February 28, 2003

Task Force to call for creation of Whois helpdesk?

Antonio Harris of the GNSO Whois Task Force brings up the question of unlisted whois records.

"A policy similar to "unlisted" telephone numbers could be applied. This would mean that the demands on registrar's resources would increase as law enforcement agencies, intellectual property lawyers and network operators, ISPs, etc. would require access to the "unlisted" information, and thus a "request for data desk" become a need for each registrar?"

Back when I was working for an ISP, we actually had someone who's job it was to deal with inquiries about certain subscribers - we called it our general counsel. That was the only way that someone could get the home phone number of one of our subscribers.

There are simply no legitimate uses of the whois that cannot be satisfied through other means. Subscriber information can be accessed via a number of legal means by a number of parties. ISPs stopped using domain whois as anything but a long shot the second that marketers started giving away domain names with a Happy Meal purchase. These "uses" of the whois really amount to the abuse of customer information by those that are too lazy to do their own homework.

Who registered this domain name? Here you go sir, would you like fries with that?

The thinking just isn't going deep enough on this question. A review of the whois task force's discourse simply shows that they continue to look at treatments for the whois - not at the issue of privacy within the whois. Fries with chocolate frosting is what they're serving (along with the incredulous observation that Tucows has "desupported" the report because we didn't agree with some small part of it....)

This will definitely get some more attention over the weekend - Becky and Steve said a lot that needs further digestion before comments are forthcoming.

Posted by ross at 12:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2003

420 Redux

As I mentioned earlier, CNET and a few others are reporting on the seizure of a number of domain names by US law enforcement agencies like the DEA. As usual, the more mainstream press gets the story, well, just plain wrong. I'm not sure why they did this, but CNET mixed at least two stories together. The first, concerns the seizure of the ISONews website after the plaintiff had already entered a guilty plea.

No big deal here.

Where the story gets interesting is as it relates to the seizure of six websites by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. And what's even stranger is how they did it.

On February 25th, Verisign's zone files showed that the pipedreams.dea.gov DNS signature was the new home to six domain names. Stranger still is the fact that there are no other domain names in all of .com, .net, .org, biz or .info that call this DNS server home.

These domain names all used to call other DNS servers home - five different homes actually; bigstep.com, calpop.com, compuzone.net, feynman.net and stargateinc.net. So the question is, how did they move from their own homes to their new one run by the DEA?

Well, that's the interesting part. According to the internal structures of the internet, the DNS, they just did. There is no real record of who made the changes, why or under what authority. But it just didn't happen magically. Someone had to intervene and actually change the DNS record as hosted by the registrars for these domain names. So the question is, the story is - who did this and under what authority?

Standard practice may have been to lock the domain name with the registry so that it couldn't be transferred out of the juridiction to another supplier. Or, it could have been put on hold so that the internet wouldn't be able to see it at all. But this didn't happen - instead, someone edited the DNS because the DEA said so.

Let me repeat that - someone edited the zone files because the DEA said so.

Compound that thought with the reality that there are only really two practical ways to change what goes into the zone files. By editing what the registrar of record knows about the domain name and having them submit it to the registry for publication to the rest of the world - or - have the registry make the change to the zone directly.

What is unclear is where this change actually took place. Usually it takes place at the registrar, but technically the registry can do it - they're just not supposed to. According to the 2600 article, the whois data at some of the registrars like GoDaddy and Register.com displayed data that would be consistent with the registrar editing the data directly. On the other hand, Verisign's whois displayed data consistent with that which would have been edited directly at the registry with no involvement by the registrar.

If the former is the case, then we are left with a question as to whether or not the DEA is over-reaching their mandate. If the latter is the case, we are left with that question and a new one - why would Verisign edit the zone files, without the involvement of a registrar, at the behest of a government agency?

This is a problem and we need straight answers now.

We need to know why this happened for the very simple reason that there is a massive difference between domain names, DNS and the World Wide Web. Government needs to take care to ensure that they are enforcing their laws in an appropriate way. Now, instead of alleged criminals simply being off the air while criminal charges are being sorted out, we are left to deal with a dangerous precedent - that an agency of the US Government has stepped in and arbitrarily determined what was published into the zone.

I don't have a serious problem with one government agency caretaking the zone - I do have a problem with a bunch of them messing with it. I sincerely hope that the DOC tells the DEA to go find their own sandbox. I also hope that we get some straight answers regarding how this actually happened, under what authority and by whom.

Posted by ross at 11:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Verisign Sells Out Industry to DEA?

[Update 18:33] There seems to be a lot more at work here than I had originally noted. I'm going to clean up a lot of these updates later on when I get in - suffice to say, I'm not comfortable with the actions of the USG and the lack of clarity concerning what authority they acted under is very concerning. I no longer think that this was a sell-out as I had initially presumed - there's something far worse at work here. You read the redux here in which I try to what happened.

I am simply amazed that Verisign would cooperate with the feds to the degree that they would hand-over domain names to the feds - nameservers and all before the courts have made a determination. CNET has the full story. Feds confiscate 'illegal' domain names | CNET News.com

Apparently Virginia law presumes guilt before and during the until proven otherwise part...

