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Computer Blog - thebroadroom.net: May 2005

Disclaimer: all of the following is purely from personal experience. TheBroadroom.Net urges you to use your own instincts, common sense, and willingness to take risks when applying any of the information below.

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More on hotlinking
posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 12:11 AM (Pacific)

Holy beejabbers! This is something that can literally wipe out smaller sites, in a hurry. Our own site stats were quickly being taken over by a single bandwidth-sucking demonic domain we shall call x.com.

My projections were that a.) we'd have no more site statistics by next month and b.) we'd lose all of our multi-gig bandwidth by the end of the year.

I spent a few days tooling around on the Net looking for answers. At first I had the idea of blocking x.com alone. I tried it out in several configurations but here is the best code I found:

.htaccess hotlinking prevention

This sweet snippet is, well, efficient and neat, and, what the hell. If it's x.com today, it's going to be y.com and z.com tomorrow.

I can admit I was skeptical about anti-hotlinking as a religion. I'm not religious. Again--want to stress this--the guy or gal who doesn't have his/her own server, and simply wants to show a picture on the fly, has never been the problem.

The problem are the bandwidth-draining vampire corporate sites like x.com. The users of x.com, either have no clue what they're doing, or else they just don't get it. I checked out Photobucket. Photobucket has a bandwidth limit and the users of x.com know that--because they've already maxed it out.

I hope this .htaccess thing works.

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Difference between Trim$ and Trim in Visual Basic
posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, May 06, 2005 at 6:14 PM (Pacific)

Someone asked this on a tech board I like to frequent. I don't actually like Visual Basic, but I thought it was a good question.

Apparently, from what I could Google, Trim$ is faster and Trim accepts a character array as an argument.

one of the examples of how Trim$(s) is faster than s.Trim()

Here they casually mention at the end that Trim accepts a character array as an argument.

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Which is worse, hotlinking or "stealing" images?
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 5:58 PM (Pacific)

I wondered that myself, actually, quite a while ago. Is it better to hotlink an image, or download the image to your computer and then host it on your own server?

Well, running a site tells me that hotlinking is NOT a good idea. It is much better to host the image. It's best (and standard practice) to include a line at the bottom of your borrowed image, saying: "Image courtesy of thebroadroom.net" or wherever you got it. And everyone is happy. But it's better to host the image uncredited, than it is to hotlink it.

The problem is not the person hotlinking one image on a relatively low-traffic site, nor is it the person hotlinking a tiny image on a relatively high-traffic site. We have both of these; doesn't bother me.

The problem are the people who hotlink large images that are viewed over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, unto eternity. Why should we pay for this laziness? How long does it take to right-click an image, download it, and then upload it to Photobucket or whatever?

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