How To Make Your Office IT/Computer Hardware More Green

As part of doing my part for the environment I consolidated a lot of other server/computer hardware in my office into a low-power, quiet and cool running Dedicated AMD Opteron Desktop Workstation Server from scratch.  It has kept my office cooler and quieter, all while saving on power and more importantly the environment.  I should have added that I also reduced the number of hard disks from several if not dozens in my office, to just 6 disks (all of them larger I believe 4-8TB each).

But I wanted to take it a step further and I admit I was also motivated each morning by the unfriendly smells of burning PCB no matter what I did.  It’s an exercise in efficiency, savings, environment and your own health and sanity.

In my office I have a gigabit 24-port rack mount switch and 42U server rack where I store parts and other items for testing and development.  Believe it or not but this switch seems to have made an incredible amount of heat and even worse, the burning PCB smell which can’t be healthy and it still baffles me because its fan is working just fine and the unit doesn’t get that hot.

This is where the waste part came in, the thing is that under my Desk I have a small gigabit switch for all of my other devices such as VOIP, phone, printer, laptop, etc… and the 24-port switch only has 4 or 5 ports active.  I’ve kept the 24-port on the rack and ready to plug in and I just switched in a humble but efficient 5-port gigabit switch which has reduced heat and the bad PCB smell in the office.

One thing I admit that I have done (or rather haven’t) is enabled any kind of sleep mode for my Desktop workstation and this is because it is nearly always active and I like to remotely connect to it at odd times of the day.  But still this current Opteron workstation runs cooler than my previous labyrinth of servers and workstations that were active so I can actually hear again.  By consolidating most services into a single unit with virtual servers you can often eliminate the majority of power usage which primarily comes from hot and power hungry CPUs.  This is one reason why I haven’t upgraded to newer Opteron architecture, yes you get more cores per CPU but the power usage ends up being more than what I am into now and is no more efficient and far exceeds my current needs.

Personal Best Hosting Advice for Shared, VPS and Dedicated Servers

Since one of our product offerings is offering hosting I’m often asked by friends and family which company they should use and where they should host, and which host is the best for their shared hosting, VPS or Dedicated Server.

Surprising to some the answer is not always, host with compevo but based on their actual needs and goals.   If someone needs to host their site in Australia or another location we do not offer, I’m not going to suggest they host elsewhere unless there is a good reason or actual business case for it, or if they have a niche we don’t cover, I always recommend they find a niche provider for their industry and usually the company I recommend will not be the typical one most have heard of.

The biggest issue I find trying to help people is getting friends and family to understand what they need and to get the actual requirements from them.  In the case that they can’t describe what they want then I’ll try to guide them.

For example I have a friend from Australia who has clients that are mainly from North America and Europe but said he wanted to host in Australia.  I told him not to host in Australia as things tend to load a bit slower to most areas from Australia as its not on a main fiber route (eg. multiple routes with lots of traffic transiting since Australia is isolated by the ocean and has no other country physically connected to it).  It would only make sense to host in Australia if most of your clientel were from Australia.  I suggested he host in North America because it was a middle ground compared to Europe, specifically the mid or east which can provide low ping to most of Europe (in many cases around 100ms), and yet Asia and the rest of the world has excellent connectivity here too.

What surprises me about the questions I get is that a lot of people incorrectly assume they need a powerhouse of a server with loads of RAM to host their website.  Unless you have a large amount of traffic that’s not going to be an issue for most sites so I try to save them money.  In a case like the above I would normally recommend a VPS in Canada or the US as long as privacy is not a primary concern.  If data security and privacy is of the utmost concern I usually recommend Hong Kong, China or Russia depending on the type of the business and if it has fierce competitors in the region it will be hosting.

Depending on what they are after and what they need,when I recommend compevo here’s where I’ve usually sent them:

compevo.cn for VPS in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Dedicated Servers in China

compevo.com for VPS in Hong Kong near Mainland China

compevo.com Dedicated Servers on Linux and Windows in the USA with premium bandwidth

 

Windows VPS Server 2008/2012 VPS (Virtual Private Server) are too RAM intensive

I’ll let the image for this post do the talking.  It is a freshly installed Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter VPS that I quickly provisioned in my test lab (for testing :)).  The only thing installed was ClamAV/ClamWIN and Firefox was open with a single tab.

However the memory usage itself was coming from something less obvious.  This server boots up and initially uses “697MB” of RAM (quite hefty in my opinion at least compared to the lightweight world of Linux).  From that point it only goes downhill in terms of memory usage.

The memory usage ballooned quickly to nearly 1.2GB and was steadily climbing all because of Windows Update doing updates.

