29 Jan 2010

The Folly of CIRA WHOIS Privacy Changes

We are currently in the midst of trying to re-obtain an expired .ca domain for one of our customers. This particular individual decided many years after a re-branding they no longer needed their old domain name and let it expire. Letting your domain expire is typical, getting it back is hard, CIRA is now making it close to impossible.

Most times a domain squatter will pick up one of these domains and advertise something benign something totally harmless like backpacks, school supplies or baby products. Although they can also host not so benign material. The particular domain squatter that grabbed this domain decided on some rather obscene content instead. The former holder being a family oriented business was shocked when customers started calling and asking why some web searches were taking them to this material.

In hurried panic we were brought in, our first step was to establish trademark rights. Did the customer own the trademark to the name itself? A little bit of digging and the whirl of our fax machine shortly produced a collection of legal documents showing the customer in fact owned the trademark completely and outright. The problem now seems like an easy win. Contact the domain holder, present the documents showing trademark, and pay their modest ransom fee to re-obtain the domain. As we found out, not so easy.

CIRA has decided recently to offer domain privacy as an option. On it’s face this is great, it stops you from being spammed, it stops other registries from sending the less tech savvy domain holders misleading renewal bills. However these protection must be balanced with the legitimate need of the Public to know who is behind a particular domain. For instance, the if domain operator has registered a domain in bad faith and is damaging the trademark holders name and reputation with obscene content one needs this information in order try and resolve the problem in  any method short of a full blown lawsuit.

Going to the Registry of the domain obviously get’s you sent back to CIRA, which does offer a privacy bypass contact form on their site. Using this form you may contact the domain holder, without any of their information being revealed. The form even says that if the domain holder does not respond to contact CIRA after two weeks.This seems like a very fair and balance solution, it protects the majority but seems to indicate that one can still obtain the information if required through a two week waiting process and by going through CIRA directly.

After waiting those two weeks and getting no response we just found out that this is in fact a farce. We received this response from CIRA today.

Individual registrant information is always private and will not be given out. You can try again to contact the registrant and hopefully they will reply. You message will be again forwarded to the Registrant’s Administrative Contact but CIRA cannot guarantee that messages will be read, and/or responded to.”

It appears that CIRA was not all that enlightened in doing it’s public duty. I’m not quite sure why they bother to even invite us to contact them after two weeks. It seems obvious that while a domain holder has a right to some privacy they also have an obligation to respond to these contacts, and if they fail to do so then they waive that right to privacy. Just as one can do a search in the public registry for who has registered a trademark, or corporation name, so too should one be able to search for who owns a domain.

Allowing domain holders to hide under a complete veil of secrecy invites all sorts of problems. As I stated earlier barriers to this information are fine and very much correct, but complete obstruction undermines the fact that this is ultimately public information. .CA is a domain property owned by Canadians, CIRA is a government body in charge or registration, and most importantly domains are publicly accessible portals.

We have a right to be able to know who is running these portals, and we shouldn’t have to resort lawsuits just to find out who is damaging a trademark. Why are we protecting the needs of domain squatters over the needs of legitimate business? Balance CIRA, balance!

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27 Jan 2010

Apple A4

A few years ago Steve Jobs made a bit of a deal about the fact that the chips of the day had terrible power/watt performance. Chips then and now needed alot of power to do their calculations, they ran hot and they were inefficient, in mobile devices this combination is a battery killer. Apple wanted better and bought PA Semiconductor back in 2008 to do better.


“PA Semi is going to do system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods,” Steve Jobs

With the release of the A4 we have seen come to light Apples first home brewed System on a Chip ( SOC ). Running at 1Ghz it’s one of the fastest in the industry and being able to watch Video for 10 hours straight attests to Apple’s claims about it’s power efficiency.

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25 Jan 2010

New Boxee Beta, script updated

Boxee has released a new public beta and the script links have been updated to take advantage of that. Just re-run the script with the same option you used last time.

If you used latest last time use latest again, if you didn’t you don’t need to add it. As far as the version of boxee is concerned you are always updated to the latest version when you run the script. This is what we’re beta testing after all.

Also, if you experience crashs or problems you should collect your debug logs and post them on the forums.

Follow me on Boxee and Twitter : hillbilly1980

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22 Jan 2010
22 Jan 2010

Boxee Bleeding Beta Baby

Check Out the Updated Post

Looks like there is alot of interest in getting Boxee Beta on the Apple TV. While we’re still waiting for an official release from Boxee I have updated our script with a few new features.


Latest will use the latest component software instead of what’s considered most stable. Right now that is firefox 3.6 and the beta2 of adobe flash. These two upgrades will fix for the most part choppy web video. Though an occasional crash of Boxee has been seen with this combination. Running the script again without the option will downgrade your software back to the official adobe and firefox 2.0.20.


wget -m -nd http://www.green-light.ca/cmn_external/app/boxee/beta/BoxeeBetaInstallScript.sh

sudo sh BoxeeBetaInstallScript.sh latest

sudo reboot now

Nitotv — Settings — Install Software — Smart installer.


  • when you use latest it installs nitrotv if you dont’ have it, you NEED to run the smart installer for adobe beta to work, else it hangs when loading. Once you reboot go to Nitotv > Settings > Install Software > Smart installer.

