Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Art of Copy Paste : An Introductory Guide for Law Students Vol.1

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Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V . If you are reading this, you must have used it!  It’s perhaps the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts on planet earth. Their importance is such that a religion Kopimism has been founded upon this belief that everything should be available freely to copy paste. To become a follower, continue reading!

Kopimism a religion

It is difficult to imagine to complete that 10,000 word essay without Ctrl + C, and Ctrl +V.  Ok I guess you are tired of my rants so lets talk business. This post will teach you how to copy and paste from anywhere or everywhere:-

PDF and web are the two places from where you will copy 99% of your stuff. We will tackle both of these medium individually.

See this webpage for example and try copying anything from here you will see you can’t do so. Suppose you want a paragraph or two from here you obviously don’t gonna type it down. So the following is what you could do:-

a) View Source Method: If you are using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome Press ‘Ctrl+U’ and press alt+v+c in Internet Explorer a new window/tab will open. This is your webpage without aesthetics in plain HTML/CSS/Javascript/PHP etc etc. Press Ctrl+F now and in the find box type a word from the paragraph/line you intend to copy for example I am gonna search ‘traditionally’ here

view source of protected text

Now as  you can see I have got the text over here and I could simply paste it. The problem is what if I want several paragraphs then obviously it will become a pain as I will have to lift text in turns as otherwise the code gibberish will also be copied. There is a way to sort this out by using code cleaners. What you could do is select the entire text including the code in one go and paste it over here and press the strip button.

strip html tags
You will get output like this

output after stripping html tags
b) Script Method:- The above method is quite lengthy. There is a shorter and better method to do the entire process. Install this plugin if you are using Google Chrome ,this if you are using Mozilla Firefox, this if you are using Opera and this if you are using Safari.  Still stuck on IE? Only God can help.

So these websites use client side scripts such as javascript to prevent you from copying text and using these plugin you could block these scripts from running on your computer and directly copy the text.

disbling script works
See, disabling script works!!!
Warning: These addon may disrupt your regular browsing experience hence enable only for the time period when you intend to use them else keep them disabled.

c) Miscellaneous Websites:- What if you intend to copy from sites such as Google Books then the above methods won’t work. What you will need now is an OCR(Optical Character Recognition) software. The best in my view so far is Abbyy FineReader Professional Edition.

Say for example you want to copy some stuff from this Google Book over here. Run Abbyy Screenshot Reader and it will convert the captured screenshot into text.

Abbyy is a paid software. Some free alternative are FreeOCR , Online OCR and Google docs.

The next post in series covers in detail how to copy from PDF and third post in series cover in detail on how to paste text effectively.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Setting Up Your Browser

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Well this may sound as a repetition to the blog post ‘Browser for Law Students’ but trust me its not. We continue here what we left over there and thus recommend reading that blog post and then coming here even if you are not a law student there is some real good stuff over there. However you may want to check out that post also as we won’t be repeating the addons and scripts mentioned in that post again over here.

1) Block those Ads and Annoying Popups :- Ok most of you would be knowing about this but still for the heck of it install AdBlock , AdblockPlus and PoperBlocker in Chrome. Yes install all 3 until you have some dirt cheap laptop running on low memory otherwise install Poper Blocker and either of the two AdBlock or AdBlockPlus. In Firefox install AdBlockPlus and AdBlockPlus Pop-up Addon.

2) Better Youtube – Install Speedbit Video Accelerator to eliminate buffering of videos. (Be careful what you agree to heck you are a law student. Software tries to install third party software and change your homepage etc amongst other things.)  Use this script to download videos from Youtube and this to download subtitles and this for theatre mode, quality selector, stop buffering, forward, backward buttons and much much more. (Unless you know what you are doing install Tampermonkey in Chrome , Greasemonkey in Firefox and Greasekit in Safari Before installing any script.) Firefox users install BYTubeD to batch download Youtube videos or playlists. (Note – Yes its discontinued but it still works on 99% of videos.)

3)  Better Facebook – Tell me honestly how many times have you fell in the trap of turning Facebook to red or green and then eventually ending in spamming people. Well use this script to change Facebook’s theme, full size image on hovering them, hide parts of page, filter news feed and much more than you will ever need.

4) Better Web – This script automatically changes to SSL encryption on many daily used known sites. This script removes the delay in navigating to the download links on many upload sites such as Rapishare, 4shared etc.  As a law student you feel obliged to write nothing less than 500 words in a comment but often when you click post on the Times of India website the page reloads and the text is gone. Now no more use this script to retains text entered into textareas. Use this script to click simple text URL into clickable links. This script to avoid links or other paid link redirectors.

5) Panic Button – Use this chrome extension to hide all your tabs at once with one single button and restore them later. Might come in handy during those incognito modes!

Note – Some of the scripts may be browser, plugin specific and may not work on all browsers. Kindly check the compatibility of script prior to its installation.

If you liked this, do also check our post on enhancing your MS Office experience over here.


