Domain registrar hijackers! There should be a law!

Got another one of these in the mail today and I can’t tell you how much it pisses me off! Obviously, *I* know better, but I wonder how many unsuspecting folks fall for this type of scam. Basically, the company sends you this official looking *invoice* titled “Domain Name Expiration Notice”. As you can see, it has a decent amount of long blocked text; long enough that some might skim over it.

They start off saying that your domain name is due to expire in the next few months. Sure, in the second sentence they truthfully say, “When you switch today…”, but I would bet that there are many people who have domains, but don’t totally understand how the system works and will totally fall for this scam. Another gem from the invoice is “This notice is not a bill. It is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration…” More like an easy way to get tricked.

IMHO this is deception of the worst kind. It preys on the unsuspecting. I don’t have a problem with companies trying to get you to switch registrars, but this is a clear attempt to trick you into switching.

What’s even crazier is that they want $30 a year!!! Geez!

If you see one of these in the mail. Toss it immediately. Do not be duped! Your true domain registrar will *email* you. Of course, I think everyone should use HotpointDomains.com, but that is a shameless self-promoting plug.

Jaiku goes open source. No more active development by Google

According to this post by Google, they are no longer going to actively develop Jaiku and will release the engine as an open-source project.

As we mentioned last April, we are in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. After the migration is complete, we will release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code under the Apache License. While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live on thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers.

Well, I guess it could be worse. I still like Jaiku. Hopefully, this won’t affect TwitKu.com

WordPress, domain forwarding and masking

See also my post on speeding up your WordPress site!

I put a lot of thought in how I wanted to handle my WordPress blog and my SeriouslyTrivial domain name. I decided to pony up the $10/year and do the official WordPress domain mapping instead of doing a domain forward. Here’s why:

Domain Forwarding Only: This just redirects the domain name to the WordPress URL, so visitors and search crawlers still see http://spice3d.wordpress.com. The real downside is that if I ever move off wordpress.com, I couldn’t mimick the old site URLs on my own. The SeriouslyTrivial.com domain is essentially useless as far as search goes.

Domain Forwarding and Masking: Well this gets a little closer to what I want. Visitors and crawlers would see SeriouslyTrivial.com. However, I finally figured out that all masking does is create an on-the-fly webpage with a frameset that contains the “forwarded” URL. In other words, it doesn’t really “forward” the domain. The downside for this method is that spice3d.wordpress.com would still exist and there would be duplication on search engines. I still sort of have the issue of not being able to mimick the spice3d.wordpress.com URL should I later decide to move the site or host myself. Another annoying side effect is that the favicon doesn’t work due to the use of a frameset. (I suppose I could have gotten around this by just setting up a real page with the proper frameset and giving that page the desired favicon.)

WordPress Domain Mapping: This basically makes it like I am hosting the blog myself and just using the WordPress engine. The cool feature with this is that you can make it so the WordPress URL redirects to the domain name rather than the other way around. In other words, for me, SeriouslyTrivial.com hosts the blog and spice3d.wordpress.com redirects to SeriouslyTrivial.com. (Note that by default its the other way around. On the Domains config page, you have to click the “Put blog here” link next to the domain name and WordPress flips things for you.) This feature will put you back a paltry $10 a year, but its worth it I think. (Important: Doing this can mess up mail if you also use the domain name for that.)

Oh also, it’s a little confusing when you first do the mapping. When you try to add the domain name, WordPress comes back with an error that says you have to buy 10 credits, but gives you no way to actually buy the credits! However, the page will tell you how to set up your DNS nameservers for the domain name. What you have to do is first set up your nameservers , then it will allow you to buy the credits. Why it doesn’t tell you this here, I don’t know. Stoopid.

After WordPress can verify you have changed the nameservers (supposedly it can take hours or days, but it only took a few minutes for me), when you try to add the domain again, a link will appear (instead of the error page) that will let you buy the credits through PayPal. After you buy the credits, when you go back to the set up page there will be a confusingly named “Buy” button. Click it and you can “buy” the domain mapping feature using the credits you just purchased. I know it’s confusing, but just remember to set up the nameservers first. The WordPress FAQ is here.

Site renamed to SeriouslyTrivial.com…WTF? Already???

The more I thought about it, I wanted a name with more ZING (sorry mom and dad). I’ve always liked oxymorons and really wanted deeplyshallow, but the .com version was taken…NO MORE .NETs for me! I’m swearing off them unless they are my name or something, but I digress.

Anyways, I played around with some various words to come up with my own oxymoron. I’m very “unserious” so I and started looking up antonyms for “serious” and saw “trivial”. Now that sounded like a fun word. I often say, “it’s not a trival task.” The phrase “seriously trivial” just seemed to roll off my tongue and low-and-behold a hotpointdomains search (of course) told me that seriouslytrivial.com was available. Must be fate…or maybe desperation…or maybe my domain hording affliction…or something. A google search on the phrase brings up 434 hits, so it’s not something I just made up. Someone actually uses this term…hehehe

 

Upcoming changes

Pulling the plug on Offbe.at. I’m also moving Twitku.com to a new hosted server, but that should be pretty seamless…hopefully. Gotta do everything by Jan 16 because that’s when my current server renews and I don’t want to hang onto it for another month. I’ve also decided to let go of a bunch of domains I’ve been hanging on to. The .AT ones are like $60/yr. The normal TLD ones aren’t too costly but it’s a waste of dough to keep renewing I guess. DW has been moved, but it’s not a “real” working site. Mostly just use it to store files and stuff. All these changes should save me a bunch of dough. Gotta love free services on the net.

It was fun maintaining my own webserver and mail server, but if you don’t do it for a living, like me, it’s frustrating cuz ya gotta learn and relearn and remember technical stuff. I’m leaving that to the professionals from now on. KISS!

I’ll post more updates as they unfold. Oh yeah…Happy New Year!!!

Simplifying…Adventures in moving from Community Server

Well, I think I’ve been able to reasonably migrate from Community Server (CS) to WordPress. I lost some comments and forums, but I’ll try to archive so they are safe in some form. Since WordPress doesn’t have an automated way to move a CS blog, I basically converted the CS blog posts to a LiveJournal format export file and imported that into WordPress.

To do this I first set CS so that the RSS feed would show all my posts and not limit the number. Then I looked at what LiveJournal exported and figured out the basic XML tags I needed to populate. Then, I just wrote an ASP page that read the CS RSS feed and outputted the needed Live Journal data. Basically something like this:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=’utf-8′?>
<livejournal>
<entry>
<eventtime>2008-12-2223:17:0</eventtime>
<logtime>2008-12-2223:17:0</logtime>
<subject>My subject line</subject>
<event><p>blah blah blah</p>
</event>
</livejournal>

I had to parse the date together and I’m not really sure if both are needed. CS also had  some extra garbage at the end of each post, but I was able to use a regexp and a text editor to select and delete that. I copied all the linked images to a new server and replaced the URL prefix. Note that I didn’t figure out how to migrate the comments, but since I had few that was ok.

I’m sure there’s a better way, but this was fairly easy and how I did it.

Shutting down my (paid) web presence…maybe

For the first time in my techlife, I’m seriously considering shutting down my webserver. It just seems like an awful lot of money to spend on something that few people access…well other than myself.

TwitKu.com was fun, but with the departure of Pownce and the decline of Jaiku, it seems unnecessary. My personal page, which I run using the Community Server engine, is underutilized and WordPress should fulfill my meager needs. I’ll prolly host my small collection of utilities on my home server for now.

Well this is only in my head right now. I’ll let it marinate for a while.