December 17th, 2004

Chinese IDN in the news


[Update 21st Dec: This article is also syndicated to CircleID] published a well-research article on the Chinese Domain Names by Winston Chai.

This approach works fine in the English-savvy world. However, for non-English speakers, they could be faced with the unenviable task of rote-learning numerical IP addresses, which is highly improbable, or the English spellings of dozens of Web sites they want to access.

Just a few point of interest

1. It sound like Winston got some of his material from Dr. Tan.1 At least, that’s sound suspicious like what Dr Tan would say. :-)

2. While it is pretty well written, some of the information are abit outdated. For example, Verisign and i-DNS stuff are really old news (2001).

The newer stuff like the various IDN deployments in CJK (e.g. CNNIC), the open source effort in Mozilla, Konquerer and IDN-OSS, or adoption of IDNs in Safari and Opera etc wasn’t discussed. (See IDN Software for more info)

Neither did it mention the JET Guideline for CJK which is an important work and milestone for Chinese Domain Names.

3. The “representative” mentioned in the article is Prof. Qian Hualin. Prof Qian is currently the Chief Engineer of CNIC (ISC is an organization under CNIC). Prof. Qian is also the board member of ICANN.

Despite Prof. Qian enthusiasm by the promises from Ballmer, I think Microsoft will take at least 12 months (but latest by Longhorn) to get IDN support into Internet Explorer. This was what Michel (Microsoft) essentially said during the ICANN IDN panel two weeks ago in Cape Town.

Oh one more thing,

While foreign IT vendors are going local, top-level support for implementation and education on IDNs, however, seems lacking, as efforts have been sporadic to date. At a time when things are moving at Internet speed, isn’t seven years too long a wait for IDNs to come to fruition?

As one who been driving IDNs for the last five years, I say ‘Amen’.

ps: The reporter also made a minor mistake when saying IETF is the engineering arm of ICANN. ISOC is the “parent” organization for the informal IETF.

1 [Update 17th Sept] Okay, apparently Winston did try to contact me for the article but we never hooked up as I was in Cape Town in ICANN then.

December 16th, 2004

IPv6 migration problems

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Last year, I blog about a problem with Microsoft IPv6 implementation?

So after you installed the v6 stack on XP and unable to connect to 6bone for any reasons, you would also lost your ability to talk to any of the dual stack site, even though you can reach them via v4.

This should not be so if applications follows the Internet Draft on Application Aspects of IPv6 Transition. Section 4.3 reads:

Implementations typically by-default prefer IPv6 if the remote node and application support it. However, if IPv6 connections fail, version-independent applications will automatically try IPv4 ones. The resolver returns a list of valid addresses for the remote node and applications can iterate through all of them until connection succeeds.

So on platforms where this is implemented properly (e.g. FreeBSD), you just notice some delay (~3-5sec) in all your IP communication to the dual-stack hosts.

The delay is irriating but would not adversely affect normal Internet uses. Internet users who encounter this problem will eventually debug this and hopefully fix their IPv6 connectivity and join the v6 world (ya!), or turn off their IPv6 (sigh).

But recently, there are more serious problems. A discussion thread in NANOG few days ago noted that some users are experiencing DNS resolution failures.

Is anyone else experiencing DNS timeout errors. I’ve tried using multiple name resolvers, and tested multiple domain names using different name servers, and I keep getting “name not found” errors.

What happened is when users or ISPs installed the latest BIND1, which comes with dual-stack support and IPv6 records in root zone file, installed it on their Linux/FreeBSD server that shipped with IPv6 enabled by default, but did not have their IPv6 connectivity in place, the DNS resolution will timeout as it tries to connect to the root DNS2 on IPv6 via the not-working IPv6 interface. The IPv6 timeout is longer then the DNS timeout so queries will fail.

Put IPv6 DNS records into root & .com/.net zone and ISC meant and to have support for dual stack BIND are all the little things we (the Internet community) do to try to get towards IPv6. All of us meant well I am sure but this clearly demostrated the danger of unintended consequences.

Karl Auerbach actually warns about this problem in Oct 2004. See also his latest entry.

But unlike Karl, I don’t think this is “end-of-the-world” or suffice to wack ICANN, ISC or whoever is involved. It is just a amusing hiccup that can be easily resolved. The workaround is as above: join IPv6 world or turn off IPv6 support (e.g. named -4).

