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In pictures: from tuk-tuks to cheese wheels, every ICANN national stereotype 2016-2022

Kevin Murphy, August 2, 2022, Gossip

What’s the one thing that ICANN most associates with your country?

For the The Netherlands, it seems to be cheese. For Puerto Rico, rum. For Morocco, um… camels.

ICANN ships about 12 metric tons (10 tonnes) of gear to its meeting locations three times a year, and a few weeks after the meeting concludes it issues a “By The Numbers” report, containing a treasure trove of data about the meeting.

The reports include data on how much equipment — servers, routers, mics, headsets etc — was shipped, along with a lighthearted “that’s the equivalent of” comparison.

It started in 2016 with elephants and cars, but from round about the third report, the ICANN 57 meeting in Hyderabad, India, ICANN started picking a comparison with a local connection.

I thought it might be fun to collect all these images in one place for easy reference.

ICANN 55, Marrakech, Morocco

3.5 African elephants. I’m not convinced this one was connected to the host. Probably just representative of “a heavy thing”.

Elephants

ICANN 56, Helsinki, Finland

12.2 mid-sized cars. Again, this might just be “a heavy thing”. Finland isn’t really known for its cars. Maybe ICANN thought it was in Sweden.

Elephants

ICANN 57, Hyderabad, India

77 tuk-tuks. This cheap form of private-hire transport is as ubiquitous in India as it is in many parts of Asia.

Elephants

ICANN 58, Copenhagen, Denmark

1,365 bicycles. Copenhagen is reportedly one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. I recall walking pretty much the full distance from the airport to the venue along a cycle path when I arrived for ICANN 58.

Elephants

ICANN 59, Johannesburg, South Africa

8 giraffes. South Africa is known for its tourist safaris.

Elephants

ICANN 60, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

6,517 falcons. Falconry is a popular pass-time and tourist attraction in the UAE.

Elephants

ICANN 61, San Jose, Puerto Rico

34 barrels of rum. I had to google this one to be honest, but it turns out the Puerto Rico government calls the US territory the “Rum Capital of the World”. It even has a .gov web site to promote the product.

Elephants

ICANN 62, Panama City, Panama

145 sacks of coffee beans. Panama isn’t exactly internationally renowned for its coffee exports, but I guess it’s difficult to weigh stuff in terms of canals.

Elephants

ICANN 63, Barcelona, Spain

6,849 Spanish guitars. It has the word “Spanish” in it, do you see?

Elephants

ICANN 64, Kobe, Japan

17 cows. Kobe is known for its beef, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Elephants

ICANN 65, Marrakech, Morocco

23 camels.

Elephants

ICANN 66, Montreal, Canada

38 barrels of maple syrup. A gimme… the leaf is right there on the flag.

Elephants

ICANN 74, The Hague, Netherlands

1,191 cheese wheels. Who doesn’t love a bit of Dutch cheese?

Elephants

Five things I learned from UK prime minister candidates’ domain names

Kevin Murphy, July 11, 2022, Gossip

Boris Johnson announced he is to resign as UK prime minister after a series of scandals last week, and as of this evening 11 of his former friends have announced their plans to replace him as leader of the Conservative party and therefore UK PM.

I’ll spare you the details of Johnson’s downfall and the process used to find his successor, but domain names became part of the story over the weekend when a so-called “Dirty Dossier” began circulating among Tory MPs, denouncing candidate Rishi Sunak.

Among the allegations was that Sunak, whose resignation as chancellor last week eventually led to the Johnson’s own resignation, had been plotting Johnson’s demise and his own rise to power since last December, using Whois records for his campaign site as a smoking gun.

I thought I’d take a look at all 11 candidates’ registrations to see what else we could learn.

1. Sunak wasn’t the only “plotter”

Sunak came under scrutiny over the weekend when it emerged that the domain name readyforrishi.com has been registered since December 23 last year, a few weeks into the Partygate scandal, when the foundations of Johnson’s premiership began to weaken.

This, it was claimed in the Dirty Dossier, showed that Sunak had been plotting his boss’s downfall for six months.

