Ireland – First Full Day

cynthiabandb

We got up bright and early and had ourselves the full Irish breakfast. Mmmmmm, blood pudding! Cynthia’s feeling much better after the whole incident with breaking my glasses.

irishbreakfast

We only chose to stay in Dundalk because it wasn’t far from the airport and made for a good jumping off point to head north.

After breakfast we packed up our gear, loaded the car and headed off to drive to Belfast and then link up with the Causeway Coastal Route.

The first place we wanted to see was Carrickfergus. We stopped to see the castle and take in the view of the sea. It was a pleasant stop.

jayshipwreck

The coastal route takes you along the upper north coast of Northern Ireland and is something to see. Beautiful landscapes along a winding, twisty road that sometimes gets down to a single lane for two way traffic. This can be quite intense as you drive along, having to yield to oncoming traffic with practically nowhere to go. To make matters even worse, there was a bike rally of some kind going on and we had to carefully and frequently pass cyclists along the way.

We made our way to Ballygally Castle around lunchtime and stopped to get some food.

cynbally

We also paused to take a few photos.

jaylandscape

Head of Ballygally Bay

Coastal Road Rest Stop

From there we continued to wind our way to Portballintrae where we had a hotel reservation for a few nights. We got checked in and cleaned some of the road from our weary bodies and went for dinner at the Porthole Restaurant. The food was fantastic. Be both had locally caught salmon and shared a bottle of wine to toast our success.

cynthiawine

For now we say goodnight to Portballintrae

Ballintrae Bay

Tomorrow we visit Giant’s Causeway, The Rope Bridge, Dunlace Castle and The Bushmill’s Distillery.

Arrival in Ireland

bmw

We made it to Ireland safe and sound. We picked up the car, a shiny BMW 3 Series, and made our way to Dundalk to check in to the Glenngatt House B&B. We were pretty tired and took a short nap before getting up and finding some dinner.

Our dinner was at a place called The Left Bank and the food was fantastic, especially the baked mushrooms with bacon and cheese.

We went back to the B&B and even though it was only 7:00 pm local time. we decided to go ahead and go to sleep as we were quite exhausted.

Sometime around 2:00 am Cynthia woke me up and she was crying. She had to get up and go to the bathroom and somehow managed to knock my glasses off of the table and then step on them…

glasses

I reassured her that it was no big deal as I always carry a spare pair just in case of such emergencies. She was able to calm down and we both went back to sleep.

We’re headed to Portballintrae today, via the coast highway. Sky is overcast and rainy but our spirits are high.

Using The DMCA To Fight Copyright Infringment

Notice to my readers, The DMCA is a U.S. law that governs U.S. hosting providers. If the site hosting your copyrighted material is hosted outside the U.S. the DMCA does not apply. I have found my images hosted on servers in China and Russia and all over the Middle East and I have come to the conclusion that those infringements are best left alone. The European Union does have the European Directive on Electronic Commerce (EDEC) which I have not researched.

Over the years I have been finding more and more of my photos being used on the Web without my permission. This is a quick guide to detecting and enforcing copyright.

The first step is to find if your image is being used. For this tutorial I will use one of my more frequently purloined photos. This photo of the Downtown Houston skyline is just such a photo.

Sabine Bridge

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not your photo is being used on the Internet without your permission. To do this, go to images.google.com. Here you will notice an icon in the search box that looks like a camera.

Google Image Search

Click on the camera and select “Search By Image” and this will bring up a dialogue box that will take you through uploading your image or providing a URL link to your image and searching Google with it.

For those using Google Chrome there is a nifty plugin called Search by Image that will, once installed, allow you to right click an image on the Web and search Google with it. Either way, the results are returned in the same way.

googlesearch1

As you can see in this example, Google shows you a set of images that are similar. Not surprising, there are a number of photos of the downtown Houston skyline by other photographers. But the list below is more telling. As you can see, there are several links to pages hosting my exact photo. Some of them are mine (obviously) and some of them are sites that I have licensed the photo to. And then there are the others. The copyright infringers.

At this point I click the link on a suspected infringer and collect the URL to do some research. For this example I will use my own Web site so as not to incur the wrath of an infringer who might take issue with me calling them out in a public forum.

