Domain Squatters Stink

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My previous post (3 years ago!) mentioned that discountdomainregistry was a bit wonky. Turns out they were circling the drain, and about 2 years ago were bought by web.com.  For some reason my “mecodegoodsomeday.com” domain didn’t come along with my other ones, and I had a difficult time convincing them I was the owner of the account, which interfered with my ability to renew the domain until…da da dum, a domain squatter (from Japan, of all places) registered my domain, and won’t let me have it back.  The web.com folks in charge of the snafu apologized to me, but didn’t make it better.  I’m bummed out.

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Something’s up with my DNS provider

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I use(d) discountdomainregistry as my DNS host for mecodegoodsomeday.com and cheapimpostor.com. I got a weird spam from someone claiming to be them asking me to change my password, and shortly after, saw their site was either defaced, hijacked, or otherwise wonky.  It’s now down, and so are the DNS records for my two sites.

Hmmm.  Wonder what I should do?  Wait another day or two and find another host and try to migrate them?  It’s a puzzling state of affairs! Searching the web, I don’t see tons of other folks with my problem – I see a few tweets about the issue, so I know it’s not a “personal problem.”

[edit] Seems to be working fine now, though maybe under new management.  Feels a little iffy, but functional.

Revisiting my data+voice connection options

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I currently use Comcast for Internet, Broadvoice for VOIP phone service, and AT&T with Edge for my mobile data (1st generation iPhone).  I decided to preorder an iPad.  The thought of another $30/month in data fees to get the iPad online while I'm on the road has me reconsidering all of my data connection options. So, I decided to get the Wifi only iPad, and figure out a better way.

I've decided to take up Verizon, Sprint and Clear on their "try it and return it if you don't like it" offers. So, for the next month I've got the Verizon MiFi, and the Sprint 3G/4G Overdrive, and for the next week, the Clear 4G home service plus 4G USB modem.
My goals are to get decent internet access from all of my devices, even when I travel (Chicago, D.C., California, sailing in the San Juans, camping), break even, or reduce my monthly bills, and have access to decent international calling rates. I'm planning on using a non-data plan SIM card in my iPhone, and use WiFi to access the internet from my data modem.
So, I'll carry these three devices around and take measurements, and report them here, along with reporting on ease of use and total billing for the various options.  I'm a bit shocked how similar it all pencils out, regardless of whose service I go through — it smells a lot like collusion in the market, but that's another topic.

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just joined the iPhone borg…

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When the iPod touch was announced, I preordered one immediately — I didn't jump on the iPhone bandwagon because I didn't hate my cell provider, and I disliked the idea of being bound to ATT — I thought I wanted an iPhone without the phone. They said the touch would ship in late September, so I preordered and thought I had a few weeks to think about it.


Last Thursday I decided to cancel the order – the thing that most excited me about the iPod Touch was the ability to install 3rd party applications, not the 16 megabytes of storage, which is the only advantage over the iPhone, on the other side, it lacks a camera, speaker and microphone. Then, thinking more, I thought that the iPhone's "hacking scene" was going to stay more vibrant than the iPod touch's, mostly due to the challenge of carrier lock-in.  The final straw was when I thought of a way to get a cheaper plan than the $110/month "family plan" that was the minimum one Apple or ATT offered with the iPhone: which is to get a normal cheap AT&T family plan, then, as an existing customer, add an iPhone for $20. So, for $10 more per month than we were paying T-Mobile, I get unlimited data with my iPhone.

I picked up the phone at the AT&T store, then went to the Apple store to check out the accessories. What do I see there on the counter of the genius bar?  A stack of iPod Touches!  Boy am I glad I canceled my order — they were probably about to ship mine!  Worse still (or better, given my decision), it would seem the "jailbreak" operation that allows you to install 3rd party applications on the iPhone does not just work on the Touch. Zoinks would I have been frustrated.

On the other hand, doing the jailbreak on my iPod wasn't a walk in the park.  I found couldn't just do it by following directions — John L. could plug mine into his machine and do it, so I knew I had a shot, but it took a while.  I finally had to delete iTunes and reinstall it from the .dmg file to reset the weird state my machine was in.

Now I'm a happy 3rd-party-application-running iPhone owner.

My favorites so far:

AppTapp installer (the bootstrapping operation to get stuff on, and a very nice package manager)
Lights off – a gorgeous logic game. Apple could have designed it.  
FiveDice – a very nice implementation of Yahtzee.
Term-vt100 – the best terminal app, silly, but also very cool.
NES – an NES emulator. Not perfect, and the touch-screen controls are tricky, but shows lots of promise. M.U.L.E.! Solar Jetman doesn't work on it yet — I'll donate something to the project.
Summerboard – once you have this many applications, summerboard lets you flick through your applications.

There's a lot of not so good things out there too — proof of concepts, and "gee, look what I can do" — kind of like the early Macintosh games. But the above titles give me hope that this platform will last for a while.

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