dmuth's blog

Apache RewriteRules 101

If you run your own machine, you probably don't want to use Apache as a webserver. Its configuring is complex, arcane, and it sucks up memory like a Microsoft toaster. There are lighter, faster alternatives out there, such as Nginx or thttpd. But, if you buy webserver from someplace, you'll probably be forced into using Apache, and will be for the foreseeable future. That being said...

What is a rewrite rule?

A rewrite rule is a way that Apache can rewrite an incoming request "on the fly". In essence, a user can ask a webserver for one file, and the webserver can serve up a completely different file to the user instead.

Isn't this like a redirect?

No, a redirect is when the webserver tells a user, "that's not the file you want, you need to go over here", at which point the browser loads the new URL. Redirects aren't always desirable, especially of the files/PHP scripts/whatever are currently living a temporary location.

Why would I want to use one?

Let's say you're installing an app that somebody else wrote, and the app lives under /very-long-application-name. You could use a rewrite rule so that users could go to /short-app-name, and Apache would rewrite that request behind the user's back to be /very-long-application-name. And the best part is that this is transparent to a properly built application.

Another example is maybe you're starting up a video "tube" site, and you want to have the smallest embed code possible for sharing videos. Problem is, the video player lives at http://mysite/app/version1.0/video/player.swf. You could use a rewrite rule so that http://mysite/player.swf is rewriting to the longer URL. And what's even better is that when you release version 2.0 of the video player, you can just update the rewrite rule, and everybody will start seeing version 2.0 of your player.

Is this really used in real life?

Yep. The best example I can think of is Drupal. When you load a URL from a Drupal-powered site, such as, that is really rewritten by Apache to be Regardless which URL you load, Drual sees that the variable $q is really set to "drupal-6.6". It doesn't care which URL was used.

Okay, so how do I do it?

Ah, here's the good part. The first thing you need to do is put the following in your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On

If doing this gives you a "500 Server Error" when you try to load a webpage, go ask your web host to enable mod_rewrite. If they refuse, I would suggest moving to a webhost that doesn't suck.

Now, let's say you wanted to rewrite the path to your video player, as described in the example above:

RewriteRule ^player.swf$ /app/version/1.0/player.swf

Note the "^" and "$" in the "left hand side" of that rewrite rule. That tells Apache to match ONLY the string "player.swf", and not "/path/to/player.swf". This will prevent an infinite loop wherein that string is matched over and over. (Infinite loops are bad, m'kay?)

Most Drupal configurations have something like this:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?q=$1 [L,QSA]

That's some pretty advanced stuff there, and it uses a new directive, "RewriteCond". RewriteCond allows you to do 1 or more levels of matching in addition to the matching in the RewriteRule line. In this case, if the URI that the user attempts to load is neither a valid file nor a valid directory, then it is rewritten as index.php with the original URL passed in as $q.

I hope that this post was helpful, and saves you from going through some of the pain that I went through when learning how rewrite rules work. Smiling If this wasn't enough pain for you, full documentation on Apache rewrite rules can be found on their official site at:


Average: 2.6 (8 votes)
Your rating: None

Vint Cerf's Twitter account... hacked?

I've gotten quite into the Twitter thing lately. I'm following close to 100 people, someone of whom I know, some of whom I think are interesting. It's not unlike LiveJournal, except that the messages are smaller and the time to ramp up your number of followers (and people you follow) is much shorter.

One of the people I follow on Twitter is Vint Cerf. For those whom the name does not ring a bell, Vint is best known as the father of the Internet. No, really. Among his other accomplishments, he is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocol suite. Those two protocols form the backbone of the Internet as we know of. If you load a webpage, send an email, or receive an IM message, you just made use of TCP/IP. The protocol is quite robust and has aged as newer technologies such as the web and Instant Messaging made use of it.

That being said, I noticed some really strange messages coming from Vint Cerf's Twitter feed over the last day or so (

As of this writing, there have been over 45 such messages, which are all variants of what's above. Most of those links (ab)use the site and will cause you to end up on the site, which appears to be a website that searches eBay. (Yeah, I think their site looks like crap too.)

Of course, I think I need to step back and ask what may be an obvious question: is that account really owned by Vint Cerf? I do not know the gentleman personally, nor do I know anyone else who knows him. While this account appears to be legitimate, there is also the possibility that it could have been an attempt to impersonate him, gather loads of Twitter followers, and then spam them with ads.

If there's a lesson to be learned from this incident, it is this: Trust, but Verify.

Maybe what Twitter and other online services need to introduce is some sort of "web of trust" system, not unlike what PGP, GnuPG, and others use. If you know someone's identity because you know them in real life, you could mark their account as "certified". Then, if someone else wanted to trust you to "verify" someone else's identity, they could do so. Who you trust (and if you trust the people they trust) is up to you.