More on this when I've recovered some from my rather emotional (I really can't believe how heinous this is) initial reaction. I'm sure that this will be picked up rather quickly across the internet.

[Update 12:20] So I've read this over again with a little bit more care and it seems that Verisign would be acting under the authority of the judge presiding over the matter. I still don't like the implications however - someone has made the leap of faith that domain names, dns and webserver content can all be treated the same.

In fact, they are all very different and probably deserve different treatment. Extend this type of treatment to domain names, dns and email and some of the problems that this leap of faith causes quickly comes into relief. The mappings between content and routing identifier is tenuous and rarely direct - the law needs to take this into account lest we get more bad law.

I've not heard Verisign's side of the story, but I sincerely hope that this was not an issue of choice for them. If it was, they made the wrong one.

Posted by ross at 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How suite it is...

So I've been sitting here for the last two hours, at home, pulling together the data that Bhavin asked for in response to Verisign's waffle. I've been listening to good morning music - springsteen, jewel, CSNY and other equally easy to digest at this early hour type music.

It all of a sudden occurs to me how cool the internet actually is. (Like, where have I been for the last seven years...)

I'm sitting here listening to tunes that I'm streaming over ethernet from my homebrew media server researching data located in California in response to a post to a mailing list that is managed by someone in France. And its all pretty seamless thanks to the various applications that make it all possible.

Even cooler, the internet also provided me with a neat distraction just now. I don't really listen to lyrics, so occassionally I will google a song title and append "lyric" to the search just to get a bettter idea of what the vocalist is yodelling about. This time it was "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" that made me realize I had no idea what the song was about. I absolutely love the translation of this closing refrain...

How happy it makes me to think of Cuba,
the smiles of the Caribbean Sea,
Sunny sky has no blood, and how sad that
I'm not able to go
Oh go, oh go go

Suite indeed. I'm beginning to love what the internet is turning into - for me at least. I hereby dub today "First Annual 'Thanks for Open-Standards and Affordable Access' Day" here in Radersburg.

Posted by ross at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2003

My court of justice

Malcom De Chazal said "The family is a court of justice which never shuts down for night or day."

My court seems to have found my blog.

Hello family.

Posted by ross at 10:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Software might get better

Barry Parr over at MediaSavvy and I did some back and forth on application utility/useability v. aesthetic. This piece on Blogging with Radio and eVectors by the good folks over at Macromedia highlights how progress is being made slowly but surely on solving these and similar problems for application users.

This is an area that I've been bitching about for a while now. Looking back, I could have been far more productive with my complaints, but live and learn. For those of you that haven't been following the story, I was locked in a life and death content management struggle with Radio Userland for the longest time. I think the final score was something like Radio - 992, Me - 1...

On a slightly related note, someone remarked to me yesterday that Radio was the least stable tool in their arsenal, but that its utility was so high that they were having a hard time dropping it for other tools. There are things that Radio is doing that other tools just aren't doing.

As an aside, I really believe that this is because Weiner and the gang view their tool as a web services manager and the other tool providers view their applications as content management system. It would be interesting to get their first-hand views on this.

Anyways, back to Radio's pro's and con's... The experience that this user has had with Radio brings a classic paradox into relief. A paradox that we have been suffering under for far too long - just good enough to ship is what sells at retail.

I really wish that a more customer-centric development practice had taken root.

Posted by ross at 12:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pat self on back. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Last week I mentioned that I had written a piece on new gTLDs for The Farm. CircleID has also picked up A Sustainable Framework For The Deployment Of New gTLDs. I've had a number of positive comments on the document so far. Part II will run shortly.
Posted by ross at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm a...

Dave says "I'm a programmer!" Congratulations sir - being able to say conclusively that you are no longer a smoker is, I think, the definition of being a non-smoker. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting close. Its been 24 weeks since I first started quitting. Since my last cigarette I've gained 10 "life/time" days back. "Life" is the amount of time that I've gained back based on the fact that I'm no longer killing myself with smoking and "time" is the amount of time that I've gained back by not wasting time smoking.

Now I just need to figure out how to get back the other two years of my life that the 6.23 miles of cigarettes I smoked set me back. I should have just smoked the $52,000 it cost me.

Kids - don't start smoking, save for a Porsche instead. The Porsche might end up killing you faster, but at least you'll die with nice pink lungs.

One of these days, I know that I'm gonna be able to say "I'm a...". I'll let you know, but in the meantime, I'm still a smoker trying to better his lot and live long enough to see some grandchildren.

Posted by ross at 09:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 23, 2003

GNR Launches VC Fund and New Registrar Marketing Support Initiative

GNR seems to be kicking their PR into gear with this release.I wonder when they will be providing the rest of ICANN's accredited registrars with details concerning their new venture capital fund and cooperative marketing programs. What do I mean you say? Well, GNR has made specific guarantees to ICANN that they will treat all registrars equally. Based on this, one must assume that GNR is willing to provide similar seed capital and marketing support to more than just PersonalNames. Or perhaps ICANN will reverse this terrible precedent and set an appropriate standard that actually promotes competition.
Posted by ross at 10:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Transcending ASCII?