Here we see this guy named Jay Lee who is portraying my photo as his own. What a jerk!

sabineinfringment

Now at this point you have two choices. You can peruse the Web site hosting your image and try to find contact info for the person or company and try to deal with them directly. This method yields a variety of results. Sometimes the infringer will agree to remove the image, or they might offer to license the image or, more frequently than I care for, they will tell your something along the lines of “too bad, so sad” or even ignore you entirely. Some infringers tend to get downright nasty.

Due to the large number of infringers I tend to come across I opt to deal with the hosting providers. Most hosting providers have provisions for dealing with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices that will put the hosting provider in the position of dealing with their customer instead of you.

To go this route does, however, require some research and effort.

The first thing to do is find the I.P. address of the Web site. Simply opening a command prompt and using NSLOOKUP will accomplish this easily.

nslookup

Now that we know the Web site is hosted at 173.193.136.178 we just need to know the controlling entity for that IP address. To learn this we go to the American Registry For Internet Numbers, also known as ARIN.

arin

Using their Whois search to search the IP address we can see that Softlayer is the hosting entity for this Web site. We can then click on the Abuse Point Of Contact link to find out who to send our notice to. It is worth noting that if the hosting entity is outside of the USA, you might not get any response to your DMCA notice. If the IP address comes back as belonging to the RIPE Network Coordination Centre you are likely wasting your time if you try to file a DMCA.

poc

As we see here, the abuse contact for SoftLayer is abuse@softlayer.com. This is who we need to send our notice to.

As per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), there is a specific formula for submitting a valid notice of copyright infringement. This is the template I use and has been very successful.

Compose a new email with the subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement

Then, in the body of the email include the following text and links:

The copyrighted work at issue is located at:

Insert the URL of the page infringing on your copyright here

Specifically, this image:

If possible, provide the direct link to the infringed image itself. You can usually find it by right-clicking the image and selecting “Copy Image URL” and then pasting the link in to your message. This works well in Chrome most of the time. In some cases you have to view the source of the Web site to dig this link out. If you can’t find it, don’t sweat it.

The corresponding URL where our copyrighted material is located:

Insert link to YOUR image on your Flickr page, blog page, whatever.

You can reach me at insert your email address for further information or clarification.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Your Name
Your company (if you have one)
Your Web Site
Your Physical Address
Your Phone Number

The above template meets the required standards of a legitimate DMCA notice.

It is worth noting that some hosting sites provide online DMCA forms. These are preferable over sending an email when they are available. If you suspect a hosting provider might have such a form, a Google search using the name of the provider along with DMCA will usually lead you to the form.

Below are links to the more common hosting site DMCA forms

Once you have submitted your DMCA notice, whether by email or by online form, you can usually expect a notification that your notice has been received. Often it will include a tracking number that will be used for any communications and updates to the status of your notice. In my experience most hosting providers will have the issue resolved pretty quickly. Some of my notices have been addressed in less than 24 hours. The longest I have had to wait is about 3 or 4 business days.

Closing thoughts:

Not every notice will succeed. You will have to determine how much effort you are willing to expend enforcing your copyright. I would say my success rate, inside the USA, it about 95%. Your results may vary.

Many copyright infringers don’t know that they are doing anything wrong. They think the Internet is a bucket full of royalty free images and content. These kinds of infringers are often very apologetic and will remove the content.

Some infringers outsource their Web design to a third party. The Web site owner is lead to believe that their Web designer is making sure that the rights to the content are in place. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous Web designers.

And then there are the infringers who simply don’t care about your rights. They think that if you posted the image online, you should expect it will get stolen. The reactions of this type of infringer can sometimes be quite frightening.

Remember, if you are asserting copyright in the form of a DMCA Notice, you must be prepared to back it up legally. Once you have claimed your copyright you could be presented with a counter challenge if the person or company believes they have rights to the content.

And one last closing thought. In most cases, when you file a DMCA notice, the hosting provider will disable access only to the content you specify and leave the rest of their site in place. The one exception to this I have found is GoDaddy. Upon receipt of a valid DMCA Notice they will disable the customer entirely. That means you will have to work with their customer and GoDaddy to resolve it. This can be a HUGE pain, as I have learned from personal experience.

Good luck in your efforts. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

Here’s to good friends

I remember it was the summer of 1979. I was living in an apartment on the south side of Houston, somewhere near Howard Drive and Highway 3. As I was on my way to or from somewhere or another, I encountered two guys walking down the sidewalk. As fate would have it, I needed to know the time, but did not have a watch. I noticed one of the guys had a watch and inquired as to the time.

