Where did the pictures go?

The beginning

When this website started, there were no pictures. I didn't know how to include them for one thing, and since almost all of the content is text-based, they didn't seem urgent.

Eventually, some pictures arrived and my modem went into meltdown as everyone tried to see who this person was who wrote this rubbish. This wasn't very good. But then the entire site moved to its current home on this site, which has lots of bandwidth. So bandwidth was less of a problem and gradually other pictures arrived: Geysir in Iceland, pictures I thought were sweet, and a variety of pictures to illustrate bug reports which I had filed.

The problem

Over the years, from 2000 or so, I saw more pictures crop up in referrer records. When, out of curiosity, I followed them, I was not entirely ecstatic at the links and context. Of those linking or framing pictures of me, nearly every reference has been a discussion about appearance and whether Linux hackers or ugly bitches can ever expect to get laid. I can't do a lot about what people say about me. But I strongly resent their assumption that I will pay for the bandwidth to promote these discussions.

The final straw was the discovery that someone had made a link to an 80+kb picture of mine (which was there to illustrate a bug report about a card game in Gnome), to fit into a space on their webpage which is 80x80 pixels wide. It looks like... well, it looks ridiculous at that size. But regardless, it generated almost half a gig of traffic for me in one month alone. Thousands and thousands of hits, and very nearly 50% of the total traffic from my site.

The solution

The solution is simple enough, it transpires.

  1. Remove or chmod every picture on the site which serves no particular purpose.
  2. Learn to use mod_rewrite and .htaccess files for the rest.

So that's what I did. If it seems to you that you have found a picture (or, at least, a gap where there should have been a picture), which should not have been affected by this, let me know. Use the address at the bottom of my homepage, but use the account name pics. I shall try my best to sort out the problems. However, given the context I kept finding the pictures and links in, I don't think most of them will ever return. The pictures were only ever an adjunct to the site, so I am not convinced that they are really that necessary.

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