MediaSavvy: Text must (and can) transcend ASCII says Barry. While I completely understand the point that he makes - and agree with it to a point, there must be a stronger emphasis placed on useability. Software generally sucks, interfaces continue to be confusing and *using* takes too much *learning*. While interfaces, content what have you, need to look good, they also need to work good. Far too often, they don't. Until they do, I'll settle for ugly and hope that more attention gets paid to function.
Posted by ross at 08:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Imports done...sort of.

So, most of the importing is done. There are a few days that won't import no way, no how - but I've lost interest in the chore. Its really just the last week of December 2002 that is being a pain the ass. If you really want to browse back, you can always use the Radio archive and start filling in the blanks starting on the 20th. A few more cleanup items that I need to do, but I have to pick up Amanda in 10 minutes so it will have to wait.
Posted by system at 05:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jumping Off

Oh yeah. Joe found this.

I'm gonna try it today.

Posted by ross at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Made a ton of small tweaks to the front page. Mostly around the vibe of the layout - I wasn't crazy happy with the way things looked so drasticly different from the old site in terms of look, style and feel. At least some of the old feel is back. I'm still struggling with weather or not I actually want to go to the trouble of reviving the old look and feel.

Today's tweaks have given me a much greater appreciation for working with CSS - something that I've never really done before, so I might tackle it. Even with the new knowledge, it will take quite a lot of time to make a change that drastic, so I might just wait a bit until I have some more time on my hands. It might just be easier to import the old site into the new look and feel.

I still want to get the insta-blog feature that I was referring to last week installed. Still haven't quite figured out how to do it, but I've got a general idea. I've also got a few more ideas for more closely relating posts and comments inline as opposed to their current organization. This will be my next job, and I might even get to it today.

But not now, time to hop in the shower, take some movies back and get some feed into the belly.

Posted by ross at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well, I made it back in one piece. Barely. I was supposed to have been back on Friday night, but it took Alan and I almost an hour to get through traffic to the airport. We only had 30 minutes to make the flight when we finally got there. I had thought about staying an extra night, so I elected to pay for the cab and let him run ahead. It took me a few minutes to find the ticketing desk - I went downstairs, they were upstairs, so I figure Alan had a ten minute head-start on me. The nice woman at the ticketing desk kind of laughed at me and offered to book me on the first flight the next day instead of playing the (bad) odds that I could make it through security and get to the gate with the time I had left.

Heading back to the hotel, I hooked up with a bunch of folks that had remained behind after the meeting which ed ti a lot of pints being collectivly being consumed and a healthy mix of rhetoric, braggadocio, debate and brainstorming - too bad that there wasn't some sleep in there. To make a long story short, I managed to trundle off from the hotel around 5:00 to make my flight and actually boarded this time.

I've got a ton of notes to pore through and digest before they get put up - huge storm today, so I'll likely get it done and posted later today....

Posted by ross at 07:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2003


Got in at roughly 9:30 - flight was in early, no bags, cab waiting - zoom to the hotel. Bandwidth or bed they asked. I'll let you guess what I chose.

[Update: 06:18 02/21/2003 - I think I made the wrong choice. The bandwidth is spotty and the foot of the pullout bed was a mangled twist of metal that resulted in slope of about 18 inches from head to base...I think I slept. Elliot says that this would be a quick and fun trip. I'm glad that it will be quick because he's only half right on the rest so far.]

Posted by ross at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Long Trek In

Since 9/11 I've had to make it a habit to show up at the airport 90 minutes before departure regardless of my destination. Yeah, yeah, I know - minimum 120 minutes for flights to the US, more if you are flying elsewhere in this little world.

This just isn't so anymore though. I remember right after the Twin Towers fell that it would take at least 2 hours to get through security. I figured that on this trip to DC that I would be getting a double-witching whammy - US is at Code Orange and I'm flying directly into the heart of DC - Reagan National.

I'm sitting in departure lounge U writing this less than 20 minutes after getting to the airport - and that included a five minute stand in line for a bottle of water just past the first set of scanners. That doesn't sound too impressive unless you've been to Terminal 2 before and have figured out that there are no letters past U in the Air Canada alphabet. It is the end of the line for departure lounges and you just don't get any further away from the firt check-in unless you are flying regional and are forced to jump on one of those shuttle buses to one of the mini-terminals that spot the tarmac.

20 minutes from start to finish in medium traffic. Not bad.

I also found it interesting that no one asked me to turn on my laptop, digital camera, pocket pc, cell phone, battery charger or MP3 player at any of the 4 different security checks that I had to go through. They checked my bags but once and left everything else to my word. I can't say that it bothered me as it really sped up the walkthrough, but it doesn't seem to say a lot about the diligence that Terminal 2 security is demonstrating. Maybe they have some sort of super-secret scanners that I don't know about.

