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This is the TBTF Log, an experiment in reporting important breaking news in a more timely way than was possible with the Tasty Bit of the Day. The TBTF newsletter continues unchanged. The current issue is TBTF for 1999-12-16: Humble.

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Previous weeks' logs table of contents.

Saturday, 2000-01-08

Thursday, 2000-01-06

Sunday, 2000-01-02

Saturday, January 08, 2000

1/8/00 7:20:46 AM

  • Bay Area law firms are "hemorrhaging" associates. (Some wags might call this "a good start.") Junior lawyers are jumping ship in large numbers to their high-tech clients, according to this article in SFGate. Stock options are a big part of the lure, of course. But many abandon their law firms to take on business development or some other role outside the practice of law. Brobek, Phleger & Harrison has lost about 20 lawyers in the past year to tech firms. Fenwick & West reports heavy defections. And Palo Alto's Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati has lost nearly 100 of its 325 associates in the past year.

Thursday, January 06, 2000

1/6/00 11:20:56 AM

  • updated ICANN recalls hundreds of domain names. As early as last November a few entrepreneurs noticed a bug in NSI's shared-registry software. Some of the new, competing registries were allowing users to register domain names ending with a hyphen, such as microsoft-.com. NSI had never allowed this, when it was the sole registrar. This NY Times story (free registration and cookies required) quotes ICANN CEO Mike Roberts:

    It was a mistake in the software. This was something that shouldn't have been possible... It was contemplated that since this was all new, that there might be mistakes. Right in the accreditation agreement it clearly says that a name may be revoked in the case of a mistake.

    The article quotes some of the folks who registered such names, and they are not best pleased. Surely some of the names registered could serve no purpose but cybersquatting and extortion. Others, however, may have been acquired with more legitimate intentions. Too bad. This is one case in which ICANN has a clear mandate and has done the right thing.

    Note added 2000-01-08: Discussion on the TBTF Irregulars list has added detail to this story. Andre Uratsuka Manoel cites the RFCs that define the syntax of domain names. Rfc952:
      <hname> ::= <name>*["."<name>]
      <name>  ::= <let>[*[<let-or-digit-or-hyphen>]<let-or-digit>]
    Rfc1123 (see sec. 2.1) broadens the rule to allow let-or-digit as the first character, a change instigated by 3com.com.

    Ted Byfield (a TBTF featured columnist) sheds light on ICANN CEO Mike Roberts's statement quoted above, "It was a mistake in the software." It seems that NSI asked outside experts to critique its shared-registry code, and then ignored their advice and refused to publish meeting notes documenting the software's shortcomings. Here Gordon Cook summarizes a discussion thread from the Internet Engineering Task Force on an IFWP mailing list:

    Let's see if I understand what is now being debated on the IETF list. NSI makes [a] shared data base and gets [a] panel of outside experts to comment on the code and protocols designed to implement the data base. The experts tell NSI that what they have designed is a bunch of crap that will lead to numerous people's domain names being lost or otherwise mishandled, misregistered etc. NSI chooses not to listen to its own experts, implements a system it knows or should know is flawed and then refuses to let the comments of its own experts warning it about what it is doing be published. ICANN of course does nothing.
    Cook goes on to quote from the IETF discussion, including this partial list of the code problems pointed out by its invited outside experts:

    Race conditions, log traces, actions on log traces, reliable timestamps, the need for well-defined states with well-defined variables, slamming precautions, transfer problems, correct internationalization, UTC time, message text limit, etc. were also all mentioned and advised about more than once...

Sunday, January 02, 2000

1/2/00 2:18:20 PM

  • updated User-induced hardware footshots. Most of the potential Y2K problems had been well and truly slain before New Year's Eve. The uncounted hoardes of system and network techies watching over the world's systems as midnight swept westward had little to do. But come Monday they should have plenty to keep them busy. The NANOG list is echoing with tales of systems and whole networks powered down on Friday, hopefully to reanimate on Monday morning. The problem is that one needs to exercise caution when powering down systems that have been operating for extended periods on a 24/7 basis. The SANS Institute had posted an article on the precautions that everyone should have taken. They have taken the article down, but I've mirrored it here.

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This venue represents an experiment in more timely and less "cooked" TBTF news coverage. You'll read here things that came through my desktop machine mere minutes before. The TBTF Log replaces the Tasty Bit of the Day feature.

The email and Web editions of Tasty Bits from the Technology Front represent my best effort to present engaging, cogent news and analysis on what matters to the life of the Net. TBTF will continue as before.


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