Apr 27 2011

Multi-year EU Registrations

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 7:53 pm

I see that Blacknight has launched a campaign promoting .eu domain names: Invade Europe. It is catchy, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek!

It is now possible to register .eu domain names for 1, 2, 5, and 10 years. The 10 year registration is heavily discounted by 50%. It is great value, and I guess that it is representative of the fact that .eu domain names are generally not regarded highly.

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Sep 16 2010

Amazon EC2 Micro Instances

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 4:33 pm

I saw today that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released new, low-cost, entry level instances! Very cool! I am extremely happy with the service from Blacknight, but if circumstances changed then I would definitely consider moving some of my sites!

For more information about this see New Amazon EC2 Micro Instances – New, Low Cost Option for Low Throughput Applications.

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Aug 17 2009

New Blacknight Control Panel

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 8:14 pm

Over the weekend I noticed that Blacknight has updated the control panel. In particular, it now includes a new file manager!

The old control panel linked to an independent file manager that was not integrated with the control panel. It was very basic :|

The new file manager is completely integrated into the control panel, and it is far easier to use! However, the best thing about it is that it operates over port 80/443. This means that I can use the new file manager behind my restricted firewall!

Brilliant!

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Jul 09 2009

Amazon Web Services

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 9:07 pm

I spent my afternoon in the clouds… No, not dreaming!

I was doing some reading about cloud computing, and specifically about the Amazon cloud computing offerings. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) appear to be the most popular.

I did this reading because I intended attending a cloud computing webinar this evening. However, the webinar software would not install for me :(

Anyway, my time was not spent in vain, because I learned a lot! For the sake of convenience, I am including the most relevant AWSs here:

Overall, I was very impressed with what I read :o I think that there are some really useful services here. I think that if I was developing a non-mission critical web application then I would certainly look at AWS due to their simplicity, flexibility, and cost effectiveness. The applications described in Gowalla – Location-based iPhone 3G Application (you need to watch the video) are good examples.

However, I do not think that I would feel comfortable placing a mission critical application into a public cloud. I think that private clouds are the best option in this case. (Although I am still not sure if this is significantly different to having a virtualised back-office :o )

The smaller details that caught my attention were:

  • I am very surprised that Amazon charges for the European services in Dollars instead of Euro. Currency fluctuations may negate some of the price stability that AWS offer. I really do not understand why this is necessary given that the costs in these locations are in Euro :|
  • I am very impressed that Amazon is able to measure such minute amounts of resource usage.
  • Consequently, I am impressed that Amazon is able to efficiently process the corresponding micro-charges. Telcos are usually considered the masters of this :o
  • I know that I am not exactly comparing like for like, but a Blacknight VPS product seems to be much better value than a single EC2 small instance.

Finally, I read about a web site recently that featured on a national television program. The web site was hosted with a traditional hosting service provider, and received a relatively small amount of traffic. However, the web site designers decided to move all of the static web site files to S3 in anticipation of the spike caused by the television appearance.

The web site did experience a huge spike in traffic during the television appearance, and it was able to cope with it. So the web site designers were satisfied with their decision to use S3.

The funny thing about this is that in my opinion it was unnecessary to use S3 because it did not provide any benefits! The reason for my opinion is that all of the web site visitors during that peak were from the geographic area where the television program was being broadcast. Therefore, they were all connecting to the S3 data centre through the same IP exchange. This is also the same IP exchange where the hosting service provider peers. Therefore, it is unlikely that the hosting service provider would have been a greater bottleneck than the S3 :o

Indeed, a well resourced hosting service provider that peers in a national IP exchange should outperform both S3 and CloudFront in countries where Amazon does not have a presence when all of the traffic is originating from that country!

Anyway, right now I feel that I would love to have a personal project to develop using AWS :o

(As a result of this post I have decided to create a dedicated category for cloud computing :o )

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Jun 24 2009

Choosing my TLD

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 5:43 pm

I have been asked a few times why I chose the .eu TLD for this blog. Originally I considered a range of different TLDs, and the domain names that I was interested in were wildly available. Ultimately, my choice came down to the following factors (in no particular order):

  • Cost: Everybody loves a bargain, and .eu domains are excellent value, as can be seen on Blacknight’s domain pricing web page.
  • Simplicity: I love the fact that I can buy a .eu domain online in under 3 minutes.
  • Privacy: I love my privacy! The only publicly available information about a person who owns a .eu domain is a contact email address and a contact language preference, as described in Can you remove my contact information from the WHOIS database?. It is really important to me that I remain anonymous, so that I do not get into difficulties with my employer! Also, I would not like somebody to be able to link my domains together due to the fact that they are all registered to me! The privacy policy of the .eu TLD is substantially better than any of the other domains that I considered using.
  • Significance: I like what the EU represents, and this blog has an EU focus, so it makes sense to use a .eu domain.

Overall, the .ie ccTLD seems to be the worst TLD that I considered. It is very expensive, and I do not see any return for this extra cost. They are very regulated, and hence they are awkward to register. Yet this does not seem to prevent the registration of almost any domain. For example, and individual cannot register his/her first name (see IE Personal Domain Names) yet many first name domains exist because they were registered as sole traders!

I would be very interested in knowing what reasons other people consider important or unimportant when choosing TLDs for personal domains!