Auto -Update:

The script now detects if there is a new version of itself and downloads and runs that.

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21 Jan 2010

Clinton enters the fray

On the heels of last nights surprise announcement from google. Hilary Clinton has called publicly for answers from China.

Surprised by the expediency of the reaction from the official channels of the US government? Don’t be, Eric Schmidt  a founder of Google was involved in the Obama Campaign, power and money  buy influence.

Regardless the next few days will prove to be interesting regardless. With the US Government involved we stand to hear alot more about the details of the infraction, details I would love to pour over . FOI will no doubt be flying by tomorrow morning.

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19 Jan 2010

Installing Boxee Beta on AppleTV

UPDATED: Script and Instructions in new post.

This is a little more fun then work but we’ve just upgraded our AppleTV in the office to Boxee Beta. Since Boxee Beta is not officially out yet for AppleTV I thought I’de post some condensed instructions.

The instructions have been tested and work completely on AppleTV Os version:

  • 3.0.1
  • 2.1

1. When you upgrade your AppleTV from 2 < 3 these setups will be wiped out, maybe upgrade now if you need to. Goto Settings > General > Updates and download and apply.

2. Create a patch stick, again if you haven’t already patched your Apple TV, this will give you the ability to run the installer script.

3. Open a terminal on your computer and run the following.


ssh frontrow@appletv.local

wget -m -nd http://www.green-light.ca/cmn_external/app/boxee/beta/BoxeeBetaInstallScript.sh

chmod +x BoxeeBetaInstallScript.sh



When prompted the password should be frontrow.

4. Launch Boxee after the restart, Remove the Movies folder from local sources, or else you will be stuck in scrapers dooom. Settings –> Media –> Local Sources –> Movies

The hard work in this script is the work of Jim Willy over on the Boxee Forum. I have made some changes to automate more of the steps and move the location of some of the files that get downloaded to our own server since they were offline when I first tried to follow the instructions.


Run the script again, if no new Boxee is out your just going to reinstall the same one again. Maybe i’ll try and make it smarter but not at the moment.


ssh frontrow@appletv.local



Fix something Broken:

Pass the script the reinstall option, it will redownload and reinstall all the required components.


ssh frontrow@appletv.local

./BoxeeBetaInstallScript.sh reinstall


Best of luck, and sorry but no warranties, this beta after all.


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13 Jan 2010

Baidu, China’s biggest Search engine Weigh’s in

The BBC  Tech blog has more translated Baidu’s response on it’s blog.

On Google Quitting China 2010-01-13 13:20

“Google claims it will quit China. What it’s proved is not what the Google fans have claimed, that Google is a ‘Human Rights fighter’. Just the contrary. It’s proved that Google is a hypocrite.

“What the Google Chief Legal Adviser said makes me sick. To quit for the sake of financial interest, then just say it. To beauty itself up and ostensibly mention that Google comes under attack by the Chinese, and that Gmail boxes of Chinese dissidents have been breached, and to use all these as a pretext for quitting China, such tone is insulting the intelligence of the ordinary Chinese people. However, it may well satisfy the imagination of those Westerners who have never been to China and understood nothing of China but still like to point fingers at China.

“Let’s put forward one supposition: Would Google top executives still proclaim that they would ‘do no evil’ and quit China, if Google has now taken 80% of China’s search market?

“The only feeling the whole episode has left me is nausea.”

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12 Jan 2010

Google slaps the Peeking Duck.

Google justified going into Chinese market by saying they would back track on that decision if their presence was doing more bad then good, aka if they became and agent of the repression instead of an agent of change. Today Google announced they are going to the Chinese Government with an ultimatum of sorts, Google.cn will be uncensored or Google.cn won’t exist.

China doesn’t need Google in a real sense, they are more then adequately blessed with technical talent, know how and search engines of their own. Google pulling out would however put pressure on other western based providers to do the same, if this cascade effect were to take place some serious pressure might come to play. Google being the big dog has the ability to cause such cascades.

Power regimes being what they are tend to be susceptible to perceived slights and therefore love to engage face saving. The Chinese may very well opt to agree to  Google request with glowing support and hearty handshakes, or they might punch Google/The West directly in the face. Both responses designed to save face.

All of this has been brought about by a recent Cyber attack on Google that originated from China. Follow ups have shown to Googles powers that be that someone was trying to get into the Gmail Accounts of Chinese Human Rights Activist. On top of that a number of other activist accounts from around the world have been routinely accessed by third parties. These are people who would generally be considered dissidents in their own countries. It stands to reason the only party interested in infiltrating their email accounts would be the Governments that they are fighting.

The legitimate concern of third parties reading your gmail/hotmail/yahoo mail brings up a question. What can be done to help people know when their account has been compromised?

Gmail Last LoginGoogle/Hotmail/Yahoo would do well to implement a last login banner in their email service to protect against this. The IP geo tagged and timestamped indicating  the last ip to login to your account would go very far in notifying concerned individuals that someone maybe reading their email, and for some people that can mean the difference between life death, or false imprisonment.

Read Googles announcement for yourself.

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