Turns out that my web provider now provides a SQL and PHP server with my base package and this was all the incentive I needed to give a self hosted WordPress blog a whirl. To get a basic blog system up and running literally took me 5 minutes with the free WordPress software and using the export function I was quickly able to copy the few posts over from my free WordPress blog.

Now I have my own hosted service this presents me with several advantages over the free wordpress accounts, but there are two in particular that are attractive to me. The first one is that I can now embed proper equations into a blog post using LaTeX and MathML by linking it into my equation editor MathType…

By adding in the ‘LaTeX for WordPress‘ plug in for the hosted WordPress, I can now copy equations straight from MathType and paste them directly into my blog by following this procedure.

1.) Open MathType and prepare your equation.

2.) Go to MathType -> Preferences -> Cut and copy preferences; and then select MathML or TeX; then LaTeX 2.09 and later

3.) Highlight the equation in MathType 6.7d and then right click and select copy or press (⌘ + C)

4.) Find the position in your blog post where you want the equation to appear, then paste (⌘ + V)

Following this means that I can embed equations like the one below pretty easily, the only downside that I’ve found is that if you’ve colour coded your equation in MathType, none of this formatting will carry over when pasting, but the equations should work and be visible in any browser, certainly the main three and on the iPhones and Android devices that I’ve worked on so far.

\[{F_d} = \overbrace {\sum\limits_{j \ge 1} {{\gamma _{G,j}}{\rm{ }}{G_{k,j}}} }^{{\rm{Permanent}}} + \overbrace {{\gamma _p}{\rm{ }}P}^{{\rm{Prestress}}} + \overbrace {{\gamma _{Q,{\rm{ }}1}}{\rm{ }}{Q_{k,{\rm{ }}1}}}^{{\rm{Leading}}{\rm{ Variable}}} + \overbrace {\sum\limits_{i > 1} {{\gamma _{Q,{\rm{ }}i}}{\rm{ }}{\psi _{0,{\rm{ }}i}}{\rm{ }}{Q_{k,{\rm{ }}i}}} }^{{\rm{Other Variable Actions}}}\]

With minimal tweaking and a little trial and error with the LaTeX code I was able to apply some colour tags to get the equation to look the same as it does in my lecture notes.

\[{F_d} = \overbrace {\sum\limits_{j \ge 1} {{\gamma _{G,j}}{\rm{ }}{G_{k,j}}} }^{{\rm{\color{Red} {Permanent}}}} + \overbrace {{\gamma _p}{\rm{ }}P}^{{\rm{\color{Red}{Prestress}}}} + \overbrace {{\gamma _{Q,{\rm{ }}1}}{\rm{ }}{Q_{k,{\rm{ }}1}}}^{{\rm{\color{Red}{Leading}{\rm{\color{Red}{ Variable}}}}}} + \overbrace {\sum\limits_{i > 1} {{\gamma _{Q,{\rm{ }}i}}{\rm{ }}{\psi _{0,{\rm{ }}i}}{\rm{ }}{Q_{k,{\rm{ }}i}}} }^{{\rm{\color{Red}{Other Variable Actions}}}}\]

This might initially appear to be quite a minor thing, but I’ve found that colour coding my notes like this really helps the students follow the equations when I’m talking them through various parts of the equations and so I was keen to keep the high quality formatting on my blog. One thing that I have noticed however though is that the equations appear much much sharper on mobile devices and Apple machines, whereas on windows machines they appear slightly pixelated.

As to the second advantage this is that I can now embed Wolfram Mathematica CDF files into my blog directly, which will help me share some of my examples with anyone interested in my research. I’ll write another blog post on this over the next few days…