An Interesting Notification From Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a great tool for finding research papers, throughout my PhD I’ve used it several times per week every week. It also does a great job of alerting you when your papers receive a new citation. There’s not really any value to this directly, but it’s nice to wake up to an email that says someone found your work useful enough to cite in their own.

This morning was slightly different. I got a new citation notification, I always click through and look at the papers when I get these because I reckon they went to the trouble of reading my paper, I could do the same for theirs. I clicked through to the paper and started reading.

About two lines in I got a strange feeling. By the fourth line I was uneasy, and by the tenth line I was sure. This was my writing. I hadn’t accidentally opened my own paper and started reading. The title, format and authors were different, but the content was unmistakably mine.

What had happened was these two “authors” had taken a paper of mine published at an IEEE conference in 2013, changed the title, cut out some sections and submitted it to a journal as their own. Here are the two papers for comparison, I’ve downloaded the PDF and rehosted it because I don’t feel the “journal” that allowed this to happen deserves any extra traffic. Here is my original paper, and here is the offending paper.

I’ve never seen this happen before, so maybe it’s more common that I realise, but it’s a new experience for me. The journal in question promises acceptance notifications of 3 days and publication within another 72 hours. Plenty of time to do thorough peer review I’m sure. It claims an Impact Factor of 2.27 though I somehow doubt this is an official Thompson Reuters figure.

As a researcher who has run up against paywalls before, I fully support the idea of open access publishing, but unfortunately “journals” such as this one give the movement a very bad name.


EDIT: The paper has since been removed after I emailed the ‘journal’. I also emailed the papers ‘authors’ but didn’t hear anything from them. I also had to remove the link to the PDF copy of the paper from my site and replace it with a PNG because Google Scholar picked up the paper again.

Controlling an Original Xbox with an Arduino

A few years ago, I used to use an original Xbox as an XBMC box, it recently occurred to me that there was a perfectly good 500GB hard drive sitting in there doing nothing, so I bought a hard drive caddy and decided to salvage it.

It’s not just a case of pulling the old drive out and putting it into the hard drive enclosure, which I found out the hard way. You first have to unlock the Xbox drive, as for some reason, Microsoft decided that they would lock Xbox hard drives using ATA passwords.

This usually means just booting the Xbox, selecting unlock hard drive from the settings menu of your Xbox dashboard and you’re done. However, I didn’t have a controller, or DVD remote to control the menus (both lost somewhere), though my Xbox does still have the DVD IR receiver plugged into the front. I had the IR receiver, but no remote to control it with. No problem.

I took my Arduino Uno, and built a simple circuit with an IR LED and a resistor. Then I installed the excellent IR library for Arduino written by Ken Shirriff, I’ve used this library in a few projects and it’s fantastic.

Now, how to interface with the Xbox? As people with universal remotes will know, you need the IR codes specific to the device you want to control, the LIRC project maintains a database of IR remote codes, so I found their entry for the Xbox here.

The sendRaw function of the IR library takes an unsigned int array of the length of times for the LED to flash on and off, how can we work out what values to put in this array based on the LIRC file?

Ken published an excellent breakdown of the how LIRC files work here, which helped me construct the arrays needed to work some simple commands.

Basically the HEX number in the LIRC file corresponds to a binary string, and at the top of the file it tells what pattern of IR flashes a ‘1’ corresponds to, and what pattern a ‘0’ corresponds to. Start with the ‘header’ values, add the values for the ones and zeros, and finish with the ptrail value. Note that the values in the file seem oddly specific. This is because they’re measured from real remotes, and real IR recievers aren’t ideal. I just rounded the values for easiness sake.

Pretty soon I had a simple Arduino sketch that takes values from the serial monitor and in turn sends the proper code to the LED. It’s not pretty, but it does the trick.

In the very, very off-chance that someone else needs to do something like this, or wants to create a remote control for their Xbox, I’ve added the code below, it only implements Up, Down, Left, Right, Select, Play and Back, but if you need extra buttons, they should be easy to work out based on what’s there already and the LIRC file.

Eventually, after updating my Xboxes ‘dashboard’ software (UnleashX) to the ‘latest’ version (released about 5 years ago) I was able to unlock the hard drive, put it in my new enclosure and reformat it, and done. Brand new old hard drive.



Using Sky Go in Linux

It’s been a good few months for me and Linux. One by one, all the reasons that I’ve kept a Windows partition around have disappeared. Football Manager now runs on Linux, the Zune HD can be synced in Linux, and now Sky Go can be used under Linux too.

