ICANN Votes To Let Verisign Raise Rates

GoDaddy Chair Bob Parsons alerted us (via an otherwise obtrusive “dear loyal customer” letter) to a pretty dire situation with domain registration. Apparently ICANN voted a few days back to let VeriSign continue its monopolistic control of .com domain name renewals and allow 7% increase in fees each year, with an all-but-cerrtain extension of its control after 2012.

I did a little math (not my forte) and figured out that this amounts to a 50% increase over the remainder of the deal, and amounts to a huge cash giveaway straight from your pockets to those of VeriSign. Apparently the deal is part of a settlement of a suit by VeriSign against ICANN, but in typical back-handed, under-the-table deals, this benefits both companies.

As our new friend Bob points out, the deal still requires approval by the Dept. of Commerce, so there’s still time to intervene. Profiteering on URL registrations is an impediment to free speech, so call your rep! Email Dept. of Commerce head Gutierrez!

DS Lite launches in Japan

Awesome posts on Kotaku about the Japanese launch of the Nintendo DS Lite. No exactly on par with the Vegas-y Xbox 360 roll-out:

“The kid waiting in line is no longer waiting in line, but playing in the middle of the street, jumping up and down. A pigeon nearly shits on him. His mother hollers at him when a car approaches. It’s an armored truck.

“The vehicle parks directly in front of the line and guys in helmets and flak jackets get out. Carrying sacks, they go inside.

“Minutes pass. The men in helmets and flak jackets return. One patrols the crowd with a nightstick. The Rotund Gentleman is discussing the socio-political meaning of the original Gundam series. The men in helmets and flak jackets get into the truck. Engine turns over and the armored truck pulls away. The guy in Converse sneakers to my left is asleep. Good for him.”

Resistor Widget

I know wireheads who can tell the value of most resistors just by looking at their color bands. I am NOT that kind of geek. I’m the lazy kind. I’m the kind that thinks it’s not too much to ask for the values of components to be printed on them. I mean, Jeez, they can laser-etch logos and UPCs onto individual pieces of fruit now! Anyway, I use my trusty ol’ RadioCrap Resistor/Cap Color Code wheel to figure out what components I got stuck with in my Taiwanese parts grab bag.

This nifty OS X Widget works the same way. You enter in a resistor color sequence and it gives you the value, or you enter in the value you desire and it shows you the color code you need to look for on the resistor itself.

Tip: When you get a new pack of resistors, sit down with your color code wheel or widget, look up the values, and mark them down on the reel tape that holds the resistor sets together. Then, use wire snips to cut resistors off as you use them, leaving the reel tape in place. This way, the resistors are marked until you snip the last one from the tape.

[Via Make]

TiVo to Host Press Event Tomorrow

Following on the heels of Apple’s rather disappointing press-haha on Tuesday, TiVo announced a press event for Thursday. As Engadget so succinctly put it:

“So, let the guessing game begin. TiVo Series 3? The subscription model? A partnership with NetFlix (could be; the invite promises appearances by CEO Tom Rogers and “other special guests”)? All we know is that if they end up showing off nothing but a speaker system and a leather carrying case for your DVR, we’re bailing.”

Update (3/2/06): It was even worse than anyone expected. None of the above speculated announcements. This “event” was to announce “KidZone,” a parental blocking and program recommendation service.

Whoopty-f’ing-Do. We feel sorry for the gadget press grunts that traipsed all the way out to this “event,” held this AM, at the Museum of Television and Radio, in the Big Applet.

Interactive Electronics Lectures

You may have seen this on MakeZine already, but if not (and you’re interested in learning more about electronic circuit design), check out these enlightening “Web Lectures” by CompSci prof Bob Brown. The very clearly written short articles cover simple electronic circuit design, logic gates, and digital logic basics. The coolest thing about these is Prof Brown’s use of JavaScript to create interactive figures that you can switch on/off to see how the circuit or logic gate functions. This is a very easy and visual way of understanding how logic functions in circuit designs and how Boolean logic works.