BTW - I noticed a couple of days ago that the eph key on the laptop is working just fine. Strange. The best idea that I can come up with is that either a) the thought of being shipped back to the manufacturer just scared the bejesus out the poor little unit and it shaped or, b) that one of the springs that made the eph key work simply popped back into where it should be. A little of both I suspect. Anyways, I've vetoed the RMA, the unit is here to stay. I'll try and put together a mini-review if I have a few minutes over the next few days. I have been very impressed with the unit despite the eph key dysfunction during the early days of our relationship.

Posted by ross at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Please Stand By

I'll be off the air for a while. I'm off to DC for the ICANN Registrar Constituency meeting.

I'll be keeping extensive notes as the day progresses tomorrow and will definitely post as I get the chance. Unfortunately, the meeting room isn't wired, so I'm not sure where the pipe and ping will come from.

Posted by ross at 02:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm free!

The albatross is off! At one point, we were doing three conference calls per week - two to three hours each. Agh.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed the work - it wasn't easy, but it amazes me how well things turned out given the passionate, sometimes acrimonious positions put forward by a lot of the participants - including myself.

The real credit for moving the ball across the line and up to the board has to go to Marilyn Cade and Bruce Tonkin for making sure that the community did in fact agree on key points when it counted the most.

Posted by ross at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Abril on Board Elections

Amadeu has posted his thoughts on the upcoming board election to the GNSO Council list.

Summary: He won't be running again and he urges the council to proceed with caution.

"In summary, my advice is that;

The Council spends some time figuring out not just how many votes a successful candidate needs, but what sort of candidates, what sort of “message” is the GNSO as such sending to the new Board. The process is carried at Council level, not only at the constituency level (with the Council “just” voting).

You keep three main goals in mind, besides the usual ones of honesty, energy, dedication etc....

  • Renewing the Board, not only re-legitimating it as a goal in itself
  • Increased DNS-specific (technical and “market-wise”) skills added to the Board
  • Commitment to have the Board really working, and not just approving staff proposals"

I couldn't agree more with him. Sorry to hear that he won't be standing though.

Posted by ross at 08:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.

5 Months 1 Week 1 Day 7 Hours 50 Minutes 29 Seconds ago, I decided to quit smoking. Money saved: $1,371.28.

2 Months 3 Days 22 Hours 50 Minutes 29 Seconds ago, I had my last cigarette. Cigarettes not smoked: 1319.

The difference between those two events was that it actually took me three months of trying to quit before I actually could, did. I never really fell off the wagon hard, with the exception of my trip to China during which I smoked two packs of cigarettes over 4 days or so...the rest of the first three months was spent taking baby steps and then losing all willpower not to smoke, having one and then re-quitting. I stayed on the patch the entire time against everyone's well-intended advice which eventually allowed me to put down the weed permanently - or least put it down for more than two months.

Its getting easy now. :)

Posted by ross at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2003

Cory Doctorow, Jim Morrison and Me.

Cory said some stuff about Shift - blah, blah, blah - I never did like it. Oh well. Alas poor Shift, etc.

Wait a second. That would imply that he knows what Shift is (and possibly that he has crappy taste in magazines). That would imply that he probably lives in Toronto (not because he has bad taste in magazines, but because he knows what Shift is, was, whatever.)

Finding out who Cory is  becomes my immediate quest. Hey -  he's exactly 14 days younger than me. So,  if I have a 14 day head start, then why does my blog suck so much worse than his?

Doesn't matter, Jim Morrison died within hours from when I was born. That certainly beats a cool blog anyday. "The soft parade has begun...you've got a cool machine..."

Wait - Cory didn't post any of that - someone named Xeni did...she seems nice enough, but I have no idea how much of a head start she has on me. She does have a cool website though - and she seems to know Shaq. Did I mention I share my birthday with Tom Cruise?

Posted by ross at 11:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ROTD: GoDaddy Gets Defensive about its Registrations - The Update

In "ROTD: GoDaddy Gets Defensive about its Registrations" I mentioned that GoDaddy was doing a lot of defensive registrations. According to Brett, it looks like they were just testing their software.

I get my results from beta version of DomainWatch. Its a pretty powerful tool - but, like most things like this, the real power lies in interpreting the results. Anyone buying stock based on my "SIEBELMICROSOFT.COM" ROTD posting could have made a small bundle if they divested at the right time (yeah - this is investment advice, keep walking, nothing to see here, I'm not an investment councillor). Rumor has it that our product management team is current working on packaging up these tools for Tucows resellers.

Posted by ross at 10:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pharaoh Gates

Marc is talking about convergence - a nice little summary of history before it happens. He did say one thing that particularly caught my eye...

"The pipeline going into the home will feed BOTH worlds via the Home LAN.  Digital convergence will continue and (hopefully) all of you will lose your jobs and an entire new generation of 'media and computing' executives will show you the way." 
- "Two worlds dying in front of our eyes"Marc's Voice
Marc completely pegs where the evolution is going to happen - perhaps this is common knowledge and I missed it, but its the first time that I've heard anyone imply that convergence isn't going to happen at a device level (or application level if we are using OSI-speak), but at the transport layer. And come to think of it, Televisions are pretty well designed applications - IP enabled TV's would probably be equally well designed. So what does this next set of wires look like?

