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July 2006 Archives

July 28, 2006

Frequently Hotlinked Images

Filed in: Website Management.

I've ranted on about hotlinking images on my site before. I find it rude because they're using my bandwidth to decorate their own site with pretty images. Although I've put some measure of protection on, sometimes people will try it and not bother to remove the link when it doesn't work. I thought it might be useful to list the top 5 hotlinked images:

The V for Vendetta comic image from the Comic Connection article from TSV 26, for obvious reasons.
A convention photo of Tobey Maguire, predating the release of Spider-Man.
The Greg the Bunny icons, particularly the ones of Tardy and Count Blah.
Turdy, the alien from The Outer Limits. I'm still not sure what Turdy's appeal is. Maybe it's his smile.
Thing, from The Tomorrow People.
An old Dead Can Dance image. Just a picture of some arched windows which I no longer use on my music site - the one currently gracing the DCD page is a DVD screenshot.

I believe the most effective way to prevent undesired image hotlinking is to prevent Google Image search from indexing the pictures on a site; The vast majority of hotlinkers find the images via Google image search.

As a side note, myspace recently added a mechanism for reporting offensive images - there's a link at the bottom of each profile page - so it may be that the most effective way to deal with myspace hotlinkers is to redirect the image to a copy of tubgirl or similar, then report it. I do notice that hotlinking from myspace appears to have reduced drastically on my site since they've introduced this.

Posted at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

MT Disgruntling Me

Filed in: Weblogging.

A number of things about Movable Type are still bugging me.

  1. I upgraded to version 3.31 the other day, and it was still really horrible to do. Why do there need to be so many library files? Why does the directory structure in the zip file seem so bizarre? Why can't I download a zip which doesn't have all the dynamic stuff (which I don't use) in it?
  2. The switches to notify keep switching themselves off for no apparent reason. WTF?!
  3. No static paging option for category archives (there's a plugin to do this in a dynamic fashion).

I've been thinking of writing a plugin for paged archive files forever, but the learning curve for writing MT plugins is daunting.

I'd like to switch to Wordpress, but this is why I'm not:

  1. The back-end is still fugly (not really much of an issue as there are plugins to fix this).
  2. I'm not sure if Wordpress can keep the filenames of the posts the same. If it's smart it can.
  3. Still no static publishing option.

The last one is a bit of a hurdle for me. Why does Wordpress depend on accessing a database server simply to construct content which rarely changes?

Posted at 8:59 PM

July 25, 2006

Two things...

Filed in: Misc.

I stopped off at Pak'n Save to fill up with petrol on the way home today and discovered two things:

1/ The new hub caps I got were a bad move. The tiny holes in them make it practically impossible to check the tire pressure without actually removing the hub caps.

2/ One of my tires has a slow leak. It was down to 9 PSI!


Posted at 9:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2006


Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

There are two reasons I've been quiet recently: I've been catching up on DVDs madly, and I've also been getting the "Doctor Who and Shada" novelisation ready to go online. Shada was never completed by the BBC*, nor was it published in book form by Target**, which lead Paul Scoones to write it in 1989. Although it's been reprinted a few times, now it's online as an ebook. Hopefully this should make the many people who've asked about it very happy. :)

As well as the book's text, there's a number of extras, including extensive author's notes, a comparison of material with Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and a behind the scenes article. Also the Making of Shada article in TSV 26 has been revisited and rewritten. Kudos to Paul for assembling an amazingly detailed amount of information for this story!

* Although Big Finish recorded it as an audio play with the eighth Doctor recently.
** Target novelised most of the original Doctor Who series, bar the five stories which the NZDWFC subsequently novelised.

Posted at 6:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2006

The Bank of Africa's money problems

Filed in: Spam.

You may recall a while back I got two emails from Amos Zongo, one about some gold he had, and another claiming he was the Auditor General of the Bank of Africa looking for some foreigner to offload $16 million with.

I just got another email from Amos, who is now a doctor and the bill and exchange manager, and has $25 million lying around. Sadly for Dr Zongo, two important pieces of information in his email suggest he's already too late:

"...In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in November 2000 in a plane crash."
"The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after FIVE years, the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund."

Missed by 8 months! How sad!

Oddly enough, I got an email a while back from one Dada Oman, who also claimed to be the bill and exchange manager at the Bank of Africa, and has some $20 million handy...

