[PLUG] The Power of LaTeX

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Sun Jan 8 10:00:17 PST 2006

   Everyone knows the abilities of LaTeX to produce beautifully typeset
documents, particularly when there are mathematical equations included.
However, there is life after text documents with LaTeX.

   After a lot of work and tremendous help from Herbert Voss in Berlin (the
TeXpert who wrote the books on LaTeX Math Mode and PSTricks), I have a form
for use in an optical mark recognition (OMR) scanner. The strobe marks for
timing are built with the \rule{} command while the marking boxes use the
\framebox{} command. It's all in a table for precision placement. I don't
think that I can attache the 62K pdf file, but I'll send it to anyone who
would like to see it.

   I'm sure that some of you, particularly in an education environment, use
scannable forms and now you can make your own. The code's available under the
GPL (or whatever equivalent -- opend document license, perhaps -- is
appropriate) for modification. What the heck, it's pretty easy once you
understand how to go about it. :-)

   I did research on OMR scanners and found one at a reasonable price ($750)
from the MB Group in Basel, Switzerland. It reads 12 channels on a "page"
3.25" wide and up to 14" long. My form uses 10 of those channels on a form 8"
long. They make and sell larger units (14+ channels), single- or dual-side
reading, and forms up to 8.5" wide. Of course, prices start over $2,000 and
go up from there.

   Anywho, I thought this was something different that may be of interest and
use to others who read this list.


Richard B. Shepard, Ph.D.               |   Author of "Quantifying Environmental
Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc. (TM)   |  Impact Assessments Using Fuzzy Logic"
<http://www.appl-ecosys.com>     Voice: 503-667-4517         Fax: 503-667-8863

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