Hover.com Review

Hover.com is a nifty little domain registrar I heard about on one of Leo Laporte’s podcasts. This company is actually run by Tucows Inc. – a rather well known Internet establishment, famous for its software download portal, and its recent foray into the mobile world with Ting.com. Hover strives to simplify domain name and email address management without dumbing it down to the point that the user loses control. In addition, Hover goes to great lengths in providing its customers with first class telephone and online support.

If you’re prospecting, I can assure you these aren’t tall tales. I have moved all of my domains and e-mail over to Hover.com in recent weeks. They’re dependable and affordable at $15 per domain.

Domain names are the web’s plumbing of sorts – casual internet users pay little attention to them, after all, what’s in a name? However, more advanced users realize the added-value of good domain names. Because their lifetime can span multiple years – or in some cases – decades, I recently decided to consolidate my domains and e-mail addresses and move them to a single, trustworthy registrar. This turned out to be Hover.com.

Dumping (on?) Go daddy

Of late, most of my hosting and DNS were managed by Go Daddy, a dirt-cheap and [slightly] lackluster provider based out of Arizona, USA. Go Daddy also appears to be one of the main competitors Hover is trying to target: they provide meticulous guides for Go Daddy customers on topics like unlocking domains, getting authorization codes and the like. Hover is quite clearly touting ease-of-use as its main vector for winning over Go Daddy users. And rightfully so: Go Daddy’s website must be the world’s most convoluted and hairy management interface ever. It turned out to be the single most irritating thing about the whole experience – it’s just so damn hard to figure out!

To be fair, Go Daddy did serve its purpose. Their “buy a domain and throw in hosting and email for free”-approach enabled me to own a bunch of domains and email aliases for next to nothing. But, I got what I bargained for in the end – a lousy management interface and non-existent support. Times have changed, however, and Hover fills in the gaps nicely, albeit at a marginally higher cost.

The Good

Fast and easy signup. True to Hover’s credo, the signup process was a frictionless experience. They make a point out of not upselling their other products and services. You only get what you ask for, and in this case that’s a good thing. There’s a fine line between apropos upselling and a downright bombardment of useless offers.

Sadly, Go Daddy falls right into the latter category. Even though these schemes allow for the occasional lightning deal, the customer is burdened with diligently reading the fine print before clicking “Next”. More often than not, customers are left behind somewhat distraught, and uncertain of their purchase.

Easy management interface. As stated above, administration of domain names and e-mail addresses is multitudes more convenient than some of the competition (I won’t harp on Go Daddy any further).

Customer service. While I haven’t required Hover’s telephone support services so far, I can vouch for their online support portal. The turnaround for e-mail based inquiries is one business day or less. They also follow up your request with care if required.

Transfer pricing at just $10. Customers who move over their domain get a great deal: one year over the existing renewal date for just 10 USD. You can optionally let Hover take care of all the transfer hassle free of charge.

[update] Free WHOIS/domain privacy. As Michael Yurechko mentions in the comments, Hover also offers WHOIS privacy at no additional cost, a service other registrars often charge for. With WHOIS privacy, your contact information is hidden from the public WHOIS registry. Hover’s administrative contact information is displayed instead. This keeps spam and other unsolicited email at bay. Thanks for the note, Michael!

The Bad

Regular pricing is slightly more expensive at $15 per year, per domain. Not quite the bargain when competing registrars come in at a lower price point, e.g. Go Daddy charges $13 for the first year (and $15 for subsequent renewals).

Mailbox pricing at $20 per e-mail address, per year. One sore point with Hover is the rather steep e-mail pricing. Even if all you’re doing is forward to another address, the same pricing structure is upheld. Go Daddy throws in e-mail for mere pennies. Put into perspective, on the other hand, one might argue that $1.67/month/mailbox is hardly a heist. It just depends on how many of them you intend to own, I guess.

No hosting. This is by no means a criticism; I was just dismayed to realize their great service does not extend to web hosting. Hover directs its customers to a select group of specialized hosting companies like SquareSpace and MediaTemple instead.

Which custom DNS to set on WordPress.com for Godaddy hosted/forwarded mail

I moved my blog to WordPress.com with a custom domain, which means WordPress now manages the DNS. However, my mail forwarding service is still coming from Godaddy. To make this work, I had to add custom DNS records to point to Godaddy’s mail servers, like so:

MX 10 mailstore1.secureserver.net.
MX 0 smtp.secureserver.net.

Don’t forget the period at the end of each line.

