crux might not win over the literati but I feel that Ramez Naam is a solid writer and he is able to depict action scenes much better than most other authors.  

This leads to the major complaint I have with this book, and something I have noticed happening in most modern Sci Fi.  I felt the book had too much action and didn't focus enough on the ideas.  The novel could have been significantly shorter if many of the action scenes had just been left out with no real damage being done to the story itself.  Additional character development, world building, and just random musings on the social impact of the various technologies in the book would have been a welcome change of pace from the action.  It almost feels like Sci Fi writers today are scared of their audience getting bored and that blowing something up is a way to fix that.  

I also didn't feel that the anti-transhumanist characters were given enough depth and space to give their side of the argument.  Some rather horrible things are done in this book in the name of humanity and the people committing those acts end up looking more evil than rational.  It may be that Ramez Naam decided that Nexus gave enough of that argument and that Crux should instead focus on the real possible implications of transhumanism.  Even if that is the case I felt more time could have been given to debating the issues that the book brings up.  

In the end this is a fun, fast-paced, techno-thriller that I enjoyed immensely.  I can't wait for the next book in the series and I hope it spends a bit more time on the important ideas that only a Sci-Fi novel like this can explore.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Review: Buying bus and train tickets with your smartphone in Portland

One of the reasons I live in Portland is the simple fact that the mass transit system is good enough that I don’t have to drive.  I hate driving and find it to be both expensive and a huge waste of time.  One of the odd issues though with using mass transit is trying to make sure that you either have some bus passes or the correct amount of cash to buy a ticket when you need one.  Given that I rarely use cash this has actually been more of an issue than it should have been so I have been looking forward to e-tickets to simplify this issue.

Now Trimet, the regional mass transit authority for the Portland area, has a simple smartphone app that lets you buy tickets whenever you need them.  All you need to do is download the app, put in some credit/debit card information and then you can start buying tickets.  When you need to use one you just click a few buttons and you get a valid ticket to show the bus driver, it even has a QR code that the driver can check to ensure that the ticket is valid.

I have been using this app for the last week and it works exactly how I would want an app like this to work. It is simple to use and even looks pretty good.  The only issue I have with the system is that they do force you to buy at least $5 of tickets at a time.  This is undoubtedly due to processing fees and is not that big a deal, but still a bit annoying.  Also some people have complained that the trip planning features are not as developed as they should be, but I already use google maps for my transit directions anyways.

I personally had thought about e-ticketing systems over the years and have used a few in various cities.  What I love about this system is the simplicity of it.  All you need is a smartphone running Android or iOS and you are good to go.  Most other system are much more complicated and involve needing to sign up for some type of card or device.  This system didn’t require any type of overhaul of the current ticketing system that trimet has and is simple enough that most people can start using right away.

I am very impressed with this app and hope that a lot of people start using it and if you live in the Portland area please give it a try!