September 15, 2017

trawellblogging : a fine travel blog by Rajat


"A travel planning blog focused on self-planning your trips, both
domestic and international. It deals with using travel maps, public transportation systems, airline miles and hacks, accommodation reviews and travel insiders. The blog lets travel bloggers and other travelers
learn 'how to convert their travel expenses into investments'."

September 11, 2017

Social media and tech updates: Google Drive down, ultra rights up, privacy a fundamental right in India

Google Drive shuts down, breaking many hearts

If you thought, Google is invincible, at least in the internet world, Google gave you evidence that it is not. When it went down for some time on 7th September, those who depend on Drive for various purposes including collaboration though Google Docs suite of online tools and online sharing of files and pictures were a worried lot. Not only were their resources not available, their trust that Google would keep their resources intact even if their laptops might fail them due to a malware attack or hardware glitch, was shattered.

Luckily, the service breakdown was not worldwide and it was resolved for most users within two hours.

Just for record, Google Drive also went down in January this year for about two hours.

The way ultra right websites are creating storm on the web

Stormfront, the hyper-nationalist/ neo-Nazi website that was in operation since 1990, has been pulled down by its registrar. The site, its owners and members have been linked with many hate crimes including murder of about a hundred people. Under local laws, Google had removed the site from many country indexes.

Stormfront had over 300000 registered users who used to spread white supremacist hatred and violence wherever they could. It is reported to have experienced huge traffic spikes all through the Presidential debate in the US in which Donald Trump often gave pro-white and rightist statements.

Another such website, The Daily Stormer, has also been removed last month following racist rally and violence in Charlottesville, USA. The site owner wanted to host the site it on other web hosts who either refused or removed after investigation into the site's credentials. This led to another site, PunishedStormer, which too has been renedered inaccessible. However, the founder- editor of the sites, Andrew Anglin, recently tweeted a series of Tweets saying he is not a neo-Nazi and is fighting for freedom of expression!

Interestingly, Anglin's free speech bogey got a shot in the arm when his article was taken down by Gab, a social network promoting right ideas, and it stoked debate around free speech.

It is reported that finding hosts against him, Anglin has hosted the site on the dark web.

The less privileged do adopt social media but late?

A recent study by Pew Research Center on use of social media for news among Americans shows that about two-thirds of them get at least some news from the social media. One-fifth of Americans are reported to be using social media very often to get news.

What is more relevant is that the use of social media for news has not risen among the youth and whites and has gone down among the well-educated lot; on the other hand, it has grown significantly among the older (50 years plus), non-whites and less-educated people. Let me add that one year's change does not make a trend.

Just for record, Facebook happens to be the biggest source of news, followed by YouTube. Not Twitter! But wait, this is because of a very large user base of Facebook. Otherwise, among those who use a particular social media, the percentage of users using it for news is the highest in the case of Twitter.

Indian supreme court gives citizens the fundamental right to privacy

The debate around privacy has been raging in India over the last many years in the face of points and counter-points for controlling social media and chat apps, the IT Act and the regulatory authority TRAI seeking public views on its sections and so on.

India is one of the few nations in the world to have introduced a unique identity for its citizens. When this was made mandatory for getting welfare funds and services, and then for banking and tax purposes, concerned citizen groups raised alarm and took the government to the apex court.

In its historic judgement on August 24, the Constitutional Bench of the court ruled that privacy was a fundamental right though not written in the constitution. Though the unique identity (called Aadhar) is/ was in question, the privacy ruling will now have a huge bearing on cases relating to online content and social media control.

September 5, 2017

How can you change the registrar of your blog's domain?

Domain name registration is done only through registrars registered with ICANN, the international body for internet naming. So, all domain name registrars have to abide by the norms set by ICANN.

Generally speaking, you are free to change your registrar. However, in certain cases, you may be denied such a transfer, e.g. if some fee payment is pending or someone else has represented to them to be the real domain name holder.

The present registrar might even charge you for the transfer, and that is supposed to be legal!

Domain transfers are allowed only after 60 days of purchase of domain or its earlier transfer.

The process is slightly procedure-bound. Registrars generally have a facility for domain transfer, which once clicked guides you till you agree to their terms, and then it generates a code for unlocking the domain for transfer. You then apply to the new registrar for accepting the transfer through such a link on their website, and supply the code. The new registrar usually charges a fee for transfer that includes registration for one year from the original expiry date. The transfer materializes in a few days. 

In some cases (e.g. country level domains), sometimes the code is not required; you can check this up with the new registrar.

There might be some variation to the standard procedure given above. Both the old and new registrars will likely have their terms on their websites.

Why at all will I need to change the domain registrar?

There can be situations - good or bad - in which you will need such a change. For example,
  • You might be shifting to a new web host and he might give you a domain name of your choice free.
  • You might want the convenience of having the same host and domain registrar so that billing, customer service etc are seamless.
  • You might find the present registrar costlier than others.
  • Some other registrar might have options for automatic renewal or multi-year plans that the present one does not have.
  • You have run into a dispute with the present one, for whatever reason.
  • You have sold your domain and have to transfer it to the buyer.

ICANN has this FAQ page on domain name transfer between registrars.