Dec 2011

Moved to pairNIC

Having been a very happy user of’s web hosting service for many years, I finally bit the bullet and transferred my DNS domain name registrar from Network Solutions to pairNIC. It was a painless process taking less than a week, the vast majority of that time spent waiting for Network Solutions to relinquish the name.

I’d been planning to do this for years but every time my domain was up for renewal I would inevitably leave it until it was too late to risk moving it or had worried it would be too complicated or error prone.

This time I was determined not to let it pass.

Not only is pairNIC half the price of Network Solutions* and keeps my Whois details private at no extra cost, but I bet I won’t be pressured to renew by being spammed by them every other week starting 6 months prior to my domain expiring.

* Actually I was only charged $10 for the next full year since this was a transferral, so in effect this was less than a third the price of Netsol.

Point of Sale Failure

This is the story of somebody who visited their local car shop the other day...

While they were sitting waiting for their car to finish being inspected they pulled out a phone and did a quick sweep of the company’s WiFi network, to which they were connected after having received the relevant password from the front desk.

Two systems jumped out as interesting, both Dells, according to their MAC vendor IDs. They had TCP port 445 open, meaning they were most likely Windows PCs with file sharing enabled.

They then launched the FileBrowser SMB file access app against one of the systems. Sure enough there were a whole bunch of shared directories and files available, no password required. A little further digging revealed exactly what this system was. It was one of the point of sale devices (cash registers) from the front desk, sitting wide open on the same WiFi network that all of their customers had access to.

Not only is this a catastrophically dumb idea, but it flies in the face of numerous payment card industry regulatory practices and requirements.

No wonder things like this happen.

iPhone Battery Drain Fix?

Recently I acquired an iPhone 4S. Luckily, despite hearing the horror stories of poor battery performance by some users, I had never experienced any issues myself. I could go a whole day with only a few percentage drops in battery life. Admittedly though I am not a heavy user of my phone, in so far as making and receiving calls go. I was very happy with it.

Then all of a sudden, about a week ago, I noticed that the battery was losing charge at a significantly faster rate, without any increase in my usage.

I would leave the phone fully charged, 100%, next to my bed before I went to sleep and 9 hours later in the morning it was at 58%. WTF?

This went on for days, so I began some experiments in order to isolate the cause.

Turn off all unnecessary notifications, alarms, usage reports, auto time zone detection etc.
No change.

Turn off Bluetooth.
No change.

Turn off WiFi.
No change.

This was crazy. No Bluetooth and no WiFi and yet the battery was dropping 30% to 40% overnight.

My last resort, something that in hindsight I should have tried earlier; a full power-off i.e. holding both buttons down for a couple of seconds and sliding off the power, waiting a few more minutes and starting it up again.

I charged the phone back to 100%, turned Bluetooth and WiFi back on and left the phone next to the bed again ready for the morning, fully expecting no improvement.

The percentage charge value the next morning? 99%!!

So, while I am still none the wiser as to the root cause of the abnormal battery drain issue, in my case at least, performing a complete power off/on cycle solved the problem.

My thinking, since I had turned off both Bluetooth and WiFi in my tests, was that power drain through radio use was not the cause. My software engineering background leads me to think that perhaps there was some process caught in a tight loop, sucking up the CPU and in turn draining the battery. A full power cycle cleared out the culprit process. It’s certainly a possibility.