Personally, I'm pretty happy that I don't have to worry about my toaster morphing into a cellphone anymore. Can't wait until it gets an ethernet jack though.

Posted by ross at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peace on Earth

Peace on earth is possible, Tara Sue proclaims. Hard to disagree with her conviction.

I'd only caution her against the implication that only men are capable of waging war. I say this because it is just as likely that these assholes have been holding women back from being warmongers in their own right. In the meantime, Tara Sue should proceed cautiously in how she evolves our generalizations. But for the most part I would agree. And I'm not that Ross.

Posted by ross at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who is this?

Odd - I don't remember adding this blog to my RSS reader - not disappointed that its in there - some interesting comments sprinkled throughout the feed. I don't even know who writes this blog, which is odd, because I like reading the words of those I know or the words of those whose friends I know, or friends of friends of friends that I know, or people whose names I can spell...okay - truth be told, I'll pretty much read anyone - once.

Anyways, this blogger (who are you?) makes an interesting comment - para - "conversation in the blogosphere about pings, trackbacks etc. are starting to die down..." - just wait, this is just digestion, the trough to the wave. Things are going to get hot and heavy in about 20 seconds.

Posted by ross at 01:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A visual tea recommendation for Meg

Meg remarked today that "Alas I find tea to be one of those beverages that sounds exotically different depending on blend and leaf but ends up all tasting like, well, tea to me. Perhaps my palate is just not refined enough?" - I think she needs to try some Jasmine Slivering Balls. I had the pleasure of watching these unfold on a recent trip to China that I was fortunate enough to luck into. I didn't actually get to taste it because I foolishly ordered regular green tea in a place known for these slivering balls. I was forced to watch the tea-balls of my two companions unfold instead. It was fascinating to watch these little brown balls at the bottom of the tea glasss slowly unfold over the course of an hour or so into fully shaped chrysanthemum blooms...really neat.

Posted by ross at 12:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 17, 2003

My Thoughts on new gTLDs

Well, the thoughts are actually those of the company that writes my paycheque. Given that I'm currently one of the few policy-wonks in the barn, the positions of my employer tend to mirror mine ;) A big reason that this got written was in large part because I don't see any progressive thinking around these very important issues. We need more people at the table coming up with new approaches that describe how we can accomplish this very important task. In addition to Brett's earlier work, David & Susan  have also published some great "Thoughts on new gTLDs" - I encourage each of you to do the same. [ObDisclaimer: More TLDs means more inventory for Tucows to sell to its customers.]
Posted by ross at 03:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2003

Changes afoot...

Someone remarked to me today that this website was pretty introspective (in comparison to others that tend to fuel conversations...but thats another story...). I hadn't realized it, but looking back, I have been doing a fair bit of navel-gazing here lately. I found this rather odd actually, because my preference is to get stuck in my head while I'm stuck in traffic. Taking advantage of the quiet time that occurs in gridlock between Point A and Point B is a lot more productive, in my books, than publicly dropping pixels into the bitstream. I view the bitstream as the perfect place to get really opinionated about things I care about one of my intentions for this website. of course, the best laid plans seldom are... I spent the afternoon organizing my photographs. This means taking the individual negatives that I've accumulated over the years and filing them into dustproof little sleeves. It also means sitting in the same spot for hours wearing white cotton gloves while I remove 2100 little plastic strips from 300 old pages of sleeves and put them into 300 new pages of sleeves that I can store chronologically in binders.


This let me get stuck in my head (while I was stuck between Point A and Point B) and try to figure out why the tenor has changed so much over here. The only answer that I came up with pointed towards my move to MovableType. The templates that I settled on tend to push me towards actually writing posts that carry complete cogent thoughts instead of dropping sound-bytes into the blogosphere like my old Radio templates did. A one liner would just look goofy sitting on my new mainpage whereas the old one thrived on micro-posts. MT doesn't support post by email - which means little micro-thoughts don't get their own permalink. Instead, they get distilled into larger posts.

Originally I thought that this would be a good direction in which to take things and have the side-effect of forcing me to think throught the important bits a lot more thoroughly and in the context of each other. Now I'm thinking that I need to bring some of that rapid fire, stream of consciousness posting back. I don't want this to mean new templates. Instead, some thinking should allow me to come up with some new primitives that mix the best of both styles into a useable format.

Posted by ross at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2003

Registrar Happenings...

