Days: it’s a blog thing

Since August, 2001. Surely it can’t last…

Saturday, February 16, 2002 ↓


I had very little time over the last week for plain, fun surfing. But I did pick up on the story of CC, the cloned kitty. Those clever geneticist types have been very quiet about something, though…

Posted at 11:10 PM


Last Monday’s post was short and to the point.

The state of knackerdom (which sounds like a place to the north of the Duchy of Cornwall) was due to having worked throughout the weekend, in order to free up a couple of days to respond to a client request to go to Sweden. The frustration was down to

  • making travel arrangements to Gothenburg (how many times in one day should you go through the process of selecting a destination, flight dates and times, ticket class, etc. on an airline web site and get right to the last hurdle to be told, “Sorry, we are unable to give you a price at the moment, please try again later”?)
  • spending undue amounts of time telephoning and writing to KLM
  • trying to get my domain name problems resolved once and for all.

After several attempts over the weekend, I did finally manage to get flights booked. Of course, I would have been faster simply telephoning the airline (Ugh! Not the telephone! It’s so twentieth century…) and booking them the old fashioned way.

On Monday, after getting a quotation out to a potential new client, I set about the tasks that were to be the source of my further frustration.

Yes, following my irritation with KLM, I decided that I would indeed make a complaint to the airline, despite receipt of their unsolicited compensation. The scales were tipped when I realised that as well as having messed me about on my last trip, they had overcharged me for the privilege. The price they had charged to my credit card was about £130 more than the price confirmed to me when I booked the ticket on their web site. What’s more, that’s the third time they have done this. On the previous occasions, I had to waste a lot of my own time messing about faxing copies of tickets, e-mails (yes, believe it or not, KLM’s Refund Department does not have a public e-mail address to which I could have simply forwarded them) and other stuff to get the amounts refunded to my credit card.

I thought I’d try a short cut and telephone their Customer Relations Department. Except that KLM in the UK doesn’t have a number listed anywhere for Customer Relations. It’s not on any of their literature; not even the letter from Customer Relations that accompanied the compensation cheque they sent. So I called their headquarters, and got put through that way. The long and the short of it after speaking to one of their representatives was that I still had to write out a couple of lengthy missives, though at least Doreen gave me her e-mail address to send them to. She agreed to forward my refund claim to their Refunds Department (because they do actually have an e-mail address, but for KLM internal use only…) though she could not promise that they wouldn’t come back and ask me to fax everything anyway. I’m sill waiting.

Then I turned my attention to what I hope will be the last instalment in sorting out my domain name woes. Let me start by giving you a piece of advice. Unless you already know and absolutely trust them, never use a reseller to register a domain name.

It went like this (which, believe it or not, is the condensed version):

  1. Around two years ago, though not at exactly the same time, I wanted to register and for my business web sites. The registry for and domains, then known as Nomination, did not offer direct registrations. (Now they do, and they’ve changed their name from Nomination to CentralNic.) So I had to do it through a reseller.
  2. I chose a reseller — let’s call them Klutzco — that seemed to have sensible policies and one of those control panel widgets to allow you to manage your domains. Initially Klutzco’s name servers were listed in the registry’s database, and I used the Klutzco control panel’s web forwarding feature to point the two domains at directories on my server where I was hosting the sites.
  3. Then I decided to set up new, separate servers for and I wanted to transfer the two domains away from Klutzco. This should have been a simple, automated process using the Klutzco control panel. It wasn’t. It didn’t work. Eventually I got somebody at Klutzco to do it manually, and contacts and name server information were changed with the registry so that my domains now pointed directly to their new servers.
  4. All was well until several weeks ago. In trying to find out why my web sites had vanished up their own assholes, I discovered that the name server information in the registry’s database had been changed — to Klutzco name servers!
  5. I found that even though they should have had nothing to do with these domains any more, they were still listed in my Klutzco control panel. So I pointed them at the numeric IP addresses of the sites, and made them at least accessible again. Then I set about trying to sort out the mess.
  6. Along the way, one of the sites disappeared again. I thought it was due to some screw up at Klutzco, and went to my control panel to fix it. I found that had completely vanished from the control panel. Next, I checked the CentralNic registry entry, and found that the domain had expired. But nobody from CentralNic or Klutzco (thought they shouldn’t have had anything to do with it anyway) had sent me any kind of renewal invoice or reminder.
  7. The original reason for the problem turned out to be that Klutzco made changes to their name servers, and issued a blanket instruction to CentralNic to change the name server information for around one thousand domains. Except Klutzco neglected to establish if they were still actually responsible in any way for all of those domains. CentralNic compounded the error by simply accepting and implementing this instruction, without checking whether Klutzco had any authority to make such demands. (You didn’t think that could happen, did you? Bet you thought, like me, that somebody who is neither the Admin contact, nor the Technical contact, nor the Billing contact can arrange for any of the details in the registry’s database to be amended. Theoretically that’s the case, but clearly it goes wrong in practice.) The situation possibly wasn’t helped by the fact that Klutzco’s e-mail address appeared against the Admin contact in the registry record (how did that happen?).
  8. Eventually, and in stages, CentralNic fixed the cock-up. They admitted to weakness in their procedures, which they say they have amended to prevent anything similar happening again. They reactivated my expired domain, and promised me I’ll receive a renewal invoice, though I’m still waiting and I won’t feel confident that all is well until I’ve had it, paid it, and had payment acknowledged. The registry records are all straight now and hopefully will remain so.
  9. And what of Klutzco, you ask? They never even replied to my e-mails.

