Das Phrasensammelsurium

Wer viel liest, dem stechen sie unweigerlich ins Auge: sinnbefreite und nervige Phrasen, die sich wie aus dem Nichts in verschiedenen Medien erscheinen und sich plötzlich überall ausbreiten. Journalisten, Autoren und Wissenschafter sind meist Vielleser und machen sich – ganz unbewusst – Ausdrucksweisen, einzelne Begriffe und ganze Phrasen zu eigen. Diese übernehmen sie dann  in ihren eigenen Wortschatz und das Drama nimmt seinen Lauf.

Aufgrund mangelnden Detailwissens meinerseits möchte und kann ich gar nicht auf die sprachwissenschaftlichen Hintergründe eingehen. Man kann sich aber beispielsweise mit Hilfe des Google Ngram Viewers ansehen, wann bestimmte Begriffe im deutschen Buch-Korpus auftauchen. Leider gibt es diese Daten für die deutsche Sprache nur bis einschließlich 2008, weswegen ganz aktuelle Phrasen noch nicht enthalten sind. Abgebildet ist ein Beispiel für das Wort Narrativ, das nun allenthalben herhalten muss.

Der NGram-Viewer 

Selbstverständlich gibt es verschiedenste Projekte, wie beispielsweise die Floskelwoche oder dieser Artikel im Österreichischen Journalist,  die sich ganz diesem Thema verschrieben haben. Ich möchte hier dennoch meine persönliche Liste nervtötender Phrasen und Füllwörter in mehr oder weniger alphabetischer Reihenfolge festhalten. Einsendungen sind sehr willkommen.

  • “Aber nun der Reihe nach …”
  • Alternativlos
  • “Am Ende des Tages”
  • “Ganz einem Thema verschrieben”
  • Inflationär
  • “X kann Y”. Beispiel: “Karl-Heinz kann Social Media”
  • Narrativ
  • “X neu denken”.
  • Postfaktisch
  • “So muss X”. Beispiel: “So muss Technik
  • Spannend!
  • “Wir sind X”. Beispiel: “Wir sind Papst

Phrase einreichen


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Use Fontawesome with pdfLatex

Using Fontawesome in Documents

Fontawesome offers more than 600 scalable vector icons which can be used via CSS. The same icon kit is also available for being used in Latex. Since recently, the package was only available for Xelatex and LuaTex, but it is now also available for pdfLatex. The installation is a bit tricky, which I would like to share with you how I managed to install the font for Latex.

Get Hold of the Package

You can download the package from CTAN and store it locally on your drive. Alternatively you can also use wget:

Obey the Structure!

The TexLive system utilises a special directory structure for finding the packages and their content. The package we obtained from CTAN does currently not comply with the given structure, which is why the installation procedure differs a little bit from the norm. You should know that TexLive utilises several repositories for storing packages. A global one in the directory  /usr/local/share/texmf  and a local one in the home directory, usually ~/texmf . You can print the directory that TexLive is using withthe following command:

We will install fontawesome in the user’s directory as this does not require root privileges. Upon googling for a little while, I found this helpful post, which describes how to copy the needed tiles to their  appropriate location. First, we create the directory structure in the local TexLive repository of the user.

In the second step, unzip the package file and copy the content into the directory structure:

Now everything is in the right place. Following the blog post I linked above unfortunately leads to an error, that the map file cannot be found. What was missing in the original post is that you need to provide the name of the map file, such that the update tool can actually find it. Reading the linked documentation actually helped and I found the trick. We need to create a directory called web2c in the ~/texmf directory and create a file called updmap.cfg. This file needs to point to the map file of Fontawesome and we are all set:

Install the new Font

Then we can proceed as described and update the package manager of TexLive and install the font like this:

Try it!

This minimal example shows how to test and use the Fontawesome package.

The final result looks like this. Isn’t it beautiful?

