February 1, 2016 Ley Missailidis

We've got your back with DNSSEC

At iwantmyname, we consider making it easy for you to control and own your online identity as one of our core principles. Hell, it’s in the branding. But what happens after that? Are we sure every time someone tries to connect to your identity, they’re actually connecting with you?

We can do that now with DNSSEC and DS records.

The easiest way to set this up is if your Nameserver provider supports DNSSEC (like Cloudflare, pictured below). Just enable it there, then grab your DS record to use with your domain.

Cloudflare interface

On our site, copy the relevant bits, which is everything after 3600 IN DS, of the DS record to the DS record page in your domain admin (you can find that at https://iwantmyname.com/dashboard/domains/dnssec/<domain name in question>)

iwantmyname interface

Once you’re done, the internet will start double checking that the server people are connecting to is actually yours. Thus making sure that you and your name are synonymous.

If you’re interested, an in-depth explanation of what DNSSEC is (and why you might want it) can be found on the CloudFlare blog

January 12, 2016 Chris Hall

Now hiring: Customer support scholar

Now hiring: Customer support scholar

Hi everyone -- We’ve had an amazing and overwhelming response. Over 300 applicants! So we’re booking interviews at this point and are no longer accepting further applications. Thanks so much for all your interest.

Let’s break this down. We’re looking for a very patient person to help our global audience do great things with domains. You’ll help them register domains, you’ll help them with billing issues, you’ll help them use their domains, and you might even help them with an idea or two. Whatever they need, you’ll be there to help.

The “scholar” bit wasn’t just for fun though. To be great at this job, you have to want to learn. About domain names, our processes, our systems, and how people use them. The learning never stops, and the right person will love soaking it up.

Unlike many of our job openings, this job is for people in and around our timezone (we’re in Wellington, NZ). We could possibly make an exception for the right person elsewhere, but you must be available during New Zealand, Australian, or Asian business hours.

Here’s the list of the skills we’re looking for:

  • You absolutely have to have plus plus English language writing skills. You’ll be writing a lot, and English is our business communication language. (If you happen to speak/write another language, it would certainly be a bonus.)
  • You must like people (like, actually like them). No matter how frustrated the customer, you need to be able to clearly and completely solve problems without becoming (noticeably) impatient.
  • Curiosity. You don’t have to be the world’s foremost domains expert to work here, but a little curiosity will go a long way in solving problems.
  • That said, some knowledge of domains, DNS, and the internet would be advantageous. We’ll be teaching you a ton, but we’d rather not start with “this is what a Nameserver is.”
  • This is key - you need to be able to work without supervision. There will almost always be a someone to help you through problems (especially in the beginning), but for the most part, you need to be able to solve problems on your own.

If you think this is the job for you, send a witty email with a quick rundown of relevant work history to jobs@ideegeo.com. (Please don’t send any multi-page resumes… brevity is a skill we admire.)

December 14, 2015 Paul Spence

Giving back in 2016

At a time when we seem to be confronted by images of human suffering on a daily basis, as bystanders, we can easily feel overwhelmed. With war, hunger, and climate change impacting millions globally - how can we possibly help?

Read more →

December 8, 2015 Melanie Baker

Who owns your domain name?

If you…

  • only register domains for yourself
  • create and use accounts that only you should be able to access
  • register domains only as an individual and not tied to any company or organization
  • don’t have any business partners, someone building your website, etc.
  • never die

…congratulations! You probably won’t end up in a sticky situation regarding who owns your domains.

Most people never give a second thought to domain ownership after registration. It’s one of those things that might cross your mind or prompt you to log in once a year, but as we see on a fairly regular basis, things can become difficult, or downright contentious, pretty quickly.

Read more →

November 20, 2015 Chris Hall

A new way to use Bitcoin wherever Visa is accepted

Coinbase on its new Shift Card:

Today, we’re excited to introduce the first US-issued bitcoin debit card, the Shift Card. The Shift Card is a VISA debit card that currently allows Coinbase users in twenty-four states in the U.S. to spend bitcoin online and offline at over 38 million merchants worldwide.

Merchant adoption has come a long way over the past few years, but it’s still difficult for people to make regular purchases with bitcoin. Buying gas at a local gas station or groceries at a neighborhood grocery store with bitcoin has not been possible in most cities in the U.S. Thanks to Shift Payments, it’s now possible to use bitcoin to buy gas, groceries, and much more. With the Shift Card, you can now spend bitcoin anywhere in the world that VISA is accepted.

If you’re a Coinbase user who lives in AL, AZ, CA, DE, DC, GA, ID, IA, KS, ME, MS, NE, NV, NJ, NC, ND, OK, PA, PR, SD, TX, VT, WA, or WV, I guess we’re sort of accepting Bitcoin now. Mazel tov!

