How to: Use the web to check copyright

How to: Use the web to check copyright

With the size of the Internet a lot a files, thoughts, musings, writings, paintings, pictures, etc, get “accidently” made available for those who have not paid for them. Students copy and paste whole sections of documents for their own papers, and less scrupulous individuals copy for their own reasons. A lot of companies have gotten around this by instigating DRM protection schemes, despite protests by consumers. The worst part though is that for those of us who provide content on the web, it’s actually pretty hard to keep that information secure.

Plagiarized text files are one of the easiest to find. Tools like Google are actually very useful here, but have the potential to come up with way too many hits. There are a lot of pay-per-use or subscription tools available on the market that will search for plagiarism, but Reprint Writers has put a great tool online that searches better then Google does. Unfortunately it only searches Yahoo so it may miss some hits.

On the other hand there are times when one does need to publish materials online and may not be the original author, or the original author may not be readily apparent or available. The Library Copyright Digital Slider tool could be very useful. Geared towards Librarians, it is extremely useful in identifying works that may have become public domain.

If the publication in question is a book it should be copyrighted via the Library of Congress. Some of that information is online via this link . Unfortunately, a good portion of this information is still offline, but it is being added slowly but surely. The provided link also has information about how to contribute to this project.

More recently web photography has really taken off. A lot of people with cheap digital cameras are posting pictures left and right, and just as quickly those pictures are being pulled from services such as Flickr and used by others.

Idee, Inc has a new tool that is in beta called Tineye. It actually goes out on the web and searches for pictures. Pictures that it’s seen before (and it’s constantly searching,) are given a unique identifier based on pixels in the graphic. Tineye scours the web for any picture that comes close, including those that were photoshopped or other wise altered.

In this day age copyright is an important concern for everyone involved. Using the above tools will make it easier to identify such cases and take appropriate action. Doing so will also help keep the unintentional infringements from happening.

How to: Add RSS to Blogspot

How to: Add RSS to Blogspot

Really Simple Syndication feeds or RSS is one of those technologies that makes sense when you think about it, but just isn’t as widely used as it should be.

As a blogger, I too at one time went with Blogspot/Google/Blogger to do my thing. One of the things that made me move to WordPress, and an independent site, was the lack of a simple way to create RSS feeds.

Since then, Blogspot has seen the problem and fixed it. Take the address of the site you want to use and add /atom.xml to the end of the address.

So becomes

Take the new line, insert into your RSS reader and you’re good to go!

The feed for this humble blog is a tiny bit more complicated, but readers are welcomed, and hopefully informed.

How To: Shorten URL for emailing links

How To: Shorten URL for emailing links

With the rise of Javascript and other web based programing languages, links to certain webpages have grown downright unwieldy. Places like eBay, Amazon, and many online shopping programs are the worst cases. But these portals provide such a vast number of items that any flat file based system from the 90’s would require a team of people to update it 24 hours a day as prices change and stock comes and goes.

Enter a plethora of web sites that “shorten” a given URL and present it in a friendlier format.

Tinyurl is one of the oldest and most popular of such services. They even provide a link that can be dragged to the browser tool bar for on the fly URL shortening services.

For instance:

Becomes: does the same thing, and even has a tools page that has a tool bar Javascript link just like Tinyurl. This site has one huge advantage over TinyURL though. Their links include the server name to keep people from inadvertently visiting the seedy parts of the Internet.

Thus the above link becomes:

While not every URL needs to be shortened, there are plenty that do. These two tools will certainly help in cases when it is needed. Email, IM’s, forum postings, etc would all benefit.

How To: Speed up Web Surfing

How To: Speed up Web Surfing

We would all like to surf the Internet a little faster. Unluckily Web Browsers, Network speed, and computer speed all conspire to make surfing the web as slow as possible.

Luckily each browser has a couple of tweaks that can be used to make things go faster.

Firefox actually has the most options to affect network speeds. So many in fact that not only does Mozilla have a page about it, there are several blogs about it. These are very easy to access, simply type: about:config in your address bar.