Fontawesome Example

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Create a Category Page for one Specific Category and Exclude this Category from the Main Page in WordPress

This blog serves as my digital notebook for more than eight years and I use to to collect all sorts of things, that I think are worth storing and sharing. Mainly, I blog about tiny technical bits, but recently I also started to write about my life here in Innsbruck, where I try to discover what this small city and its surroundings has to offer. The technical articles are written in English, as naturally the majority of visitors understands this language. The local posts are in German for the same reason. My intention was to separate this two topics in the blog and lot let the posts create any clutter between languages.

Child Themes

When tinkering with the code of your WordPress blog, it is strongly recommended to deploy and use a child theme. This allows to reverse changes easily and more importantly, allows to update the theme without having to re-implement your adaptions after each update. Creating a child theme is very easy and described here. In addition I would recommend using some sort of code versioning tool, such as Git.

Excluding a Category from the Main Page

WordPress offers user defined categories out of the box and category pages for each category. This model does not fit well for my blog, where I have static pages and a time series of blog posts on the main page. In order to prevent that the posts about Innsbruck show up at the main page, the category ‘Innsbruck’ needs to be excluded. We can create or modify the file functions.php in the child theme folder and add the following code.

This adds a filter which gets executed before the posts are collected. We omit all posts of the category Innsbruck, by adding a minus as prefix of the category ID. Of course you could also lookup the category ID in the administration dashboard, by hovering with your mouse over the category name and save one database query.

A Custom Page Specific for one Category

In the second step, create a new page in the dashboard. This page will contain all posts of the Innsbruck category that we will publish. Create the file page.php in your child theme folder and use the following code:

In this code snippet, we define a set of arguments, which are used for filtering the posts of the desired category. In this example, I used the id of the Innsbruck category (91) directly. We define that we want to display posts only, 5 per page. An important aspect is the pagination. When we only display posts of one category, we need to make sure that Worpress counts the pages correctly. Otherwise the page would always display the same posts, regardless how often the user clicks on the next page button. The reason is that this button uses the global paged variable, which is set correctly in the example above.

The if conditional makes sure that only the pages from the Innsbruck category are displayed. The while loop then iterates over all posts and displays them. At the bottom we can see the navigational buttons for older and newer posts of the Innsbruck category.

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Tracking Changes in Latex – The Easy Way

Latex has many advantages in comparison to WYSIWYG word processors such as Microsoft Word or Libre Office. Being a text based markup language, Latex allows distraction free writing in a large selection of editors, it scales easily also for large projects with hundreds or thousands of references and images within the text and it produces very clean layouts, which can be exchanged simply by using different document classes. If you use a version control system such as git or svn, also versioning becomes very convenient, every change can be seen in the text file as a simple diff.

Although I am a big fan of latex, there are some things where other processors such as Word do have their advantages as well. Tracking changes is such an advantage, which is solved very nicely and intuitively. Source code management tools such as git and svn can produce a diff of the file and highlight changes, but the changes are not rendered in the document. Tracing changes in a Latex source file is not comfortable, especially if people should be able to see where changes have been made in  a document, who are not familiar with the Latex source.

Installing latexdiff

The Perl tool latexdiff provides this missing feature and creates a Latex file as output, which contains the changes made between two revisions of a file. In addition the changes are highlighted in a similar fashion as in graphical text processors. Install the tool with the following apt command:

This provides the following tools for various source code management systems, as indicated by the suffix.

Tracing Changes

After installing the software package, you can start comparing different revisions of the same file. Simply use the following command to highlight changes between two files. Note that this command creates a new Latex document as output, which you then need to compile in order to have a readable PDF with the changes.

This gives the following output, where the blue content has been added from one version to another and the red content has been deleted.

changesUsing Revision Control

If you manage your Latex source with git or any other SCM tool anyways, you can use the same tool for comparing different revisions. Lets have a look at previous revisions in the git log:

Suppose we want to track the changes between revision 1 and revision 2, you can use the appropriate lateydiff variant to compare the revisions with eachother.

Note that in this case we provide the commit hash for git. This tool automatically writes the output in a new file denoted with the names of the two commit hashes that we provided. In the case of Subversion, you can also provide the revision id.


It is important to understand that the Latex tool only considers changes in the printable text. This entails that if you change a picture or even replace an image with a new file (having a new file name), this will not be highlighted.

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