South End Zone Info

The traffic on my South End Zone web site has been increasing steadily in recent years. I've always made South End Zone available for free since the beginning (25 years ago). It's fun and I enjoy doing it.

But in the spring of 2019, the bandwidth consumed on my web site was so high that I had to start paying for it. That was money coming out of my pocket each month to support the heavy use of my site. So, I couldn't keep doing what had worked well for over two decades. In April 2019, I finally spent some time digging into my logs to find out exactly what was happening. I quickly discovered that certain devices were absolutely hammering my iCal feeds. Just hammering them.

So let me take a step back and explain how these feeds work. An iCal feed is simply a text file written in a very specific format. I have many of them available: one for each NFL team, one for each division, etc. For example, this is my Steelers iCal feed: steelers.ics. Go ahead, click that link and take a look. You'll see some techie code in there, but look close enough and you'll see all the data and info about each game. That's it. That's an iCal feed.

I make the feeds (text files) available on my web site, and then a calendar program that knows how to read them can download a feed and put the events on your calendar (this happens when you subscribe to a feed). You can also download a feed manually and import the data into your calendar. So, to be clear, that's all I do on my end. I make these text files available and calendars all over the world download them and display the events.

So let's take a closer look at one specific example, the Green Bay Packers schedule. As a Packer fan, I subscribe to my Packers iCal feed. One of the cool things I do is that I update the scores of every game throughout the season. So I can look back at past games on my calendar and see the result. This works because my calendar periodically goes back and re-downloads the same text file, but each time it does this, the data in the text file has been updated. Another cool feature is that as the post-season unfolds, I add those games in the feed. So, the post-season games just appear on my calendar automatically.

More info coming...

Scott Crevier
scott@crevier.org
South End Zone Facebook
September 5, 2019