Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Finding that elusive short domain

You might think that all the sensible short domains have long since gone but if you play around with a domain search for a while you’ll find that surprisingly good names are still around.

Granted, you’re essentially wasting your time trying to pick up a three letter one no matter what the TLD (the bit after the dot) is. Although, having said that, there are some that come up now and again. In principle even one and two letter domains can be had but, in most cases, only if it’s a direct transfer from the current owner to a new owner as any that are not renewed are now permanently out for the majority of TLDs.

However, at four letters, there are lots of decent domains still around. To pick up one you need to get the creative juices flowing. Add a number or hyphen and you’ll dramatically increase the possibilities for yourself: I picked up not so long ago and it’s one of many with a digit even within the very popular .com TLD. For personal domains, think of .me: I picked up a while back for instance. If you’re planning on mainly using it for email it’s probably better to aim for something like .me rather than .com as it’s that little bit shorter when you’re writing it out.

Pricing-wise, it’s probably best to avoid .tv as it’s generally thought of as a commercial domain and is therefore more expensive to register but other than that many TLDs are at normal prices and, quite importantly, without geographic restrictions eg you don’t need to live in Macedonia to register a .me nor in Tuvalu to register a .tv.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Amsterdam bikes

Amsterdam bikesAlthough you “know” that Amsterdam has loads of bicycles, you’ll never appreciate just how many are there ’til you see it for yourself. The photo here is just one spot from many cycle parks that are all over the city.

Because of this concentration on cycling, you’ll find that it’s very much a city to explore without your car and doesn’t have anything like the level of pollution that you would normally get in a city of this scale. That’s not to say that you can’t use your car, just that you don’t need to.

Just walking round the city and its many canals is very pleasant and you’ll come across untold numbers of attractions even if you just wander aimlessly. Don’t miss the Anne Frank museum though which is much, much smaller than I had imagined from the books. Although the queue is quite large it moves quickly so the wait usually isn’t that long.

As you’ll know Amsterdam is home to a red light district and, yes, the prostitutes really do use red lights in the windows to indicate that they’re available. It’s not nearly as much “in your face” as you might expect though and certainly during the day feels more like a tourist attraction than a “den of iniquity”.

We found that the best thing to do was to pick out an out of town hotel near the airport and get the train in and that’s what we’ll be doing next time we visit. The hotel we stayed at has an airport shuttle so that followed by a short train journey took us into the city centre very quickly and pleasantly.

This is part of our expanding Whole Earth Guide.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Renewal of development on the listings sites

One of my objectives in doing the web applications courses was to provide the knowledge to let me do a bit of a revamp of the various accommodation listings sites that I run.

Whilst it’s early days, this weeks session provided an increasingly necessary minor improvement in the data entry form for the site. As with seemingly most HTML code, that minor change in the code will provide a substantial improvement in the look and feel of the website. So far, I’ve only been able to apply it to the more recent coding but I’ll be retrofitting it to the remainder in due course.

That’s probably going to be how the course changes the overall look and feel flow from the computing courses initially… minor changes in code with big improvements for the users of the sites.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Tidying up the email accounts

Over the last year or so the amount of junk mail I’ve been getting has completely pulled away from my ability to cope with it. Going through anything up to 1000 emails to find anything that was worth reading was just too much and that was after the junk mail filters had done their work.

So, I’ve decided to approach the problem from several different angles.

Step one was changing all the email redirects that I use to go to my bulk mail mailbox which has the strictest junk mail filtering enabled. That thinned out the junk mail considerably  but there’s still quite a lot.

Step two was setting up a brand new mailbox. I’m now in the process of changing the redirects one per day to this mailbox. So far, the mail has remained reasonable but that’s because I’m starting off with the email addresses that were largely personal; when I get to those that were advertised in some way I’ll have to work through the legit ones and change them to something else.

Step three has been in progress for a while alongside the above and consists of deleting the redirects that I don’t really use. Unfortunately, one of these has the problem that it collects a lot of valid email and it also collects an awful lot of junk mail so I’ll need to wade through it all sometime and notify the legit people.

Step four is thinning out the non-junk mail that has also grown to such an extent that it’s unmanageable. Over the course of over 10 years there’s a surprising amount of email subscriptions that build up!

Bit of a hassle but I suppose that trying to stick to the same email for over 10 years was asking a bit too much when initially email addresses were much more visible on the Internet.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Kindle on Linux

At the moment, there’s Kindle for Kindle, Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, Kindle for Android but sadly, so far, no Kindle for Linux. Naturally, that hasn’t stopped the Linux people running Kindle though…

Step one is installing Wine, which, for me, is via the Synaptic package manager on Ubuntu 10.10. After that you need winetricks (for some fonts):

sh winetricks corefont

Then you install a not-quite up to date version of Kindle for PC:

wine KindleForPC-installer.exe

I say not-quite up to date as the latest version wouldn’t work for me; the latest version can be downloaded via Amazon.

Finally, you need to configure Wine to run the Kindle software in a Windows 98 environment. Do this by going to Wine configuration, add application, select Kindle in the Program Files/Amazon/Kindle for PC/KindleForPC.exe and choose Windows 98.

You can switch the screen to/from landscape by creating two launchers on your desktop (right-click on the desktop, select create-launcher) with:

xrandr -o right (or left if required)
xrandr -o normal

The mousepad orientation is “interesting” after doing this but quite usable; fixing that is rather more complex and the solutions I found don’t work on my system.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

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