Posted at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2006

Back in 10 Munits

Filed in: Misc.

It appears whoever wrote this sign:
[Back in 10 Munits sign]

... had an exceptionally strong Kiwi accent...

Posted at 6:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2006

Used Railway Line scam?!

Filed in: Spam.

I swear, these scams are getting more and more bizarre.

From: "babiya traore"
Subject: USED RAILS (R50-R65) FOR SALE
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 10:47:53 +0000

Dear Sir/Madam,


Our company is the direct selling mandates to Burkina Faso Railway Corporation and have in stock up to 1.4 Million Metric Tons of Used Rails (R50-R65) for clearance sale, at very reasonable prices. the available rails are located in five different Rail Yards in the country.

This clearance sale is necessitated by the impending privatization of the Corporation and the need to decongest our rail yards in preparation for the privatization.

Prices are negotiable on FOB, CNF and CIF basis. Site inspection, physical verification and confirmation of product quality and quantity are allowed before signing of contract. Offers are invited from serious end buyers or Agents that has access to serious potential end users/buyers


[Address snipped]

WTF would I want with 1.4 million tons of used rails? Are they simply spamming as many people as they can in the hopes of hitting someone with a pressing need to build a railway?

Posted at 6:31 PM | Comments (15)

July 6, 2006

Forex spam

Filed in: Spam.

I've been being hit recently by a spammer using urls of the form and using a botnet to avoid giving away their IP address. Fortunately the spammer's stupid script was thrown by a decoy comment form, thus no comments reached my weblog. The target URLs all redirect to this site which has probably fake details:

forex-broker-list dot com
Alexey Petrov (
Lenina st. 45
Sochi, 567843

Forex is not Australian beer, BTW, but is short for "foreign exchange".

I suspect that this may be related to an event that occurred late last month when someone unleashed a spider on my site. The spider's user-agent (which had HTML in it. Urgh) included the text "Forex Trading Network Organization" and a link to netforex dot org, a site which currently consists of a front page with a non-functional search form and a broken link to a directory. IncrediBILL wrote about the netforex bot at the time of the spidering.

Posted at 9:41 PM

July 4, 2006

Irony is...

Filed in: Misc.

The All Black official bloke on TV3 news being quoted about the Fiat advert in Italy depicting a number of women performing a Haka. I couldn't find a text copy of the quote online, but the gist was that he didn't think the Haka should be being used for commercial purposes.

Rugby is, of course, one of New Zealand's largest industries. That sounds like a commercial purpose to me.

Posted at 7:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2006

Doctor Who Billboards

Filed in: Doctor Who.

I have to say, Prime TV's billboards promoting the new series of Doctor Who:

Prime's Billboards

They are things of beauty.

Posted at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2006

More on "Even better hotlink protection"

Filed in: Website Management.

I was asked to share the .htaccess and Perl code I used to achieve my new hotlink protection method, so, first of all, from my .htaccess file for

ErrorDocument 403 /cgi-bin/err403.cgi

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} .*jpg$|.*gif$|.*png$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !tetrap\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) - [F,L]

The first line sets the Perl script I'm using as my error 403 document, so whenever anyone gets an error 403, that script is executed and the output sent to their browser. The next line starts processing with mod_rewrite. Line 3 matches if the request is for a filename corresponding to an image file - if your images are named differently, yuo should change this line to suit. The next line will halt if there is no referrer present in their request, because many people have referrer reporting turned off. Line 5 halts if the referrer contains the text Should all the tests succeed (The user is requesting an image, and the referrer is set to another site) they will get a 403 error and the script will execute.)

And now the perl script:

# Error 403 script by Alden Bates (

if($theurl eq "/cgi-bin/err403.cgi") {

if($theurl =~ /jpg$|gif$|png$/) {
  print "Content-type: image/gif\n\n";
  $amount=read GFX,$data,$size;
  print "$data";
} else {
  print "Content-type: text/html\n\n";
  while(<HTML>) {
    print "$_";

Here, the first clump of code fetches the path to the file that the user was trying to load. The rest of the code looks at the path to see if it is an image. If so, the script opens error403.gif and sends it to the user. If not, it opens error403.html (which is an error page) and sends that to the user. Note that, because the script is sending the file directly, any server-side includes or code will not be executed, so this would not be suitable for, say, a php script.

So that's basically it!

Posted at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)


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