Transfers get done and the Board election heats up. Just as we get finished with one distraction, another one kicks off. I suppose that this is the nature of organizations. This morning, the GNSO Secretariat posted the final, final version of the Transfers TF Report. Barring any unforseen political train-wrecks, this is the one that the Board will be voting on in Rio. Keep your fingers crossed. Mike Palage also announced this morning that he would not be seeking re-election as chair of the registrar constituency, but would instead be focusing on the board race. Mike has done a stalwart job of running the constituency for the past few years and even with the ups and downs, he deserves the thanks of all registrar members of the constituency - he certainly has mine. Interesting choice that he's made but he himself notes that he prefers to do things "unconventionally". This pits Mike in a head-to-head race with some pretty hefty competition. Rumor has it that Alejandro Pisanty, Amadeu Abril and Jonathan Cohen - are all interested in seeking re-election, if not actively campaigning now. The rumor mill is also naming at least two other candidates that haven't formally declared themselves - yet. One of whom has past experience as the DNSO Names Council Chair, the other, heavily involved in the day to day "block-and-tackle" of the G/DNSO. This will definitely be an interesting race, especially given the new voting structure under the GNSO, the historical loyalty that registrars have for Abril and Pisanty, the mounting friction between the provider and IP constituencies and the changes in staffing over at ICANN-central. Hopefully somebody starts taking odds on this stuff. As part of my continuing coverage of "Election Watch 2003", I'll definitely have further thoughts as new angles in this watershed election develop.
Posted by ross at 08:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2003


Got a lot going on upstairs...I wish there was an easy way to publish my google toolbar search history. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but here is what has made it into the toolbar this evening... clipper chip description polling software vbi vertical data transmission pine windows blog tool movable plugin mt plugin trademark legislation nash equilibrium I've managed to get some of this into a new paper - that makes a total of two on the go from home and three in the works at the office. Given the substantial threads that these docs share, I'll probably be trying to combine as much of the substance as possible. Not sure whether this is internal or external stuff at this point but we'll see. I also managed to get ahead of the curve on Valentine's Day for a change. No flowers this year, but the obligatory card and present are in the bag and dinner is in the fridge. I might just do the masochistic, cover-my-bases thing and hit the flower shop on the way home tomorrow just in case...I'll probably be the only one buying flowers at the last minute.
Posted by ross at 11:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2003

February Funk

I've been in a rather crappy mood for some reason or another all week. Shouldn't be the case, had a wonderful weekend trying to fish. My guess is that I'm not getting enough sleep, or maybe just not enough of the right kind. Anyways, I've not been in much of a posting mood either. Hopefully this breaks the streak. I still don't feel much like posting, but at least I've done it ;) Truth be told, even with the funk, not much of interest has happened this week to compel me to post. I'm doing a lot of writing for work as well - which probably has the net result of sucking a lot of the excess inspiration out of my system. Most of this stuff will hit various feeds over the next few days, I will make sure that I send out some pointers when I publish...
Posted by ross at 07:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 11, 2003

Fishing Update

It was cold. There were no fish. At least we had the foresight to bring some good steaks.
Posted by ross at 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 07, 2003

Gone Fishin'

Again. Weekend up north on the ice. No posts till Sunday - enjoy your weekend.
Posted by ross at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Marketers are violating your Intellectual Property Rights

I've decided to purposely munge my whois data in a small protest of the extra-legal rights that DNS policy affords TM holders at the expense of registrants.

This thread in the GA archives provides a little bit more background.

Take back your data.

Posted by ross at 01:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2003

Gavin & Amber's World Tour

Somewhere along the way, my littlest brother, who is not so little and towers over me, and his equally tall girlfriend decided that they were going to strike out on their own for a year and travel Australia, Europe and other parts unknown.

So naturally, I set them up with a blog - a travelblog to be precise. If you are remotely interested in what they are up to, you can check in with their adventures here. Enjoy.

Today, they are engaged in the wonderfully exciting activity of "packing". "Crikey, look at the size of that suitcase. She's a beauty!"

He's a little bit short on words, but I think we can work through that together. ;)

Posted by ross at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2003

The Last Frontier in Marketing

Chris Pirillo has launched Rent My Chest!. Not only does this prove once and for all that Pud is a phlash in the pan, it proves, once again, that there's a sucker born every minute.

...and I love each and every nipply pixel of it. This site makes me laugh on so many levels.

I wonder if we'll see someone release some adtracking software for this new medium...or better yet, a nipple-network for those that don't have a lot of individual traffic to their chests, but banded together can actually present some decent numbers to discerning chest marketers...

Posted by ross at 10:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Practice in Private

Yesterday, Doc blogged that Scott's blog is "This is not your practice blog". Today I found that Docs practice blog is not a blog anymore.

The last time I was there, there were many practice posts on his practice blog. Unfortunately, someone noticed that Docs practice blog had become a public because of a blogroll link that I found on Docs public blog blogroll. Now Doc's practice blog simple redirects to a tool used by a ton of bloggers, but it isn't a blog (although it is public). I guess that this would mean that Doc's practice blog is no longer his practice blog.

Does that mean that it belongs to Scott?

Posted by ross at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HP Pulling All NASA Promotional Materials, Fails FFAT.

Please let me never work for a company that would do something as stupifyingly obvious and dumb as this.