His team have subsequently claimed that the name wasn’t necessarily registered by them, and his campaign is currently using the similar domain ready4rishi.com, which was registered July 7, the day Johnson announced his resignation.

The December domain forwards to Sunak’s official campaign site, suggesting its registrant is at the least a supporter.

We can’t tell for sure because all Whois records are redacted due to GDPR, which is still in effect in the UK despite Brexit.

But Sunak wasn’t the only prescient registrant in the clown car. Liz Truss’s campaign site is at lizforleader.co.uk, which was registered June 8, a month before there was a leadership job opening available, Whois records show.

Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat and Sajid Javid have names registered last week. Penny Mordaunt’s pm4pm.com was registered in 2019, but that’s because she also stood for Tory leader in 2019, ultimately losing to Johnson.

2. Not much patriotism on display

Of the 11 candidates, only five are campaigning using .uk addresses.

Kemi Badenoch uses a .org.uk. Suella Braverman uses a .co.uk. While Jeremy Hunt usually uses a .org, he’s using a .co.uk for his campaign. Same for Truss. Javid is using a thoroughly modern .uk, eschewing the third level, at teamsaj.uk.

All the rest use a .com for their sites.

3. Truss and Hunt didn’t register their matching .uk

While Javid appears to have registered the .co.uk matching his .uk, Truss and Hunt have not registered their matching second-level domains, which is just asking for trouble from pranksters and opponents.

That said, while it’s been six or seven years since .uk domains became available from Nominet, they haven’t really caught on in terms of adoption or popular mind-share. It would be a much greater crime to register a 2LD without the matching 3LD than vice versa.

4. Two candidates own their surnames

While all of the candidates own their full names in their chosen TLDs, only Grant Shapps and Nadhim Zahawi own their .com surnames.

Whois records and Archive.org show that Shapps has owned Shapps.com since 2000, years before he won his first parliamentary seat. He has a history of being involved in questionable online get-rich-quick schemes and used to follow me on Twitter, so he’s probably quite domain-savvy.

Zahawi, who’s been Chancellor of the Exchequer since Sunak quit last week, has owned zahawi.com since he first ran for parliament in 2009.

5. Here’s what domains everyone else is using

According to Google and the Twitter accounts of the candidates, these are the URLs used by each candidate for their regular official sites and, if they have one, their premiership campaign sites.

Note that in most cases their regular sites are managed by a company called Bluetree, which specializes in running boilerplate web sites for Tories, so the choice of domain may not necessarily be the choice of the MP in question.

Kemi Badenochkemibadenoch.org.ukfacebook.com/kemibadenoch
Suella Bravermansuellabraverman.co.uk
Rehman Chishtirehmanchishti.com
Jeremy Huntjeremyhunt.orgjeremyhunt2022.co.uk
Sajid Javidsajidjavid.comteamsaj.uk
Penny Mordauntpennymordaunt.compm4pm.com
Grant Shappsshapps.com
Rishi Sunakrishisunak.comready4rishi.com
Liz Trusselizabethtruss.comlizforleader.co.uk
Tom Tugendhattomtugendhat.orgtimefortugendhat.com
Nadhim Zahawizahawi.com

Pizza company suffers from penisland syndrome

Kevin Murphy, May 26, 2022, Gossip

A small pizza company from the UK has attracted national headlines this week after its choice of domain name caused mirth on social media.

The Welsh Italian Pizza Co uses welshitalianpizza.co.uk, but when it showed up at a festival with signage that did not display the domain in camel-case, attendees had to double-take to make sure it wasn’t “Wel Shit Alian Pizza”, according to The Mirror.

In this case it appears to have been a genuine oversight, but other examples of this kind of snafu have leaned into their ambiguity.

Pen Island, at penisland.net — slogan “We Specialize In Wood” — has been around for decades and is perhaps the most famous.

A public apology for my April Fool’s blog post

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2022, Gossip

Earlier today, I published a lighthearted April Fool Day’s blog post concerning the fictional invasion of Los Angeles by a chthonic demon entity, accidentally summoned by a DNSSEC misconfiguration at an ICANN ceremony.

In the course of the post, I made multiple references to “enslavement” and “madness”, and as a result I’ve received a substantial number of complaints both privately and on social media about my choice of language.