Browser for Law Students

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We all love chrome, even the carmakers do. But is that all you need? Nay, while we extensively use our browsers for downloading movies, listening to music and of course surfing the web there is a lot more that nowadays browsers can do.  Here are some interesting uses for law students:-

a) Dictionary – Often come across words which make no sense to you? Install GoogleDictionary in Chrome or DictionaryPop Up in Firfox and you are good to go. Double click any word anywhere and you will get its meaning then and there. Simple Enough?

Chrome extension for dictionary

b) Scripts:-  Scripts are user written piece of code which are used to perform variety of functions.  In order to use scripts it is recommended (Please follow my recommendations till the time you figure out that you are the next Babbage yourself ;) ) to install Tampermonkey in Chrome, Greasemonkey in Firefox and Greasekit in Safari.

An interesting script I use is WikipediaFootnotePopup. This script on hovering mouse on Wikipedia citations shows the citation there only rather than having to scroll at the bottom of page like this:-

Wikipeedia script to show citation on hovering

There are thousands of scripts on userscript ranging from downloading YouTube videos to Worldcat citation. Go, Explore and in case you find something interesting let me know in the comments, sharing is caring J

c) Read Better – Read much online, don’t like those distracting sidebars. Here lies the solution. Use Clearly for Chrome or iReader for Firefox.  Their basic function is to make blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read. How? See below!

Extension to read clutter free text

d) Time Management – Use this chrome extension to submit your assignments on time. This will block Facebook, Youtube and any other site you may add for the duration set and will give you 5 minute break in between.

e) Save as PDF – Prefer keeping it offline? Use PrintFriendly & PDF in Chrome or Save as PDF in Firefox to save any webpage as a PDF.

f) Multiple Tabs – Law students often have multiple tabs open. In order to open all the tabs the next time you open the browser use TabCloud in Chrome or SessionManager in Firefox.

g) Bookmark Manager – Often need to bookmark webpages so that you could read them later. Use Pocket in Firefox and Chrome. Enough Said.

h) Citations – Use Zotero for managing citations. Use these plugins in Chrome and Firefox to make life a bit easier.

Note – Some of the scripts may be browser, plugin specific and may not work on all browsers. Kindly check the compatibility of script prior to its installation. 

Need more. Continue here at Setting Up Your Browser.

If you liked this, do also check our post on enhancing your MS Office experience over here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Power Search with Google


It sounds like math. Well, some of it is. Don’t worry about it, it’s not an exam. Just some tricks ;)

Many of you may probably attend some workshop regarding searching for the relevant legal material on the internet. Mostly on a paid database like Manupatra or Westlaw. We teach you to have the most of it, or rather the best of it, through one website which you check if your internet is working! Google!

Legal Research is an integral part of law school curriculum. There are several databases which make the task at hand much easier but then most of them don’t have a really good page rank algorithm.  Although Google is not a legal search engine but it surely makes life easier when you get the results you are looking for.
So let’s say you want to search something on “Legal Positivism’.

There we go and search “legal positivism”. Yes, within quotes. The moment you do that, you are encapsulating your search. You instruct google in very plain words that you want legal and positivism together, not like two hundred words apart. Yes use quotes to make a search of webpages using the exact search query otherwise Google will also give you result which though contain both ‘legal’ and ‘positivism’ but not together and several words apart. So frame your query accordingly. Also Google is case insensitive so it doesn’t matter whether you use Caps or not.

One more thing in a Google search query is that the first word is given the maximum weightage by Google.  So ‘Indian senior advocate’ (without quotes) will give a different result than ‘senior advocate Indian’ (without quotes). Now in our query “legal positivism” let’s say I don’t want stuff by Hart and Austin. So I could make the search query like this
Legal positivism -"John Austin" –Hart

Yes ‘-‘eliminates word which you don’t want in your search result. Don’t give space between the ‘-‘symbol and search query.

Now let’s say I only want stuff which was written between the period 1950 to 1900 so search query becomes
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990
Yes ‘..’ can be used to give a range whether it be year, money (40$..60$) anything else doesn’t matter.

Now, there could be chances that you want to read something authentic and not some blog written without any credentials. Colleges’ and university’s websites are a good source for that. One thing good about them is that they all end with .edu in their url address.  So our query becomes:-
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990 site:*.edu

Here * denotes all educational websites you could change it to *.gov or *.nic for governmental websites. If you want a specific website to be searched you could have something like this:
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990

To conclude here’s the result
Original Query:

“legal positivism”

Boolean Query:
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990 site:*.edu

Google Search result with boolean operators

Also Google Scholar is a good place to search for academic material and all the above discussed Boolean operators work in it too.

Some other handy operator are define, filetype, around and *(Wildcard Operator)

Use define like this
Eg:- define: legal
and Google will define the word  

Use filetype like this
Query> + filetype:<filetype>
Eg:- legal positivism + filetype:ppt
And Google will only search for ppt on legal positivism.
There you go. Google at your disposal. Use it, its free!

Use *(Wildcard Operator) like this
Query * Remaining Query
Eg:- “all * converse”
Will give you result of ‘all star converse’, useful when you don’t remember the exact query.

Use around like this
Query around(x) Query2
Eg:- Legal around(5) anthropology
Will give you result where Legal and anthropology are at a distance of 5 words or less.