Things I've done in the last 60 Hours

01.06.27 - Mark

Since Friday Morning:

I've driven 1171 miles from Mount Airy, NC to Columbia SC, then to Savannah, GA, to Atlanta, GA, Ashville, NC, and finally back Mount Airy (without suffering death or traffic citations)

Slept on a floor (twice)
Saw a Blue Man Group Concert (Amazing)
Visited Friends (always nice)
Walked around on Interstate 77 South (during a mysterious traffic standstill in South Carolina)
Participated in no less than 6 traffic jams (I hate South Carolinian drivers)
Ate plenty of good food (American, Indian, Asian, Italian)
Visited an Ikea (listened to Jonathan Coulton's "Ikea" song on the way in)
Listened to ten episodes or so of Escape Pod and Pseudopod (I should stop binge listening to them)
Listened to lots of music (everything from Rock, to Celtic, to Bollywood)
Managed to pick up my brother from college and return home without killing anyone or crashing the car

It's been an interesting three days

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DNS Swindling

15.12.47 - Mark

or, Never let a domain name you want to keep go into "Redemption Period"

I'm doing some web work for a local business, and when I met with them a couple days ago I quickly learned that they already had a domain name. I've actually found it pretty common for small business to have domain names but lack anything more than a place holder, if anything.

Anyways, I start checking to see what needs to be done to start building a usable site. Well it turns out, the domain name registration didn't get renewed, and the domain in question is locked into a special state of hell known as a "redemption period".

In theory, redemption periods are a good thing. Recently expired domain names don't instantly fall back into the public pool, but they also fail to work and are gradually removed from the system. If you forget to renew, didn't get the notices because of an out of control spam filter, failed to keep your DNS records perfectly up to sate, or some other semi-legitimate reason, you get the shock of learning your domain no longer works, but have the ability to buy redemption by paying a fee (all of this applies for the next phase "pending deletion", a more expensive period of hell I'm not going to delve into)

Now, what would be an appropriate fee? Most domain names on the web are registered at discount registrars, like GoDaddy, Yahoo, and others who sell domains for a little more than the wholesale cost of the domains. For most domains, wholesale cost is under $10. Looking into the Redemption Fee, it started out as being $85, with a goal of $40 after development costs were recovered. Seems fair enough, it's enough that if I'm ever hit with it, I'll be sure to renew in time. Except, that's not the pricing I'm seeing.

When I figured out my client's Registrar, iPowerWeb (who are only a domain name reseller for TuCows), and after finding nothing useful on their site, I called their tech support (in a word, miserable) and after half a hour of waiting learned that their redemption fee is $160! As far as I can tell, this is actually a pretty common number, but its eight times what my client probably paid to register the domain for three years, and four times what ICANN's wholesale target price is for redemption renewals, and twice what GoDaddy charges. Hell, it might be cheaper to let it expire and use various services to play the drop market (Good article about snatching up expiring domain names)

I'm not sure what my client is going to do. I laid out the options, but in all honesty I'm not sure what I'd do. This is lose, lose for the consumer.

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Introducing the iClamp

03.06.46 - Mark

My iBook, which has been out of service since the beginning of March has been kind of, maybe been fixed with a standard $2 woodworking C-clamp.

Not some Apple tech support guy, the issue was not resolved in store, or by calling Apple's technical support line. It wasn't fixed by using some specilized soldering station, not the replacement of a $300 motherboard. No a fucking C-clamp and a little padding. Un. Fucking. Believable.

iBook G4 fixed with a C-Clamp

The idea came from checking a blog post at the-set.com, where a bunch of iBook owners in the same situation have congragated, and where one commenter "fixed" his iBook with a clamp.

I want to know what the hell happened to Apple's quality control department. I've been fed all sorts of bullshit lines from how I spilled a liquid onto my laptop to completly unable to help. I was upset before. Now I'm fucking pissed.

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Boom Boom

13.19.25 - Mark

The unofficial Mount Airy Bomb Threat Count is up to 6 threats in ~10-12 weeks (depends on how you want to count the winter break).

2 at the High School
3 at the Middle School
1 at the Upper Elementary

While I've heard that people in the district administration like the idea of a distributed evacuation, they haven't built it into their existing plans. From what I've heard, all of the evacuations have been handled in the same way with the schools following existing procedure. I think it's good that they're attempting to follow a set protocol, each and every event despite how inane it must be getting, but if you feel the same way I do about large group evacuations, it is very, very disturbing.

If you have people willing to call in bomb threats, how long before people stop being vigilant and/or someone builds up the courage to do the real thing?

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What a bunch of muck...

16.34.45 - Mark

I'm glad I'm coming off of a long holiday break, because otherwise today would be unmistakably classifiable as painfully depressing and psychotic as opposed to the mild benign inanity I'm really feeling.

Classes went well enough, considering that one technically shouldn't have formed, and the teacher is supposedly doing it "pro bono" so a couple of of can finish on the degree on track. Of course, he also walked into class with the wrong book (something 2 editions old), and told us pretty much straight up that he wasn't sure how he was going to teach it. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of improvisation he's going to concoct tomorrow for the other class that shouldn't have come together. I doubt I'll like what I hear but at least it should prove to be amusing.

There's also the little thing about the school thinking I had dropped my enrollment. I have no idea why and lack the inclination to root out this one little problem in the sea of all the other grievances with the school. I'd only turn up blank stares, half truths, and vague comments about why I was "purged from the system." (their actual words) I wasn't happy about running all over campus for an hour to get one person to do punch a few keys to get me un-purged, so I could then give them money. Whatever, it was the easiest resolution. Stupid and mundane, but a resolution none the less.

I only wish enrolling at another community college was as easy. I've spent the better part of an afternoon trying to figure out how the hell I'm supposed to enroll as a distance education student at another college to make up the classes the local school cancelled. It's nice that the local HSU is willing to make exemptions to its typical cancellation hobbies for two or three students who still won't be able to graduate because they're still missing classes from other rounds of cancellations.

I think they're reusing some of the flawed "critical thinking" practices they used on me last October.

Plus my linux box is acting up. I probably should update it with a clean install of the latest Ubuntu distro and rework my way though a MythTV installation with my more linux friendly card but, well, umm err I guess I don't really have a good excuse, especially with the Spring TV lineup starting soon.

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