Having considered these complaints, I’d like to publicly acknowledge that slavery and mental health are not laughing matters and should not be the subject of jokes, or even referred to in jokes, under any circumstances.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for these oversights. I shall endeavor to be more sensitive in my choice of words in future.

I am a work in progress.

ICANN accidentally summons Lesser Old One in DNSSEC snafu

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2022, Gossip

Southern California has come under the control of timeless demonic entities, plunging the Greater Los Angeles Area into a thousand years of darkness and torment, after a DNSSEC misconfiguration led to ICANN accidentally summoning a Lesser Old One into the mortal realm.

“I can confirm that there was an RRSIG glitch during the ceremony to sign the root zone ZSK for 2022Q2 and introduce HSM6W at our secure facility in El Segundo, California, today,” an ICANN spokesperson said.

“A downstream KSK misconfiguration was inadvertently introduced into the IMRS, resulting in a cascading Trust Anchor collapse across the entire constellation,” he said.

“This unfortunately led to the opening of a transdimensional portal to the Lost City of R’lyeh and the manifestation of an entity our initial analysis indicates may be Baoht Z’uqqa-Mogg, High Commander of the Armies of the Damned and celestial envoy for the mighty Cthulhu,” he added.

“And for some reason Facebook is down in Denver; we’re looking into that too,” the spokesperson said.

ICANN’s Seven Secret DNSSEC Key Holders were observed fleeing from the data center where the signing ceremony had been taking place, casting aside their cowls and robes and clawing at their eyes and skin, according to local reports.

They were pursued by a wailing, forty-foot-tall scorpion-faced lizard monster, emerging from a blinding disc of purple hellfire and bent on subjugating the human race to millennia of torment, local TV station Fox Action 5 Shooty Shooty Bang Bang News reported from the scene, shortly before its news chopper was plucked from the sky by a blistered tentacle and tossed into Z’uqqa-Mogg’s slavering, beak-like mandibles.

The entity was then seen slamming its cloven hoof into the ground and performing an obscene incantation, opening a rift through which poured a horde of bloodthirsty, crab-headed minions that proceeded to swarm through the streets of LA, devouring all in their path.

“This is the one thing we hoped would not happen,” the ICANN spokesperson admitted.

In response to the crisis, which has so far resulted in the deaths of millions and the enslavement into madness of half the US west coast, ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee has formed an ad-hoc working group to devise possible strategies to banish the Old One to its cthonic netherworld.

It’s planning to deliver an initial draft of its report no later than September 2023, after which its work will be opened to the Whatever’s-Left-Of-The-Public Comment process.

Satirists register Joe Rogan domain to promote Covid vaccines

Kevin Murphy, January 31, 2022, Gossip

An Australian comedy troupe has registered podcaster Joe Rogan’s name as a domain as part of an anti-anti-vaccine prank.

The Chaser, which has published satire across print, radio, TV and the web for the last 20 years, picked up joerogan.com.au a few days ago and redirected it to the Aussie government’s vaccine-booking web site.

The domain was publicized in the latest edition of The Chaser’s podcast, which was rebranded “The Joe Rogan Experience” and spent most of its 20-minute runtime skewering the US comedian and martial arts commentator.

Rogan has attracted negative attention in the last week or so for his skeptical comments about Covid-19 vaccines on his podcast, which is the most-listened podcast on Spotify, the platform with which he has an exclusive $100 million distribution deal.

Musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have pulled their work from Spotify in protest at Rogan’s words, which they said were dangerous.

Rogan has since tried to clarify his comments and editorial policy, and Spotify has said it will start to provide links to reliable Covid-19 information alongside podcasts that address the topic.

New year, new server, new functionality

Kevin Murphy, January 4, 2022, Gossip

Happy new year everyone!

I recently migrated DI to a new server that should allow me to both fix some issues that have bugged the site for a while, and also introduce new functionality.

It’s been a frustratingly complex process — my old hosting account was the best part of 20 years old and running incredibly outdated software that made it vulnerable and incompatible with modern must-haves.

