Jan 182013
 January 18, 2013  Posted by at 8:27 am Law and Order, Technology Tagged with: , , , ,  Comments Off on It’s Internet Freedom Day

Today is internet freedom day. Let’s not forget what was in line to be passed into law by congress prior hearing the angry voice of the people being governed. The people who wrote those terrible bills (SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, etc.) are, for the most part, still in office. Some may have learned something, but I suspect all they might have learned was that what they are doing is unpopular enough to warrant even less transparency than the little they provide now.
Hat tip to Techdirt for this fantastic infographic. I’ll let it speak for itself.

Aug 242012
 August 24, 2012  Posted by at 3:47 pm Reviews, Technology Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on A Useful Tool for Viewing an Outlook Exchange Server Local Cache

I recently had the need to look up the email address of an acquaintance that I misplaced years ago. During my time working with this person, I, thankfully, made routine backups of the local cache of my exchange server profile. I did this in case the server data happened to become corrupted or ruined since the local cache used by outlook is a full copy of the data stored by the server, given all content is set to be downloaded during a synchronization. Making the backup is typically as simple as copying the appropriate *.ost file from the “%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Outlook Files\” folder (though, you should make sure to disconnect from the exchange server and completely close Outlook to unlock the file if it is in use or the primary profile).

Unfortunately, this file is not meant to be used as a backup, nor is Outlook capable of importing it. After about 20 minutes of Google-fu and failed solutions (usually meaning not freeware or simply useless advice), I came across this blog post describing two programs called Kernel PST Viewer (description, download) and Kernel OST Viewer (description, download). The second program caught my attention, and it turned out to be just what I needed. While it is somewhat functionally limited, it does exactly what it is expected to do and allows one to view the contents of an *.ost file in a simple and well organized layout.

May 232012
 May 23, 2012  Posted by at 5:32 pm Law and Order, Random Musings, Technology, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,  40 Responses »

YouTube has just broken a whopping 72 hours of uploaded video per minute. Think about that. Every minute, three days of new video is added to, arguably, the largest such centralized repository of freely available video content. That is HUGE. That also brings up a few questions given the strenuous legal climate over the past decade. How such a monument to human creativity and curiosity will continue to survive without imploding under the strain of opposing human drives is largely a guessing game at this point. On the one hand, there is the self-evident natural will to create, innovate, remix, refine, renew, and share the endeavors of ourselves and others. On the other hand, there is also the similarly well intended and quite reasonable craving to retain proof and pride in the fruits of one’s labor, either through the direct capacity to demonstrate said results or via the more abstract means of equitable exchange for other produced goods. In the latter case, money usually suits the purpose rather well. In an attempt to adequately construct a balanced framework for these natural tendencies to promote a benefit to the community, the founding fathers remained intentionally vague when they wrote the copyright clause. They left it to the people to derive the meaning of “Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” At the time of writing it was meant to imply a restricted means for disseminating the labors of the booming fields of philosophy (lest we forget science began, and remains, as natural philosophy) and mechanical innovation to the public while reserving for those who labored a brief time to adequately profit from said work. Since this time, the meaning of the clause has been reinterpreted as an automatic entitlement to the use and reuse of all created works nigh in perpetuity. The copyright term for anything created today includes the life of the creator(s) plus 70 years. (/rant)

In light of this refreshed context, YouTube’s success seems a little more intimidating. While several organizations see YouTube as a threat to be sued and/or shamed out of existence (RIAA/MPAA/etc.), there are thankfully protections in place (fair use) for the rights of those they would happily squelch to see their goals met. Under the DMCA, the notice and take down system, while not perfect, has been tempered with the power of a fair use counter notice. Beyond these steps for settling a dispute over content, the accuser sues the accused in a court of law. The determination of copyright infringement, in general, has been found to require the ruling of a judge.

Now, with all of this in mind, YouTube might reasonably be wondering how cost effective it would be to work with purported defenders of artists’ rights to accommodate for the rights of copyright holders. Well, lets begin with the rate of content being uploaded, \displaystyle R.
\displaystyle R=\frac{\partial t_v}{\partial t}=\frac{t_v}{t}=72\cfrac{\text{hours}}{\text{minute}}
Converting this to its natural dimensionless units will help when it is split up.
\displaystyle R=72\cfrac{\text{hours}}{\text{minute}}\times 60\cfrac{\text{minutes}}{\text{hours}}
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Feb 072012
 February 7, 2012  Posted by at 12:23 pm Random Musings, Reviews, Technology Tagged with: , , , ,  Comments Off on A Great Tool for Visualizing Disk Space

I’ve been using this free tool called “Folder Size” (download available here) for a while now. It is a very impressive piece of (free) software that scans the entirety of a selected drive and produces an empirical picture of the distribution of occupied drive space. I have found this to be to be invaluable when cleaning out my disk space as it allows me to see the effective size of folders as well as files. The ability to natively view the size of a folder in explorer has been missing from MS Windows since its inception. Originally, I stumbled upon this application while attempting to address that specific concern, which it does. Beyond displaying the size of folders, it also shows the relative sizes of all items at the same branch of the drive hierarchy in both a percent column in the analysis results and a graphical display below as well as detailed file and folder attributes. Some of the options for the data displayed are type of visualization and default size basis (think KB, MB, GB, etc.). I highly recommend this software if you are going through the “where did all my disk space go?!?!?” routine.