Sky Go uses Silverlight, which has had a Linux implementation before now in Moonlight, but it didn’t support the DRM that Sky uses. However, a new project called Pipelight supports DRM and works like a charm.

To install Pipelight in Ubuntu, first add the required PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update

Now install Pipelight

sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

You’ll have to agree to some EULAs and the like, but it should install fine.

Now, for Sky Go to work, you need to enable Silverlight 5.0, instead of the latest version, 5.1. To do this, run

sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight5.0

Now, restart your browser, I recommend Firefox, on my machine it wouldn’t work under Chrome. I’ve been very impressed by the reliability and quality of the video, so time to delete that Windows partition for once and for all I reckon.

Using the Zune HD in Linux

Contrary to a lot of advice on the Internet, the Zune HD can be used in Linux. Support has been integrated into libmtp for the mtpz protocol thanks to some awesome work by Sajid Anwar.

libmtp however, does not and will not contain the encryption keys required, so it will seem like the Zune isn’t recognised. Running mtp-detect on the command line gives

shane@ratbert:~$ mtp-detect
Unable to open ~/.mtpz-data for reading, MTPZ disabled.libmtp version: 1.1.6

Listing raw device(s)
Device 0 (VID=045e and PID=063e) is a Microsoft Zune HD.
Found 1 device(s):
Microsoft: Zune HD (045e:063e) @ bus 1, dev 6

It’s simple to get this to work however.

Just create a file in your home directory called .mtpz-data and add to it the following string of numbers. This is the encryption key needed to interface with the Zune.

Encryption Key

Now, run mtp-detect and you should see the encrypted handshake take place, gmtp, Clementine, Rhythmbox and any media player that supports mtp should now be able to copy music to and from the Zune HD.

PTC Grand Finals – Day 2

So on to day two of the PTC Grand Finals. Tonight’s post won’t be as long as last nights one because I didn’t get to go to as many games, silly everyday commitments getting in the way.

In the morning session, the upset of the tournament took place when Jamie Jones managed to claw back a 3-1 deficit to beat the reigning world champion John Higgins. I did watch the match on TV though, and you could see from Jones’ face how much it meant to him, definitely the biggest win of his career, he’ll go on to play Andrew Higginson in the next round.

Ding Junhui managed to put away Ben Wollaston with the help of two centuries, 4-2. Though he managed 2 centuries, the rest of the game wasn’t Ding at his best and he’ll hope to improve in the next round where he’ll play Mark Selby

Stephen Lee then continued his good form to beat Micheal Holt 4-1.

The first match I saw was Robertson vs. Lisowski. The match started in quite exciting fashion, with both players putting in a few very decent safety shots. Robertson went ahead in the first frame but Lisowski managed to come back and draw to force a respotted black.

It looked like the black would go down after a few shots but Robertson missed a relatively straightforward shot to keep the game going. Robertson eventually took the frame and looked relieved to go 1 – 0 up. A fluke by Lisowski in the next frame wasn’t enough and Robertson held his nerve despite some poor play to go 2 – 0 up. The 3rd frame showed signs of what Robertson is capable of, when he took a few tricky reds to close up the frame, still, there were poor shots from each player and the match wasn’t looking like a classic.

Lisowski showed his frustration by breaking up a bunch of reds in the 4th frame, but tt ended up being to his advantage, as he was able to capitalise on the positioning of the balls to win the frame. 3 – 1, could we be in for another upset like earlier on in the Higgins game?

No. No we weren’t. Robertson sealed the deal in the next frame. In the post match press conference, he summed it up nicely, he said he didn’t play well, but a win is a win, you can hear his press conference in full here –

Next up was Perry vs. Dott. An interesting prospect and a tough one to call. The quality of snooker started off somewhat better in this one, with Perry taking the first frame. Dott replied instantly with a nicely taken red, and although he stumbled across the line, he made the score 1-1.

Next frame was Perrys with a well taken 84, which could easily have been much more than that, making the game 2 – 1. The 4th frame was a drawn out affair, ending up with both players exchanging safety shots on the green. It was finally decided when incredibly Perry, while escaping a snooker, not only potted the brown but the white as well, allowing Dott to clean up and level the match 2 – 2. By this stage the game had already gone on over an hour and it was looking like a long night ahead in the Bailey Allen Hall.

The next frame went back and forth, with a 67 from Perry enough to take the frame and go 3-2 up. The crowd getting slightly thinner as this game wore on.