Ironically, despite being the Father of the Internet, I could not find a working email for Vint Cerf. I'm sure he would get LOTS of email, so I can understand if he didn't publish it. Does make it harder to get in touch with him, though...

No votes yet
Your rating: None

Twitter, JetBlue and Furries

Let it never be said that JetBlue doesn't have a sense of humor:


And JetBlue's response, from

I guess that means we'll need to check our fursuits?

No votes yet
Your rating: None

FurFright 2008 Con Report

Well, FurFright 2008 has come and gone, and what a blast it was!

Farraptor, Kojac, and Finnish Fox

From a socializing standpoint, this convention was a success. The hotel had an atrium in the center which made for a great gathering point, and since the security desk was also there, I got to bump into a great many people even while on duty. This made the con much more enjoyable as "work" was less like "work".

Random people I chatted with (and some I met for the first time at the con): Shortwave> (Thanks for the glowsticks!), Oryx Gazella, Gray Wolf, Vega (sorry about having a mouth full of Oreos), Petercat, Uncle Kage, Grandma Kage, Grandpa Kage, Finnishfox, Kojac, Canus Lupus, Midori, Creature, Davin Warter, Farraptor (It's not every day when I meet someone for the first time when they're in fursuit), and Tilt Longtail (it was nice meeting you OUT of fursuit!).

Keapano, Raff, and Tamen, it was a pleasure meeting you folks for the first time. I hope you'll be able to make it out to more furry cons.

Fennecus Kitsune, it was also cool meeting you for the first time.

Benji, it was good seeing you again for the first time in what, 3 years? Smiling

Keapano in the Fursuit Parade The Bride and Duncan the Dog Loki, Farraptor, Kojac, and Amalthea

Wallaby, Bleis, and Red XIII Loki drives the batmobile Loki on his Motorcycle

As I was working security with the Dorsai Irregulars, I got to see some familiar faces there, both DI and non-DI. Steve Simmons, Renegade, and Carol Gobeyn were all present, as were Dave Stein, Xander, Kasi Frost, Furp, Mrianti, ToraCub, and the rest of you.

Mrianti and Sgt. Steve

Athy and Cliff Husky, you guys completely cracked me up at Cakecon. Yes, Cakecon. It was a real life party with cake. Lots of cake.

Cake Con flier Cake Con Cake Con

If you made it this far, then you're probably looking for my full dump of pictures. They can be found on Flickr at

For a final photo, this is Tilt Longtail and Grandma Kage, reenacting a famous picture:

Tilt Longtail kisses Grandma Kage

My head asplode.

So anyway, I'm looking forward to next year's FurFright.

I'm also looking forward to Midwest Fur Fest next month. I hope to see everyone there!

Average: 2.2 (5 votes)
Your rating: None

Weekend, ConClave visit, and BBQ

Allow me to sum up my weekend with this picture:


I flew up to Detroit for the weekend to briefly stop by ConClave 33 as well as hang out with the Michigan furries at Gir Tygrin and Nik Vulper's place.

The lasers above were courtesy of Skan, who brought by his laser equipment and smoke machine.

I flew into Detroit on Thursday night and was pleased to learn that the sh*tty Smith Terminal there (complete with torn seats and ratty carpeting) has since been closed down. Having been around since the 1940s, it definitely outlived its usefulness, and needs to be destroyed. Sticking out tongue

I stopped by ConClave briefly on Friday evening to visit some folks and then briefly on Saturday morning for the Big Argument Dorsai Irregulars business meeting. Somehow I wound up becoming responsible for the DI website during that meeting. Did I hear someone whisper, "Yet another Drupal installation"? That's what it sounded like to me!

Then it was off to Gir and Nik's place for cooking meat with fire, beer, and games. Ciaphas, Gen Talon, Ed Hyena, and AndrewNeo were all present, as were some local furs not all of who I know on LiveJournal. Sticking out tongue

BBQ Rockband 2

Chilling in the basement Gir BBQs

Later in the evening (read: after 1 AM), I played a little Dead Rising and had fun killing zombies. I hear the game is coming out for the Wii and can't wait for it.

Also, I need to never sing in Rockband 2 again. I completely failed at that.

As always, my full dump of pics can be found online at

Thanks for having me over, guys.

Average: 2 (2 votes)
Your rating: None

KainCon Report

I drove down to Virginia for KainCon this past weekend and made a few side trips along the way.

On Friday night, I met up with Loki for dinner. It was the first time I really got to hang out with him since he got out of the military.

I made it down to Kain's place late Friday night and hung out through early Sunday afternoon. I got to see Creature, Davin, and Drakien again. Bill Cosby Stahi was around, too. Talyn was also there.

There was something about a pretty crazy game of Wii Tennis with Sir Kain, who totally stomped me in a Best 3 of 5 match.

On Saturday evening, we took a trip to the Todai sushi buffet, and I saw this on the way out:

Got soy sauce?

