back to article Reg hack cast adrift as Illuminati Online goes off-line

For nearly 20 years I've paid, monthly, for an email account, but next month the domain shuts down and while I feel I should care it seems email isn't as important as it used to be. Steve Jackson Games was the company I selected for the email account I set up in the early nineties, and since then I've routed every message …

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WTF?

you got the title right

Owning a domain name for the purpose of never having to worry about changing your email address is far from crazy

> we'll run out of domain names even faster

You have GOT to be trolling. No one can possibly be that idiotic!!! The limit on the length of a FQDN is 253 characters so the possible variations that exist using the 36 alphanumeric characters are so enormous that they make the amount of IPV6 addresses seem tiny!!

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Anonymous Coward

253?

Did you forget that English is not the only language on the net anymore?

While I don't know if you could get oooooooooo.co.uk (where each 'o' is in a different alphabet,) you could certainly try.

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Happy

253

253 is the amount of characters in a FQDN, not relating to what the characters actually are :)

The 36 is representative of english alphanumeric characters though as i'm not entirely certain how all the other languages work, but your point proves what i was saying even more, the amount of possible domain names makes the available IPV6 addresses appear like a drop in the ocean and that amount is enormous!! :D

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Anonymous Coward

The Dude

The other guys are right, register your own domain name. You could even set up your own mail server and manage it. It isn't terribly difficult and avoids the problem you ran into, losing your email address.

Well... that's almost true. In the early days of the internet backin the mid 90's, I loaned the use of one of my domain names to my political party for the duration of an election. By way of thanking me for my generous contribution, they petitioned the registrar and walked away with my domain name. They continue to use it to this day. I am no longer a member.

No good deed ever goes unpunished, especially when dealing with politicians.

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Good Times

This reminds me in a left-handed way of my first (commercial) email account. A local London, Ontario BBS called "The Usual Suspects" offered full-range internet service (ah, Lynx, you little twinkie) and had as their domain "suspects.com". So for a couple of years I was "vark@suspects.com", which was as lovely a way of identifying myself as I could hope. Soon they merged and expanded then sold out and Suspects was cast adrift (to this day, apparently), but the memories linger. As do those early dial-up sessions trying to get PPP to function before there was anything to see, really. It also makes me wonder who wound up with my original "Gary7@hotmail.com" account after I bailed on them, the day after MS took over. Someone should be paying me the royalties that I owe Paramount...

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Some perspective people

I've had my io.com address longer than Java has existed.

All these wonderful options y'all have picked up on were not nearly as easy/nice/available back when. I'll re-read and digest the above comments later as I consider what to do next. Ain't you lucky to not be tied down to the old - friends/work/relationships/maillists.

But it sure was nice to have a short domain name. The next likeliest I'll pick will be some 450% longer! Oh, and unpronounceable.

And I didn't see any comments about the bigger picture. Death of local ISPs. Death of promises, implicit and explicit. Commoditization of everything Internet. Your ex-associates stabbing you in the back. Schadenfreude triumphant!

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Oh really?

2. With webmail, all your e-mail archives are in the cloud. You don't have to worry about backing them up, and they're accessible from anywhere. And storage is effectively unlimited.

>> Until they lose your mail and you have no backup.

3. Likewise your contacts.

>> Ditto.

4. Because your contacts aren't stored locally, you're protected from viral-emails (until somebody finds a way to do this with webmail)

>> Unless someone hacks your Yahoo account as happens all the time.

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WHY?

"I'm in the process of setting up a Acer Revo R3600 as a little CentOS server just for email and stuff - nothing major.

I already have my own domain, just need to learn some of this Linux malarky and I'll be done :)"

But why... you pay a company to professionally host your domain and email - I have been paying about £4 a month for years. I get 10+ mailboxes (for family etc.) so it works out at about 50p per user per monht = bargain.

Instead you suggest leaving a dedicated box running - probably costing at least as much in electricity alone and have to be bothered with maintenance, updates, upgrades etc.

Plus unless you know exactly what you are doing (!!) it's a massive security risk.

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Little IPSs?

Small boutique web hosts and email hosts are still around, probably lots of them. I manage several for small clubs. Quite often, club members can get an email address just by joining and asking. Of course, you have to know what you are joining and what you (don't) want, one of the ones I manage is a nudist club in Ontario, Canada... brrrr!

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illuminati online gone?

disappeared into a bermuda triangle? I blame the gnomes of zurich.

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Silver badge

For longevity, get an AOL email account ...

Seriously. While I have had my own domain since before they generally existed (I was one of the geeks working on implementing the domain name system in the early 1980s), my AOL email address seems to be un-killable. Gawd/ess knows I've tried :-)

I got it back in the early 90s, before the Windows version was available. Why? So I could talk MeDearOldMum thru' the mysteries of email ... TheWell, Delphi, TheSource, BIX and even CIS were beyond her capability. After a couple years, Dad took on (most) of her tech support needs, so I called to cancel the account. Instead, I was offered 6 free months. I figured "what the heck ...". Soon after that, I was offered a contract at the then new AOL Arizona call center ... One of the terms of the contract included a free lifetime AOL account.