How to build a JavaScript project with Maven

Prologue

This year’s buzzword has to be ‘HTML5’. Everywhere I go, people are making a fuss out of building HTML5 ‘applications’ (for the desktop too, now, with Windows 8’s WinRT). However, I see HTML5 more blandly as ‘HTML/JavaScript’, and I make this pairing consciously, because in my opinion, there is no HTML5 without JavaScript and vice versa. Therefore it’s important to know and master the intricacies of JavaScript before boasting your “HTML5”-skills to friends, colleagues and the world at large (using a <header> tag doesn’t count as a skill). Don’t be fooled by JavaScript’s supposed simplicity. It’s just that simplicity (read: lack of OO principles) that makes it difficult to use for building maintainable and enterprise-grade software. Languages like Java, C#, and even ActionScript (JS’ cousin), provide the developer with a degree of standardization and structure that is severely missed in the JavaScript world.

From my point of view, JavaScript has two weaknesses: its loose type system and its prototypal inheritance model. I know many people don’t agree and opine that the points I just made are actually strengths. Point taken. It does have a couple of things going for it: ubiquity and a low barrier to entry.

Tacking a build process onto JavaScript, with Maven

If you’re used to a more object-oriented development language/platform, with classes, interfaces, inheritance, strict typing, unit and integration testing, this all looks very scary. Many enterprise developers seek the assistance of Maven, Ant or other tools of that ilk to manage framework dependencies, build and test processes, and code quality metrics. And there’s no reason why this can’t also be applied to JavaScript development.

Yes, JavaScript can be tamed, you heard it right. With a limited amount of effort, we can let Maven take care of the following:

  • compile and validate your code with JSLint
  • compress and obfuscate your .js files in one fell swoop
  • combine all of your compressed .js source files into a single JavaScript module
  • integrate with the Jasmine BDD test framework for unit/integration testing of your JS code
  • code quality reporting with JSLint
  • generate JSDoc documentation

Prerequisites

Maven is a Java-based tool, so you’ll need to get the latest Java JDK from Oracle. I’m still using JDK 6, but I guess JDK 7 would do as well. Other than that, you’ll need to get the Maven 3 binary and unzip it somewhere. For your convience, you may want to consider adding it to your path (Windows, Mac, Ubuntu Linux). Fire up a text-editor (I like NetBeans for pom.xml and JavaScript editing) and a command-line window. You’re good to go!

The pom.xml config 

Here’s the full pom.xml configuration file. It’s currently still a work in progress, but it implements all of the features I described above. In the subsequent section I’ll provide more information on every section of importance.

In depth 

Same file, with some extra comments.

 

I’m continuously looking for things to add, so any suggestions are welcome. Also, I’m maintaining this project on BitBucket, here

How to prevent Firefox’ plugin hang detector from triggering during Flex development

Firefox’ plugin hang detector is a feature that aims to reduce browser crashing caused by plugins like Flash or Silverlight hanging for prolonged periods of time. Firefox will cut a plugin process off after a predefined timeout, set to 15 seconds by default. While I loudly applaud this stability feature, it is an annoying one to deal with if you’re a Flash developer using a debugger. Setting breakpoints for longer than 15 seconds will trigger the hang detector and break off your debugging session. Very annoying indeed.

Fortunately, there is a way to disable this feature (or set the timout to something more usable).
Here’s how.

Step 1: about:config

Open up a new tab and type about:config to bring up the advanced configuration page. Click past the warning ;-).

Step 2: Set timeout to -1 to disable

Use the filter field to search for dom.ipc.plugins.timeoutSecs and set its value to -1 to disable the detector entirely. Of course, you’re free to set it to any higher value, just remember that the timeout is expressed in seconds and you’re good to go.

Installing SyntaxHighlighter on SquareSpace

SyntaxHighlighter is great little library that seamlessly takes care of – you guessed it – code syntax highlighting on your website. As a standalone JS library, it’s platform agnostic and will work on any web publishing system, and this includes SquareSpace. Installation only takes a couple of minutes:

  • Download SyntaxHighlighter
  • Use SS’ Code Injection  feature to include the required script and link tags 
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shCore.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushBash.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushCpp.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushCSharp.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushCss.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushDelphi.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushDiff.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushGroovy.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushJava.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushJScript.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushPhp.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushPlain.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushPython.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushRuby.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushScala.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushSql.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushVb.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="storage/scripts/shBrushXml.js"></script>
    <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="storage/styles/shCore.css"/>
    <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="storage/styles/shThemeDefault.css"/>
    <script type="text/javascript">
    SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'storage/scripts/clipboard.swf';
    SyntaxHighlighter.all();
    </script>
    
  • Surround the code you want to highlight in your blog posts with pre tags, with the appropriate brush in the class attribute
    <pre class="brush: js">
    function somePrettyFunction(params) {
    return "Lorem";
    }
    </pre>

/thx Weston Binford

Silverlight 5


Get Microsoft Silverlight

First off, there were a lot of iPads in this video, which is quite ironic..

Some of the new features discussed in this video:

  • Hardware acceleration 
  • Better power management
  • Remote control support
  • IIS Media Services 4.0 server technology for use in tandem with SL5
    • low latency streaming
    • transmuxing for Apple products support