Jan 292001
 
Part of the Deciphering Domains Series - Previous in series         Next in series

The Bottom Line Plain and simple: domain registrars are companies that allow individuals or companies to register domain names.

What are domain registrars?

Plain and simple: domain registrars are companies that allow individuals or companies to register domain names.

What is a domain name?

Allow me to defer to the Netdictionary (http://www.netdictionary.com) on this one:

“domain name — The official name of a computer connected to the Internet. Domain names are derived from a hierarchical system, with a host name followed by a top-level domain category. The top-level domain categories are com (for commercial enterprises), org (for non-profit organizations), net (for network services providers), mil (for the military), and gov (for government). Some Internet domain names include the computer server name, other sub-domains, and/or country abbreviations (e.g., us). Domain names act as easy-to-remember addresses for product or company information. As such, they are often subject to disputes between competing commercial interests. Most domain names are assigned by the InterNIC.”

For example, http://www.epinions.com is the domain name for Epinions.

So, what do domain registrars do?

For a fee, these companies will connect your name (and contact info) with a unique domain name. This allows you to use this domain name as the address for your website and prevents others from using the same name.

Do you mean they’ll host my website?

Well, sometimes. Many domain registrars now act as web hosting services as well (and almost all web hosts offer domain registration service as well), but the term ‘domain registrar’ applies specifically to companies that assign domain names.

So, why don’t I just have my web host or my ISP register my domain?

Because most of these charge in additional fee to provide this service. By registering your domain yourself you can save as much as $100.

Is registering a domain difficult?

Not exactly, but it can be intimidating to people unfamiliar with the process. If you have never done it before, you may want someone around to ask advice from.

Okay, how do I choose which domain registrar is right for me?

That’s a whole different article. For advice on domain registrars read the reviews of individual registrars or read the articles in the ‘How To Choose Domain Registrars’ section.

If you have any other questions feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment.

——————————
This is part two of a series of articles on domain registration also published on epinions.com

Part of the Deciphering Domains Series - Previous in series        Next in series

The Complete Deciphering Domains Series-


Jan 292001
 
Part of the Domain Registrars Series -         Next in series

If you own, register or resell multiple domain names you absolutely must check out DotRegistrar.com!

If you’re not sure what a domain registrar is then read my article on that very topic: Want www.YOURNAME.com? You need a registrar.

Pros
Great prices, Free transfers, free registrant change, Delete/Refund Feature

Cons
Ugly site, not for newbies

The Bottom Line
If you’re a domain reseller, web service provider, a cyber squatter or just a domain name junkie, then you NEED to take a look at DotRegistrar.com They’re the best.

What makes DotRegister.com so great?

Price:

Their prices are as follows (each DRY equals 1 year of domain registration):

  • 5 DRY: $11.99 each
  • 10 DRY: $10.99 each
  • 20 DRY: $9.99 each
  • 50 DRY: $8.99 each
  • 100 DRY: $7.99 each
  • 250 DRY: $7.49 each
  • 500 DRY: $6.99 each
  • 1000 DRY: $6.79 each
  • 2000 DRY: $6.49 each

So, you could purchase a 10 DRY pack @ $109.90 and use those 10 DRY to register 1 domain for 10 years, 2 domains for 5 years each, 10 domains for 1 year each, etc.

While you purchase DRY packs all at one time, you do not need to use them all at once. They will be held in your account until you are ready to use them for registering new domains, renewing existing ones, or transferring in domains from other registrars.

Free domain transfers:

Do you have a domain up for renewal? Are you going to pay $35.00 or more? Transfer it to DotRegistrar instead.

Many registrars charge a fee to transfer your domain to them. DotRegistrar.com will transfer your domain from any other registrar to DotRegistrar for only 1 DRY, which adds an additional year to your registration as well. So it’s actually free.

Free Registrant Change:

If you sell your domain name to someone else you will need to change the Registrant and contact info. Network Solutions charges $199 per domain and promises the change will occur in 2 days(!). At DotRegistrar.com they will not only change the registrant for free but they will do it in approximately 3 minutes with no paperwork necessary.

Delete/Refund Feature:

At any time within 3 days of registering a domain at DotRegistrar.com you may delete the account for a full instant refund! I ended up paying $35 for a year of registration on a typo’d domain name in the past. Not to mention having made the mistake of registering a customers domain before the check cleared. Now that’s no longer an issue as long as I discover the error within 72 hours I can delete the name and get my money back.

I’ve never seen this offered elsewhere.

Reseller API:

DotRegistrar.com offers a domain registration API that you can install on your own site to allow visitors to register their domains in real-time.