It’s been a bit of a learning curve moving to a more modern platform, and I haven’t ironed out all the kinks yet, but I’m happy to announce that as of today Domain Incite is now SSL-enabled and mobile-friendly.

I’m not a phone person. I can’t imagine ever wanting to look at a web site on a phone, but I know lots of people do, and readers have sometimes complained that DI wasn’t particularly easy on the eye.

If that’s you, it should be easier to read from now on. You’re welcome.

I’ve also installed SSL, something else I’ve been asked about frequently. DI doesn’t ask you for any sensitive information, so I don’t know why anyone would want their traffic encrypted. But now it is, whether you like it or not.

Please do let me know if you find any weirdness or bugs in either of these features, or indeed anywhere else on the site, and I’ll do my best to address them.

I had a stroke

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2021, Gossip

Of the four men in the room, Tony has it worst. A very elderly gent, he spends six hours a day catatonic, and the rest of his time sleeping, stirring every few minutes to wail loudly as if in horrific pain or equally horrific sexual ecstasy.

He’s fully stroked-up.

When the nurses come to wash him and clean up his shitted bed, which is every three or four hours, he hurls barely comprehensible insults and threats and tries to strike them with flailing palms he cannot form into fists.

They work away uncomplainingly, soothingly, like he’s their favorite granddad. Observing them work at 4am on my second unsleeping night makes me cry for the first of two times during my hospital stay. These guys are the closest thing reality has to angels, and I hope Boris chokes to death on his 3% while waiting for an ambulance.

There’s an octogenarian in the next bed, Trevor.

He’s white, but the full top half of his face is shining ebony from where a piece of furniture intercepted it when he briefly blacked out and fell during some kind of cardiac event. He looks demonic, but he’s the sweetest guy you could ever hope to meet.

They’ve put him in an elaborate medical collar and told him he can’t take it off for the next two months, not even to shower. One wrong move and his spine might snap like a twig and he’ll spend the rest of his life worse off than Tony.

At least he won’t have to dress up for Halloween, he grimly muses.

Then there’s the youngster, Tim, who reels off a laundry list of his ailments, many of which he thinks will soon kill him, not least of which is the fact the he just accidentally proposed to his short-term girlfriend, who said yes.

He has an upcoming try-out for a local sports team, but his deepest wish is to have both his legs amputated.

In this room of four, I feel like the lucky one.

And I’ve just had a stroke at 44.

*

It happened at some point during the evening of the 13th into the following morning.

There was no pain — no physical sensation at all, not even a headache — I simply woke up disabled and oblivious to that fact.

My first inkling that something was amiss came when I found I couldn’t double-click my mouse with my right index finger. I had a general weakness in my right arm, but I chalked this down to having slept on it funny.

I felt a bit off for most of the day, but it wasn’t until the evening, when I tried to insult my cat, that I realized something was terribly wrong. Even after three attempts, the words got garbled on the way out of my brain and slipped and slurred out of my mouth. I could see the cat didn’t look offended in the least.

I knew that I’d had or was having a stroke, and I was in a taxi to the hospital 20 minutes later.

All the NHS TV spots about strokes focus on teaching the viewer how to spot the symptoms of stroke in others, presumably because the victims themselves are usually too addled and confused to recognize them in themselves.

This gave me comfort. I was totally lucid, in thought if not in speech.

Three doctors, one consultant and a CT scan subsequently — after many terrifying hours of uncertainty — confirmed I’d had a “mild” or “small” stroke, buggering up my dominant right arm and leg as well as my speaking voice.

My face was mercifully spared. Still a straight-up 10, ladies.

This all happened due to a combination of recent stresses and two prior decades of hedonistic, borderline arrogant devil-may-care intemperance. Too much booze, too many fags, not enough self-control.

I’ve known I have hypertension for the best part of a decade, and done precisely fuck-all about it. Getting stroked was not so much predictable as inevitable. I have nobody to blame but myself, and this list of people (pdf).

*

My right leg is probably the injured member I’m least concerned about.

I can walk in a straight line easily enough, albeit with a noticeable limp, but my brain currently finds some usually straightforward perambulatory maneuvers surprisingly tricky.

I haven’t fallen over or tripped, not once, since the stroke. But, like Zoolander, I can’t turn left.