1 BIND started shipping with IPv4/IPv6 transition support, dual-stack-servers with root zone file with IPv6 records in Sept 2004.

2 ICANN added IPv6 to DNS Root in July 2004. Related news, Verisign announce to IPv6 support for .com/.net zone in Oct 2004.

December 14th, 2004

Mobile Phones


moto-razr.jpg SonyS700.jpg treo600.jpg blackberry.jpg
Moto Razr SonyEricson S700 Treo 600 Blackberry

After tolerating nearly 12 months of werid stares from bystanders with my Nokia N-Gage, enough is enough. So shopping around in the last two days, I shortlisted my selection to the above four.

Surprisingly, Nokia wasn’t even considered – This is from a loyal Nokia user of at least three 3650, five 8850, two 8890, two 7650 and one N-Gage over the last five years. I actually waited 12 months for Nokia to come out with a decent phone that will save me but no, the latest 7260, 7270 and 7280 are disappointing :-( The glory days of Noka is 8850 but it has been downhill thereafter *sigh*

So anyway, I am still debating which one to go for.

In terms of design, Moto Razr win hands down! The coolest phone I have seen in the market since Nokia 8850 (see how many 8850/90 i got?). But the lack of memory expansion turns me off – 5mb isn’t going to be sufficient for me :P
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December 11th, 2004

More casino comment spams

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I got more of these casino comments spam in the last 3 hours. This time the tactic is a bit different – using a bug in my Drupal for Bloggers where I forgot to check for empty captcha to get their comment spam through. Like the last time, it comes from different IP addresses and the referer has also disappeared. So the best guess is that it is embedded in some casino software which then invoke the browser to spam.

While the last attack has incomplete comments body, this time it post with complete sentence except the URL points to an non-existence host. Looks like their tool is still work-in-progress: the bad news is they seem to use my site as a development kit :P

ps: In particularly, they are attacking my entry on captcha for movabletype.

December 11th, 2004

Google suggest beta


Google Suggest is now in beta testing. As you type, Google will offer suggestions.. Cool stuff!

December 10th, 2004

Fight Goliath

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One of the common phrase we hear often in tech business is ‘Competitive Advantage’ which usually means some sort of technology/patents and/or cheaper pricing, perhaps due to new disruptive technology. Many worship the ‘disruptive technology’ story and how it would kill the market goliath eventually.

But I’m convienced we’re mixing up the cause-and-effect. A goliath in your industry have the strength to build whatever technology you have and have bigger buying power to negiotate better pricing and deeper pocket to go into a price war. It is a war you cannot win in the long run if they put their heart to it.
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December 10th, 2004

Adopt-a-TLD programme


Thomas Roessler responded to my previous entry on ICANN wrt to TLD.

Instead of being scared of possible failure, ICANN should think about how to deal with it. ICANN should be thinking about escrow solutions. ICANN should be thinking about how it can contribute to establishing a healthy and sufficiently large pool of operational registry businesses. And it should be thinking about how to help make sure that the registrations in any given TLD remain an asset in case of bankrupcy of a registry business, and not become a liability: Make sure that, when a registry fails, someone else has a business interest in picking up the remains.

Hear Hear! We need “adopt-a-TLD” programme for failed registries. :-)

December 9th, 2004

Long Distance Long Calls


In the last few days, I would use Skype to call home talk to my wife from my hotel. But what’s interesting is that we don’t hang up anymore when we done. We would leave the session on whole night while I go bath, watch tv, sleep while she will be doing her own stuff.

We can always hear each another background noise and when we need each another, we just call out each another. It is as if I am at home, but in a different room. Now, …I need to start travelling with webcam … :-)

December 9th, 2004

Great Weather in New York


It is a lovely day in New York – clear blue sky and sunshine. Compared to the previous two days, raining and snowing, this is god-sent! I’m going to enjoy the day outside … :-)

December 6th, 2004

Peer-to-peer IP Telephony using SIP


Columbia University published a paper title Peer-to-Peer IP Telephony using SIP (by Kundan Singh & Henning Schulzrinne) with some modification to SIP architecture … Neat idea but not that useful.