The final frame should have finished earlier, when Perry had just to pot a single red to put the frame beyond doubt, but he missed it, something which seems to be happening a lot in this competition. Dott still needed a snooker to win the frame and he couldn’t get it, Perry taking a red to finish the game 4-2.

He’ll face good friend and pratice partner Neil Robertson in the Quarter Final. In the post match press conference he mentioned his disappointment that it has to be his friend Neil, but that’s the way it is. The while conference can be heard here –

That’s all for today, looking forward to some good games tomorrow, O’Sullivan is playing, as are Trump and Selby. Should be a cracking day.

PTC Grand Finals – Day 1

This morning saw the start of the PTC Snooker Championships Grand Final take place in Galway. I’m covering the competition for FlirtFM along with Dave Finn and Aisling Crowe.

Covering the competition for an actual radio station instead of just going to it as a spectator has its perks, not least of which, I have a press pass for the competition allowing me to use the media room, attend press conferences and most importantly, all the matches.

Press Badge

Most of our coverage can be found at where we’re live tweeting all the matches, and reports are broadcast on Flirt FM throughout the day. I covered a few matches today, and I’ve decided to post my reports on them while they’re still fresh in my head.

Mark Davis vs. Tom Ford

This will officially go down as the first professional snooker match I’ve seen in the flesh. I quite enjoyed it it has to be said, though I would have loved to have had the dulcet tones of Steve Davis and Ken Doherty in my ear, BBC aren’t covering this event unfortunately, and Eurosport aren’t doing earpieces for the crowd for commentary.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting game. Davis raced ahead to a 2-0 lead and looked quite confident, but let Ford back into the game slightly during a scrappy 3rd frame. 2-1. After that though, Ford never really looked into the game at all, and Davis took a couple of very sweet long pots along with a break of 72 to take it to 3-1. It was a messy next frame with a good bit of safety play but Davis wrapped it up in the end.

At the press conference afterwards, Davis mentioned that he really liked coming to Ireland and would love to play more tournaments here. He also set out his stall by telling us he’s here to win, and will be very much going for it this week.

Xiao Guadong vs. Dominic Dale

This match I was very much looking forward to. I interviewed Dominic over the phone last week and found him to a really nice guy to talk to, I asked him a few questions to get a 5 minute interview and afterwards we just chatted about snooker for a while. Naturally I wanted him to do well.

Standing in his way was up and coming Chinese player Xiao Guadong. The pair have met once before with Dale winning and when Xiao arrived it was clear that there was something wrong with his left (bridging) hand, as it was heavily bandaged. All signs looked to be pointing towards a Dale victory.

However, someone didn’t send Xiao the script and from early on the Chinese player showed that he is capable of potting balls from anywhere on the table, sinking some delicious long shots. He started nicely with a break of 71 to take the first frame but showed maybe a small bit of inexperience by missing a straightforward black in the second, allowing Dale to level the match.

The momentum then shifted back to Xiao, he took the third 58-15 and then put in a very impressive 80 to make it 3-1. Dale still had some fight left and an excellently put together 72 left the game 3-2 giving Dale fans (like myself) some hope. It wasn’t to be though, Dale allowed Xiao an easy opener and he didn’t need to be asked twice, wrapping up the 6th frame and the match. 4-2 the final score.

At the press conference, Xiao explained (in somewhat shaky English) how he broke his hand, seemingly while sleeping. He was advised to take 3 months off, but disobeyed doctors orders to come and play the tournament. Seems to be have been worth it though, as he has a match against Judd Trump to look forward to on Friday.

Ricky Walden vs. Matthew Stephens

My report on this one will be short, because the match itself was short, a mere 45 minutes, Matthew Stevens never got a handle on the game and Ricky Walden looked very impressive, clocking up breaks of 66, 130, 95 and 131 to hammer Stevens 4-0.

After the game Walden was in a confident mood, saying that his break building is his strong point, and if his safety play goes right, he can beat anyone. Rightly so in my opinion, a very impressive performance and definitely someone to watch. He faces O’Sullivan in the next round and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he was to send the Rocket home.

Joe Perry vs. Fergal O’Brien

This game turned out to be the exact opposite to the one preceding it in terms of length, frames lasting on average 30 min+. It was a tough, grinding sort of a game with plenty of mistakes from both players. Unfortunately for the large expectant crowd hoping for an Irish win it was not to be, with Gentleman Joe taking the game 4-0. It could hardly be called convincing however, and if O’Brien had taken even a fraction of the chances presented to him it may have been a different story. To the disappointment of the crowd, O’Brien couldn’t buy a long pot and while he was in the balls repeatedly played out of position, or worse, rattled shots off the jaws to hand frames to Perry.

