Posts filed under ‘information hacks’

URL hacking for star charts

Some star charts are available with addresses like:

http://content.telescope.com/rsc/img/catalog/lc/starcharts/11Nov08StarChart_bw.pdf

But how to find other months?

January
http://content.telescope.com/rsc/img/catalog/lc/starcharts/01Jan08StarChart_bw.pdf

February
http://content.telescope.com/rsc/img/catalog/lc/starcharts/02Feb08StarChart_bw.pdf

March
http://content.telescope.com/rsc/img/catalog/lc/starcharts/03Mar08StarChart_bw.pdf

You can’t find these on the site, or Google for them, you have to notice the pattern in the URL and hack the URL address:

…/YYMmm08StarChart_bw.pdf

where YY is the month as 01, 02, 03, for January, February, March, etc. and Mmm is Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.

April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

You can also view past year’s charts by changing …08 to …07 for example.  Not sure there are differences between years though?

This is useful since some sites publish the night sky star chart for the current month, but the morning sky can be just as fun to look at as the night sky.  The star chart  for the morning of a given month is the same as the night sky chart three months in the future.  So a chart for October’s morning sky at 9 UTC (5AM in EDT) will be the same 3UTC (10 PM EST) in January (EDT = UTC-4, EST = UTC-5) which differ by six hours. 

Why?  It takes 24 h for the Earth to rotate one complete cycle.  Six hours is a quarter of that.  It takes 12 months for the Earth to revolve around the sun, one quarter of that is three months.  Every night the sky shifts  ca. one degree overhead from East to West; after a year it’s made a complete cycle.

So even though many star chart sites don’t publish other month’s charts they can be useful if you can find them.

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October 10, 2008 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

URLs for emails

Email, especially web-based email like Yahoo or Gmail, both sporting huge or unlimited inbox sizes, can be used to archive information and provides at the least a patchwork backup and document management system.

For example, when you’ve finished your TPS Report (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TPS_report_(Office_Space), you can email it to your boss *and* yourself for safekeeping.

But.

How to find it again.  Tagging ala Gmail is one way perhaps.  Email applications let you make folders ad infinitum to “organize” stuff.  Also email search is available with most programs.  But wouldn’t it be nice to have direct links to particular emails (with those important document attachments)?

It turns out both Gmail and Yahoo mail seem to allow you to grab the URL of a particular email and use it as a direct link back, provided you’re logged in.

See here:  http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/03/06/url-trick-in-gmail/

Here’s an example of a Gmail link:

http://mail.google.com/mail/?um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wm&zx=1jooq7j6s83rl#inbox/123d51d267a3f3d6

I haven’t tried to understand the parameters of the URL, but you can cull quite a bit out and still maintain a link:

http://mail.google.com/mail/?#inbox/123d51d267a3f3d6

…works fine.

Here’s a Yahoo email link:

http://us.f527.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?MsgId=1479_33101763_49607_2133_542_0_415409_1390_3331152276&Idx=87&YY=14538&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&inc=200&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b&box=Inbox

A little messier, but you can remove some to give:

http://us.f527.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?MsgId=1479_33101763_49607_2133_542_0_415409_1390_3331152276&box=Inbox

…which works fine.

These links to important emails can be dropped on a webpage or into yet another email or bookmarked using your browser or del.icio.us….etc. 

I’m not sure if using these URLs opens up security holes into your inbox (so I’ve purposely messed up some of the URL in those given above).  Also, it seems like the lifetimes of your links are dependant on the particular server you log into at Yahoo, and the structure of the URL formatting in both cases.

Nevertheless, it seems pretty useful to be able to teleport directly to an item of interest in your inbox rather than be constrained to the typical temporal-view.  The ability to create links to information is a pretty important feature of our Memex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memex).

Here’s some search terms that I was using trying to find out more about links to emails:
URL hacks link hyperlink email Yahoo mail Gmail ShowLetter MsgID

May 21, 2008 at 9:10 am 1 comment


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