April 23rd, 2008
You’ve run in to this before. You’re at home, looking up some academic papers and you always run in to a couple that you can’t track down on the internet at large. You’ve got to get them from on of the major digital libraries. Sure, your university has a campus subscription—but you’re not on campus. You flounder trying to get something to work from the command line. No dice.
Here’s my trick.
Use SSH to set up a proxy back to your campus and send your web traffic through the campus network so that it looks like you’re on campus. I’ve got a Mac so ssh is easily available from the command line. I have gotten this to work using Putty on Windows though.
SSH supports SOCKS (a protocol for proxying traffic). It will open up a port locally (of your choosing) and any traffic to that local port will be carried over your secured ssh connection and come out the other side and the remote host you’re connected to will proxy all the data.
ssh -D 9000 firstname.lastname@example.org
With this command ssh will listen on your localhost on port 9000. Configure Firefox to use a web proxy, Firefox -> Preferences -> Advanced Tab -> Network -> “Configure how Firefox connects to the Internet” . Choose the Manual proxy configuration radio button. For the SOCKS entry the host is, localhost, and the port is whatever you specified for the -D option (I used 9000). Hit OK and you’re done.
Firefox will now pipe all your web traffic over ssh to your remote server. You are now “on campus” as far as anyone looking at your origin IP address is concerned.
I’d turn off the proxy (just set it back to no proxy in Firefox’s settings) after downloading what you’re after to avoid any network delay.
This technique is sometimes useful in situations at conferences where the wireless is blocked on port 80, but not on port 22 (ssh’s port). This is completely unconfirmed—you didn’t hear it from me.
January 14th, 2008
I use Google Scholar among other academic searches to find work related to my research. Other citation references supply a Bibtex entry for generating bibliographies. It wasn’t readily apparent to me, but Google Scholar does have this feature, you just have to turn it on.
Go into the Google Scholar Preferences and change the ‘Bibliography Manager’ to “show links to import citations into Bibtex”. Other options for bibliography management are: EndNote, RefMan, RefWorks, WenXianWang.
Oh and while you’re in there, set the results per page to something more reasonable like 50.
Happy hunting on your related work searches.
January 10th, 2008
I’m a big fan of Google Reader. Let’s just say I’m subscribed to more than a few feeds. I use the keyboard shortcuts to quickly read and scan through my reading list. To keep my pace I’ve come to open articles that I want to think about more, or ones that I want to read more in depth in background tabs. Usually this involves the laborious task of moving my hand from the keyboard and middle-clicking with the mouse. Painful. Time-wasting. Distracting.
All the hard work goes to Sunny Wu who provided the solution. I tweaked his version to use the “h” character instead of “v”.
I wasn’t sure what kind of event this handler receives and so I wasn’t sure how to determine that a “h” was pressed. Firebug to the rescue, I just added the following line to just print out the value to the Firebug console.
Sidenote: Ever wonder what event is sent for crazy modifiers like shift+3 or shift+s? I thought it might be something complicated—where you’d check if modifier keys were pressed on the keyboard event. I was thinking too much. Shift+3 ends up sending a #, shift+s sends a capital S. Who would have thought?!
Just change the first “if” to compare against 104 instead of 118 and h is the man.
I changed to h since, well, first, v currently opens the article in another tab that immediately takes focus—handy at times. Second, well, if I use h instead, I can navigate mostly with just my right hand :)
January 9th, 2008
By default, on a Mac in Firefox, tab moves from one form element to another—except it will skip radio buttons, checkboxes and drop-down select boxes. I have suffered in silence since I started using the Mac. I finally found out that this too can be remedied. Hooray!
There is an actual setting in the Mac OS that produces this behavior. To change this so that tab treats all form elements with equality go to: System Preferences -> Keyboard and Mouse and select the tab Keyboard Shortcuts. On the bottom you will see a setting for “Full Keyboard Access”. Just set it to All Controls. This setting will take effect right away, no need to restart Firefox.
Found this in the comments on John Resig’s blog