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I've got spam! Yay!
Probably the first and last time I'll ever make *that* statement. But in this case, the spam is very good news -- because it was to one of my antique waks.org spam-catcher addresses, and it landed in my Gmail account.

What does this mean? I have finally gotten control of the waks.org domain back. A lot of folks noticed, a year or two ago, that http://www.waks.org/ had stopped working. It took me a while to figure out why -- it was because Forevermail, which had been my domain forwarder since the relatively early days of the Web, had gone belly-up. But email sent to waks.org was still getting through to our Comcast account, so it wasn't a crisis.

Well, it's becoming a crisis now: I'm moving in with Kate, which means that our ancient waks@mediaone/attbi/turner/comcast/I've forgotten how many times it's changed hands.net email address is finally going to die. Worse, that address was the last valid contact information for the registration of waks.org, so the domain was pretty much doomed if I didn't deal with it before shutting down the Comcast connection.

So the past couple of weeks have been a bit of a scramble. Aaron explained to me how to approach the problem, and determined that Tucows were currently the main administrators of the domain; I talked to Tucows and got them to sit on the current holder of the domain (who sound decidedly sketchy -- far as I could tell, you couldn't get through to their customer service without signing up for some suspicious agreement). That produced the necessary transfer codes, and I've spent the past five business days waiting for everybody to agree that I wasn't contesting this transfer.

But as of this morning, I found that the registration had gone through; I immediately set up web forwarding, so that links to, eg, http://www.waks.org/Cookbook now redirect appropriately. That's probably temporary -- my current long-term plan is that waks.org will eventually point to somewhere on Querki -- but it's nice to have it functioning.

And the spam? The honor of the first waks.org spam goes, unsurprisingly, to SPTechCon. The SharePoint conference a few years ago is a fine example of *why* I give out bespoke waks.org email addresses to commercial entities, since they proceeded to resell that address to every bloody company in the SharePoint universe. Receiving it means that I can start to configure Google's vastly-more-effective spam filters to get rid of the stuff. (Which has been clogging up Comcast for ages -- their spam filtering is basically a joke.)

The upshot is that I believe email to waks.org works again. I still recommend using my direct Gmail address for important personal mail -- it's less likely to get caught in the web of filters I'm going to be building around waks.org -- but it's a relief to know that I'm not imminently going to lose my original domain...

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I'd forgotten that Tucows was a domain registrar. Once upon a time they were a useful website (The ultimate colloection of windows software.. wasn't that their original acronym name?) but the internet moves faster than any single company...

So who is holding onto it now?

Now it's switched over to PairNIC, who have all of my domains except for jducoeur.org.

I don't actually host any sites at Pair -- jducoeur is the only conventionally hosted site I have, and that's at Hostcentric entirely due to historical inertia -- but PairNIC was recommended to me years ago as a good mainstream registrar, and I've never had any complaints.

I've actually got a dozen domains with PairNIC, for various companies and projects of mine, including Querki, CommYou and Crossert Consulting. Although I think I'm going to let perfectconstruct.org expire, since the re-run of the game never did happen. And Project ATWAG doesn't look like it's going anywhere, although you never know...

I remember their days as a huge BBS. Actually it was originally Winsock software, not Windows, which reflected the fact that they first started by offering downloads to get your Windows computer on a network. Winsock, short for Windows Socket, was a key piece of the TCP/IP software stack for Windows. tucows.com still offers a large library of downloads.

Tucows is one of the bigger players in domain registration, both with its own brand hover.com (originally Domain Direct but they rebranded it a few years ago) and as a wholesale registrar. buttery.org started with Network Solutions (first registered in 1996) when they were the only game in town and moved over to Domain Direct as soon as alternate registrars were allowed. I've stayed with Tucows over the years through the change to Hover. There are cheaper registrars, but Hover is reliable, has a good web interface, and they don't spam you. It also keeps you away from the bad karma of GoDaddy.

Yeah, my interactions with Tucows proper were good: while not lightning-quick, they were responsive and got the job done. (And their FAQ was immensely helpful for figuring out what I needed to do.) If I didn't already have a preferred registrar where I've centralized everything (PairNIC), I might have considered parking waks.org with Hover.

It looks like some of the resellers who use them, though, are iffier -- the people who had wound up with waks.org raised all sorts of alarm bells for me. Not really surprising that Forevermail appears to have gotten bought up by a bottom-feeder. (On the plus side, though, they *did* continue to forward my email, so I could fix the problem...)

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