The real crushing blow came in the 3rd frame where O’Brien was well ahead, in fact, Perry required snookers. Perry played a few excellent safety shots and got right back into it with snookers on the blue. Any ball would have secured O’Brien the frame but he was again let down by his long potting and Perry took the frame on the black ball winning by the narrowest of margins.

Losing a frame in that fashion was never going to do O’Briens confidence any good and although he rallied well in the 4th frame with a 42, a 74 from Perry secured the win. Both players will be disappointed with their performance and Perry will know he’ll have to improve if he’s to challenge Graham Dott on Thursday evening.


So that’s it, those are the games I covered today, I wasn’t around for Lisowskis exciting 4-3 match or Stephen Lee’s convincing victory over Martin Gould, but the World Snooker site has reports on those if you’re curious, done up by the excellent Ivan from World Snooker.

I’ll be at some of the games for the rest of the week, and you can follow our coverage at and likely here too in the evenings after the matches.

Do you know what the problem with Linux is?

Some of the users.

For the 20th birthday of the Linux kernel, Microsoft have made a video wishing Linux happy birthday.

My first reaction to this? That’s pretty nice, at the end of the day, there’s no reason we can’t be friends just because of a difference of opinion on the best way to develop an operating system. In fact, I’m surprised Microsoft was relaxed enough to let this out, good on them.

The top comment on the Slashdot post about the video?

It begins with, “I read this as a slight against Linux…” and goes on to say..

I think the general philosophy that has clearly been reiterated by the Linux community is there is absolutely no room for trust in Microsoft. They are a convicted monopolist and have called upon everyone to view Linux as a cancer. They continue to use their patents to extort payment from large and small with bogus insubstantiated claims against Linux. They are the company that uses embrace extend extinguish. This animation represents the same underhanded intentions.

Do these people ever turn off?

Fine Gael, what the hell are you doing?

No one can deny that as a part of Election 2011, online media has been playing a larger role in candidates campaigns. There are few serious candidates without a Facebook page, twitter account and website. Something that has baffled me however, has been Fine Gaels online strategy.

First stop is, the official site of the 2011 Fine Gael election bid. Though recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it had been hacked, as on the front page there was a poorly coded flash game which seems to make fun of Irelands political figures, including Enda himself (link). Enda is the protagonist and his catchphrases, complete with dodgy Mayo accent, include : “Tax that!” (to Labour candidates), “Cheapest bank bailout?” (to Brian Linehan) and my personal favourite, “It’s the economy stupid” to Gerry Adams. Bear in mind, Kenny spouts these when you kill other politicians by throwing Fine Gael logos at them.

FG flash game

This comes on the heels of the recent cringe worthy Valentines Day Fine Gael eCards that popped up on the site on February 14th. Create yours here. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when that one got approved.

Finally, and most egregiously, whomever manages the party’s Facebook page has been deleting posts related to the issue of gay marriage. Instead of coming out, if you’ll pardon the pun, with their official line and meeting questions head on they have fanned the flames of a controversy that the party scarcely needs at this important stage of the campaign.

It seems that Fine Gael has taken its first baby steps into the world of Internet canvassing, and with it has come eCards, flash games and censorship. Maybe next time around they’ll plan with a little more wisdom and try to use their online presence to engage with voters and invite some debate on policy and issues, instead of just on who can get the best score in their infuriating sidescrolling platformer.

Yes, I completed it.

Setting up a Windows partition to automatically mount on boot in Ubuntu

Quick one here, something I find myself doing every time I install Ubuntu on a dual boot machine.

1. Create your mount point, sudo mkdir/media/windows
2. Add a line to /etc/fstab, the one below is for a Windows HDD, with the main partition being sda2 (you can work this out by graphically mounting the partition through nautilus and then running df -h)

/dev/sda2 /media/windows ntfs-3g user,fmask=0111,dmask=0000 0 0

Save /etc/fstab then you can run mount /dev/sda2 to mount the drive. It should mount automatically at /media/windows from now on.

Customer Service

Customer service, two words that when put together strike dread into people. It conjures images of interminable waiting and terrible automated phone systems. Heaven forbid if you have to send something back to be fixed. Have you your proof of purchase? Warranty? CCTV footage of you buying the product? Good, prepare to wait a few weeks for a repair, if we decide that it’s covered by the warranty and eventually get round to fixing it.

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