TU/e LaTeX Template

On the second of June, my birthday actually, I will start with my Master thesis at ASML Holding NV. ASML produces machines for the production of integrated circuits. Using their machines other companies, such as Intel, Apple, Samsung and many more, can create, for instance, CPUs, SoCs, DRAM or flash memory. But this blog post is not about my graduation at ASML actually. It is about my \LaTeX template which I created for my thesis.

The university where I study, the TU/e, does unfortunately not provide a nice \LaTeX template for their students to use. Joos Buijs actually created a kind of template à la TU/e style. However, as geeky as I am, I decided to create my own template. An example of how it looks can be downloaded here, the complete source can be downloaded here. It might be possible that you find a bug or you have a question about the template, if so, please contact me. To give you a heads-up, most likely you will not have the beautiful font MinionPro installed. If so, and you want to compile the source, you will need to remove line 590 (\figureversion{lining,proportional}%) from the class file (thesis.cls) and select one of the other fonts in the main \LaTeX file (thesis.tex).

Most features of the class will speak for themselves some might need a little explanation. The \thSupervisors command for instance can take an arbitrary number of supervisors. The input has to have the format {name} / {Affiliation}, and elements need to be separated by a comma.

{F.A.J. Rompa} / {Eindhoven University of Technology}, {D.S. Addiks} / {ASML Holding NV}, 
{J. Appelhof} / {Embedded Systems Institute}, {S.R.E. Wessel} / {Van der Lande Industries}}

The class also provides a nomenclature. Symbols are to be put in the file ./frontmatter/symbols.tex. In the file the same format is used as the \thSupervisors command accepts with an extra element, namely, {symbol} / {meaning} / {unit}. The unit can be expressed using the siunitx package. Any acronyms can be inserted in the  ./frontmatter/acronyms.tex file which has the format {acronym} / {meaning}Furthermore the class can insert a custom title page. The title page can either be a .pdf or .tex file which is set as \thTitlePageOne{pdf}{./frontmatter/titlepage.pdf}.

To create this class I used a lot of internet resources, especially the Q&A site tex.stackexchange, which is the number one spot on the internet for all \LaTeX related questions. Here follows a list of all the internet resources which I consulted.

The template is ready for use but I will most likely give it an update in the coming months. I tend to make it more robust with use of the etoolbox package instead of the ifthen package.

Almost identical

Sometimes you come across a very interesting or funny video on the internet. I have decided to occasionally post one on my blog.

The video below questions the social stigma behind chewing gum. It does this by an experiment in which two twins, with the same clothes, are placed side by side of each other in a museum. There is only one difference between them namely, one twin is chewing gum. Visitors are then asked several questions. While the outcome of this experiment would seem interesting, one has to take the experiment with a grain of salt. The experiment is namely carried out by Balten, the South American name for Trident gum, an American producer of chewing gum . Furthermore it seems that the twin who is not chewing gum is told to look miserable.

Datacoup is going out of beta

In today’s world, our personal data — location, e-mail’s, photo’s,  and anything else you produce online — is collected everywhere and at any moment. It is being saved and analyzed. Large companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple do this. They do not only use the collected personal data to provide tailor-made advertisements. It is being used to analyze our lives and predict our behavior and movements in the future. For instance, Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did [1,2,3]. The data-mining algorithm of Target saw that the girl was buying a specific set of products. It concluded from this that the teen girl was pregnant. Target therefore sent her coupons for baby clothes and cribs. When the father saw the coupons he demanded an explanation from Target why his daughter had received such coupons. Then the truth came out that his daughter was actually pregnant.

On 28 October 2013 there was a very interesting broadcast on the Dutch television program Tegenlicht about this topic. Since companies profit a lot from our personal data, it is questioned if people should get paid for their data and gain more control over it. It was then when I first came in contact with Datacoup. Datacoup lets people choose which personal data they sell. It is possible to connect a number of American credit card vendors and several social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursqure, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Youtube, Flickr and Last.fm) to Datacoup. Datacoup tries to sell the personal data either directly or trends found in it and that of others. It gives you an overview of your personal data such as your credit card spending, places you have been, age cluster of your friends and how big your data is. The images below give an impression of Datacoup in its current state.

Up to this moment Datacoup was in beta and invite only. Data which user choose to sell, was not yet being sold to actual companies but to Datacoup itself. Till now I made 10.75 with Datacoup, around3 each month. At the end of each month users receive an e-mail with an update on how much money they made. The e-mail of the month April included an important update:

“An important update regarding payouts to users for data: The amount and structure of payments is changing. We are trying to launch the platform publicly in June. As you know, we are a cash-strapped startup, and we’ve been paying you (our users) out of our own pockets. In order to conserve cash before the launch, we will not be purchasing any user data during the month of May. In June, we will unveil a new structure for payouts to our growing user-base. Our team wants to extend our sincerest gratitude for your participation in the beta, and future participation in the fully-launched platform. There are only better things to come!”

So Datacoup is going public and data is actually going to be sold to companies. Up to this point I joined Datacoup as a personal experiment. I wonder how Datacoup is going to change and how selling your personal data will actually be implemented, works and for how much money it is sold.