This is staggering because many VPS Plans and providers will allow you to run Windows 2008 Server on as little as 512MB of RAM and as we can see below 1GB of RAM isn’t even enough.  In fact it could be argued that the real minimum is probably at least 2GB for basic usage (which I define here is just running Windows Update!).

Windows poses unique challenges for virtualization environments and hosts because even a single Windows VPS will start swapping easily with less than 2GB of RAM.  The problem with swapping of course is high and constant disk IO/bandwidth being consumed by a single VPS.

As shown in the pic above it doesn’t take much to get into high RAM usage territory and is also likely why some feel Windows does not run well in a virtual environment.  In my experience it runs lightning fast and at bare-metal speed but it won’t seem that way if someone tries running it with less than 2GB of RAM.

OpenBSD Install Howto Guided Experience

Download the OpenBSD 5.8 x64 install .iso from compevo mirror

Just a note that on KVM OpenBSD runs very slow in terms of disk access for some reason (it takes forever to even format the partitions).

Any BSD is in my opinion one of the most reliable operating system period and one of the most secure, and OpenBSD is no exception.

It does not have a fancy installer but is dead, simple and minimalist, it’s about efficiency, security and stability first.

Boot the OpenBSD ISO

OpenBSD-Install-1

Press I for install or A for auto install

I recommend I because the install fails straight away if no DHCP lease is detected (very common in many remote environments or datacenters of course).

OpenBSD-Install-2

So make sure you press I for normal install

Choose your hostname

OpenBSD-Install-3

Configure more options

OpenBSD-Install-4

Partition Layout

OpenBSD-Install-5

OpenBSD-Install-6

 

OpenBSD-Install-7

 

OpenBSD-Install-9

OpenBSD-Install-10

Will the PC and Server Based computing become obsolete?

There has been much debate over the years and it’s easy to see there is a lot of momentum and gravitation towards smart phones and tablets because they are convenient and are capable of many things a PC is.

The stats show the following trends in my opinion: http://www.statista.com/statistics/272595/global-shipments-forecast-for-tablets-laptops-and-desktop-pcs/

The laptop market peaked in 2011 at 209 million units and is projected to be 170.4 million in 2019.

The laptop PC market peaked on or before 2010 at 201 million units and is projected to be 170.4million in 2019.

Tablets have had amazing growth from 19 million units in 2010 to 269.4 million projected in 2019 with a peak of 407million projected in 2017.

The numbers of PCs and Desktops show some variation but are not an immediate indication that people will stop buying them.  Certainly the tablet market has probably eaten into some of the laptop market.  If anything the largest drop or decline is being forecast for the tablet market.  I think part of the reason sales are slowing in the PC market is not because people are not using them, but quite honestly even old computers are capable of doing most tasks people want them to so there may be no need to upgrade.

With that said, I believe most professionals will still prefer a PC for many uses.  Personally speaking I can get a lot more done, more quickly with a PC.  I also feel PC’s are more secure than smart phones because with the phones, we never know what is in the ROMs or what potential security flaws are waiting for us.

When using a Unix based open-source PC there is reasonable assurance to privacy and security compared to a tablet.

The server side is something that is not only, not declining but growing and ironically this demand is being fed by a lot  of smartphone users putting their data into Cloud based services.  Datacenter services have not fundamentally changed in a long time, there have been experiments in cooling and green options but whatever the improvements and format, server based computing is here to stay long into the future.

PC based computing does appear to be on the decline and may continue to decline as more and more new generations grow up almost exclusively on an iOS or Android device.  However I do not think it will ever disappear in the foreseeable future and the server side has a long way to go.

Rebooting a Linux Dedicated server with no hard drives from the shell

I just thought I would finally test this so I simulated a complete RAID array failure by pulling all of the drives at once.

This results in an input/output error when trying to do anything so the question is can you still reboot in this situation?

[root@testserver /]# reboot
-bash: /sbin/reboot: Input/output error
[root@testserver /]# shutdown -rn now
-bash: /sbin/shutdown: Input/output error
[root@testserver /]# shutdown
-bash: /sbin/shutdown: Input/output error
[root@testserver /]# uptime
13:47:10 up 41 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Reboot by sending commands directly to /proc

[root@testserver /]# echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
[root@testserver /]# echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

And sure enough the server rebooted, it could be handy if someone has a remote server without remote hands or remote-reboot (in this case we have both on-site so there was no risk and this was a test server).

