What Is Happening Here?

Well done, you've found the website of Jeremy Modjeska, uppity bicycle snob, opinionated dilettante, voracious user of the Oxford comma, and all-purpose nerdboy. You might find some articles related to amateur commentary on legal affairs I don't fully understand, as well as some Excel and web hackeries that people occasionally find useful. For a more current and substantially less verbose window into my world, follow me on Twitter.

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Summary: Leave P2P, iTunes, and wasted plastic behind. When you can’t get your mp3s from an independent distributor like CDBaby, Amazon offers high-quality mp3s without DRM. It’s time to start buying music again.

Out here, in the world, far from the offices of RIAA executives and their overzealous lawyers, plodding along ignorant of the many layers that exist between ourselves and the artists, are the people who listen to music. We don’t want much. Access to music we like. At a fair price. And seriously, no DRM.

First, let’s be clear. Despite my utter frustration with the state of the digital music market in recent years, I have never been an advocate of stealing music. As you can see from my previous post, I take intellectual property seriously and I don’t play nice when people steal from me. So this is in no way a defense of music piracy. I get why people turned to stealing music though. For many of them, it was the same reason I mostly gave up procuring new music altogether for several years. But for those of us who never objected to paying a fair price for a fair product, I think the market is finally catching up with us …

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Posted in At Home  |  2 Comments

Update 3: April 4, 12.22pm: This article is now the #1 Google result for a search for ‘Virtisys’. Thanks everybody!

Update 2: March 24, 6.42pm: I think we won this battle. The Vertisys site was moments ago replaced with a redirect to the “Rick Roll” video on YouTube, then shortly thereafter disappeared altogether. Thanks to everyone who emailed, commented, and notified SoftLayer of the copyright infringement. I’m really encouraged by the response I got and happy that we were able to help protect bloggers from having their content stolen.

Update 1: March 24, 4.31pm: My article has been removed. Several other bloggers whose content was used on virtisys.com have contacted me expressing their intent to complain to SoftLayer.

Completely by accident today I discovered that a website I’d never heard of – www.virtisys.com (note the spelling; I am not talking about Vertisys, an entirely separate company) – was syndicating my blog content. Quite obviously I don’t mind if people do that, as evidenced by the links to various syndication services beneath each of my posts. It’s part of how blogging works and how people discover each other on the Internet. But this is different. Unlike digg, del.icio.us, and every other syndication service out there, Virtisys aren’t crediting me. They aren’t linking back to my original post. They aren’t even acknowledging that the post is a syndication. There is a different name for what they’re doing and it is stealing.

They might be doing it to you too. It appears their entire content base is made up of articles by blog authors from all over the world. All of them are technology focused, all of them (as far as I can tell) are WordPress users, and none of them are given credit for their work.

Virtisys provides no contact information on their website, or in their domain registration records, so I have sent a notice of copyright infringement to SoftLayer, their hosting services company, asking them to remove the offending content. To the extent that I have time today, I am also notifying other bloggers whose content is being stolen. That isn’t always easy because Google searches don’t always locate the original source, but I’ve already had a great response from one person (Remko at EvilCoder) who intends to file a similar complaint with SoftLayer.

Just in case you’re reading this on Virtisys or anywhere else right now, you can find my original post at j.modjeska.us. And by the way, no-talent ass-clowns over at Virtisys, I’ve discovered a number of really interesting people and blogs through your site. You’d have a really nice service there if you’d just credit the authors and provide links back to the original works instead of blatantly ripping us off.

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Posted in At Home  |  11 Comments

I was in the middle of upgrading the Wasington Parkour forum software to the new phpBB 3.0 when I got distracted by a MySQL limitation I wasn’t previously aware of: it seems you can’t drop more than one table at a time in the MySQL command line interface. This curious limitation begs for a command-line script solution, and indeed I was not surprised to find that there are plenty of them out there. As usual, though, I’m reinventing the wheel for my own entertainment.

For today’s exercise, I experimented with PHP on the command line (PHP CLI). Some of the features I wanted to include weren’t in the scripts I found elsewhere, so I built them in order to make this useful for my current phpBB upgrade and on into the future for various other situations:

  • Allow the user to store db login information in the script if he really wants to, but if he’s a security-conscious and relatively sane person, leave it empty in the script and prompt him for the login information when the script is called.
  • Allow the user to specify table prefixes so only certain tables are deleted. When I experienced epic failure on my first attempted phpBB 2 -> phpbb3 conversion, I had to go back and remove all the bad tables that had been created. They were prefixed with phpbb3_ while the old tables were prefixed with phpbb_. Obviously I wanted to leave the old ones alone.
  • Provide some useful reporting on any errors encountered and results of the batch drop.

So, here’s what I have for you today: a PHP CLI script to batch drop all your unwanted MySQL tables (after the fold).

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Posted in Code  |  No Comments

February 20th, 2008

Simple MySQL Backup Using Perl

I present to you a short script to automate backup and compression of a MySQL database using perl on a Linux system. I had to solve this problem today and figured there might be others out there in need of the same solution. Store the script in a safe location, hidden from the Internets, and chmod it to 700 to prevent other users from viewing the source (because it contains db login information). Customize the variables at the top of the script and test it out (perl sqlBackup.pl). If it runs without outputting any errors, add a line to your crontab file to run the backup at the desired interval.

There are of course better ways of doing this, namely this one. I am doing it my way because I’m more comfortable with perl and this script gives me more flexibility and a bit of debugging in case something goes wrong. This script assumes you’ve got cron setup to email you any output, so you should receive notification if something goes wrong.

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Posted in Code  |  No Comments

December 30th, 2007

Code of the Samurize

I wrote a VB script for Samurize, an easy-to-use, free Windows desktop playground for creating MacOS-like widgets and powerful system monitoring tools. Building my own desktop widget, I discovered that there wasn’t a built-in tool or any plugins available for identifying the current WiFi security mode in use. That is, I want my widget to tell me if I’m connected via WEP, WPA, etc. On my Linux systems, I can see at a glance what network I’m connected to and what security is in use. In Windows, this is slightly more challenging.

It wasn’t terribly difficult to create my own once I learned a bit about navigating the Windows Management Instrumentation, and I also learned that Samurize doubles as a handy testing ground for all kinds of VB scripts. Here is the result (click on the image to see my desktop widget that I’ve integrated this into):

Wireless Mode Indicator

You can download my Samurize config file, which contains the script and indicator icons, from the Samurize website. I have also included the VB code below.

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Posted in Code  |  No Comments