Blocking Hotlinking of Images by Other Websites

There have been several cases of external websites embedding images from this website directly into their pages. Known as hotlinking, this results in bandwidth being used up on this website, for the traffic belonging to another website. Hotlinking is essentially stealing of bandwidth from another website, which someone else (or me, in the case of this website) has to pay for. Up until now I have been fairly relaxed about this, after all, some of these external pages were discussing projects on this website and providing inbound links. However, I have also had totally non-related websites hotlinking websites. Most recently, a classified listing on another website was using a photo of my old Compaq Presario in order to sell their item. Not only is this non-related traffic, but the photo shown in the advertisement was most certainly not of the item being sold; something that could be misleading to prospective buyers (it's clearly not a company promotional shot, so the assumption would be that it is the second hand item being sold). With this latest incident I decided that I was fed up with others stealing my bandwidth for non-related websites, and any page that hotlinks to this website now shows the following image:

Improving this Website's Usability

A screenshot of the new and improved HDRLab website
A screenshot of the new and improved HDRLab website.

This website has undergone some changes recently in order to improve its usability. In chronological order, they are:

Improving Website Navigation/Usability

Don't make me think by Steve KrugRegular visitors may have noticed the addition of drop-down menus on the navigation bar above. This was suggested to me by my brother, who correctly pointed out that this would make it easier to navigate this website. Indeed, examining the server logs shows that many visitors are already using it to jump to the sub-section of greatest interest. Previously, they had to click on a section, and then choose the desired sub-section in order to get to what they wanted. Not only do the new menus save time, they also give an instant overview of what the major topics of this website are, thus making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. The menus were implemented using the Simple Drop-Down Menu code found on this page.

Adding More Graphics/Images the Easy Way

One of the first things that is taught in publishing is the importance of white space and visuals. Too much text can be off-putting to a reader, particularly with modern "I want it now" attitudes. A simple picture depicting the main concept that a page wishes to convey could help to not only convey that concept, but also make the page visually more appealing, and thus, more likely to be read. Likewise, having sufficient white space (or blank space if the background is a different colour) ensures that the page does not look crowded.

Using FeedFlare with Silverstripe

This blog now uses FeedFlare to add "sharing" links to the bottom of every blog entry (see the bottom of this blog entry). FeedFlare is a feature of FeedBurner, which is a tool/service designed to help increase traffic to blogs. The idea behind FeedFlare is to make it easy for people to share blog posts with friends. For example, a Digg user can "Digg this" post, simply by clicking on the "Digg this!" link. No need for them to manually copy the URL. People are more likely to do something if it is easy and takes little time.

Site Redesign

I've redesigned the website to encompass more of my interests. My interests and projects stretch far beyond just Amiga OS 4. Therefore making this one of the main sections simply made expanding this site difficult. Hence, I have changed the site's structure, before such changes become major overhauls. The lack of visitors at present makes this easier; there are no external links that will be screwed up by this change.