Google Reader: One Year Later
I thought I would miss Google Reader, but NewsBlur (see http://newsblur.com/) has been a great replacement, and has actually improved my workflow.
US Government Withdraws IANA Contract From ICANN
The headline is a bit misleading. What NTIA did was withdraw the RFP. The IANA contract still stays with ICANN (contract extended until the end of September), and there will likely be another RFP.
However, it is indeed a big rebuke, because in the NTIA Notice they stated that " we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community" which is another way of saying that ICANN has not been acting in the global public interest.
VeriSign Wants Ability To Suspend Domains Without Court Order
Thanks for accepting the article. ICANN is still reviewing the proposal. If folks share my concerns, please do send them your comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (from the top of ICANN's Registry Services Evaluation Process page). You can view comments by others here. EasyDNS has submitted their concerns too.
At a minimum, they should open up a formal 30 day public comment period that is widely advertised, in order that domain name registrants can be heard.
Ask Slashdot: Clusters On the Cheap?
Actually, Amazon now offers instances with GPUs. See their page on High Performance Computing for more details.
ICANN To Allow .brandname Top-Level Domains
ICANN has really dropped the ball on new TLDs. Folks like Tim Berners-Lee were explicitly against new top level domains. The W3 even wrote a position paper New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful. They used the examples of .xxx and .mobi, but the reasoning applied to all new TLDs.
ICANN hand-picked economists to examine the costs and benefits, and their own experts could not come up with anything close to definitive as to whether the benefits exceeded the costs. ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest, and only approve policies where the net benefit (i.e. benefits MINUS costs) are positive. ICANN doesn't even know the *sign* (i.e. positive or negative) of this policy change's impact, let alone know the magnitude. Their pathetic reports didn't even attempt to put a monetary figure on the costs vs. the benefits, i.e. are we talking about millions of dollars of benefits, billions, etc? However, many individuals and companies commented in each of the relevant comment periods pointing out how there would be grave consequences, as there would be huge costs associated with such a change. As is typical, ICANN ignored these concerns, attempting to win a war of attrition, to "tire out" opponents.
Fortunately, the US Department of Commerce / NTIA may not renew its contract with ICANN. There is a pending Notice of Inquiry regarding the renewal. I would encourage people to send comments, to voice their concerns about the bad policymaking from ICANN.
ICANN is also about to renew the .NET agreement with VeriSign despite numerous comments in opposition. VeriSign will be allowed to continue to raise prices by 10% per year, despite falling technology costs, and without facing a competitive tender process (which would certainly result in much lower prices for consumers). The US Department of Justice should investigate both ICANN and VeriSign for anti-trust violations, as consumers are being harmed by these no-bid contracts. Toll-free numbers costs less than $1.50 per year at the wholesale level, yet .com/net/org fees are above $7/yr, due to lack of regular competitive tender processes.
Why has ICANN been consistently making decisions against the public interest? The reason is obvious -- it has been captured by the registries and registrars, who only care about selling more and more domain names, even if they are not needed (i.e. "defensive registrations"). They don't care about confusing users or making it harder to navigate the internet.
Buying a Domain From a Cybersquatter
They're not "cybersquatters" but you're giving them that label because you are upset that they own something that you want for cheap. They registered and paid for the domain name (they're not getting something for free), before your business even started. Since you have no relevant trademarks with priority rights (i.e. created and used before the domain name, and in the same class of goods/services) that they're violating, they can do anything they want with their domain name. Just because you feel you might be better able to use a domain name then they can doesn't mean you are entitled to anything. There are lots of empty pieces of land in most places that do not have skyscrapers on them. It doesn't mean that I can compel the owners of the land to sell them to me at below market value.
Microsoft owns the domain name juice.com, for example, and currently redirects it to a search page on bing.com (visit www.juice.com and you'll see). Similarly, CNET has owned Kids.com for years, and it is currently a parked page. Microsoft acquired bing.com years ago, before they launched their new site. Smart companies plan ahead, and register domain names well before their product launches. Your company was not smart enough to do the same.
Your company has choices. It can coin a new term ("google" wasn't a dictionary term, but was a typo, when the Stanford boys registered Google.com). Or, it can get real funding, and acquire a domain name that is within its financial means.
Paul Vixie Responds To DNS Hole Skeptics
In a comment to a question I posted for the CircleID article, Paul Vixie posted a nice and simple test that people can run to see how vulnerable they are:
dig porttest.dns-oarc.net in txt
FAIR or GOOD means you're ok, but POOR (which is the result I got) means you should be worried.