My hand is altogether more worrying. My stroke was on the left side of my brain, meaning the right side of my body was affected. I’m right-handed.

I can use the hand to open a door, pick things up, flush a toilet — I even assembled a piece of flat-pack furniture yesterday — but anything requiring more than basic coordination is challenging.

I can’t write using a pen without significant effort. I tried writing out my first name in caps on Thursday morning. The four attempts in this image took about five minutes to produce. And it was painful.

There’s no cognitive problem here, it’s purely a case of not being able to physically control my hand the way I could a week ago. It feels heavy, and I have trouble controlling the vertical axis with any degree of finesse.

I can slice bread but I can’t easily butter it. The second time I cried was on Friday when I managed to get my buttering time down to under a minute per slice. Bittersweet rather than self-pitying.

There are a few things I’d like to do with my dick that are no longer possible.

But, more pertinent to this blog, I can’t double-click a mouse and can’t tap a touchscreen. The fingers are just not fast enough to get the correct timing right now.

Typing on a keyboard is challenging, with my hands trying to cooperate across two different time zones. If you spot any typos here, they will likely be letters on the right side of the keyboard. My backspace key is getting the workout of its life.

And then there’s my speaking.

Right now, I’d say I’m comprehensible 95% of the time at peak, with my performance slipping as the conversation progresses and the fatigue kicks in.

My voice is more gravelly, sometimes a little slurry. I sometimes stammer or trip over my tongue.

People who have heard my pillow talk the morning after a boozy night out would recognize this voice. Everyone else now gets to hear it without experiencing the horrors of the night before.

But let’s look for some silver linings, shall we?

*

Silver lining number one: my opinions are no longer worthless on social media.

A week ago I was just a straight white able-bodied cis male, and therefore of no value whatsoever. Today, I am Disabled, and my point of view matters. I now have a card to play in the identity politics game.

Ricky Gervais better watch his fucking back, and if the next ICANN meeting is anything less than 100% accessible, I may hire a lawyer.

I know, I know, I’m not saying I’m as good as Gay or Black or Trans, but I reckon I’m at least as good as half-Jewish (on my father’s side, maybe?).

Silver lining number two: no more guilt using the disabled toilets.

Silver lining number three: I probably qualify for a Blue Badge, which in the UK gives you priority access to convenient parking.

These things are so coveted that I’m even tempted to buy a car.

Silver lining number four: the stroke seems to have severed the part of my brain that makes me want to drink alcohol. I sincerely hope it lasts, but right now I have no desire to touch a drop of the stuff any more.

I’d go so far as to now say I think I’ve “completed” Alcohol, in much the same way as one completes a video game.

I’ve done all of the side quests, gathered all the collectibles, visited all the secret locations, done all the stranger missions, partaken of all the optional activities, maxed out all my stats, been awarded all the achievements…

I’ve partied. I’ve met interesting people in unusual places. I’ve had one-night stands with 9s and 2s. I’ve danced like nobody was looking, and sang karaoke like nobody was listening. I’ve sent all the embarrassing texts. I’ve hooked up with ambiguously gendered bar girls in Bangkok, been robbed by a hooker in Vegas, begged for coins with a homeless guy in Shoreditch. I even found the secret naked French pool party at the mansion in Vietnam.

I’m now at 99% completion, and taking on the final story mission, but the last big boss battle turns out to be a race with my five-year-old niece to see who can tie their shoelaces the fastest.

I believe there’s some DLC that extends the story, but it’s called “Cirrhosis”, and I don’t like the sound of that.

The fact that I’m now a sober man condemned to live in a body that looks and sounds perpetually drunk is a cosmic irony so on-the-nose that it would make a Greek god blush.

This must be what it’s like to be Scottish.

*

Silver lining number five: I’m told that, with patience and practice, this is fixable. That’s my focus right now.

I honestly don’t know how this is going to affect DI in the coming weeks.

I do know it’s currently less than seven days since a doctor first used the word “stroke” in my presence, and that almost everything I do, even the simple things like typing, is tiring. I had to take a break for a nap three times during the writing of this piece.