November 18, 2015 Chris Hall

I plan to live a long time

Nicholas Bakalar on coffee reducing my risk of death by 6-15%:

Compared with abstainers, nonsmokers who drank a cup of coffee a day had a 6 percent reduced risk of death, one to three cups an 8 percent reduced risk, three to five cups a 15 percent reduced risk, and more than five cups a 12 percent reduced risk. There was little difference whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. The association persisted after controlling for age, alcohol consumption, B.M.I. and other health and diet factors.

Coffee drinking was linked to a reduced risk of death from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide, although not from cancer.

Life tip of the day.

November 17, 2015 Chris Hall

Users are more than just a weak point of security

Joel Califa of Digital Ocean on developing better password systems:

If you’re a developer, focus your efforts on securing your backend. Hash and salt passwords, keep your database secure, implement throttling, check for changes in geolocation, offer a variety of mechanisms for enabling two-factor on your app, make sure your password recovery system is solid. Leave the password decision up to your users.

We have to remember that at the end of the day, users are more than just a weak point of security in our systems. Our services exist for our users, not despite them. I like to think there are ways to get people to use strong passwords without forcing their hands and negatively affecting their experience using our products. Let’s explore some of these ways.

File this under: Top priorities of 2016.

November 13, 2015 Paul Spence

November is a big month for Startup Weekend (here and abroad)

Growing an entrepreneurial culture globally is perhaps the most effective tool for driving economic growth that delivers real benefits to a wide cross-section of the community. With Global Entrepreneurship Week almost upon us, we’ve been playing a key role in entrepreneurial activism locally.

Startup New Zealand is leading the charge here at home by helping to facilitate Startup Weekend events, connecting people, and sharing the good oil. We’ve been on board with Startup Weekends from day one with sponsorship cash, management support, and mentorship. It’s also been a wonderful vehicle for us to connect to techies, designers, and business thinkers, many of whom have become friends.

So November is an exciting month for us, with a bunch of Startup Weekends scheduled all over New Zealand. We plan to get to as many as possible and will be shouting a few beers and giving away swag. But we are also spreading our wings offshore.

We are backing Bali Startup Weekend, an event that last year launched several companies and garnered an honourable mention in the Wall Street Journal. The Bali event will be held at Hubud, a co-working space dear to our hearts after we spent some time soaking up the tropical heat there ourselves last year. Hubud is rapidly becoming the epicentre for digital nomadic lifestyle and startup culture within South-East Asia.

Wherever you are based, make sure you check out Startup Weekends. Apart from being a lot of fun, it’s a great way to meet potential co-founders, learn about lean startup methodologies, and test ideas in a safe environment.

Startup Weekend badge

November 11, 2015 Chris Hall

Don't sell out

Yancey Strickler, CEO of Kickstarter, on resisting the business culture of today:

At some point in the past ten years, selling out lost its stigma. I come from the Kurt Cobain/“corporate rock still sucks” school where selling out was the worst thing you could ever do. We should return to that.

Don’t sell out your values, don’t sell out your community, don’t sell out the long term for the short term. Do something because you believe it’s wonderful and beneficial, not to get rich.

And — very important — if you plan to do something on an ongoing basis, ensure its sustainability. This means your work must support your operations and you don’t try to grow beyond that without careful planning. If you do those things you can easily maintain your independence.

This entire post is gold.

November 10, 2015 Chris Hall

Independent journalism needs an open internet

John West on the death of the open web:

Here’s one way to understand the symbiotic relationship between publications and platforms in the digital age. Publications depend on advertising dollars to keep producing content, so they need to hold readers’ attention. Big platforms like Facebook and Twitter already have plenty of attention, but they need vast quantities of content to fill up their newsfeeds. It seems natural, then, that publications have started relying on platforms to drive readership.

But there’s a hitch: This is a really depressing, dystopian way to think about publishers and platforms. It only really makes sense if you view writing as a fungible commodity and view the world exclusively through the lens of late–stage capitalism. The worst thing about Facebook—and Twitter and Snapchat and every other god in the pantheon of platforms—is that they probably do think about publishers this way. And that’s going to smother journalistic independence and the open web.

I was listening to the latest episode of On The Media today, and David Chavern, the new president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, said something to the effect of, “Google needs newspapers for content, and newspapers need Google for pageviews. And it’s not like Google has time to interview the Mayor.”

But what happens when Google (or Facebook, or Twitter, etc.) decides they do have the time? Are we ok with a world where closed platforms monopolize the distribution of news? Can “independent” tech news, for example, survive when it’s entirely distributed on the platforms it’s writing about?

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