"HP Pulling All NASA Promotional Materials It's becoming more and more common for companies and organizations to use the easily changeable nature of the web to rewrite history as it suits them. This explains how, when the anger rose over the Total Information Awareness group, suddenly key member bios (and the scary logo) quietly disappeared from their website. So, it's not a huge surprise when Vik writes "In the light of the Columbia crash, HP immediately went through their web site and removed any references to one of their ad capaigns that included NASA. Of particular interest is the online transcript of Carly Fiorina's Comdex speech The current version omits any reference to NASA, while Google brings up the cached page with the following missing paragraph: 'The challenge that NASA faces today is that they send some of the most brilliant minds in our country into space, and then they bring them back home. Obviously, there is very little room for error in that scenario. HP has the honor of being one of NASA's technology partners and we see it as our job to help the astronauts get home safely, so NASA can focus on its real mission: to explore, to discover and to inspire.'"  [via Techdirt]

Companies should have to write an exam before they are let into the Fortune 500. Definitely multiple choice and only one or two questions something straightforward like the following:

Fortune 500 Aptitude Test

Using a number 5 lead pencil, select one, and only one answer that correctly completes the following sentence;

Customers are:

  1. not stupid.

  2. smarter than you think they are.

  3. tired of being insulted.

  4. not an asset to be managed, but rather, part of a relationship that needs to be fostered.

  5. All of the above.

Applicants that correctly answer the above question will be contacted by the market.

Posted by ross at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cook on ICANN - Again.

I agree with most of what Gord Cook has to say - except when he's talking about ICANN/IANA. His observations are usually rooted in some sort of reality, but to lay the blame for the dotCOM bubble at the feet of those that created ICANN is ludicrous. To tie it to a misguided perception that the "play is closed", equally silly.

"Had the cooperative agreement concluded in spring of 1997, as the NSF intended, the problem of institutionalizing the IANA function would have been forced out on an open table (or, possibly made moot) by the demand for (and creation of) additional TLDs. It might also have been forced into the courts. It certainly would have become more clear to many more people that one of the most critical underpinnings of the Internet, the IANA function, had no basis in law. Neither domestic nor international. If the play had been open, the high stakes mania that festered into the Internet bubble might well have not reached such a fever pitch. The industry might not have ridden so high and fallen so hard."

[March 2003, "The Cook Report On the Internet" (Executive Summary Version)] 

The Rise and Fall of the Venture Capitalists and Valley Dreamers had virtually nothing to do with ICANN and almost everything to do with their own hubris. The rise and fall of ICANN, as with most, will stem from its own hubris, but these are chapters that have yet to be written.

Posted by ross at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2003

ROTD: GoDaddy Gets Defensive about its Registrations

Someone really should tell these guys that the landrush for .com is over :)


Posted by ross at 11:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Top Corporate Losers of the 50 years

Yahoo! is running a piece entitled "Top 25 annual corporate losses"

I was astounded to see that in the world of big mistakes that Verisign ably came in 6th place overall with their strong 2001 results. Even more "not so surprisingly", AOL managed to place twice in the top 25.

I'm sure that this list won't shock too many of you that follow corporate exploits closely. My dismay stems from the fact that I've never really compared numbers like these before, so the announcements of the last few years have all been in their own context. Incredible.

Posted by ross at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2003

Agh - I was airly ond o this notebook unortunately...

Earlier this week, Joe asked me what laptop I had bought. I didn't answer right away because I wanted to give it a week and write a ull review o my new unit. Unortunately, less than a week later, I don't have many nice things to say. On the plus side, the unit has great battery lie, a decent sized hard-drive and way more horsepower than I expected or a Pentium 3 based unit. It is lightweight, came with a docking station and has a really nice 12 inch screen. It also came with a pretty air price tag - just $2300 Canadian. Not an unair deal all round.

So why am I sitting here uming? The key between the "D" and the "G" stopped working without notice. I didn't drop it, bang it, sit on it, yell at it or even use it much. It just stopped working sometime between the time that I shut it down at the oice and when I turned it on at home just a ew hours later.

Now let the warranty games begin. I will make sure that each and everyone one o you gets a daily update regarding this little "adventure". Trust me, i I'm not treated airly by the manuacturer, I will be sure to let all my internet riends know the name o the ools that ucked me over. ;)

Posted by ross at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sex.com case heralds end of Internet - NSI

Sex.com case heralds end of Internet - NSI Court filing reveals doomsday scenario

"NSI warns that such a decision could spark calls for legal changes in the domain name system. "Cases like this one will surely encourage attacks on the validity of any contractual liability limitation NSI or other registrars may have," it warns in the submission.

This could happen in such terrible cases as those "affecting public interest" or "those regarding gross negligence or willful wrongs by common carriers".

God forbid that the people that are paid to effect the transfer of an individual's property are sued because they knowingly fail to do so. If this became the case, the NSI explains, "the cost of [registering domain names], currently ranging from $7 to $25 annually, would become unacceptably high".

Presumably, it is at this point that the Internet falls apart. Or, if you were to look at it from a different angle, it is at this point that the Internet finally becomes a global, autonomous entity of its own making, uncontrollable by parties with huge and irreconcilable conflicts of interest."


[via The Register]


More thoughts on this later these evening, but suffice to say at this point I think that The Register has nailed it with the final paragraph of this article.

Posted by ross at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Hmm...after such a dryspell, we've got two pretty good ones in two days.

