Peeter Joot's (OLD) Blog.

Math, physics, perl, and programming obscurity.

Starting a new blog:

Posted by peeterjoot on May 21, 2014

If you came here looking for new blog posts on obscure math, physics, and computer programming, please check out  There you will find stuff including:

  • Notes from courses I am taking at UofT (part time ECE M.Eng in electromagnetics), such as Modelling of Multiphysics Systems.
  • An enumeration of other things I have written, including archives of all the individual pdfs that I have posted over the years along with my blog entries.  All these pdfs are now stored directly on the new site.  I will no longer be posting new content to any of my (three) google sites pages, nor will I be updating anything previously posted there. If you are looking for any corrections I may or may not have made, please look at the docs anchored off of the new blog.
  • A chronological listing of all the Mathematica notebooks I have written.  The newest versions of these notebooks can still be found in my Mathematica github repository.  A snapshot of each of these is now also available on the new site, so if you have the CDF plugin installed, these can now be examined by clicking on the links directly.  Ironically, with chrome and my CDF installation, I’m able to view the .nb suffixed notebooks directly in the browser, but a click on any CDF (.cdf) notebook triggers a download?
  • Some notes about my setup of the mathjax-latex plugin, and the differences in latex markup with that plugin compared to the wp-latex plugin (which is available by default on  My future mathematical blogging should be way easier, probably won’t require any of my old tex2blog script, and will also look better!

Why a new blog?

Why after 611 blog posts on this hosted blog, dating all the way back to 2009, would I decide to ante-up and pay for hosting?

My primary motivation for this was truly geeky.  I wanted the flexibility to be able to manage wordpress plugins (i.e. mathjax-latex and wolframcdf), and to also be able to put plain old html and arbitrary file content into the apache2 directory structure.  I’ve wanted plain html hosting for a while, but made do with google sites (i.e. crappy but free).  I’d also wanted to be able to use the wolfram CDF plugin on my blog, but also not enough to pay for it.  However, once I tried mathjax-latex, I was sold.  At least as a writer, compared to wp-latex, this “new way” completely kicks ass.  It now takes much less time to produce posts with mathematics content, and requires far less scripting to convert from standalone latex.  Unfortunately, one of the costs of this is pushed onto the reader, since it takes more time for mathjax-latex content to be formatted than the images produced by the standard wordpress latex plugin.

I tried out an amazon EC2 bitnami image for a while (amazon offers a free trial year to evaluate their offerings).  That’s a flexible setup and offers direct access to the Linux VM, which is very nice.  However, with an amazon EC2 image, I’m not really sure what I would end up paying.  The charts seem somewhat vague, depending on future usage of both machine and storage.  I would also have pay separately for a domain name, and pay separately for amazon hosting of the DNS entry.

I ended up deciding to use a go-daddy hosted wordpress instance, which is a flat rate service.  It is less flexible than a godaddy standalone web-hosting environment, but also cheaper ($12 for the first year, including the domain name, and ~$50/year after that).  It also looks like I can upgrade this to a more generic web hosting environment later if the cost of that seems justified.  I’ll see first if only having sftp access to htdocs is enough of a major inconvenience to pay that additional yearly fee.  EDIT: go-daddy either lied about their non-introductory rate, or increased their rates after I signed up.  The renewal rates are about ~$100/year currently.

Configuring a custom MathJax configuration was a bit of a pain with only sftp access, mostly because I had to copy the MathJax tree, which was very slow for so many small files.  I did that directory tree transfer with FileZilla since sftp ‘put –r’ appears to be busted.  This MathJax setup was way easier on the EC2 since the ssh shell allowed for wget and local unzip directly from the apache2 htdocs tree.  It’s a shame that the mathjax-latex plugin doesn’t allow the MathJax tree to be served from the default server (what the plugin settings calls the ‘MathJax CDN Service’).  Logically, I’d like to be able to use that CDN service, but have my configuration file hosted locally.  That config file (config/default.js) is a single small file, and is likely all that I’ll ever have to alter in that whole directory tree.


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