Recent changes and plans for tokubetsu-jounin.net

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

So it's been a month since I updated again.

Life's been more than I can handle lately. There are days I don't even remember that I have a site, and I've been doing this for over a year now.

It's not fair, but that's the way it is. Even now, updating the site isn't a priority. But I've gotten a couple of messages lately I'd like to answer here.

One visitor wrote and asked what the deal is with the episode-by-episode seiyuu credits.

I've sometimes wondered that myself. :)
It's a sort of reference library. I use it myself frequently. It also serves me as good practice in becoming familiar with many kanji commonly used in Japanese names.
The episode pages also get a fair amount of visits from search engines, particularly from users searching for the lesser known seiyuu. The episode list may be unique in that it lists names both in the original Japanese and in romaji, and that it lists each episode individually. What help is it to know that seiyuu A played character B when you have no clue who character B was? Knowing which episode they were in can be a great help.

Then another person wrote and called me a "big headed idiot" for calling "someone who just wants to look at a picture" a "damned thief".

So I'm going to take this time to explain these things called bandwidth theft and hotlink protection.

So I have a lot of pictures on my site - one for each character in the character list. And the character list gets several visitors a day, and once in a while, someone decides that "Hey, that picture there of Orochimaru would make a great forum avatar," and they put in the URL to the picture of my site in their forum control panel or whatever.

So every time someone on that forum sees a post by that user, they load the image off my site, and approximately ten kilobytes of my site's bandwidth is used. If it's a forum with a lot of visitors, it can add up to quite a bit. And while my bandwidth is being used, I don't get any visits to my site.

Now, this part doesn't apply to tokubetsu-jounin.net because we are still a small site. You may have noticed that there are no ads. None. That's because I don't need to have ads. My host is cheap. I pay $2.50 a month for hosting. And I've never used more than 2% of my monthly bandwidth allowance. (Don't you just hate it when you get "bandwidth limit exceeded" errors?)

So, say that sometime in the future, traffic grows so much that I have to start paying more for my hosting. (Somehow I don't see that happening..) So I decide to put up ads - maybe those not-so-annoying Google AdSense ones. For every visitor to go to a page with an ad, I'd get a tiny bit of money, and the site would pay for itself.

But for every time an image of mine loads on another site, I'd get nothing. Maybe someone even copied my site, loading the images off my host, incurring great bandwidth usage that I'd have to pay for, without me getting any revenue. That is theft, pure and simple.

Of course you can argue that I have more bandwidth than I know how to use, and it makes no difference whatsoever if you use a little bit. Well, here's one thing. It annoys me. I look at the access logs for the site quite often, and I see that an image on my site is being used on some other site. That just annoys me beyond belief.

So I did the only thing I can, I turned on hotlink protection. Now whenever an image of mine is loaded from a site that I haven't allowed, instead of the image loading, it is replaced by an image saying "tokubetsu-jounin.net does not allow hotlinking. Use your own bandwidth, damn thief."

All's good so far, right?

Except that this person who was upset at being called a damn thief didn't view an image of mine on an unauthorized page. They looked at the character list as cached by Google.

This caused the images to be loaded from the cached page located on a Google server rather from tokubetsu-jounin.net, and thus, hotlink protection was invoked.

I'd like to allow this, because I know how useful it is to have words highlighted, or how utterly hilarious it is to run it through google's translator service (my favorite is "flying bamboo dragonfly"). So I've added the IPs I know of to the list of allowed referrers, but I do not have a full list, and they seem to be adding new ones. So I add them as I become aware of them. There's no need to call me a big headed idiot just because I'm not psychic and can't guess which one of Google's servers the page is cached on, and which IP address it has.

And just to make something clear.. If anyone wants an image off the character list, for a forum avatar or whatever, just take it. Save it to your hard drive, upload it somewhere on the 'net. As long as you aren't using my bandwidth for something that has nothing to do with my site, it's fine. I don't have any more right to the images than you do; they are just screenshots cropped and resized to 100x100 pixels. Anyone could make them in less than a minute. But I do own the bandwidth.

And don't forget that I can replace any image on my server with whatever I want. You'll think twice about hotlinking to my image of Orochimaru when your forum avatar suddenly turns into a teletubby.


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