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Transferring Domains from Network Solutions? Better Start Early!

Do you think that $35/year is a little much to charge for an entry in a database? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we at Haus Interactive don't register any of our domains with Network Solutions.

As we take in clients that have brought their own domains and websites we gradually move them all over to goDaddy for registration (we, of course, do our own web hosting because we're control freaks).

It used to be that you could get your money's worth out of your yearly registration by waiting until the day before your domain expired before renewing or migrating, but it appears that those days are behind us.

Addicted to high profits like crack cocaine, Network Solutions has been employing every technique from stalling to stealing to get and retain victims customers. They would rather inconvenience you than lower their prices and compete.

Our recent experience looks something like this:

We had a domain expiring January 15 and started started getting letters early with titles like "FINAL RENEWAL NOTICE" (December 31) and "DEACTIVATION NOTICE ... service(s) listed below will be deactivated and removed if not renewed immediately" (January 8)

savings.jpgIn checking their price chart on their second email January 8 we saw that their very cheapest plan was able to match goDaddy's 1-year plan but YOU'D HAVE TO BUY 100 YEARS OF REGISTRATION AT REGISTER.COM TO GET THAT PRICE.

So we decided that we should start a little early, say January 13. On January 13 we logged into network solutions and unlocked the domain and began the transfer process at goDaddy.

The goDaddy half was easy: we confirmed our identity, entered our security code but then had log back into Network Solutions because the transfer stalled. Appears that we needed to request and enter a separate authorization code with them. We filled out the request and received it via email along with some sad message about not leaving them:

"If you are planning to transfer your domain to another registrar, we would like to do whatever it takes to keep your business - please let us know how we can improve our service to you.

If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at registrar@networksolutions.com.

Network Solutions is committed to delivering high quality services to meet your online needs.

Sincerely,

Network Solutions Customer Support"

After finally pushing the request through we received the following from Network Solutions:

"We received notification on January 13, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST that you have requested to transfer to another domain name registrar. If you would like to proceed with this transfer you do not need to respond to this message. If you wish to cancel the transfer please contact us before January 17, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST by visiting our secure website https://www.registrar-transfers.com/?h={proprietary code}.

If we do not hear from you by January 17, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST, this transfer will proceed.
We are committed to providing you with the solutions, services, and support to help you succeed online. We hope to continue serving you in the future."

Notice the problem there? The only way to proceed is to NOT answer them and by NOT answering them the transfer will go through on the 17th, two days AFTER the domain expires, meaning that Network Solutions can put a lock on it pretty much ruining any chances for transferring this year.

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So we write to their customer support explaining that we actually wanted to transfer the domain IMMEDIATELY to which they responded to us by saying they needed to verify our email account which we did by responding to their response.

The next response goes like this:

"Thank you for contacting Network Solutions. We are committed to creating the best customer experience possible. One of the first ways we can demonstrate our commitment to this goal is to quickly and efficiently handle your recent request.

Please be advised that the transfer will push through on the 17h of January. To avoid any transfer interruption, we will be putting a 15-day special activation for your domain name, starting today, free of charge. This means that your domain name will be active with Network Solutions until January 29, 2008, or until you have successfully transferred your domain name to another registrar."

Really? A SPECIAL activation for us AT NO CHARGE so that we can do what we have the right to do, and that we were trying to do early so as to avoid this entire hassle? Infinitely generous. I mean, how could we have ever considered leaving them as they are clearly here for us and have our best interests in mind.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on January 26, 2008 | Comments (1)

iPhone weblinks for Palm Centro and Treo using Sharklinks

Even in a world of over 20,000 third party applications not everything has been written for the Palm OS.

Say, for example, you already found your free weather program and want to get your daily horoscope in as few clicks as possible. You'd search high and low but you would find that the only programs that are available are kind of expensive and don't provide a fully-functional trial version, thus removing them from the "consider" list.

The solution here might be to fill in this gap with information you know you can get on the web. Using the free program called Sharklinks you can create a web shortcut that appears in your launcher as if it were an actual application. This saves at least 3 of your 4 clicks to get to your info and you also can add a nice new icon to boot:

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Using sharklinks to create a new launcher shortcut. Make sure to check "unique app" to make it appear with the other applications.

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Using the techniques laid out in our previous post on customizing your Palm OS launcher you can then assign your web shortcut it's own custom icon. Cool.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on January 26, 2008 | Comments (0)

The web can be useful with Blazer for Palm Centro and Treo

This is going to sound like blasphemy but here's the deal: I'm not convinced we need full-sized Safari web browsing on our phones. Why not? Because we browse the web in different ways and for different reasons when we are on the road vs. when we are at our home or office.

At home or work we are looking at much larger screens (often as large as a television) and have plenty of room for 4 column layouts for newspapers and blogs and fast enough processors to handle large flash movies and rich media. We are also sitting down and have more time available for browsing.