Todays ROTD's are:


R'ant: Afilias

Hmmm...the last time I came across a combination like this, Siebel's stock price steadily increased for a week until they acknowledged the news. Afilias is a private company so we might never find out. Hopefully some anonymous insider can dish out some speculation that will likely turn out to be incorrect anyways ;)

Posted by ross at 12:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2003

A tall cool drink of water...

I met William Gibson in early '95 when he was pushing Mnemonic. I was the principle behind the Canadian version of the film's promotional website, so there were a few perks that went along with the job.

He was an interesting cat - "singularly peculiar" to use a phrase of his. Intense, insightful, funny - and unusually Canadian, for an American. I marveled at the time that it was amazing that the same man that coined the term cyberspace, fathered the cyberpunk movement and gave us the beginnings of a lingua franca to help us describe our brave new world didn't even have an email address. "Only my agent needs to talk to me that urgently. I have a phone - and a fax machine - and he has the phone numbers. I really don't want an email address" I recall him saying.

Shortly before this, he noted in an interview that people had long since stopped being disappointed by him but that "...the expectation at one time was that I would be this leather clothed guy with a mohawk and pins through my cheeks, who used some sort of computer that looked like a stealth bomber with the serial number numbers filed off."

It was at least a year between the time that he said this and the time that I met him and I can't say that was even remotely close to my expectations.

In fact, I was only expecting to meet an author, a science-fiction author to be precise. You know exactly the type of chap that I'm describing.

Instead, he rather blew my mind. Tall, thin, dressed completely in black and hiding behind John Lennon shades, he was an imposing figure. And the originator of much of the myth that I held sacred at the time. Someone who looked as if he had just stepped out of the Stephen King's "potential bad guys for books I haven't written yet" file. Not necessarily mean or threatening, just - dark, interesting, lilting. First impressions can indeed be a funny thing.

He was at least imposing enough that asking him to autograph my copy of the Mnemonic script took more nerve than Johnny had bundled into his entire spinal column. I think it was the fact that he claimed not to have an email address that allow me to summon up the courage. After all, if he wasn't online, he could only be a demigod at best. Now, only a few short years later he has a blog.

I wonder if he files his entries by fax machine.

Just a reminder, his latest, "Pattern Recognition" hits the shelves tomorrow. Pick up a copy.

Posted by ross at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Its been a while since anything notable has hit my watchlist, but ROTD is back with a goody...

R'ant: "chahneekBak"

Wonder how long before this one hits the delete bucket...and who will Snapback it ;)

Posted by ross at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cut-over notes...

The cut-over is completed and things are mostly settling down. I've actually figured out a way to import legacy items into my blog in a most pleasing way. More on that later - it will probably cause me to create an entirely new blog just to explain that seemingly small little thought. I've still got a few navigation things to work out and some fixes that I want to bring to the RDF and RSS feeds, but for the most part, I'm happy with what MT has allowed me to do. More details as they become available. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Rather than spending the entire day in front of a computer today, I think I'm going to finally set up a terrarium for hot peppers...also more on that later...:)

Posted by ross at 07:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2003

Remembering Columbia

Shortly before my 10th birthday on April 12, 1981 the United States launched its first space shuttle mission - STS-1. Like most 10 year olds, I wanted to experience every exciting ounce of the event. I'll never forget bounding out of bed and rushing to the kitchen to grab my cereal so that I could sit in front of the TV and watch as much of this amazing event as possible. Turning on the TV, I was disappointed to find that none of the news networks had started coverage yet. I'm still not sure what I was expecting to see at 4:30 in the morning on broadcast television. Much of the other detail is lost to the fogginess of time, but I'm still left with a very palpable sense of excitment, pride and tremendous hope for humanity as a result of putting that wonderful mixture of people, technology and science into outer space. All of this was heightened by earlier delays in the launch schedule.

I will also never forget watching that beautifully sculpted mass ever so slowly lift itself off the launch pad towards the blackness of outer space. I watched every single launch and landing that occured right through to the 1986 disaster. I'm still no less of a fan of the program 22 years later, but 1986 served to put things into perspective for me. The shuttle program is not only an amazing amalgam of discovery, exploration and awe for little boys, but it is also a dangerous exercise that has as much potential to go disasterously wrong as it does to go amazingly well. The program is a series of launches and landings that needed my prayer as much as it needed my awe.

I've got a lot of empathy for Doc's situation this morning as I watch the news. Reading an earlier entry in his blog, I thought how neat it would be to sit down and watch the landing this morning. Not an unusual thought for me over the last few years, but the landings have been difficult or impossible for me to watch because of the combination of a moderately busy travel schedule and no cable or satellite television connections. Broadcast TV has never been a great way to keep in touch with real-time NASA events and today was no different.

Reading his blog led me to remember when I was a younger and where my thoughts were during the momentous events, good and bad, of the shuttle space program.

Today, they are with the families affected by this disaster, every shuttle watcher that needs to digest this tragic event in their own way and also with the six-year olds that we each have inside of that also needs some understanding of how something so great could, as Searls rightly put it, end so badly.

Posted by ross at 11:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack