Hotlinking

Hotlinking is a practice where you insert an image on the web somewhere by using the address of an image that is on another server that doesn’t belong to you. Many forums ban hotlinking, but many others don’t care. If it is a product for sale I don’t feel like the person selling the product would care that much since it is helping to get word out about the product, but I still think it is wrong. To me it is better to copy the image and put it on my own server and then link to someone else’s and use their bandwidth, though I realize not everyone has a server. Even that is wrong. For the Flashlight Wiki, I always get permission to use someone’s picture, give them credit, and host it on the site. There are websites that let you host images for just this purpose like photobucket, but there are restrictions.

Going over the web use statistics for Flashlight Wiki, I was finding a huge number of referrals from an Indonesian website. I was getting over 4,000 hits from that page. Plus the page had a couple of other versions that were generating another 1,000 hits. But these weren’t real referrals, they were just hotlinking images stored on flashlightwiki.com. This page did at least have the Flashlight Wiki listed as a source and 25 people clicked on that link to see the original page.

The page was actually a translation of another page with extensive hotlinking done on Budget Light Forum. That post generated another 2,000 hits and no actual referrals because the author didn’t include a link to the wiki. Here is one of the images that was used (hotlinked!):

Ultimately, I’m not being hurt that much. I get a certain allowance from my web host service for bandwidth and I only go up to about 10% of the maximum allowed. But the hotlinking represents more than half of the referrals from sites that are not search engines.

One way to combat hotlinking is to swap out the image being hotlinked with another one then the page using the image will see the new image. It might say “NO HOTLINKING” or “IMAGE REMOVED” or something like that. There are some great ideas out there if you look for hotlinking images. One time Jeb accidentally hotlinked an image for one of his websites and the indignant site owner swapped out an image of a hamburger, just to send a message. I thought that was pretty funny, so here is what the Indonesian page discussing LED’s (which hotlinks a bunch of images, including the one above) now looks like:

screencap

The only thing is that my wiki is using that picture as well, so I had to upload a copy of the correct picture to the wiki and then link my pages to the new image (interestingly, the wiki software won’t let you upload two images of the same thing, so I had to change the original image first and then upload the old image, so for a few minutes the wiki was showing the new image). None of the wiki pages link to the old image anymore. So it was kind of a pain, but a fun way to send a message.

New Transit System

I have been riding MARTA every day for quite a while now, parking at the Avondale station and riding into work. But this week, something happened to the Avondale station. The “MARTA” signs now read “METRO” and our very simple transit map became more complicated with additional lines and stations I’ve never heard of. Yesterday signs went up over the escalators for the green and blue lines even though there is only one line that goes through Avondale (a blue line). Here is the system map posted in the station:

map

West East North South

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Saltair

As Susan and I were driving out to the Bonneville Salt Flats a few weeks ago, we skirted the southern end of the Great Salt Lake. It isn’t much to look at really, just a lake. As we drove I noticed an old building with onion domes on it between I-80 and the lake. It looked like maybe it was an arcade or something. Then today I was watching the ARTS channel on TV and they were starting a movie called Carnival of Souls (though they ended up only showing it for a few minutes, I guess for the organ music; I don’t understand the ARTS channel). I had never heard of it, but the on screen notes said it was a 1962 movie filmed in Salt Lake City at the abandoned Saltair pavilion. I looked the movie up on Wikipedia and it had a link to Saltair, Utah where I found out that the building I saw was actually Saltair III, built in 1981. Saltair II was the setting of the 1962 movie (which became a cult classic), but it burned in 1970, following in the footsteps of the original Saltair I, which was built in 1893 and burned in 1925. At one time it had the biggest dance floor in the country and was quite popular but fell on hard times. Saltair III, which is still there, is used sometimes for concerts and was built about a mile from the original location. All that is left of the original Saltairs are piles that the buildings sat on. One problem with a lakeside resort on the Great Salt Lake is that the extent of the lake varies quite a bit over time and Saltair III was sometimes flooded and sometimes a long way from the water. Wikipedia also points out that one of my favorite bands, The Pixies, wrote the song “Palace of the Brine” about shrimp that live in the lake and the “Palace” is Saltair. I had no idea about any of this as we drove out to Bonneville and I noticed a funky building with onion domes.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

I’ve always like the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and particularly the original recording by The Tokens. It was one of my first MP3 purchases. Since I have Wikipedia on my iPod, sometimes I will look up a song and find out about it (most songs don’t have articles, but some big ones do, “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones is one). Anyway, Wikipedia has a great article about “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, tracing the roots back to a South African Zulu who recorded a song called “Mbube” in 1939 (“mbube” is the Zulu word for lion). It had some local success and found its way around to different people interested in exotic folk music. The American folk singer Pete Seeger, of The Weavers, got hold of a copy of Mbube on 78 and started playing it at shows. Seeger took some creative license in naming the song “Wimoweh” (spelling “mbube” phonetically, which is pronounced “em boo beh”) and making a big band version of it in 1951, though that was probably just for the recording since The Weavers were a folk group and wouldn’t usually have an orchestra. Then in 1961, RCA modified the song that Seeger had popularized by adding English lyrics. This became “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” performed by The Tokens. It became even more popular at that point. Then it was reintroduced as part of The Lion King in 1994. An article in Rolling Stone in 2000 traced the history of the song and then a documentary was made in 2004. This brought attention to some of the lapses in paying the Zulu guy who originally made the song (and had never made much money off of it since the record company kept all the royalties). Seeger said he thought it was a traditional folk song and therefore no royalties would be due.

Anyway, the neat thing about having all the history of a familiar song is that you can go on You Tube and hear the different versions:

Makita Battery Pack

One of the early and best tools I bought when I got my house was a Makita cordless drill. I bought it as part of a combo pack that also included a cordless circular saw with a 3 and 5/8″ blade. That blade is too small to cut a 2×4, but is enough to cut through plywood, siding, and 1×4’s. I used it to cut siding for the garage and the back of my house. I use it sometimes when I have a bunch of limbs that I am trying to cut down to 4′ lengths, working very well on the tangle of limbs that is privet. But the batteries are really old now and don’t hold a charge for more than a few minutes. New batteries are very expensive: at least $50 for one. The nice thing is they have NiMH batteries with more capacity than the NiCad one I have, but those are about $70. This is kind of similar to my problem with VersaPak tools that I bought at about the same time, actually. I wound up paying extra for NiMH.
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Yellowstone Trip

Last weekend I got back from my trip out West to go to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I booked a room at Yellowstone last Fall and they were still mostly full already. I had a couple of days in Salt Lake City, so I got to see some sights around there as well, including the botanical gardens (which I saw last time, but during a different season), Golden Spike National Historic Site, and the Bonneville Salt Flats, one of the coolest places in the world.

After that it was off to Wyoming for the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, but we had to pass through Idaho, and also went up to the northern entrance, which is in Montana. Plus after Bonneville, we had continued a few miles further into Nevada, so I got to add 4 new states to my list of states I’ve visited.

I worked this week on a website for the trip and just got it ready (subject to change). It uses picture captions based on Wikipedia’s stylesheet. I had used a stylesheet with my movie reviews, and thought I would try one for a trip site this time.

Ted’s Yellowstone Web Page

Some sample pictures (bigger versions are available by clicking pictures on the website, but not here):

7-546_teton_road

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