I don’t know what they’re up to, but I don’t like it.

Watching my logs scroll by (doesn’t everybody?) I see an awful lot of hits on obscure parts of my web site from the IP Grep back, and see that they’re evidently crawling my blog, and every link from my blog. And even weirder, every URL they grab they use the same URL in the referrer string – an obvious attempt to defeat one of those redirections that shows you a different page if you deep link something instead of going to it from the place you saw it referenced. – although wouldn’t it be simpler to use the page you found the link on instead? Further grepping shows that they did NOT get my robots.txt file. They’re also downloading the pages as fast as they can with no pause before getting the next one – it’s possible that they’re doing several simultaneous ones. Ok, three strikes, you’re out.

Into the /etc/http/conf/httpd.conf file, and a few well-placed
restart the server, and now Mister Badly Behaved (and probably Badly Intentioned) Crawler is getting a lot of 403s instead of pages.

Cool toy OTD

The new Google Maps service is very nicely interactive. You can drag maps around with the mouse instead of clicking and waiting for a refresh. Plus the directions search works extremely well, as does the “nearby business” search. Unfortunately it only supports Firefox and other Mozilla-based browsers and IE, but then again why would anybody want a browser other than Firefox?

One interesting quirk – if you ask for directions to ROC (it takes airport identifiers as well as addresses), it gives you directions to the general aviation area at the south end of the field off Scottsville Rd, instead of to the passenger terminal at the north end off Brooks Ave. I’m not sure why that would happen, since a web search for the airport’s name finds my flying club’s web page ranked well below the airport’s own web page, and the airport’s official address is on Brooks Ave, not on Scottsville Rd.

In other news, GMail must be about to come out of beta, because I suddenly have 50 invites to give out, instead of the usual 4-5. If you want a gmail invite, email ptomblin at gmail.com.

Weird flight last night

Last night’s commercial flight from Chicago to Rochester, there were a few strange things:

  • When they said we were over Buffalo, I looked out the window and I swear we were only about 8,000 feet up. I didn’t know jets got such gradual descents.
  • A few seconds before landing, we did a fairly abrupt left turn, about 30 degrees. It looked like it was well inside the outer marker, so I don’t think it was a turn to join the ILS. We landed on 4 and it seemed like we got to the 10-28 runway crossing pretty quickly. I wonder if they accidentally lined up on 7 and realized the mistake and turned to 4 as they crossed it? I hope not, because that would lose them about 3,000 feet of landing room.
  • And as I mentioned earlier, our baggage went missing. It showed up about 9:30 this morning. The agent in Rochester mentioned that over 10 bags missed the flight. Since there were two later direct flights, I’m not sure why our bags didn’t arrive later that night though.

I hate flying commercial.

Side effects matter

One of my cow-orkers used his new fancy GUI IDE that showed him that a variable wasn’t being used in my code, so he commented it out. Only one problem: the variable was one of a list of variables being retrieved from a SQL select statement, and like is common with these things, I was retrieving them with:

int a = rs.getInt(p++);
int b = rs.getInt(p++);
String c = rs.getString(p++);

Notice the problem there? If you comment out one of the getInts without removing the field from the select statement, you also lose the “p++”, so everything after it gets the wrong field stored. Which causes a pretty nasty little bug.

Thanks, guy. That’s a few hours of my life I’ll never get back.