Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Go Daddy: King of Cyber Squatting?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Last month, Go Daddy decided to try and hit us for $180 to reregister two domains that we had let lapse for several weeks. Cybersquatting at its best if you ask me, considering the usual price for registering a dot com domain at Go Daddy is $9.99.

According to the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, cybersquatting, on a basic level, is using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit.

From the ACPA report to congress (PDF):

Registration by another person as a domain name for the purposes of profiting from the sale or transfer of the domain name

The moral of this story; pay on time and don’t let them squat your name.

Here’s what happened.

We’ve got two kids, so we thought we’d get a domain name for each. The plan was not to do anything with them until our little people are old enough to choose whether they wanted to use them.

Originally we paid Go Daddy their standard domain name registration fee (about 8 bucks a pop) and let the domains just sit.

In all fairness, when the renewal came up this year, Go Daddy sent us a reminder. Life got in the way, we forgot, no big drama.

They give you a 30 day grace period.

After the grace period had expired (by a few days), we logged into Go Daddy and tried to renew the domains – but it wasn’t an available option. We could not repurchase them, because the domain names were already in use.

According to Whois, we were listed as the domain owners.

So we contacted Go Daddy support with the ‘what gives’ question.

Their reply was that the domain names were in a 30 day redemption period and “your [credit] card will be charged 90.19(USD) per domain” to renew.

A 941% premium.

Click here if you want to read the entire e-mail.

While we admit we were remiss in not registering on time, it just doesn’t seem right.

Who would want the domain names of our children except those wanting to make a buck on it?

We ended up forgoing the original domain names and purchased new domains (that the kids chose) at $10 a year.

It just seems that the fair thing would be to put the names back into the pool of available domain names. It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of the ‘redemption period.’

Does that make Go Daddy the king of cybersquatters? It ain’t valuable until someone wants it.

Lesson: Don’t let your domain name expire.

PS. Go Daddy hosts this blog; wish us luck. ;)

Recent and Related posts on the Web about Go Daddy:

From Tom Espiner, ZD Net: Caught in the Go Daddy Red Tape

From Prof. Marc Randazza: Is Godaddy a Mass Cybersqatter?

Online Storage – MediaMax’s High Tech Extortion

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

extortion.jpg

Photo Credit: Golden Emporium (Thanks Kat)

You upload a file onto a free online storage site, but before you can download it, you have to pay. How would you feel? Very pissed off! And if that was the only copy of the file, well, words would either fail you or completely overflow you.

The folks at MediaMax think that such extortion is acceptable, much to the dissatisfaction of MediaMax users!

A bit of background.

We recently posted 100+ Resources for Web Developers on Blog Well which included 3 suggestions for Online Storage:

  1. Omnidrive (1GB storage – 5 GB bandwidth/month)
  2. Box (1GB storage – 10 GB bandwidth/month – 10MB file size)
  3. MediaMax (25GB storage – 1 GB bandwidth/month – 10MB file size)

Personally we have been using Box for well over a year now, and have found the service excellent. In including “Online Storage” in the category we researched a couple of alternatives, and came up with OmniDrive and MediaMax, both of which appeared to offer suitable solutions.

How wrong we were! Sandra alerted us to the issue with MediaMax via a comment on the post. Thank you Sandra.

So we thought we would review both of the alternatives we provided.

Omnidrive now no longer allows users to register. Their “Signup” buttons go to a page which doesn’t exist, which has been happening for well over a week now and I can’t believe that this is nothing other than deliberate. Registering via their Windows client takes you to a valid signup page; however, the section on selecting a plan is empty and continuing the signup process results in a processing error! So it looks like the folks at Omnidrive have taken their ball and gone home.

MediaMax on the other hand is alive and well. They offer comparatively a large storage limit of 25GB for a free account, and say that the “download” limit is 10MB per file and that you can “share” files up to 10MB in size.

Here are some screen shots of the information they provide:

mediamaxpricing.jpg

mediamaxfreeoffer.jpg

What they don’t say is the limit on the size of files for uploading, for which there is no actual limit, but which one would assume would be 10MB as well.

I uploaded a 17MB quite happily, and then attempted to download it, and this is what I got.

mediamaxdownloadlimit.jpg

So I have to pay a minimum of $4.95 to retrieve the file, or $9.95 if the file was larger than 1GB. Extortion at its finest.

From a legal perspective, MediaMax have done nothing illegal. From an Internet perspective, they should be shown the door.

Can they blame the technology? If they dare! But, Box, which limits file uploads to a maximum of 10MB, displays a friendly message informing you that the free account limit has been exceeded and the file cannot be uploaded unless you pay per file or upgrade the account.

boxuploadlimit.jpg

Can they say that all other online storage providers do the same thing? With respect to bandwidth, they can; however, at the start of the next month, the file will be available to download, which is completely acceptable for a free offering.

