Stopping hotlinking

Someone on a Fark thread used one of my pictures of Heather Carolin in an image tag. Then he linked to an different site, could have at least given me some traffic. This is called hot linking and is a bad thing. I served that picture 16000 time this month.

But there is an easy solution which I thought I’d share. You can put an .htaccess in your picture directory and put the following lines in it.

IndexIgnore *
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://reactuate.com.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.reactuate.com.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|bmp)$ – [F]

Of course replace my domain with yours. The IndexIgnore * line actually just doesn’t allow people to look at the contents of the directory by entering a URL ending in a /. The rest blocks serving of images.

There were a couple of sources for this. First was the Dreamhost knowledge base. Dreamhost is the greatest webhost ever.

Another source was this guide to htaccess. Be proactive and don’t let this happen to you.

One Nation Under God

I was making a comment at Les Jones’ Blog about the Supreme Court’s hearing of the one nation under God phrasing and a thought occurred to me. If the Supreme Court ruled that the government couldn’t invoke God, does that mean any legal document that does is invalid? If so is the Declaration of Independence invalid and now we are part of England again? But that would invalidate the Constitution and all our laws which would mean the Supreme Court couldn’t make that ruling.

Well I’m a programmer and not a lawyer so I’m not sure how that would work. Sounds like an infinite loop to me.

Written while listening to “Heaven”
album MTV Unplugged
by Bryan Adams

Website overhaul


I know I said the next business related thing I’d talk about was Incorporation, but, since I haven’t done it and may not, I’m going to skip it right now.

Instead I’m going to talk about my latest product release. I did a minor bug fix update to Suck It Down last week. At the same time, I’d put the finishing touches on my new streamlined website. You see a while back I read a PDF I downloaded by Seth Godin called “Fixing Micah’s Site”. Before reading this booklet my company website was a blog, a strait Nucleus website a lot like Reactuate. Even the links to product information in the side bar were permalinks to blog entries.

I don’t think I realized how bad it was until I changed it.

As I said awhile back, I decided to redesign it and went out looking for a designer. I found one that created a new logo for me but I couldn’t afford a site redesign, so I ended up doing it myself. [R.A.D. Productions.net] It turned out OK. I’m still not totally happy with it, but it serves it purpose well. More on that in a minute.

One thing about the design. I decided to make it not look like your typical Mac developer website. Instead I went with bolder colors and “heavier” use of them. I’m not sure if it works to not.

First thing I decided when I started the design was to focus on getting people to buy Suck It Down. That was the main purpose of the whole site. I think it is pretty unlikely people are going to buy the software without trying it out. But I give them the opportunity anyway. Buy and download links are right next to each other on every page.

When people come into the first page of the site they have the opportunity to download or buy our products. No searching or multiple clicks to get what they want.

I also added a lot more about why they should buy it to the Suck It Down page. In the past, I had a prose spiel and little bulleted list of features. Now I have a spiel and a list of problem solutions.

And it seems to be working. Since I announced the availability of the update – which in and of itself really shouldn’t motivate people to buy who haven’t before – I’ve had registrations equal to what I normally have in a month. So about a 4x increase in sales.

What else have I done to improve sales? I created a better disk image to deliver the product. When you download the software you get a better user experience. You have to approve the license and then you are presented with a window with instructions on how to drag install the product. I even completely removed the Read Me file from the image. First, 90% of people don’t read it, and second, those that do didn’t really get much information anyway.

I didn’t make any changes to the UI of the app to encourage purchasing yet. I’ll do more of that in the future.

Voting


Its come time for me to endorse a candidate for congress in my newly minted super-republican congressional district.

I looked at all the candidates website and find they all agree on the issues. Kind of weird, now how to I pick?

I was going to go with Ted Poe, but I read an article in the Kingwood paper about his performance at a forum they gave recently. Poe was a rather famous judge here in Houston who gave interesting and appropriate punishments. He also used to go to my church, so I’ve know of him at least most of my life. Apparently a while back a story came out in the Houston Press that said he had an extra-martial affair.

Someone asked him to comment on it at the forum. He said he wasn’t going to talk about it and neither denied or admitted he did it. Which everyone takes to mean he did. But the real problem is that’s a politician’s answer. And all his followers got mad people even asked. Republican hypocrites. It mattered when it was Bill Clinton, but it doesn’t if it’s Ted Poe?

And do we really need another lawyer and career politician in Washington?

So I’m not endorsing Poe. So who else?

Hit the web. The other candidates are:

George Fastuca. He’s spent a lot of money on signs, almost as much as Poe. So he’s got lots of name recognition. But look at his resume. He was a VP of finance at Enron. Now that doesn’t mean he was crooked, and it takes some balls to admit it on your website. But come on.

Mark Henry is a buisness man, which works in his favor in my eyes. A veteran and a Baptist.

Andrew Bolton is another lawyer and a Mormon. And his web site is ugly and hard to use.

John Nickell is a former Marine, a cop and an arms dealer since the eighties according to the Observer. And he seems kind of pissed off about government as usual. So I’m voting for him. I’m kind of pissed about government as well.

I really can’t lose. All the candidates agree on the issues I think are most important. They are all Pro-Life. All Pro-Gun. All support Bush.

Written while listening to “Sample In A Jar”
album Hoist
by Phish