When doing homework for calculus II, silence occasionally becomes oppressive. Classical music can distract me. However, ChicagoHouseFM.com rarely disappoints. The music can be turned down; it can be tuned out because it's repetitive; it has a driving beat that help keep me going.

# Monthly Archives: June 2012

# LaTeX for WordPress Plugin

I've just tried a snippet of sample code on the webpage for the plugin LaTeX for WordPress, which apparently does what I want: display mathematic equations.

Now I just need to get familiar with LaTeX so I can start posting some textbook calculus problems I find interesting.

# Snubber needed cleaning

I own a Strida 5.0 that I bought a few years back in Japan. It is a lightweight folding bicycle that, despite its single speed and unusual riding position, I find quite enjoyable to ride. I've taken to riding it up and down the Monon Trail.

The other day I began hearing a *tic-tic-tic.* The following day it became louder; I could feel it through the pedals. Concerned there could be damage inside the crankcase, I took it to a bike shop. They hadn't seen such a machine; there are apparently no Strida dealers in Indiana. They suggested hitting the drive belt with some WD-40, which had solved trouble on another belt-drive bicycle; they pointed out the belt seemed slack.

Back home I tried to tighten the belt, but the tightening mechanism won't budge, and I don't want to force it. In looking through StridaForum.com, however, I read of some similar trouble. That got me looking at my Strida's **snubber**. The snubber, which prevents the belt slipping of the rear wheel's freewheel gear, had a bunch of crud on it. After scraping that off, the noise has vanished!

I do need to buy a torque wrench and some fine grade lubricating oil for the bike. Buying a metal freewheel is something else I should do, but my plastic one looks good right now.

# Pulling on some LaTeX

Recently curious about formatting mathematical equations online, I did a little digging. There are plenty of sites, but this one is a quick introduction. I'm using it to attempt writing a problem from the 6th edition of Stewart's *Calculus* textbook.

$latex 2x^3+3x^2+7x+4 $

$ latex 2^{3^x}$

I've been thinking about putting up solutions to the problems I work from the textbook, but that will take much time I don't have. However, that's one reason why I've been looking into LaTeX.

Hmm, this LaTeX is not displaying properly.

# Working with WebAssign

My calculus II course requires students purchase a code (I paid $30.76, Indiana state tax included) to enable a term's worth of access to WebAccess. The site has many exercises for the chapters being covered in my course. Each exercise has links to the textbook, Stewart's *Calculus*, 7th edition; the entire textbook is readable through the site, although it is probably awkward to try to use it in lieu of purchasing the textbook outright.

So far I have yet to use the Help buttons, but my classmates have been dismissive of them.

It is early days for my use of WebAssign, but it looks like it will be a good method for reinforcing the content. Regardless, I will work many of the odd exercises in the textbook for additional practice.

# Calculus II Starts

On June 4th, calculus II started. It is an 8-week course, which meets Monday through Thursday for two hours a day. It looks set to be rather demanding, but it should be interesting. The course will also require we use the WebAssign online math homework site.