In thickest of Irish accents, he responded that it was tree turty.

That was when I met Kieran Egan and Kieran Murphy. Two Irish blokes living on the U.S. on expired visas and working construction in Pasadena.

We struck up a friendship and it wasn’t long before they were sharing an apartment with me and my brother and a few others. I can’t really recall the entire roommate lineup at that time.

Kieran and Kieran were two of the most ridiculously funny people I had ever met. I was all of 17 years old and had not met many, if any, true foreigners…save for the Iranian guy who ran the local convenience store.

My fondest memory of these two was their never ending quest to find Guinness on tap. Back in those days, there was no Guinness on tap. At least not in Texas.
We would go out to various bars and each time Kieran and Kieran would inquire as to the availability of the elusive elixir from their homeland. And each time they would be told that there was none.

This didn’t deter them, much. They and my brother would have a drink or two and move on.

One night, after a rather prolonged quest to find Guinness on tap, we found ourselves walking home. Kieran Murphy, along with my younger brother Gene and a few other friends were quite drunk. Kieran Egan had opted to stay home.

As we walked past one of those do-it-yourself car washes my brother Gene asked Murphy if he had 50 cents. Murphy spoke up and said “aye” and gave Gene two quarters.

Gene then proceeded to walk over to one of the car wash stalls and deposited the two quarters.

Murphy, curious, walked over to see what Gene was doing. That is when Gene proceeded to turn the hose on Murphy and began to spray him down, quite vigorously.
Murphy fell to the ground in a pile of soaking wet, uncontrollable laughter. Gene kept spraying for a good long while with Murphy laughing and rolling around on the ground the whole time.

We were all laughing quite hard.

Eventually, we made it back to the apartment and made our way to bed.

The next morning (or possibly afternoon) when we had woken up, Kieran Egan asked about our adventures and Kieran Murphy, in all earnestness and sincerity, related the events of the evening to his friend as follows. (to be read with the thickest of Irish accents)

“Kieran, you’ll not believe it! Gene is such a good friend! He took us to his favorite pub! And guess what? They had Guinness on tap! All you could drink for 50 cents!”

There are other stories regarding the antics of these guys. But this one stands out in my mind.

I don’t know what ever happened to the Kierans. Perhaps I will find them or stories of their antics when I visit Ireland later this year. That would be some reunion.

La Crema Las Fallas 2013

This is the event that the whole Las Fallas festival leads up to. All those fantastic Falla sculptures are burned to the ground. There’s no way to see them all. You pick one you want to watch and stake out a spot. We chose the one named “Que se mueran los feos” which translates to “May the ugly ones die”. It cost over 100,000 Euro to build. It is located just north of the dry river bed and is easy to get to from our hotel and has the added benefit of not being in a cramped little street corner or the one in the city center, all of which are very difficult to get to and very, very crowded.

This is what our Falla looks like in all of its pre-Crema glory

Before it was Burned

We arrived just before midnight to stake out our spot. The burning was only about 20-30 minutes late as we waited for the fire men to get in to position. There was a sudden detonation of some aerial fireworks and then the lights went out and this happened.

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

Las Fallas - Crema

c8

And POOF!

Las Fallas - Crema

All gone!

We walked back to our hotel exhausted, but satisfied. Tomorrow we head off to Madrid to spend the night and the fly back to Houston for some much needed rest and relaxation.

La Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade) – Las Fallas 2013

The Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade) is one of the highlights of the festival. The Falleras parade down the street followed by an amazing group of pyrotechnic specialists who put on one heck of a fire show. Words can’t really describe this event. Hopefully my photos will convey the spirit.

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade)

We were pretty tired after this, but we needed to stay up for the Crema which happens at midnight, give or take. That will be in the next update.

Valencia – Day 6

Today is our last full day in Valencia. We’re tired but managing. We’re still under the weather, but Cynthia is much improved.

After two days of The Ofrenda, The Virgin is complete.

Virgin Is Coplete

She is beautiful. We got out early to see her and beat the crowds.

We decided to spend the day at L’Oceanogràfic in the City of Arts And Sciences complex. L’Oceanogràfic is the worlds largest salt water aquarium and is something to see if you like aquariums. Probably the best in the world.

