a weblog by Schuyler D. Erle

Tue, 26 Mar 2002

[18:35] What's in a Name? (Or, Greetings from São Tomé!)

So a number of people on OpenProjectsNet #wireless have commented on the relative uniqueness of this website's domain. The domain is, in fact, registered with nic.st, the domain registrar for São Tomé and Príncipe, or more formally, el Republica Democratica de São Tomé e Príncipe. (If you've read the CIA Factbook entry for São Tomé, you now know as much as I do about the country.) If you're curious to know what other word-like domains are available from .st, you can do what I did, which is to say, run the following shell command from a suitably equipped UNIX-like shell:

$ zcat words.gz | grep 'st$' | sed 's/st$/.st/' | while read i; do (whois $i | grep -q '^No entries found') && echo $i; sleep 60; done | tee list_of_st_domains.txt

... with the tee(1) so you get to watch the names go by. (If you don't have a words.gz, try mine -- it's got something like 234,000 words in it.) You can shorten the delay if you feel like life's too short, but be nice to the nic.st people.

Not that it's clear to me that anyone should be nice to the domain registrars. I cite the example of my new friend Mary Moore, who runs the Sonoma County Free Press, which used to be at www.sonomacountyfreepress.org. Now, Mary, bless her heart, is an old leftist activist from way back, and isn't especially tech-savvy. Needless to say, like many rational people, when her original Network Solutions registration of sonomacountyfreepress.org came up for renewal, she attempted to transfer the registration to register.com, since NetSol got fat and stupid from their monopoly days and can't be relied on to do anything right, besides charge your credit card when asked. Seriously, though, it's amazing to me that any corporation can get away with the incredible amounts of bureaucracy and stupidity that Network Solutions (now Verisign) makes its customers go through, and still have customers.

Well, register.com waited just long enough to cash Mary's check that NetSol had already expired the domain, so NetSol wouldn't let them transfer, a fact which for some reason register.com only saw fit to keep to itself. So nothing further came of it, until, six months later, when Mary's website went down. Why? Because the domain suddenly had a new registrant. A company based in Hong Kong called "Ultimate Search".

Huh? I mean, WTF is a Hong Kong company going to do with "sonomacountyfreepress.org"? They've had the domain for months, and there's still nothing there. The only conclusion that anyone can come up with is that these people are unscrupulous vultures with spiders on the hunt for expired domains. So, who's at fault here? NetSol? register.com? The vultures from HK? The whole stinking racket? The only mistake I can see that Mary made was inattempting to pay for something on the 'Net by mailing in a check, which I'm sure the register.com people had absolutely no idea what to do with. And what's her recourse now?

While you consider this meaty problem, I hope you'll excuse me; I think I'm going to go and pick up anarchosyndicali.st. Or perhaps anthropomorphothei.st.

(Thanks to Sean Burke for pointing out my high-bit encoding idiocies.)

[16:10] Homemade Ginger Ale

Today's quote of the day is brought to you by #perl's Sarah "boojum" Burcham, who had the following to say this afternoon:

I almost (honestly, seriously) just said, "Having my wisdom teeth out was like having my teeth pulled."

Which reminded me, boojum gave us a great recipe for homemade ginger ale. I really want to try this:

  1. Boil 1 cup water. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger. Boil/simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Steep for 20-30 minutes or longer if stronger flavour desired. Strain.
  3. Take ginger flavoured water. Rebring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir. Refrigerate in closed container and ready for use.
  5. To make sodas, just mix with club soda and ice, and stir.

[14:21] Nomination #1 for Better Living Through Technology: Pollstar

Ever have that somewhat frustrating experience of discovering that your favorite rock band has played their only appearance this year in your area the week after they've done it? Let Pollstar keep you informed of new and updated concert tour dates by e-mail. Now how cool is that?

On that note, can I just say I loathe Ticketmaster? Having been duly notified by Pollstar that Medeski Martin & Wood were coming to town, I went to Ticketmaster to get tickets. Hrm, let's see, two tickets, $26 a piece, okay, total $70?? Waitaminnit, why? Oh -- Ticketmaster wants a $6.95 per ticket handling fee? WTF for?! I still haven't bought the tickets.

[13:24] Yes, Even Kevin Mickle Has A Weblog Now

In part two of our ongoing review of brand-spankin'-new weblogs started late this month, I note that the illustrious Kevin Mickle of South Jersey local favorites Desiderata is bringing the web a daily dose of the Anti-K with his new weblog. Of particular interest is the beautiful picture he's posted of the New York City skyline. (I could have sworn there was a bigger version of it up yesterday. If you have a higher-res copy, lemme know.)

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