Change the following settings:

  • network.http.pipelining, change the value from 4 to 8.
  • network.dns.disableIPv6, change value to true
  • network.http.proxy.pipelining, change to true
  • If those feel like to much trouble, there is a Firefox plugin that helps: chromedit

    Internet Explorer

    This first tip is Vista specific and is untested by me. I’ve heard that it works extremely well though but just like all these other settings your mileage may vary.

    The second tip is a bit more general. Using regedit we change the default number of connections from two to a larger number. Keep in mind that this will not always be reliable as some larger sites will limit the number of connections on their side.

  • Go to Start -> Run
  • Type “regedit”
  • Go to the value: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet Settings
  • On right side check for these two values: MaxConnectionsPerServer MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
  • If they’re not present: right-click on the white region of Regedit’s right-hand column, click New, and then click DWORD Value.
  • Type: MaxConnectionsPerServer and hit enter
  • Right Click again and add the value: MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
  • On each value, MaxConnectionsPerServer and MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server, click on decimal and change the number from 2 (or 0) to something like 6 or 8
  • Close Regedit, start Internet Explorer and enjoy
  • Safari
    Speeding up Safari is a bit different then the other browsers. You are actually SLOWING the browser down. Safari has a setting that changes the delay on the browser from one second to a slower integer. In Terminal (with Safari closed) type: defaults write WebKitInitialTimedLayoutDelay 0.25

    The last number is time in seconds and can be anything between 0 and 1. So 0.34 or .81 are acceptable along with the more rounded 0.5 and 0.75.

    Another good hint is to clear the cache, favorites icons, addons, and removing the preference file. Macrumors put together a great page showing how to do that.

    Keep in mind that most of these will not drastically speed up your Internet, it’ll be a small but usually noticeable speed increase. Keeping your computer in top shape and virus free will also go a long ways towards helping speed up the your web surfing.

    How To: Budget Network Attached Raid 5 Fileserver, Part 3

    The server is up and running, the drives are formatted and now serving just under 750gb of Raid5 goodness. Since I have a mixed network of machines, Windows and Mac I need to make it will work with each of those. So we’re going to setup SMB. I could also setup NFS as it’s slightly faster and would add compatibility to Linux machines but it’s not needed in this case. And SMB is actually a more common need since most people run Windows.

    Again, counter intuitively I found it was best to setup users first before trying to setup the actual shares. There are two ways to do this. The easy way, or the secure way. If the NAS server is on a local home network, guest access may be the way to go. But I always suggest even in such cases to at least have basic security.Go to Access then Users and Groups. Type in the name of the first user and a password. Leave the User ID to default, it will increment automatically for every new user created. The next option, Primary Group has a drop down list of the standard Unix groups.      

    Users and Groups   

    The first user should be added to the admin group. Other groups can be staff and wheel. This will give the user maximum permissions to read and write files. Again for home use this is sufficient. Of course FreeNAS also has access to add LDAP and Active Directory authentication. Both of these are simple setups for any System Administrator.Since it’s first on the list, and there are more Windows users around, we’ll explore setting up SMB before NFS. Under Services go to CIFS/SMB. Click on the Shares Tab, then the Plus to add a new share. I simply called the name raid and put in a comment to note which raid it was. (In this case, raid because it’s the only one.) On the path option click on button with three dots. This brings up a filebrowser window, chose the raid directory that we’ve already setup and hit ok.  

    File Browser  

     As can be seen below the it automatically puts in /mnt/raid which is what we setup back in Part 2.  


    Before clicking the OK button notice two options for increased security. Host Deny and Host Allow. Adding in specific IP addresses to the allow box and ALL for deny will greatly increase security for connections. Keep in mind if the IP address of the computer changes, for instance DHCP on the DSL/Cable router is reset this could cause connection problems later on. At this point, the server is ready to test. Mac OS X 10.5(Leopard) actually sees these connections automatically, even if sharing across SMB (under file sharing) is turned off. Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) will need to connect to the drive via the Connect to Server option. Windows can now be connected just like any other server. Vista Directions are here, and Windows XP is here

    FreeNAS is an incredibly powerful program. Even though it’s still only in Beta it seems like a very solid product and does RAID NAS very well. I’ve really enjoyed playing with it and want to give a big congratulations to the development team for a job well done.