eric wood

Coming soon

So, I wrote this neat little thing a few days ago! If you haven’t tried it, you totally should. It essentially just reads in Excel files and converts tables into LaTeX tables. The cool part? It all happens in your browser!

I have a very detailed blog post in the works on how it works. It’ll cover the basics of the XLSX format Excel uses, as well as the HTML5 file apis I used and how I extracted the data.

Stay tuned!

My Toolchain

I run into quite a few articles on people’s blogs about the tools they use at their jobs. To me, it’s fascinating, since everyone takes a different approach, and more often than not I’ll walk away knowing about some new tool or trick that makes my life easier. I’ve always wanted to write one of these posts myself.

This whole post will probably get updated in the future as I continue tweaking things.

Over the years, I’ve put waaaaaaay too much time into my development environment. I justify the lost time by saying something along the lines of “if I’m going to be staring at it all day, it had better look nice, damnit,” or I pretend I hadn’t just spent the last hour tweaking my .vimrc to fix some minor annoyance rather than getting work done.

Config Files

I like to keep all of my config files in a Github repo for easy access. From any machine with git installed, I can simply clone the repository and run to have everything set up for me. The bootstrapping script backs up any duplicate dotfiles, and symlinks mine into my homedir.

My bash_profile and zshrc files, however, stay put and instead a line is appended to the beginning of the existing bash_profile or zshrc files to source the ones in the repo. This allows me to have system-specific settings in the file in my homedir along with my other customizations. Modularity is the name of the game!


Vim is awesome. After using it for a few years, I don’t think I can go back to other editors (unless they have a Vi mode, of course). I could probably do a separate blog post on my vimrc, but that’s not really necessary yet. You can take a peek at it here if you’d like to get into the details, but I’ll give a brief overview of my customizations.

Before anything else, though, here’s a bitchin screenshot of my config in action:

Now lets dig into the config a bit…


My tastes in colorschemes changes pretty often, so here’s a few of my favorites: * tomorrow-night-eighties - my current fave * Solarized - I have a keybinding to switch to the light version when I’m in the sun or have the brightness down * Railscasts - an old favorite, I come back to it from time to time * Molokai - also pretty neat


First things first, I’d like to give a shout-out to Vundle. It’s essentially a package manager for Vim plugins; you can search, install, and remove plugins from the comfort of Vim. It handles the messy stuff and makes it effortless to try out new plugins. I cannot recommend it enough.

Since I’m on OS X most of the time, I use MacVim for everything. It’s wonderful and feels much better than gVim.

Quick note about terminal vs. gVim - when I can get my hands on it, I prefer gVim, however I do everything I can to make my vimrc work equally as well in both. The easiest way to do this is toggling functionality with an if statement. Some people prefer to have a separate gvimrc file with their gVim-specific settings (lame).

So here’s a list of some of my favorite plugins: * Indent Guides - little marks to help keep track of indents * Vimroom - a Vim imitation of Writeroom * CtrlP - fuzzy searching of buffers, filenames, etc. * NERDTree - the classic Vim file browser

Other Customizations

Everything else you see in my vimrc is just handy little keystrokes (mostly using <leader>) for toggling things.

Like all hardcore Vim users, I’ve remapped the arrow keys to do nothing. HJKL or die! ;)


Like many *nix users, I spend a lot of my time in the terminal. Since I’m mostly using OS X, iTerm2 is my terminal emulator of choice. It’s more flexible than, and can do things like splits and a cool FPS-style dropdown window.

I use the tomorrow-night-eighties iTerm2 colorscheme to match my Vim colorscheme.

Although it doesn’t happen as often anymore, when I find myself working remotely I like to use tmux. Right now I have it set up fairly similar to screen, since it feels more natural that way and there’s less confusion when I’m forced to use screen instead.


Recently I made the switch from bash to zsh. The reason? I had heard that zsh a Vi mode that doesn’t suck. I tried using Vi mode with bash for a while, but there was no way to figure out what state I was in. Zsh, however, lets you change the prompt accordingly.

Like all good zsh users, I’ve tricked out my prompt. Here it is in action:

The important parts: * Hostname is in blue * Current Git branch is in the square brackets * The lightning bolt: yellow = insert mode; blue = normal mode (for the Vi stuff) * Branch name changes from green to red when there are uncommitted changes * The red bar on the right helps me find my place when reading through scrollback

Other stuff

These don’t really need their own categories, but they definitely deserve some recognition: * Alfred - very extensible launcher / everything utility. Love it. * Chrome - the most advanced browser available. Web Inspector and I get along well. * Pianobar - open source CLI Pandora client. Shameless plug: I’ve got a script for Growl notifications with it. You should check it out.

What on earth is this blog thing?

That’s a really good question. I don’t know yet. Mostly, it’s a fun little side project and a chance to flex some CSS muscles that have been a bit dormant as of late.

My intention is to write about whatever I think people should know about. It might be an opinion I need to share, or maybe some information on a problem I solved.

Technical details

I’ve been using Github Pages to host everything for The other day I was reading about Jekyll, which pages happens to support. Unlike other blogging things, Jekyll lets me roll my own everything, while taking care of the nasty parts like pagination and templating. This pleases me greatly.

Everything you see here was done from scratch, with the exception of some of the backend things Jekyll takes care of. The footer has a link to the source for this site if you’re into that sort of thing.