Thursday, November 02, 2006

Link Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Once again I discover that various people out there are hotlinking to my images and stealing my bandwidth. I'm finding this a recurrent problem. This time around, someone on a discussion forum hotlinked to a picture of mine, and by the time I discovered it 36 hours later, I'd been hammered with 600 requests for said picture.

I also discovered the usual collection of suspects on MySpace, hotlinking to various pictures of mine. The most egregious of these was a fellow who hotlinked a full-size, half-meg screenshot of my desktop, using it as his background on his MySpace page. I'm flattered that he likes my desktop, but I can't afford to "donate" half a megabyte of my bandwidth to him every time he has a visitor.

Eh, I've "taken care" of it, various people out there in cyberspace will now find that the pictures they linked have up and vanished on them. Though my brother is probably right, instead of fighting this battle piecemeal over and over again, I really ought to write up a .htaccess file and solve the problem once and for all. If and when I can find the time to bring myself up to speed on that.

On other fronts, I was getting a bizarre spike in traffic over the weekend and on through Monday and Tuesday. Turns out a former White House speechwriter named Paul Burgess wrote a controversial newspaper column, and since I happen to be the #1 Paul Burgess in Google... In fact, I even received traffic from a post on MetaFilter entitled Paul Burgess Hates You. Such are the 15 minutes of fame that come to us on the Internet now and anon.


Blogger The Tetrast said...

Why don't you make your image filesizes smaller, max 150kb? That's still a lot of resolution for an image that isn't that wide and tall on the screen. I think the largest image filesize on my Website is 51kb.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Well, thanks to image manipulation in The GIMP, here on my blog none of my image files is very large. But over on my personal website— which is actually where all of my pictures, both on my website and on my blog, are hosted— I do have a few very large pictures, mostly high-resolution full-size screenshots.

Over there on my website, one has to be very intentional and click on links to get to those screenshots; but once they end up indexed in Google Images, there they are for anyone who enters the magic search terms. For instance, that half-meg .PNG screenshot of my desktop ranks fairly high in image search results for "fluxbox screenshot."

The irony is, I have no objection to people "borrowing" these pictures for their own use, as long as they

(1) copy the picture and host it on their own webspace, instead of leeching my bandwidth

(2) use the picture for noncommercial purposes only

(3) don't try to pass off my creative efforts as their own

I mean, I'm very sympathetic to the notion behind the saying, "Information wants to be free." As long as it doesn't leech off of my pocketbook or my reputation.

Oh well, one of these days when I have some spare time I'll figure out how to block hotlinking once and for all via a .htaccess file. In the meanwhile, I can swat these attempts down individually as fast as they show up in my stats.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 8:05:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Plus, the real problem with hotlinking comes when half a dozen people on MySpace hotlink to half a dozen smaller image files of mine, and each of these images gets requested hundreds and hundreds of times. It adds up.

Eh, I already have a fair idea of the sort of regular expression I'd need to add to a .htaccess file to ban MySpace pages, at the very least, from hotlinking to my images. But I'd rather take the time, and make sure I'm doing it up right.

Speaking of regular expressions, back in my days in graduate math Stephen Kleene was an emeritus professor in the UW-Madison math department. Tall, gaunt, bald, and very, very hard of hearing. I remember one time Kleene came looking for one of my office mates: he appeared at the door of our office, shared by six or eight of us teaching assistants, and he boomed: "Kierstead!!!"

I said, "Oh, no, Kierstead isn't around right now."

I had no idea at the time that Stephen Kleene was the inventor of regular expressions. I also was unaware at that time of a saying which summed up Kleene's place in the pantheon of 20th-century logic: "Kleeneliness is next to Gödeliness."

Then again, my area of specialization was differential geometry, not logic.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 8:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I searched on filenames of some of my images and the results were all at my own Website. Fortunately few if any of my images are such as anybody would want to hotlink.

I checked out to which you linked, and explored there. Does Gimp allow one to reduce image filesize beyond that which one can get playing around with MS paint, PowerPoint, and saving across file formats? I've learned a bunch of tricks but I'm alway interested in more. This isn't bad at 51kb. If Gimp could get it down to 40kb or less without deterioration of quality, that'd be cool.

I read the Wikipedia article on Kleene. The opening paragraph's last sentence coulda been written a tad more clearly. But I ploughed ahead, somewhat slack-jawed. Has anybody trid to do something like that with meanings?

In other news, I finally found free hosting for my own .ico-format favicon. That made me rejoice, but on the other hand I just recently saw how my Website looks on a Mac in AOL and Safari and that was depressing indeed. Getting to work just in IE & Firefox on a PC has been many an evening's work. What the heck, some people collect stamps.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

I'm not really familiar with any image-manipulation software other than the GIMP, and I'm not sure if the GIMP is available for Windows— I first got into it when I switched to Linux. The GIMP does allow fairly decent reduction of .JPGs, with an image preview window to see how far you can reduce the image before artefacts start appearing.

As for Brouwer and Intuitionism... as a matter of fact, when I was in graduate math, there was another Brouwer who was chair of the UW-Madison math department. No idea whether he was related to the Brouwer of Intuitionism (I think 25 years ago I could've told you), though I recall he came from a family of mathematicians, which had been associated with Emmy Noether in the earlier part of the 20th century.

My graduate advisor at Madison had been a student of Alonzo Church's, whose other doctoral students (much earlier on) included Stephen Kleene and Alan Turing. Math is a small world— not six degrees of separation, more like just two or three degrees.

Friday, November 03, 2006 8:16:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Brouwer and intuitionism? I was thinking of alternatives among predefined connotations. At least I didn't think that it was the same subject.

I forgot my Erdös Number but I think it was three.

Friday, November 03, 2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Actually I think that I was thinking more generally of alternatives among definitions, be they extensional or intensional. 2nd cup of coffee still in the works.

Friday, November 03, 2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

The GIMP does allow fairly decent reduction of .JPGs, with an image preview window to see how far you can reduce the image before artefacts start appearing.

Oops, that ought to read, "The GIMP does allow fairly decent reduction of .JPGs, with an image preview window to see how far you can reduce the filesize before artefacts start appearing."

Reducing the size of the image is, of course, a completely different function.

Friday, November 03, 2006 5:47:00 PM  

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