How to use Type 1 fonts in a multilingual LaTeX document

Recently I had to deal with a font encoding issue in our MobileHCI’14 paper about phrase sampling methods. The thing is that we wrote some example sentences in 10 different languages, and LaTeX seemed not to like the Russian ones to begin with.

The first approach was to put this in the preamble:

\usepackage[T2A]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[russian,english]{babel}

This generated a “valid” PDF via pdflatex, although it was using Type 3 fonts. So I received a kind email from Sheridan Printing (Lisa M. Tolles, we miss you!) saying that Type 3 fonts are not allowed in material appearing in the ACM DL. The paper must use exclusively Type 1 fonts.

Therefore I had to google for a while until finding the following solution. BTW, this was tested on Ubuntu 14.04 with Tex Live 2013.

First, install the UCS package:

sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-extra

Then put this in the preamble:

\usepackage[T2A,T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}
\usepackage[russian,english]{babel}
\usepackage{pslatex}

And enclose with \textcyrillic{} the corresponding text.

Finally, you can proceed this way:

latex file.tex
dvips -P pdf -o file.ps file.dvi
ps2pdf file.ps

That’s all, folks!

Spain, no country for postdocs

It’s been about two years since I got my PhD from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and nothing has changed, research-wise. I was hired in tranScriptorium as research support staff, where I keep doing the same things as before graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and am pleased to work with a really competent and skilled team at the PRHLT research center. However, at the UPV there are no possibilities of promotion or tenure. Not at all. And it seems to be the case for most of Spanish universities as well.

Gone are the glory days when your PhD gave you direct access to a tenure track. Currently, Spanish researchers who retire are no longer replaced. That’s insane. As a result, the vast majority Spanish postdocs are basically wasting their time. This is the fate of most people that get their PhD today in Spain. Simply put, Science is not a priority in Spain.

I don’t know what would be the best solution for this pressing problem. Moving to another country? Perhaps, but this decision should be optional for the brave postdocs, not mandatory because they have no choice. Actually, this is leading to a massive brain drain, which is bad for science and therefore bad for everyone. Running a startup or a spin-off? Perhaps (actually that’s what I did), but not all researchers are ready for entrepreneurship. In my opinion, good researchers should be given the opportunity to get some kind of internal promotion. For instance, being able to lead some research project or appearing as principal advisor in master’s theses, PhD theses, or final degree projects.

PS: As a side effect of all of this, there are many departments filled with affluent peers that no longer do research. But that’s a story worth of another blog post.

How to give a scientific presentation

Recently I stumbled upon an excellent compendium of tips and advices for giving a scientific presentation. Since I can’t agree more on the vast majority of the contents covered there, I’m just sharing the link to the PDF document. Credit goes to by Kevin D. Lafferty.

The document also covers 3 types of presentation outlines: paper, essay, and plot. So even if you work outside academia you would benefit from paying attention to those advices.