L'Oceanogràfic

L'Oceanogràfic

I think the best feature of L’Oceanogràfic is the Beluga Whale. This guy seems to ham it up for the camera.

Beluga Whale - L'Oceanogràfic

Beluga Whale - L'Oceanogràfic

After visiting the aquarium we walked back to the hotel, stoping to take a few daylight photos of the City Of Arts And Sciences.

City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

When we got to the hotel we knew we were going to need to get some rest. This is the final day of Las Fallas and the two most important events happen this evening. The Cabalgata del Fuego (Fire Parade) and The Crema (burning) of the Fallas where the burn all the sculpture to the ground.

I will post some photos of those events in the next two updates.

Valencia – Day 5

Cynthia continues to improve. We got up relatively early so we could go to the Cathedral and see the progress on the Virgin Mary.

She’s coming along quite nicely.

We took the day and walked around the area near the Ruzafa district where there are some magnificent Fallas

That night we stumbled upon the most magnificent Galician restaurant called A `Peregrina which is Spanish for “Of The Pilgrim” or something similar. The whole restaurant is themed in a style you might expect to see if you were walking the Way Of St. James, a famous pilgrimage Cynthia and I would like to walk some day.

Cynthia had said she just wanted some soup for dinner, but soup is not a common menu item so we decided to see what we could get here. Right after we were seated, the waitress brought us each a bowl of complimentary hot vegetable soup. It was, in a way, a miracle and set the tone for the evening.

Once again we had found a fantastic restaurant with wonderful food and a great atmosphere.

Valencia – Day 4 Addendum

Cynthia did the smart thing and rested most of the day. We did go out in the afternoon as the Ofrenda was beginning. It seems all the marching bands pass right by our hotel so sleeping was futile.

The Ofrenda is when all the people of Valencia put on their traditional costumes and parade in from all corners of the city to offer flower to build the statue of the Virgin Mary in the cathedral square.

After chasing the Falleras for awhile we decided to go to the City Of Arts And Sciences so I could take some night shots.

City Of Arts And Sciences

City of Arts and Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences - Fisheye

City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

Later in the evening we found this restaurant called Alma del Temple that was simply fantastic.

squid

Everything was presented well and the restaurant itself had a nice atmosphere. Oddly, the music playing over the sound system was 80’s gothic new wave. Bands like The Cure and Joy Division with some Brian Ferry and the like sprinkled in. I enjoyed it quite a lot and asked our waiter about it. Turns out it was his selection of music. I let him know I appreciated it and that seems to please him to no end.

We had a bottle of wine and enjoyed our meal and finished the evening off with a coffee and postre (desert)

After this we were pretty beat and called it a night.

Valencia – Day 4 (partial)

We’re just back from a fantastic meal at Alma De Temple and after some wonderful food and a bottle of wine I just don’t have it in me to process the images of the day (of which I have some fantastic shots) so I am just going to give you the latest on our medical situation.

cynthiainbed

We’ve both been a bit more ill than we would care to admit.

We both managed to catch whatever that funky virus is that’s currently spreading from the UK (thanks a lot, Brits!) Sore throats, lots of congestion and body aches. It has made for some restless nights and has made Cynthia quite upset.

I, being the quick healer that I am, was through the worst of it in a few days. Cynthia, on the other hand, has had a more difficult time shaking it. On top of the virus she ended up with dual eye conjunctivitis which caused her eyes to swell up and fill with mucus (blech). And to add insult to injury there’s apparently a giant pollen explosion going on here in Spain which is making it even worse for her.

We spoke to the proprietors of the hotel and they said they could call a doctor and I told them to please do so.

The doctor came to the hotel (free of charge) and diagnosed Cynthia with conjunctivitis in both eyes and faringitis and prescribed medicine for the virus and the conjunctivitis and also dispensed quite a bit of useful tips for getting over this.

A modest walk to the pharmacy and the prescriptions were filled for under 15 euro.

Cynthia took it easy today and her stress levels are way down. She’s in the best spirits she’s been in in days. I’ve got her iPad filled with a few seasons of Torchwood to keep her occupied while I went out and take photos.

Later in the afternoon Cynthia was up for some roaming around and we set out to take some photos of the Falleras and the Ofrenda. We followed that up with a trip to the City Of Arts And Sciences and then a fine dinner.

I will have more to share tomorrow after we sleep this day off.