Chatter #13: April 10, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM


Why The Lights Went Out

Whew. If you hadn't noticed, the site has been dark - completely gone, vanished - for the last ten days. Even email couldn't reach me; it bounced, with an "unable to find domain" response. But now we're back. Here's what happened:

Short story: my domain expired because the registrar failed to contact me. There were problems renewing.

Long story: On March 29th, 2000, I picked up the domain for free as part of a free giveaway by The RQ site already existed, of course, but it was on TIAC; and I didn't want to pay those incompentent clowns to ruin host my new domain. So I shopped around, and eventually settled on as the best deal I could find.

I've been very happy with Your-Site; the price is very reasonable, the service is reliable, and they're extremely responsive. The few times I've called them I haven't had to spend ONE MINUTE on hold! For a former TIAC customer, this was a profound shock.

But things can never go smoothly for me. On Friday March 29 2001, I checked in on the RQ site and it was dark. I checked my email and that was dead, too. was gone, as if it had never existed.

I didn't panic, not quite, but I was obviously pretty concerned. I've put a lot of work into Pete's RQ & RPG over the past five years, after all. And so have quite a few other people. What's more, I've put a lot of effort into making this one of the most-read RuneQuest sites online. Hell, getting listed by Yahoo alone was a huge ordeal! They dropped the site four or five times in the early years. And we're listed in the top ten of most search engines when you look for RuneQuest. With the site down, how long would it be before they decided we were gone and de-listed us?

Not to mention that it sucked not getting email!

Anyway, I called Your-Site. They were helpful, as always. Since I hadn't registered my domain with them, they couldn't renew it; in fact, it wasn't even their responsibility. RegisterFree were the ones who'd fallen down. They'd failed to notify me of the domain expiration. This despite the fact that except for my email address, all of my contact information was correct and up-to-date! But they hadn't bothered to send a paper bill, nor to call. They just pulled the plug.

Once I renewed my site through RegisterFree I would be able to transfer the renewal rights to Your-Site, though. So I logged onto the RegisterFree site and got a scary message: they were experiencing technical difficulties, and portions of the site were no longer working. I tried to use an online web form to renew my site, but it was broken. The only alternative was to send them an email; I did that on the evening of March 30th, but didn't get an answer for days. I also faxed the same email in on the same day. There was no phone number at RegisterFree for me to call!

I started freaking out, and also started investigating. A WHOIS search of revealed that a company called NameEngine was involved in my registration somehow; I checked the RegisterFree site, and found that NameEngine was associated with them in some way. So I went to the NameEngine site and started reading very carefully. Their address was exactly the same as RegisterFree, although the fax number was different. But most important, there was a phone number.

I suspected that NameEngine and RegisterFree were basically the same company, so I called that number...and got voicemail. Then on Tuesday April 3rd I got an email back from RegisterFree; they were going to renew my domain, but they needed a credit card number. I was desperate, so I emailed it back to them. And waited. And waited.

By Thursday I was quite concerned. My site and email had been down for six days! I sent an email and then called the NameEngine number again. A guy there told me that my site had been renewed and would probably take a day or two to propagate through the servers (or something). Were things looking up?

They were not. On Monday April 10th I got an email saying that they hadn't received my credit card number. This despite the fact that I'd been TOLD the site had already been renewed! And it wasn't, because the site was still dead. I sent my credit card info again, but I was seriously upset. It had now been ten days since the domain had been up.

So I went berserk. I called NameEngine at 9AM, and reached a woman. She told me that the domain would be renewed within the next couple of hours, and she'd call me back when it was. By noon I still hadn't heard anything, so I called her back. She said something about technical troubles, but said they were working on it. She'd call me when the renewal went through.

I called her again at 3:30PM, before I left. The site still wasn't up. They were resellers, and the server was having trouble. She couldn't say how long it would be before it would be up; she hoped it would be soon. I told her I'd call back in a day or two if the domain didn't go up.

And this morning I checked, and it was back up. Whew!

RuneQuest-Rules Rejecting!

Why do all the weird things happen to me? I've been having a TERRIBLE time posting to the RuneQuest-Rules List for more than a month. I receive the Digest with no problem, but when I try to post to it, I get bounce messages; something about being unable to reach the server. This was happening weeks before my domain went down, so I don't think that that was the problem. Anyway, since the RQ-Rules list is one of the best places for announcements of updates to this site I am feeling pretty frustrated!


Getting married the Saturday after next. I'm nervous, but not as nervous as I would have expected to be, if that makes any sense. I'll be away for a couple of weeks or so on my honeymoon...if anyone wants to surprise me by posting to the Chaos Project while I'm gone, I'd be very glad!

I hope to get one or two more updates in before then, although of course I'm insanely busy. Still, I'll try and respond if anyone writes to me...

Random thought: I'm reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings out loud to Teri (soon to be Teri Maranci!). I don't want her first experience of Middle-Earth to be the new movie, whether it's good or not! When I first saw a promo on TV for it (I think it's coming out around Christmas?), I turned to Teri and practically shouted "I have GOT to read that to you before you see the movie!". I'm not the most assertive partner, and it was her turn to read me something, but nonetheless she acquiesced immediately. I'm still not sure why.

Anyway, I'm half-way through the second chapter of The Hobbit. Here's hoping my voice (and her temper) hold up through the whole series! ->Peter

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0