And that took up all of Monday.

After a breakfast meeting (7:00 a.m. — groan) on Tuesday, I headed straight to the airport and jumped on a plane to Amsterdam then on to sunny Gothenburg, where once again the weather was better than at home in Edinburgh. After some client business on Wednesday, I headed back to Edinburgh and arrived home about 9:30 p.m.

Just twelve hours later, on Thursday morning, I got an e-mail asking me if I could be back in Gothenburg on Friday morning. Er, no… but I’m making arrangements to go out this week again.

Friday was a blur of billing, report writing and other administrative tasks, amidst which Princess Margaret was laid to rest. She had her fans and her detractors, but whatever you thought of her, she was a bit of a character. Her heyday was in the 1950s and 1960s, during much of which time I was growing up and I remember her jetting around the world, partying with celebs, and generally having a good time. Her death brought out all the old stuff about how much happier her life might have been if she had married Peter Townsend, but frankly, I’m not sure she could have had a happier life than the one that’s just ended. She was renowned for being a pragmatic character, and I think she made a pragmatic decision. She had already had a glimpse of the kind of life she could lead as a princess, the sister of the Queen with no great responsibilities of her own, and a substantial unearned income to spend in the company of her friends (who, despite being her friends, were expected to remember at all times that she was a royal princess and should be treated as such). The alternative was to lead the rest of her life as Mrs. Peter Townsend. No contest.

Margaret was less familiar to the generation that followed mine, because as Euan Ferguson wrote in The Observer, the country is very different today from the Britain that she knew:

That land died some time in the Sixties. It had been a land of war heroes and whirlwind affairs: a sexy, monochrome land of society secrets and high heels and cigarette holders, and a gorgeous brunette whirling through the middle of it all with an hourglass waist, a fast brain and a hard wit. It was also a land of ludicrous privilege and poisonous snobbery, a land of bigotry and inequity and not getting above your station; and Margaret, in part, represented the worst of these times as well as the best.

Margaret will not be missed in the way that some other royals have been (Diana) or will be (the Queen Mother). But as Mary Riddell said, also in The Observer, “she would not have expected fulsome mourning” as she was “possibly the first woman this century to understand the irrelevance of being royal.”

Posted at 11:00 PM

Monday, February 11, 2002 ↓


Completely bloody knackered. And more than a bit frustrated.

Posted at 11:44 PM

Sunday, February 10, 2002 ↓


After making Friday’s posting on anti-spam measures, I was searching around to see if I could find other solutions to the problem, or if anyone else had hit on the same one. I found a few more sites referring to Dan Benjamin’s method, including this one from Rogi. (By the way, how do your pronounce it, Rogi? Is it like Roggi with a hard 'g', or like Roji with a soft 'g'?)

Rogi is a London ex-pat photographer in his 30's who continues to be slightly bemused as to how he found himself living on the sub-tropical Azores Islands out in the middle of the Atlantic.

His last vague recollection of London includes the statement; "I'm just going for a drink, see you in about an hour". This is thought to have occured sometime around 1993, although it is not entirely clear. These days some think him a little strange due to his undeniably dangerous habit of living on the side of a live volcano.

How can you not read more from a guy who describes himself like that? I’ve found a new blog to add to my Regularly Watches list. (Amongst the links I followed from Rogi’s site is the extraordinary tale of how Matt Vartan Steals META Tags. I love it when people dig into stuff like this.)

Anyway, I sent Rogi a note about the anti-spam technique I’m using, and he was good enough to link back to so hello to any of you who have found your way here courtesy of the man.

Posted at 1:39 AM

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