Tag: Google

Equations in Gmail with the “TeX for Gmail” Chrome extension

Science via email

One thing scientists and engineers have to do daily is discuss collaborative work via email exchanges. This often includes the need to share and discuss mathematical equations and to represent variables with subscripts and superscripts or special characters; something that is tricky when you are emailing in plain text.

WikiImages / Pixabay

Of course it is possible to work around this problem! Email was invented by scientists, and for decades they have been communicating in this manner, using various conventions to convey the correct information using plaintext. However, if you are a Gmail user there is a nice extension that will make your equations look proper good.

Tex for GmailGmail-logo

TeX for Gmail is a Chrome browser extension that checks a Gmail email that you are writing for LaTeX markup and converts the markup to a visually prettier equation, using one of two modes. In Simple Math mode, subscripts and superscripts are correctly formatted but the current font is maintained and text remains ediatble. In Rich Math mode, the equation is rendered into TeX and replaced by an embedded image.  The email recipient doesn’t need the extension installed on their browser in order to read your nice equations!

Example

Original markup:

$E = mc^{2}$

Simple Math mode:

E = mc2

Rich Math mode:
E = mc^{2}

Issues

One problem; once the extension has converted my markup to formatted text, I cannot get the markup back. So editing a small mistake usually means re-doing all the curly brackets and other stuff that a TeX equation requires. The only workaround seems to be to stay vigilant and use Undo (Ctrl-z), but this doesn’t work when you notice a mistake in an equation that you wrote a while ago. One improvement could be the option to restore any equation to the original markup.

Conclusions

Overall, a great little tool to improve the clarity of science and maths communications over email. With a few small improvements it could be even better but it is already very usable.




Firefox search bar – setting the region for Google searches

The problem

If you are visiting/living abroad but still want the Firefox search bar to default to your home version of Google, it is possible to fix it! In the following solution I assume that you are from the UK and want to use the UK/GB version of Google Search:

The solution

  1. Access the Firefox settings: type “about:config” in the address bar, then click “I’ll be careful, I promise”.
  2. For each setting you want to modify, use the search bar to find it more quickly.
    1. Set both “browser.search.countryCode” and “browser.search.region” to “GB” by double-clicking it and typing the new value.
    2. Make sure “browser.search.isUS” is set to False.
    3. For both “distribution.searchplugins.defaultLocale” and “general.useragent.locale” use “en-GB”.
  3. Restart Firefox.
  4. Visit http://www.google.com/ncr, to activate a “no country redirect” cookie that stops the browser from looking for country-specific search results.

Searching from the search bar should now give results at Google.com, but notice that at the very end of the search results URL there is a flag for UK regional content.

Enjoy!