This program allows your users to search for domains, register them, modify their information and renew their domains all from your site. You can even set the price yourself (and still only pay the prices listed above).

RoboList Professional Domain List Creator:

Their RoboList Domain List Creator will help you with choosing a domain name when your first choice is taken. It not only shuffles the supplied words around, but checks a dictionary to find synonyms as well. This is one of the best domain name generators available.

Terms of Service, etc:

While their Registration agreement is voluminous (a hefty 8 pages printed), it’s all pretty standard stuff. And they follow ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Are you saying they’re perfect?

No, but they’re close.

Site Design:

Their site is not only ugly (IMHO), but it’s poorly designed as well. Everything is very utilitarian with almost no concerns for appearance or ease of use.

Complexity:

If you’ve never registered a domain name before, this is not a good place to start. There is very little ‘help’ offered at the site for people who don’t understand things like DNS and nameserver. But if you’re familiar with the ‘hidden’ workings of the web you’ll have no problem.

No Parking:

You must already have nameservers before registering your domain at DotRegistrar.com. They do not park domains at all. Again, not an issue for most people looking to bulk register.

Part of the Domain Registrars Series -        Next in series
Jan 282001
 

Treasures by R.J. (www.niceice.com) is a must-visit site before you buy a diamond anywhere, online or off.

Their introductory summation (found on their homepage) is perfect, so allow me to quote it for you:

“Warning… This site contains a dangerous combination of in-depth diamond grading information, satirical wit sparked by the marvels of human behavior, and extremely precise ideal cut diamonds for sale.”

Diamonds 101

I can’t even begin to describe how informative this sight is, but I’ll try.

They have extensive articles on: Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat Weight, Diamond Grading Tools, Evaluating A Diamond, Fast Track to Brilliance, Fluorescence, Grading for Real People, Polish, Proportions, Symmetry, The 60/60 Farce, Tolkowsky Range, Chipped Diamonds, Re-Cut Diamonds, Secret Stuff, Treated Diamonds, and GIA vs. AGS Lab as well as price guides on Pre-Profit Cost Reports, Paid Report Access, The “Rap Trap” and Wholesale. Their “Time Zone 101” is recommended reading even if you don’t give a rat’s rear end about diamonds, but are just looking for a few grins!

Each of these articles is easy to read, highly informative and entertaining to boot! I ended up spending a few hours on the sight and feel like I spent six or eight hours learning from a dear friend over a coupla beers.

Nice, but what about the diamonds?

First off, they only list diamonds that they have IN HAND, so there’s no waiting around while the diamond reaches their offices from somewhere else and the exact diamond you order is the one you’ll receive.

They offer diamonds from 0.30 carats (about $1500.00) to 3.0+ carats ($25,000.00 and up) and if they don’t have what you want in stock they will track it down for you.

Each diamond listed includes information on Cut, Size, Clarity, Color, Fluorescence, Polish, Symmetry, Proportions, Report (AGS, EGI, etc), Total % Depth, Table %
Diameter, Crown Angle, Pavilion Depth %, Girdle, Culet, and overall Measurements.

Can I Trust Them?

YES! Why? Here’s a few reasons:

1)They’ve got a 10 day 100% satisfaction guarantee.

2)They’ve maintained a five ‘star’ rating at epubliceye.com with more than 160 people rating them! The second company on the Public Eye list only has 19 ratings.

3)They are a participant in the Better Business Bureau Online Reliability Program.

4)They are a member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committe

5)They received five star ratings in 10 of 12 categories at WebWatchdog.com with almost 50 shopper reports. And the other two ratings were 4.5s in pricing and website design.

Summation/Recommendation:

I wish I could give them six stars! This is definitely the first place to look (online or off) when you’re even thinking about buying a diamond or engagement ring. No one else even comes close!

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This review is also posted at epinions.com

 Posted by at 11:17 pm
Jan 272001
 

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie’s plot.

I am a huge fan of F.W.Murnau’s Nosferatu. It always lands on my top five movies of all time list (along with Alien, The Exorcist, and a couple others that rotate through). Thus, I was very excited when I saw the first trailer for Shadow of the Vampire many months ago. Unfortunately, as I continued to see the trailer repeatedly I became less enthused. And now that I have experienced the complete film I have very mixed emotions.

Plot Summary:

John Malkovich plays F.W. Murnau, arguably the greatest German director of all time, in his quest to capture a vampire tale on film. In his never-ending search for realism Murnau hires an actual vampire (Willem Defoe) to play the part of Count Orlock (aka Dracula). The vampire turns out to be much more difficult to control then Murnau originally thought and blood is soon being drained from vital crew members.