In the early 2000s, I tried to cancel it as superflous several times, but every time I get a wild hair & login to it, it's still there. I've since given up on trying to get rid of it.

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The Bush angle

Interesting.

No-one mentioned that George W. Bush used the site to host his own content.

Illuminati indeed

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Pics of Illuminati Online's Facility

This is true. I worked at IO from 2000-2001 (shortly before they moved to Prism) and this was when Gov. Bush moved his locked server cabinet (the only one in the server room) pending his announcement to run for Prez.

Here's some pics of the IO facility:

http://img864.imageshack.us/img864/9721/govgwbushserver.jpg

http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/3448/serverroomsouthwall.jpg

http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/4896/serverroomnorthwall.jpg

http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/4025/callcentreeastward.jpg

I've got gigabytes of logs showing the servers on the verge of exploding, as it was a daily occurrence requiring CMA, and all kinds of photos and other tidbits found around the network. Ahh, memories! A sizeable chunk of my MP3 collection came from perusing what other employees had Napstered. ;)

Interesting fact: IO had a telnet server for customers to access a legacy account management interface. When you logged in (as guest), the shell provided was Lynx, instead of bash, because the interface was really web-based. IO forgot to restrict Lynx, so you could still type "g - space - period" and drop down to the filesystem. IO utterly failed to police file permissions, so numerous /home/~username/html_docs/ directories were browseable, and files were downloadable. Someone at Prism seems to have fixed this in the years after IO was re-hosted there.

IO was, on one hand, a pretty fun and cool place to work, but on the other hand, management and security was a seriously cruel joke.

I'm game, if any old IO employees/customers want to get together for a meet-up and Fnord about old times. :D

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Facepalm

Rocketmail

Almost 15 years ago I got a free email address from Rocketmail. Rocketmail was bought by Four11... which was then bought by Yahoo. For most of my stuff these days I use gmail. I wish sneakemail hadn't gone pay, they were useful.

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gmail

Before moving to gmail, I had had several differing e-mail accounts: university, various employers, then a couple of ISPs. Now I have a permanent, free, and reliable webmail account which I've been quite happy with.

Oh, and those of you worried about Google or the US government or whoever reading your e-mail: you basically have little security with any e-mail address, unless you've set up end-to-end encryption with all your correspondents, so in my mind, that's a moot point.

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Apps

My first email address came with my first internet access account almost 20 years ago! £10/month for dial-up to a local POP, that had a mere 16 lines available. The line of takeovers is long - goto www.nwnet.co.uk these days and see how many company names you can find before you end up at TalkTalk ! I stopped paying long ago, but that email address still works, and I collect mail from it to this day.

by 1995, I was using a .ml.org subdomain (anybody remember them?) for self-hosted services due to a very early cable-modem trial service giving me unfettered internet access. When they went bump, I bought my own domain in 1996, which became my primary email and web address, and despite being passed about between several registrars, DNS hosts, countless webhosts, and revisiting self-hosting, I'm currently using Google Apps for email (but not web);

Email is about the only contact method that has remained unchanged for me for 20 years!

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Happy

Using unique e-mail addresses

It's interesting, though perhaps inevitable, that a large number of Register readers seem to use the <companyorindividual@domain.dom> method of giving out e-mail addresses. I wonder what percentage of addresses on the El Reg database are of the form <elreg@>, <reg@>, <register@> or <theregister@>?

This is a great method of being prepared in case addresses "go wild", but in my experience has also led to some confusion over the years especially when addresses are given out in person or written down on paper rather than entered into automatic systems.

I had one company nearly refuse to accept a <theirname@mydomain.dom> address because "we want your address, not ours". I had a representative of a travel company exclaim that she "didn't realise you worked for us" when I handed her a similarly unique address with the company name as the username. And one poor confused soul, who I only contacted as a favour to warn him that his systems were sending out spam, accused me of having "hacked his account" when I gave <hiscompany@mydomain.dom> as the return address. It took three exchanges of e-mails and a full explanation of how e-mail addresses were formatted before I convinced him I wasn't in his system.

As an aside, much as I hate to stereotype, it has always amused me that the last chap -- technically ignorant but quick to leap to accusations -- was a lawyer.

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Other cool email tricks

Lots of forums and file download sites insist on me providing an email address for registration, and I'm aware that some of them may be selling/leaking this info. I'd like to know where spammers got my email address, so I generate throw-away addresses using a free subdomain service that forwards email sent to the subdomain. Email addresses are typically formatted like this:

<name of website>.<date>@<mysubdomain>.<host>.com

Example:

elregister.11may2@austintx.cjb.net

Works pretty well! :)

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Anonymous Coward

Hushmail

I use Hushmail and expect they'll be around for ages. They are end-to-end secure (optionally even for outgoing emails), are stored securely, support IMAP as well as Web mail, and allow you to define several aliases. I note that Zero Hedge use them too, as do some other well known security minded users.

Yes, you have to pay annual fees, but at least you don't have the cost and hassle of maintaining an email server and domain.

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WTF?

O.T.T

Why bother I move house or I move email address stuff inside goes with me. In either case most of it is junk I could live without

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