So MediaMax, free all those files you have imprisoned and do what Box does or shut up shop and get off the Internet.

Finally, in reviewing other online storage offerings here are some notes on the ones we now include in the list, in no particular order:

Xdrive

  • 5GB free storage
  • AOL signup required – good for some, bad for the rest
  • Ads
  • Interface is quite good
  • Downloading via browser is quite clunky but I was able to upload and download a 14.8 MB file without issue.
  • Client application available.

humyo

  • 30 GB free storage – 25 GB media (phots/music/videos) and 5 GB non-media files
  • Files deleted if the account is not used within 90 days
  • Windows client available for performing backups.

Box

  • 1 GB free storage
  • 10 MB file size upload limit
  • 10 GB bandwidth/month
  • Sharing available

Orbitfiles

  • 6GB free storage
  • 100 MB file size upload limit
  • 20 GB bandwidth/month
  • Good feedback when uploading
  • Sharing available
  • Able to ZIP a previously uploaded file – cool feature
  • Upload limit enforced – although error message display (floats at top) is not obvious at times

Caution: Down the right hand side of the home page they show the latest images uploaded, which may not be appropriate for some, and have not changed within the last 24 hours.

Gigasize

  • Unlimited free storage
  • 600 MB file size upload limit
  • Files deleted after 45 days
  • Waiting time before download begins is imposed (removed for premium (paid) account)
  • Unspecified download limits

DropBoks

  • 1GB free storage
  • 50 MB file size upload limit
  • Sharing is coming soon

There are a lot of free online storage offerings available, but with free you “get what you pay for”. So I would treat files uploaded as dispensable, in that they may be deleted, either due to the provider negligence (server crash, insufficient backups etc) or going out of business. Back them up on DVD’s or a backup hard disk, and use free online storage offerings as a convenient way to access your data, especially when you are out of the office or away from home.

Rather than use an explicit online storage offerings, the following suggestions make use of free storage which is packaged for a specific purpose.

Google’s Gmail

Use the GSpace FireFox extension which allows the Gmail 2MB of storage to be used as one would any online storage offering.

There is also a GMail Drive Shell Extension, which allows access to the GMail 2GB of storage from within Windows Explorer, so you can drop and drag files to/from your local disks. However, I would not recommend it as it crashed on, which kills the explorer.exe process, which is responsible for providing the Windows Taskbar, and this disappears!

WordPress.com

WordPress.com provides 3GB of storage per blog.

So create a private blog and create posts which contain your uploaded files.

With the names of Google and Automattic behind them, it does give a certain piece of mind with respect to continuity of service.

If you know of any others, or good/bad experiences, please leave a comment.

Oh poor Office 2007: Wherefore art thou undo?

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Looking for undo & redo in the new Office 2007 ribbon?

It ain’t in the ribbon, it is in the quick access toolbar. But hey didn’t the ribbon replace toolbars!

Undo and Redo are located in the quick access toolbar

Ctrl-Z works fine – thankfully they didn’t change this.

Dilemma vs. Conundrum

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Dilemma

A dilemma is when you must must make a choice between two options, and both have nasty consequences.

For instance, in Roald Dahl‘s James and the Giant Peach, James and the insects are inside a giant peach that is floating in the ocean.  Their dilemma is:
 
Do they eat the peach, and face death by drowning?

OR

Do they not eat the peach (keep it as a floating vessel), and face death by starvation?

Conundrum

A conundrum is a puzzling or difficult problem; almost everybody knows the most famous conundrum of all:

Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?
 
*Note:  ”dilemma” is often misspelt as “dilemna”

Save yourself the heartache – delete sad e-mails quick

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Over the past few days, I’ve received over one dozen e-mails from friends and family, asking me to add my name to a list of people fighting against the miscarriage of justice in the Jamie Bulger case of 1993.

The e-mail is entitled “Remember February 1993”

What blows me away is that within the e-mail it clearly states:

“The Love-Bug virus took less than 72 hours to reach the world, I hope this one does as well”

Do any of the people who sign their name to this know what the Love-Bug virus was, or what it did?

Please, do not send me e-mails to sign or forward on, or send me chain letters where something horrible will happen to me or my family if I choose not to reply.

And if you do, please do not be offended when I delete them without replying.

Yes, the Jamie Bulger case is horrid, yes I feel for his parents (I am a parent – how could I not?).

And this is the point:

The BEST way to spread a virus (interestingly, the method is similar to link baiting) is to make it so emotive, that people are compelled to respond.

Here’s a shocker – viruses, worms, bugs, and all sorts of ugly critters are sent to you more often than not by friends.  Not intentionally, just without consideration or knowledge.

If it is a chain letter, request to sign a petition, an offer of money for a service—like Billy Gates offering $10 for each referral you give him—it is more than likely something that will cause you grief for a long time.

Don’t do it.