More pictures from KainCon:

Wii Sports kaincon Creature

The full archive of pics is at, for anyone who is interested. I also created a Flickr group for KainCon photos at

On Sunday, I went a little out of my way to visit Reuven in Maryland. It was the first time I saw him in uh, about 3 years or so. We grabbed a late lunch and got to play catchup on recent events in our lives.

I finally got home just after 9 PM that night. It was a fun and busy weekend.

Average: 2.7 (6 votes)
Your rating: None

Convention Meme / Convention Staff Meme

Since people seem to be posting what conventions they went to, I suppose I'll do the same.

Anthrocon: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Camp Feral: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
ConClave: 2005, 2006, 2007
Confluence: 2006, 2007, 2008
DexCon: 2006
Eurofurence: 2004
FurFright: 2006, 2007
Furry Connection North: 2008
KainCon: 2006(?)
MagFest: 2007, 2008
MarCon: 2007, 2008
Midwest FurFest: 2002, 2003
Otakon: 2003

Years with links are where I have photos online. Bolded years are where I worked staff.

So that's 34 conventions in all. And I was staff at 22 of those conventions. Wow.

And there are still more conventions I'd like to add to that list. Megaplex, Confusion, and Penguincon, for starters. And FurCoNZ, too. (I've never been to New Zealand before!)

Oh, and the next couple of months will be busy for me, as I'll be attending the following cons:

KainCon - A gaming con run out of Sir Kain's house over a weekend.

ConClave 33 - A science fiction con in Michigan. This is considered the "home" con for the Dorsai Irregulars, so I'm looking forward to seeing many other DI there.

FurFright - A halloween-themed furry connection in Connecticut.

Midwest FurFest - The big furry convention held out in Chicago just before Thanksgiving. I'm pleased to be returning here after missing it for the last few years.

I'll hope I'll get to see folks I know at at least one of those conventions! Sticking out tongue

Average: 3.8 (10 votes)
Your rating: None

Our $20,000 Grant

So, on Friday night we at the Save Ardmore Coalition were officially presented with our $20,000 Grant from the State of Pennsylvania:

From left to right: Ken Haskin is in the white shirt, I'm in the green shirt (with the shaved head), Scott Mahan is in the black shirt, Si Simons is in the peach colored shirt, and Sharon Eckstein is immediately to his right. It was nice of everyone to wear different colored shirts!

I have no idea why the check is dated last December. Ah, Bureaucracy.

Also, some local folks swung by:

Omnibahumut, Me, Dolph, and Uncle Kage

Yes, that's a Dolph plushie I'm holding. It's a long story. (But thanks for the hookup, Wolfspawn3!)

Oh, the Philly Phanatic stopped by too:

The Philly Phanatic

Yes, he's standing in traffic on Lancaster Ave. Fursuiters, please do not do this at the next con. Sticking out tongue

If anyone would like to see the full set of my pictures, they're at:

The user Mainline Clicks also took a bunch of photos of the event:

The Ardmore VFW was also selling "social memberships", which I took advantage of and purchased one. So if of you vets out there decide to visit me, I can take you to meet other vets and drink with them. Sticking out tongue

Average: 3.7 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

So... we're getting $20,000...

And by "we", I mean The Save Ardmore Coalition. The state of Pennsylvania will be giving us a $20,000 grant in just over a week. I could talk about this more, but pasting in our press release is easier. Smiling

AUGUST 25, 2008


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The Save Ardmore Coalition is pleased to announce that we are to receive a grant in the amount of $20,000 from The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on Friday, September 5th, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Ardmore VFW in Ardmore, PA during our First Friday Main Line event with the American Troop Support Team (ATST).

This grant has been awarded to the Save Ardmore Coalition by State Representative Daylin Leach (149th PA), and is via the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Community Revitalization Program. $10,000 of this grant will be used towards a Community Mural and other streetscape beautification efforts.

State Representative Leach has be very supportive of the efforts of Save Ardmore Coalition in the community, and through this grant the Save Ardmore Coalition will be able to further its efforts as a group.

So please join State Representative Daylin Leach and members of the Save Ardmore Coalition in the shadow of the buildings in Historic Ardmore that we fought successfully to save from Eminent Domain for Private Gain. Join us as we take yet another definitive step forward into the future.

For more information on First Friday Main Line, please visit their website at
Save Ardmore Coalition P.O. Box 453 Ardmore, PA 19003

Average: 2.3 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

How to get custom ringtones on a Verizon Motorola Razr v3m phone

Getting new ringtones on your Razr without paying $1.99 or whatever Verizon charges is easy.

Send an email to, with the MP3 as an attachment.

When it arrives on your phone as a PIX message, the file has already been converted to the AAC format, and can be saved with the "Save Sound" choice under the Options menu.

It will now appear in your list of ringtones.

Thanks to this trick, my phone now has Dolph the Fascist Hippo ringtones on it. Guaranteed to confuse friends, co-workers, and family members alike!

Average: 3.3 (8 votes)
Your rating: None