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Apr 29 2009

Shortening URLs

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 9:56 pm

Sometimes URLs can become very long, and this can be problematic in certain circumstances. I usually notice then when I send or receive an email containing a URL, but the email software forces a line break in the middle of the URL. Therefore, the link cannot be clicked :( I am also notice this in Twitter, because the URL can consume a lot of my valuable characters!

Luckily, there are several websites that allow you to rewrite a long URL as a short URL.The websites that I am aware of are (in no particular order):

I have not used any of these enough yet to determine which is best!

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Mar 23 2009

Teknovis on Twitter

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 9:51 pm

I keep hearing positive things about micro-blogging, and in particular, Twitter. So during the weekend I decided to create a Twitter account. At the very least I thought that I should reserve the name Teknovis. Perhaps in the future Twitter names will become as sought after as popular domain names!

I am suggesting this because I recently read that Blacknight changed from its original, but less obvisious, Twitter name to simply Blacknight. The latter was not available when Blacknight first registered with Twitter, so I wonder if it had to buy it. You can read more about this in Attention Twitter Followers!.

Once I created my Twitter account I decided to configure it a bit, and I was pleasently suprised how easy it was to do this so that it has the same theme as my blog! At this point I decided to disregard my scepticism, and commit to Twitter :)

I am not familiar with using Twitter, so I found that Newbie’s guide to Twitter and A Quick Introduction to Twitter for Bloggers were good introductions! There are still a few things that I am not clear on, but hopefully these will become clear with usage!

I also used the Twitter web interface from my PDA, and I was very impressed with how well it renders. I can see myself using that a lot. Perhaps I will eventually use a dedicated client on my PDA, such as the client shown in Twitter for Windows Mobile.

I am hoping to achieve two things with my new Twitter account:

  • I am intending to use it for micro-blogging about technology related issues that do not warrant a full article on this blog. I especially like the convenience of being able to do this from my PDA.
  • I am attracted to the real-time nature of using Twitter. An example of this is described in Dragon’s Den Contestants And The Web.

So my Twitter URL is http://twitter.com/Teknovis.

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Jan 19 2009

a.exe

Category: SecurityTeknovis @ 10:08 pm

Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. This is supposed to be due to a combination of credit card bills relating to Christmas shopping, pay-day still more than a week away, and bad weather :o

I am not sure how true this is, but the last few days were a bit depressing for me :o I think that one of my Windows 2000 computers might have become infected with a virus, and I cannot figure out how!

It all started when I noticed a file called a.exe that suddenly appeared in one of my folders. The creation time of this file was a few minutes before I noticed it. So my first reaction was to upload the file to VirusTotal. This is a really great web site that allows you to email or upload a file for free, and this file is then scanned by the most up-to-date versions of 39 different virus scanners. VirusTotal reported that 21 of the 39 virus scanners found a virus in my file :( You can read the full report.

VirusTotal most frequently identifies the worm as Pinit or Spamuzle. The best information I can find about these is from ThreatExpert and Symantec.

However, based on these descriptions my computer is not infected. This does not surprise me because only my administrator account has the privileges to make those changes. Furthermore, my hardware firewall would prevent the virus from communicating with the outside world. Blacknight also correctly identifies the file as a virus, and prevents it from passing through the email system.

So everything looks great, and it appears that I was not infected. However, the fact still remains that a.exe came from somewhere! This is really annoying me that I cannot find its source :|

The other aspect of this that is adding to my unease is the current rampage of the worm known as Conficker, Downadup, or Kido. See Windows worm numbers ‘skyrocket’ for more details about this worm. Is this a coincidence, or is my problem somehow related to this?

I would really appreciate if anybody can provide me with any insight in relation to any of this!

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Nov 20 2008

Expensive Domain Names

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 7:10 pm

Blacknight have an article on a recent domain name auction in Camera.co.uk Sells For 35k.

The article highlights the sale of what was perhaps the most interesting domain – camera.co.uk. There was a reserve of $15,000 for this domain name, and it eventually sold for $35,000!

I guess that not everybody feels that the economy is all doom and gloom at the moment!

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Nov 12 2008

Fun with htaccess

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 5:50 pm

I have now started using pretty URLs for my permalinks. This took me a long time to get working, but I have to admit that this was my own fault :o

Configuring permalinks within WordPress is straight-forward, and it is described in Using Permalinks.

My problems occurred because WordPress could not create the required .htaccess file due to the way that Blacknight has installed WordPress in a different directory to the one that appears in the URL.

In trying to solve my problems, I learned a lot about .htaccess files! I thought that these Stupid htaccess Tricks were very useful.

Everything appears to be working perfectly now, but there is still one thing that I do not understand. My .htaccess file contains the following three lines:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /blog/index.php [L]

There are many pages, such as htaccess rewrite code explanation, that describe these three lines. It is the explanation for the third line that confuses me:

Rewrites any request with 1 or more characters to /index.php, which launches wordpress and handles all redirections and what to display.

Firstly, the RewriteRule documentation states that the matched pattern is replaced with the substitution string. Furthermore, the Regular Expression documentation states that the period will match any single character! So what exactly is happening here?

Secondly, how does it rewrite the request to /index.php? Is it appended to the URL, or is it sent as a POST variable?

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