I intend to continue to work, just don’t expect to see many long-form analytical or editorial pieces in the near future. If a story is causing me stress, I’ll spike it sooner than risk another health crisis.

I doubt I’ll be booking any speaking engagements any time soon.

I have some other ideas too, but I’ll get to those later.

Thanks for reading.

Did Harry and Meghan squat the Queen? [clickbait]

Kevin Murphy, June 23, 2021, Gossip

With tabloid rags everywhere continuing to clamor for any scrap of information that might drive a rift between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II, perhaps it was inevitable that domain names would one day enter the fray.

And now they have, with the registrations of lilibetdiana.com and lilidiana.com making headlines this week.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, Harry and Meghan’s second child and first daughter, was born at 1940 UTC on June 4.

“Diana” is of course a tribute to the Duke’s late mother, the Princess of Wales, while “Lilibet” is a reference to the Queen’s childhood nickname and the pet name by which her recently deceased husband, Phillip, addressed her.

The choice of name has been seen partly as an effort to renovate bridges that were charred when the Sussexes decoupled themselves from the taxpayer’s teat, abandoned royal duties, and buggered off to America to talk smack about their family on Oprah.

Reports quickly emerged that the choice of name might have been made without first seeking the Queen’s permission — reports that have been strenuously denied, backed by a threat of legal action.

But Whois records, as mostly useless as they are nowadays, have now stepped in to complicate matters.

According to Whois, lilibetdiana.com was registered just a few hours prior to the birth, June 4, presumably while the Duchess was in labor. But lilidiana.com was registered a few days earlier, on May 31. Both were registered via GoDaddy.

The Sussexes spokespeople tole The Telegraph that the names were merely two among many that were registered defensively in advance of the birth, before the couple had committed to a name:

Of course, as is often customary with public figures, a significant number of domains of any potential names that were considered were purchased by their team to protect against the exploitation of the name once it was later chosen and publicly shared.

Interestingly, lilibetdiana.uk and lilibetdiana.co.uk, which one might imagine would be on the defensive reg checklist, were only registered after the announcement of her birth on June 6, and via a different registrar, suggesting third-party ownership.

Three questions emerge from the Whois-related revelations:

First, do the records support the assertion by anonymous Palace sources that the Queen was not consulted in advance, or the contrary claim from the Sussexes?

Two, does anyone actually really care? I lost interest several paragraphs ago.

And C), am I really about to hit “Publish” on this article?

If you’re reading this, I guess I did. I’m sorry. I’m off to take a long, hot shower, to wash away the shame.

Disclosure: I sold Tucows shares

Kevin Murphy, May 21, 2021, Gossip

TL;DR — I made about $3,700 selling Tucows shares.

I’ve never been much of an investor in anything, largely because I’ve never really had the disposable income. However, back in 2006, when I lived in the US, I opened an online share-trading account and bought around $1,000 worth of shares in various technology companies.

The companies included what at the time I considered safe bets: Dell, AMD, Yahoo! and Adobe. Everyone still uses Yahoo, right?

But I also bought 50 shares of Tucows, the domain name registrar, for $3.75 a pop. I recall being inspired by a post from original ICANN blogger Bret Fausett, who coincidentally now works for Tucows, in which he touted the stock.

I left the US at the end of 2007 and went travelling for a while before returning to the UK.

At some point in 2009, when I tried to sell up and close the account, I was told that because I no longer had the US bank account I signed up with, I would be unable to access the funds.

So I pretty much chalked the experience down to an idiot tax and forgot all about it.

In 2010 I launched this web site.

Recently, I remembered the account and, trading platform policies having changed in the meantime, discovered I probably would be able to access the funds after all.

That $1,000 had turned into over $19,000 over the intervening 15 years, and the Tucows position had grown by almost 2,000%, a gain of over $3,700.

I’ve sold all my shares and am in the process of closing the account. After that, I won’t own any shares in any companies.

In short, I’m probably going to make a few grand by selling Tucows stock that I’ve owned for the last 15 years but which, until recently, I thought I’d lost forever.

Make of that what you will.

I’m disclosing it now not because I think I’ve had any market-moving impact on the stock over the years, but because it just seems like the kind of thing that needs to be disclosed.