Learn Something New Every Day

Every day, people learn something new that adds some kind of value to their lives. I am going to try to post at one thing that I learn every day. I am a law school graduate, used to do some IT work, and just generally get out and around, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to do, right? We’ll see…

How To Unzip/Extract Large Zip Files Using PHP Without the PECL Zip Library

If you’re on Dreamhost and you don’t want to mess with installing a clean install of PHP and then installing PECL’s Zip library, this may help…

I was able to handle several large (i.e., hundreds of megabytes) files using the pclzip library discussed here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1923100/unpack-extract-zip-file-with-php-without-relying-on-any-extension

Note: you have to set the location for the script to create a temporary file.  Look for the line where “PCLZIP_TEMPORARY_DIR” is defined and include a file system location that is writable by the script.

Here’s the web address for the script: http://www.phpconcept.net/pclzip/

It was as easy as: 


= new PclZip('filename.zip');

if ($archive->extract() == 0) {
"\n error while extract";

How To Jump Into Legal Research

First things first — what’s your assignment?  I don’t just mean the issue, I also mean the constraints?  Here’s a few things that I always bring up when someone gives me an assignment: 

  • Read back the issue to them (this may sound crazy, but it puts you and your assignor on the same page)
  • How much time do they want you to contribute to the research?  If you’re billing to a client, this is crucial.  Have you ever billed 10 hours for a project that the assignor thought would be a quick-and-dirty two hourer…painful.
  • What resources can you use?  I had someone tell me that I couldn’t use Westlaw for research.  Are they mad?  See this post regarding use of BNA.
  • Where should you start?  Sometimes the assignor has a case in mind, or a statute, that’s a great starting point and can alleviate a half-hour of your crawling around in the dark.

Once that’s done, find the Bible.  For every area of law there is a bible, a go-to book, treatise, or volume set that gives you a 10,000 foot view of an area of law.  For patents it’s Chisum, for trademarks McCarthy’s, for copyright Nimmer, for New York law NY Jur, Federal law: Wright and Miller, and so on.   Find the relevant bible, find the relevant area of knowledge, and get familiarized.

Once you’ve got some foundation, hit the web.  Pull up some cases that are cited in the bible and then citation surf — find cases that are directly on point or closely on point and that are (a) at the highest court possible, or (b) have facts exactly similar to yours.  This process could be a post in itself.

Make sure the cases you find are still good law.

If all else fails, try searching through law journal articles, web articles, or bar association articles.  Not perfect, but it could be a good start.

Organize your research and report back.

Convert From 3GP to MOV, AVI, MP4, etc.

Open source audio/video converter FFmpeg will do the trick for converting many video and audio formats.  There is a command line tool, but also GUIs:

I also found a bunch of how-tos:

How to convert from 3GP to MP4, AVI in the command line: http://coreygilmore.com/blog/2010/03/05/use-ffmpeg-to-encode-a-3gp-video-to-more-portable-formats/

FFmpeg lets you do a bunch of conversions with audio and video files, check it out.

Brackets in USPTO Trademark Registration’s Goods/Services

Goods and services in brackets means that those goods or services within the brackets were “deleted from a registration either by amendment under 15 U.S.C. §1057, filing of a partial affidavit of continued use under 15 U.S.C. §1058 or 15 U.S.C. §1141k, or filing of a partial renewal application under 15 U.S.C. §1059.”

(via TMEP 1402.12 — http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin80/gate.exe?state=ggdupk.2.2&f=doc#tt_T140212.1402..0)

[In Word, P]ress the CTRL, Shift and F9 keys on your keyboard. All at the same time. This will remove all the html hyperlinks from the text you have selected… http://tips4pc.com/tag/shortcut-to-delete-all-html-hyperlinks

In both iPhone OS 4 and Android, users should never need to quit apps manually — when the system runs low on memory, it automatically quits least-recently-used background apps to free up more.

Now, it’s true that there are task manager apps in the Android Market. But they are not necessary. The Android system doesn’t come with one and doesn’t need one. And I strongly suspect that Google’s Android team is annoyed that these task manager apps are in the market, because their existence creates the impression that they’re necessary or useful. I’ve spent a few weeks on a Nexus One, and background apps don’t slow the system down and don’t need to be quit manually.