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Month: January 2009

Net: Shortest Valid Domain Names

For the system I’m building, I’m putting in a check for valid domain names (technically URI/URLs) and one of the checks is for the length of the domain name. So what is the shortest domain name around?

Well, I suspect in the uk it’s the British library at [5 characters] and in the .com range I suspect it’s Paypal’s [6 characters], but an article on Valleywag has just altered me to the fact that Google has one of the shortest Chinese domain names [4 characters] and Ulster Television has, but even those are beaten by both the Western Samoa top level domain name has a website making ws [2 characters] and the Vatican’s va [2 characters] – making them the shortest domain name I’m aware of.

Why have some of them got full stops at the end of the links ( such as http://ws. and http://va. ): it’s to stop your browser trying to “fix the links” and change them to and which are different sites.

The answer to the question of “how short can a domain name be” is currently 2 characters (unless a top level domain is started with less than 2). A full web based URI/URL has a minimum length of 9 (4 for the protocol ‘http’, 3 for the protocol separation ‘://’ and then 2 for the domain/host name). Of course, you could also use the FTP protocol which brings it down to 8 or be pedantic and insist the shortest web orientated URL is http://va.:80/ at 14 characters.

See also top level domains with websites.

Game: Zilch – Don’t get nothing!

Just my luck, just when I think I’ll spend a weekend doing work, I find another addictive Flash game online! Zilch is a basic game where you score points by rolling dice (very similar to Yahtzee), with the aim of getting 10,000 points. However, if you fail to score 3 times in a row (scoring nothing means you get “Zilch”), you lose another 500 points.

Quite a fun game trying to decide whether to “Bank” (which you can only do once you have 300 points) or rolling again and risk losing everything (but standing to gain a few more hundred or even thousand points).

Google Transit Maps

Cool – I’ve been thinking about something like this for a couple of days ago, and Google has just announced nearly what I was thinking: a transit/transport map of London showing where the tubes/lines actually go so you can easily plot alternative routes from not being underground – see London’s map.

Now they just need the following options and they’ve saved me a development job:
* Distance between stations: yes, I can see Regent Street is an inch away from Great Portland Street by “the crow flies”, but I’ve still got to do the conversion using the manual scale. If I could just click on “Great Portland Street” and get a list of “Walking distance to nearby stations: Regent Street 0.5miles (10 minutes), Euston Square 1mile (20 minutes)” etc it’ll be brilliant.
* Alternative routing. I travel from Harrow on The Hill to Great Portland Street, so what are the routes I could take (Metropolitan Line from HOH to GPS, Metropolitan to Wembley Park then Jubilee to Baker Street then Metropolitan/Circle/Hammersmith to GPS, Walk to Harrow and Wealdstone and then catch overground to Euston…): perfect if a line or station is closed (as has happened with the Metropolitan and Great Portland Street several times this year. If it includes additional distance travelled/time needed, it’ll be perfect.

Life: To sell or not to sell…

After 5 months of “temporary” living in Harrow (instead of Leicester), I’ve now really got to make up my mind. Should I continue living “Down Souf” and sell the Leicester manor, or end our lease in the Harrow homestead and move back to Leicester and commute daily to the Big Smokey (London, not our kitty!).

Benefits of selling up: Around £18,000 to £20,000 “cash in the bank” (after mortgage repayments, loan repayments, selling fees, redemption fees, Home Information Packs, Conveyancing fees). Saving of approximately £1,300 per month in mortgage and loan repayments and life insurance [for the next five years] and £66 in Council Tax and £100 in utility bills. Total month savings: £1,466.

Benefits of going back to Leicester: Saving £1,400 per month in rent, £288 in Council tax, at least £93 in utility months. Total monthly savings: £1,781. Family, friends and generally a bit cheaper. Live in house I own.

Disadvantage of going back to Leicester: Commute goes up from 10 minute walk and 24 minute tube journey (34 minutes) to 15 minute taxi/car journey, 1hr 30minute train journey, 3 minutes tube and 5 minute walk (1hr 53 minutes). Price goes up from £148 per month to at least £760.20 (£933.20 including parking). Smaller property. Household maintenance expenses.

Net “gain” in moving back to Leicester: £996.00 per month
Net “gain” in staying where I am: £1,466 per month + interest on savings.

Those figures look pretty damming and conclusive to me. So much for thinking it’ll be a lot cheaper to go back to Leicester.