On the road we are most likely searching for something specific and want to get it as quickly as possible: directions to a restaurant, news or weather updates, or a wikipedia definition to a word you're arguing with someone about.

We don't need to be scrolling all over creation to get to the answer (even if it is fun) -- we need it presented quickly and plainly.

As such the Blazer browser still isn't that bad for reaching these goals but in order to do so you need to actually turn off a few factory defaults. First, here is an example of the problem in action: Websites that have not made a mobile style sheet often render poorly in Blazer:

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Other problems include errors from sites that deliver content via AJAX or JavaScript that require multiple clicks to dismiss (ahem, twit.tv, cough...).

All of the fixes can be found on the General tab of your browser preferences:

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Reloading our sample wikipedia page shows it now is quite readable (and loads quickly!):

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Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on January 26, 2008 | Comments (1)

Guitar Hero III (GH3) For Mac, some important notes

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Announced Sept 11, 2007, Released December 11 and patched December 20, and patched again in May, Guitar Hero III has finally landed on the Mac platform.

Being the furthest tentacle out on this gaming franchise (with xBox 360, PS2, Wii and Windows generally taking priority) there are a few questions that don't seem to have easy-to-find answers.

Bronzefinger shall attempt to answer what it has learned thus far:

Q: Will Guitar Hero III run smoothly on my iBook/iMac/MacBook/etc.?
A: I know a lot of us are in a state of denial about this game's system requirements because they are so slap-you-in-the-face high. In fact, many people are disregarding these and buying the game anyway and then experiencing the pain of lags and stutters. Don't believe me? read the reviews at Apple.com and weep.

The MINIMUM system requirements:

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

The key here is really the graphics card -- most MacBooks, MacBook Pros and early Mac Pros video cards DO NOT MEET THE MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENT and they WILL cause the game to stutter.

Here are a few real-world examples from the Bronzefinger stable:

Guitar Hero III for Mac, patch 1.1 installed, all other programs off:

MacBook Pro (dual 2.16Ghz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, 64MB Graphics Card (BELOW SPEC!)): 
Plays the first two levels up to the prison just fine with effects off. Then songs will fairly regularly suffer from visual slowdowns that are bad enough to not be able to play through them "by ear"

Mac Pro (quad 2.66Ghz Xeon, 5GB RAM, 500GB SATA HD, 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT (Aspyr support says this card is below spec but their website says it's supported)):

No visual difference between screen resolutions so play widescreen at the lower resolution. All effects on and mostly smooth gameplay but when panning through the crowd in the Japanese Superdome and the Desert Rock tour the screen will stutter slightly.

Q: Are there downloadable songs for this game like the PS2 version?
A: No.

Q: Can I play my friends online?
A: RedOctane states in their online F.A.Q. that online game play is NOT available between consoles, so you can NOT play online with your xBox or Wii friends.

Q: Since this came with an XBox USB guitar can I use the XBox wireless guitar or PS2 Guitar (since it uses a USB adapter)?
A: No. The official word from Aspyre is:
"The Guitar that we support for this game is the X-Plorer USB Guitar Controller. The Playstation 2 controllers will not work properly, even with the adapter. There have been many reports of compatibility problems with the PS2 controller. So, the X-Plorer (wired) USB Guitar Controller is the only controller that we support for GH3.

You can, however, dress your guitar up a bit with vinyl covers from a variety of sources including iStyles.com.

istyle.jpg

For owners of GH3 on other systems you can find a handy chart of guitar compatibility in the scorehero forums

Q: What does "NOTICE: This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disk and virtual disk drives." mean?
A: In an act of customer loathing Aspyr has employed some kind of copy protection that requires that your install DVD be inserted into your machine in order to run the game. It appears that it is only used as a check to prove you "own" the game and is not used to play the actual game -- so you don't have to worry about it decreasing performance due to the slower read speeds of optical drives.

This does, however, create quite a few opportunities to scratch your disc (either by the drive mechanism or general storing/retrieving). If this happens you're off to the Activision/RedOctane/Asypre maze to figure out how to get a replacement disk all the while you're w/o the game you purchased.

It appears that this software can tell if you've made a local .dmg or .iso copy and similarly can tell if you have inserted a copy of the disk into your optical drive meaning that you can ONLY play your game by validating it with the actual DVD that came in the box from the store -- you can not use a copy even if it was an exact disc-to-disc copy.

Update 28 March 2008: The "unofficial" way to protect your original Guitar Hero III Disc is to not use it at all. For as long as it is available you can check on this thread for instructions. They would be post #7, #20, #25 and #33, roughly in that order.

Update 22 August 2008: After some more testing and tweaking I have found a better way to play Guitar Hero III "on a Mac". Here it is, with a touch of irony: http://www.bronzefinger.com/archives/2008/08/gh3-on-a-mac.html

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on January 26, 2008 | Comments (0)