Commentary:

First off, if you have not seen the original Nosferatu, leave your computer now and go rent or purchase a copy. (then come back and finish/rate this review 🙂 Not only is the film a masterpiece in and of itself, but familiarity with the original will increase your enjoyment of Shadow of the Vampire tenfold.

Willem Defoe looks amazingly like Max Shreck who played Count Orlock in Nosferatu. He also managed to grasp many of the mannerisms Shreck used in portraying the undead Count. His portrayal is nothing short of spectacular.

John Malkovich is passable as Murnau, but then, I’ve never been a huge Malkovich fan in the first place. While he does get to issue many wonderful lines espousing Murnau’s thoughts on cinema as both art and science I find it difficult to take him seriously.

The rest of the cast turns in performances in the acceptable to good range, but few of them have much to work with. This is the tale of Murnau and his vampire. The rest are merely window (set?) dressing.

The true star here (other then Defoe) is the cinematography. Scenes from the original film have been recreated both lovingly and accurately. Devices such as the use of displaying Shreck’s shadow well before he enters the frame are used to good effect, and this is the first time in many years I recall the blending of black & white and color sequences being something other than annoying. Here it is not only appropriate, but well done as well.

If you are hoping to get some insight into what it was like to film Nosferatu (or any silent movie for that matter) you will be sorely disappointed. This is a work of fiction first and foremost. If you’re looking for true background I recommend you read Murnau by Lotte H. Eisner if you can find a copy.

Jan 272001
 

Review of Vinkmail.org

I just discovered VinkMail and it has a few wonderful features that I have not found at other free web-based email sites, but it has some drawbacks as well.

VinkMail is an affiliate of bigmailbox.com. Essentially all of the services are provided by bigmailbox.com and cobranded by vink.org (which seems to have no existence outside of VinkMail, but is owned by an epinionator: vink). So, you might want to check out reviews of Big Mail Box as well.

First, let’s look at the good…

Ups:

1) Required info is kept fairly minimal. Many free sites require you to enter a ton of personal info in order to use their site. VinkMail only requires Full name (first, last), alternate email address, Zip Code, gender, and age. The ‘Interest’ info is starred as if it’s required, but I didn’t enter any and my account was still set up.

2) VinkMail allows you to :

Be notified at your alternate email address (or via ICQ) when new mail is received at your VinkMail account.

Set your destination after deleting a viewed message (next message or current folder), text line width, message headers (brief, full or none), message info default sort field (new, date, from, to, subject, size), message info default sort type (ascending or descending), messages per page (from 5 to All), your automatic logout time (up to 180 minutes), and what info appears in your from/to fields (name, email address, or both).

Turn on or off your signature file, subfolder visibility, delivery verification notices, and auto-save to your sent mail folder.

3) Not only does VinkMail have an integrated spell check program (supplied by spellchecker.net), but it allows you to create and maintain your own user dictionary. The user dictionary is originally stored as a cookie, but will be moved to their servers when it grows larger. This is a wonderful feature that I hope other web-based email programs integrate soon.

Downs:

1) Pop-Up ads! Every time you log into your VinkMail account a popup ad is served from bigmail box. I don’t know about you, but I hate pop-up ads.

2) Your email address will be you@vink.org. .org addresses (whether they be email or websites) just aren’t as memorable as .com or .net addresses.

3) Mailboxes are limited to 4megs of storage. The more popular free email programs now have 6meg email boxes.

4) After writing an email message (whether in reply or compose mode) you are taken to a page that confirms that your message has been sent, but does not provide a ‘continue’ link. As a result, you must return to your inbox or folder each time you reply to a message rather then returning directly to that message. This gets annoying quickly.

5) Message delivery seems a bit slow. It took a message from me VinkMail account nearly an hour to reach my VinkMail account during testing.

6) There are no ‘filters’ available to sort incoming mail into seperate folders. This means everything gets dumped into your Inbox. This is fine if you check your email daily and receive only 5-10 messages, but I receive hundreds of messages a day and often don’t check for a day or two.

7) There is no ability to block email addresses. Which means there’s no way to stop spam or someone harrasing you.

8) There is no access to POP accounts. So you cannot check other email accounts. One of the primary uses of web-based email accounts is to check POP accounts from ‘home’ systems.

Summary:

If you’re looking for a web-based email account that will notify you of new messages via ICQ, this is the only one I’m aware of. If you desperately need a spell checker with a user dictionary, again, this seems to be the only place.
Otherwise, I’d recommend sticking with the big boys, like Yahoo Mail, or a service that pays you to use them, like Zwallet.

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This review is also posted at epinions.com

 Posted by at 11:30 pm