Shortly after the big server rebuild a few weeks back I was examining the web server logs and I noticed that several sites were stealing okcomputer.org bandwidth by linking images from the okcomputer.org Photo Gallery directly into their web sites. This is just a tacky thing to do on numerous levels. In the past, I’ve had people contact me and ask for permission to use an image from the Photo Gallery, and I’ve always been happy to direct them to the photo’s owner. If they are given permission, I expect them to download a copy of image file and serve it directly from their own server. Otherwise, every hit to www.jack.ass causes a hit on my web server and uses some of my bandwidth.
So while I was rebuilding the web server I implemented a very common Apache mod_rewrite recipe so that these bandwidth thieves would get a very different image than the one they linked to. I didn’t do anything gross — just a small version of the pic of me playing the ukulele that I drag out every now and then. I week later I checked in on one of the bandwidth thieves’ web sites — a tourism site for some city in the Netherlands — and there I was wailing away on the uke. Not only was my recipe working, but this doofus hadn’t even noticed it yet.
As usual, I (a.) didn’t think this one through very well, and (b.) forgot I had even done it. That is until my dad tried to print some Photo Gallery photos through Shutterfly the other night. Luckily I was watching over his shoulder. Still, I was stumped for at least 8 seconds when the picture of Simon that my dad had selected showed up as me and my uke on Shutterfly.
Fixed now. As much fun as implementing this type of recipe always sounds when you read about it, it’s almost always more trouble than it’s worth. Almost.