And a Thousand Goths Cry Out

No hotlinking! Or TV!

I finally got around to doing something I’ve been intending to do for ages this week, which is to block image hotlinking from Wyrmworld. This is largely to protect the images (insomuch as one can protect any images on the net) involved with a new project that I aim to launch within the next few weeks, but it’s also to finally deal with all the goths and emos leaching my bandwidth.

No, I haven’t turned into some kind of paranoid old man who blames the “young people” in their “strange clothes” for everything wrong with my life. And neither am I “hating” (as the young people say) on goths and emos. I’m referring to that hoary old chestnut the Camarilla Test which has been attracting people of a vampiric bent to Wyrmworld for almost as long as the site’s been online.

It’s been a nice little traffic generator for me, and I’m still quite happy with it and have no intention of removing it. But what has been a bit annoying is the number of people who get their result, then copy the HTML wholesale to stick on their blog/facebook/myspace page, without taking a local copy of the appropriate clan image. So every time someone looks at their site, the image is grabbed from Wyrmworld, driving up my bandwidth usage.

(And OK, I don’t pay anything for bandwidth, but it’s the principle of the thing.)

So I finally put code in place to stop it.

Now there are two ways you can do this. The first is to deny external image requests entirely, so anyone linking to your images just gets a broken one. This is well and good, but not particularly creative. The second option is to serve up an alternate image – traditionally either a simple “Hotlinking Not Permitted” notice, or something incredibly obscene. Naturally this is the option I went with.

Now I could have been boring and gone with the “Hotlinking Not Permitted” – but boring just plain ain’t me. Or I could have located some detestable blasphemy (thanks Lovecraft Engine!), but I don’t really want to punish the people who’ve enjoyed my work enough to post it on their sites. So I went with the third option and set up an image that – while completely inoffensive – is just plain, freaking insane.

(No, I’m not going to post it here – that would be no fun. You’ll have to figure out how to see it on your own. Think of it as an exercise for the reader.)

In any case on Thursday morning goths and emos all over the world would have woken up to discover an extremely strange and definitely non-gothic image adorning their carefully constructed virtual shrines of darkness. Hopefully they’ll learn a valuable lesson about image leeching 🙂

(apart from the Malkavians, who’ll probably like the new image)

At the same time I’ve also done something that Ryan’s been bugging me to do for ages, and set up a favicon for the site. It’s working in Firefox, I’ll need to check it out in Explorer at work on Tuesday. So update your bookmarks!

(On the subject of favicons, what’s with Google’s new new one? It looks appalling)

In other news a great tragedy has befallen me. My TV is broken. I have no idea how this happened, it was working fine when I turned it off on Friday night, but when I went to switch it on yesterday afternoon it was as dead as a doenail (a new portmanteau word I came up with, being a combination of “dodo” and “doornail” – use it people!).

I really cannot fathom this. When TVs break they should do it mid-program with clouds of smoke and showers of sparks, not quietly in the middle of the night. It didn’t even have any power to it, as a good environmentalist I keep most of my appliances switched off at the wall (or at least powerboard) when I’m not using them. So how it could spontaneously die is completely beyond me.

The best explanation I can think of it that it was something to do with yesterday’s thunderstorms. We had some major ones go over and lightning struck only about a block away (titanic boom, car alarms going off all over the place, no power for an hour). This would seem to be a feasible theory, except that the VCR and DVD player hooked up to the same power board as the TV seem to be working fine (insomuch as one can tell without a functional TV). I didn’t even blow any fuses, which one would expect to be the first symptom of a power surge.

I think the only logical conclusion is that the lightning strike generated a extremely compact and directional electromagnetic pulse that happened to hit my TV dead on while avoiding every other electronic appliance in the apartment. The exact physics behind this phenomena I leave up to the experts – I’ll be too busy trying to find a TV repair place and lugging the thing over to them.

Hmmmm, or maybe it’s time to upgrade to a digital…

In any case, I can look forwards to a week (or maybe more) of having to make my own entertainment like some kind of 19th century peasant. There should be a law! Hrumph! Well at least it might give me time to write up that Eurovision review I promised.

Well better go. The turnips won’t harvest themselves (19th century peasant, remember?).

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