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Friday, April 4, 2003

April 4, 2003

Two important news items to note for this post:

  1. I've begun the official complete transition from stock .html pages to cool Wiki pages for the entire Matt's Home on the Web site. This site is currently in beta form over on my private TWiki installation as I ensure the functionality and make sure other things are working with it before going live. But, it's exciting for several reasons: a) with TWiki, I'm able to easily include other pages, meaning I can chop off about 1-2K per page (just meaning less server space required), b) I can easily modify pages, c) searching through online content is now possible, d) other neat features will be available. Hopefully within a few weeks I'll have it live. smile
  2. Regarding yesterday's comments on the 'linkers' to images: After banning all access to all Python-related images (and monitoring the logfile for 24 hours), it became apparent that it was not 6 or so images being linked, but only one. A single image received approximately 97% of the hits in question over a 24-hour period! So, to make myself feel better and make it less of an inconvenience for others legitimately viewing those pages, I have re-granted access to all images (with the one exception). I won't probably re-grant access to that until I notice that the hits have drastically gone down, or until I get the Python site moved over fully to the TWiki, or both. But for now...that's how it's going to be.
This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Thursday, April 3, 2003

April 3, 2003

I've had to do something today that I was hoping to never have to do -- ban access by default to an entire part of the mzonline.com site. frown

Why? To give the in-depth answer (which is default for me), it stems to the unauthorized and irresponsible use of images hosted here. What has happened is this:

It all started off nice and innocent-like. Every week or so, I check the access and error logfiles for the mzonline.com box. More importantly, I check the automatically generated analysis of these files for irregularities. About the middle of last month (March 19, to be exact), I noticed a spike in hits to the webserver -- of about 400-800 extra per day. I also noticed a strange referrer pattern developing, coming from democraticunderground.com. Upon investigating, I noticed that a particular user (whose posts have since been removed) was linking to (e.g. posting HTML IMG tags) about four of my Monty Python and the Holy Grail images. What happened is a ballooning of hits, since apparently that was a pretty hot-topic thread.

My action: (unfortunately) I had to register in order to get the attention of a moderator to remove those posts (as it's stated clearly in that site's Terms of Use that unauthorized linking to images is a Bad Thing). But, they were all gone within about two hours. Problem solved, right?

WRONG!

It was only gone temporarily. In the meantime, others must have gotten the URL or thought it a good idea to do the same thing over at other boards online (whose hosts are widespread and will not be included in this rant)...because (rightfully so) they're cool pictures.

A few days later I noticed another spike in the hits for the month. Only this time it was much more complicated (or emails bounced) to get in contact with someone in charge to remove posts. Furthermore, some sites weren't even concerned with this procedure as it wasn't banned in their TOS. I decided to let a few of these slide, figuring it'd be a short-lived thing, and soon these threads in question would be dead anyway. I was correct to some extent, but the true extent of this unauthorized linking didn't come to my attention until this morning:

In two days (as new log analysis begins on the first day of the month), these dozen or so images had (combined total) received about 2500 hits. IN TWO DAYS! Needless to say, I was quite pissed off. With a quick calculation, 2500 hits (so 1250/day) of images each approximately 30K in size is about 37MB of additional transfer per day. This is clearly something which needs to be stopped soon, because 37MB per day, times 30 days in a month is an additional (approximate) 1.1GB of transfer in a month. Clearly a Bad Thing.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm all about using the Internet to its fullest; HOWEVER, I am NOT all about people acting in irresponsible ways. I do pay for bandwidth use per month; I don't pay for bandwidth so other people can use it at their own leisure. I provide things like the Monty Python site so that people can enjoy it...as well as the other random stuff I've got. But I am completely against people just assuming that 'they'll never know...' or such.

The least people can do is to fire off an email informing me of this. Then I don't have nearly as large a problem with the procedure. So, with all of that said, I have banned access to all of my Monty Python and the Holy Grail images until further notice -- probably when I finally migrate the Python stuff over to the Wiki fully -- which won't be for a month or better yet.

I won't be taken advantage of; sadly this change will also affect those who have no intentions of doing anything like that -- and for that I'm sorry and offer my apologies. All too often it seems though the actions of a few make the stark changes apply for everyone -- and this is no different. But, the images will be back...because I refuse to let this take away something that I think is important.

Thanks for listening. Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

April 2, 2003

The Rat Bastards Strike Back!

For MFP (Modern Functional Programming), we were allowed to choose our own projects...and more importantly, our own groups. Of course, the Rat Bastards became another (to be rivaled) group in a software development type of course. For those of you unfamiliar with the Rat Bastard Legacy, it goes back to the Spring of 2002 (last year) during Software Design & Development, when a group of students calling themselves the Rat Bastards (myself included) designed the 'Rat Bastard Mailer' -- an E-Mail program similar to Outlook or Mozilla/Netscape. These people had much fun...and probably too much fun in their endeavor. And they also had a kick-ass logo. smile

Well, three of the original Rat Bastards and one Honorary Rat Bastard (he came with us to the bar one night and was also in the class) merged in MFP to form 'The Rat Bastards Strike Back' -- a group modeling their logo after the famed 'Empire Strikes Back' movie. This time -- the goal is to build a functional calculator. What will it do? Well, all of your typical calculator functions, plus the ability to essentially be able to set as imput a string of functions (similar to Mathematica -- which is a really powerful calculator we won't rival).

More to come...but once again, long live the Rat Bastards!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Monday, March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003

After about a week of strange behavior, I've decided to essentially discontinue the use of my AOL Instant Messenger presence. For the last week or so, it seems that after my computer has been running for a few days (48+ hours, we'll say)...the AOLIM program seems to do strange things and eat up all my CPU cycles. The behavior seems to be backgrounded, though...because it really doesn't (initially...for the first several hours) make the machine react any slower. It does, however, eat up resources and eventually cause a memory leak (or overload) which makes all sorts of nasty things happen (e.g. not responding issues).

It seems to snowball like this: AOLIM -> (gets strange, eats CPU/memory) -> (causes Webshots to do strange things and not respond, eats up more CPU/memory) -> (causes system monitoring utilities to generate out of memory/other errata) -> (causes the entire machine to slowly respond or quit responding altogether).

As I leave most of our machines on (with the exception of the Mac) 24/7, therefore so is AOLIM loaded. As (for the past two years, essentially) I've not used it much (once a month, tops)...I've decided to phase it out. I will need to send email to my contacts to inform them of this change...but that's in the future. For the time, I believe I'll keep it running occasionally (when I'm actually at the computer)...but think it time to really just be done with it.

Same goes for ICQ, I think. I use that less often than AOLIM. Nice thing about ICQ, however, is that it sits nicely all by itself and is happy not doing anything...and I'm happy with it not eating up idle CPU cycles.

Moving on, that's about all that's new for now. I'm hoping to perhaps begin testing the aforementioned changes to how the website looks (via the TWiki as mentioned in the last post) in the news system here hopefully by the week's end. In addition to that, I'm making plans to also completely migrate the old /zaskem website into TWiki land. With some creativity with Apache...it should be straightforward.


I'm also drawing up plans for my next building project (to not begin until this summer): to build a new entertainment center for the living room. More on that later, though. smile

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

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