Bye Bye, Freeloaders

Don't Bogart My Bandwidth!

I received an email a couple of days ago from someone who thoughtfully noted that someone was stealing bandwidth from my by hotlinking to images in my /images directory. Effectively these people use your webserver to serve images for their websites. It’s tacky: kind of like filling your pockets with napkins and packets of ketchup when you go to a fast food restaurant. Any individual act is admittedly pretty trivial, but as of noon today, 546 images had been served to these people. Sigh.

A bit of research yielded a recipe for preventing this. Since I installed it a half hour ago, 46 further accesses have been routed to a banner image that will hopefully be less attractive.

All of my images are just a click away, but if you are going to swipe them, at least use your own bandwidth to distribute them.

Update: Two people have noted this broke reading from bloglines. I’ll fix it shortly.

Goofing around with Digital Infrared

Lake in Infra Red

I took one of the infrared photos that I took on my recent Sonoma trip and tried tweaking it a bit in gimp to make it appear more dramatic. Check out my photo gallery to see both my after and before pictures.

Basically, I took the original and stretched the contrast, then applied some color curve modification to make the darks darker and the lights lighter. I then cloned some of the existing texture to eliminate the vignetting that appears in the corner, and then did some local burn/dodge type modifications. I like the overall result quite a bit.

I didn’t notice this before, but you can see a bird just to the left of the rock in this shot quite learly. I snapped a picture of him later, but didn’t notice him when I took this picture.

Dave Slusher Hacks a $25 Digital Camera

Dave went out and bought himself a couple of those single use, $25 camcorders that CVS is selling these days, and hacked them to allow download of video. What is even better, he snapped video of the project and made it available for download.

Caveat: it appears to be encoded in some kind of Quicktime 7 specific codec. I haven’t bothered to get Quicktime 7 on my laptop, since it is beta still for Windows, but I did notice that it will play nice using VLC. Hooray for VLC!

Can you tell when people lie to you?

Lisa WIlliams provided an interesting link to this Science article which suggests that most people are very poor at detecting liars. Catastrophically, most people actually think they are good at detecting lies.

Kind of like how more than half the drivers on the road think they are above average in skill.

Or, in the same vein:

“Thus, those who are skilled think that they are skilled because they are competent to judge. Those who are unskilled think that they are skilled because they are incompetent to judge. Therefore, whoever you are, you think that you are skilled, and there is no internal way of finding out if you are deluding yourself. The possibility that we are, in fact, all duffers goes a long way toward explaining the sorry state of so many things in the world, in spite of the fact that we each think we could do better if only we had some say in the matter.”

Jef Raskin

Oakland A’s back on top of the AL West

Oakland AthleticsWell, after a couple of weeks where they seemed to be firmly in reverse, the A’s have won five games in a row and are now back atop the AL West, courtesy in part to the Angel’s complete collapse against the Devil Rays. After trying for the sweep today against Baltimore, the A’s will go to Anaheim and then return for a home series against the Yankees. I’ll be out there cheering this weekend.

Update: A’s complete the sweep: 10-5 in 12 innings.

Katrina comes ashore

As I awaken, news reports are coming in from Lousiana and Mississippi regarding hurricaine Katrina. It doesn’t sound too good. They lowered the storm swell expectation in New Orleans from 28 feet to 15, but it still sounds dangerous. Winds have been clocked at 135 mph. I hope that everyone (including any Brainwagon readers) are sheltering in safe locations.

Update: Boing Boing has this link to the New Orleans metblog.

My Day

Lake at Jack London State Park, Sonoma

Most of the time when I bother to blog about things that are going on in my life, I tend to do it in the form of an impromptu podcast. Today my wife woke me up and said that we should go out to Infineon Raceway and catch the qualifying for tomorrow’s Indy Racing League event. We had these discount coupons, and it sounded like it might be fun. But it turns out that our coupons were only good if we bought a pass for the whole weekend, so we decided to avoid the huge crowds and expense, and instead just bummed around Sonoma (which I hadn’t really done before). We ended up sampling cheese at the Sonoma Cheese Factory, hiked a bit in Jack London State Park, finished the day with a diet friendly meal at Fresh Choice in Novato, and just generally relaxed.

Oh, and I took pictures too. Sonoma is nice, and a little less… serious than Napa.