What dmesg looks like when the drives are removed and arrays degraded:
[  559.302943] ata3: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x1810000 action 0xe frozen
[  559.302988] ata3: SError: { PHYRdyChg LinkSeq TrStaTrns }
[  559.303048] ata3: hard resetting link
[  559.303054] ata3: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  560.024048] ata3: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  565.024048] ata3: hard resetting link
[  565.024054] ata3: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  565.327053] ata3: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  565.327064] ata3: limiting SATA link speed to 1.5 Gbps
[  570.327045] ata3: hard resetting link
[  570.327050] ata3: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  570.630048] ata3: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  570.630059] ata3.00: disabled
[  570.630078] ata3: EH complete
[  570.630087] sd 2:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
[  570.630104] ata3.00: detaching (SCSI 2:0:0:0)
[  570.630125] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] killing request
[  570.630153] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  570.630159] md/raid10:md2: Disk failure on sda2, disabling device.
[  570.630162] md/raid10:md2: Operation continuing on 1 devices.
[  570.630257] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 58605128
[  570.630291] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  570.633517] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Synchronizing SCSI cache
[  570.633651] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda]  Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
[  570.633659] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Stopping disk
[  570.633680] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] START_STOP FAILED
[  570.633684] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda]  Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
[  570.655206] RAID10 conf printout:
[  570.655210]  — wd:1 rd:2
[  570.655214]  disk 0, wo:0, o:1, dev:sdb2
[  570.655217]  disk 1, wo:1, o:0, dev:sda2
[  570.659025] RAID10 conf printout:
[  570.659029]  — wd:1 rd:2
[  570.659032]  disk 0, wo:0, o:1, dev:sdb2
[  570.659313] md: md1 still in use.
[  570.738752] md: md2 still in use.
[  570.739106] md/raid1:md1: Disk failure on sda3, disabling device.
[  570.739109] md/raid1:md1: Operation continuing on 1 devices.
[  570.739380] md/raid10:md0: Disk failure on sda1, disabling device.
[  570.739382] md/raid10:md0: Operation continuing on 1 devices.
[  570.739412] md: unbind<sda2>
[  570.747449] md: export_rdev(sda2)
[  570.868144] RAID1 conf printout:
[  570.868148]  — wd:1 rd:2
[  570.868168]  disk 0, wo:0, o:1, dev:sdb3
[  570.868175]  disk 1, wo:1, o:0, dev:sda3
[  570.873025] RAID1 conf printout:
[  570.873029]  — wd:1 rd:2
[  570.873032]  disk 0, wo:0, o:1, dev:sdb3
[  570.999292] md: unbind<sda3>
[  571.007119] md: export_rdev(sda3)
[  573.633246] ata4: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x1810000 action 0xe frozen
[  573.633292] ata4: SError: { PHYRdyChg LinkSeq TrStaTrns }
[  573.633331] ata4: hard resetting link
[  573.633335] ata4: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  574.354052] ata4: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  579.354032] ata4: hard resetting link
[  579.354037] ata4: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  579.657041] ata4: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  579.657052] ata4: limiting SATA link speed to 1.5 Gbps
[  584.657032] ata4: hard resetting link
[  584.657038] ata4: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
[  584.960047] ata4: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[  584.960058] ata4.00: disabled
[  584.960076] ata4: EH complete
[  584.960086] sd 3:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
[  584.960094] ata4.00: detaching (SCSI 3:0:0:0)
[  584.960124] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] killing request
[  584.960148] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  584.960220] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 58605120
[  584.960265] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  584.960322] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 58605128
[  584.960357] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  584.960393] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 58605128
[  584.960428] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  584.962495] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] Synchronizing SCSI cache
[  584.962765] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb]  Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
[  584.962772] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] Stopping disk
[  584.962786] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 524292
[  584.962805] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] START_STOP FAILED
[  584.962810] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb]  Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
[  584.962824] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.962841] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 58605128
[  584.962877] md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
[  584.962921] md: md1 still in use.
[  584.962931] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 524293
[  584.963007] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963020] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1048646
[  584.963095] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963104] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1048647
[  584.963179] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963188] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1048648
[  584.963274] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963280] md: md2 still in use.
[  584.963299] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1048694
[  584.963381] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963391] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1056863
[  584.963468] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963478] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 1056864
[  584.963553] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963562] Buffer I/O error on device md2, logical block 6299690
[  584.963635] lost page write due to I/O error on md2
[  584.963800] Aborting journal on device md2-8.
[  584.963836] EXT4-fs error (device md2) in ext4_delete_inode: Readonly filesystem
[  584.963868] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 987 pages, ino 28972747; err -30
[  584.963877] md: super_written gets error=-19, uptodate=0
[  584.963883]
[  584.963888] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 7896 pages, ino 28972690; err -30
[  584.963893]
[  584.963953] EXT4-fs warning (device md2): ext4_end_bio: I/O error writing to inode 28972747 (size 36864 starting block 689771)
[  584.964303] JBD2: I/O error detected when updating journal superblock for md2-8.
[  584.964309] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_journal_start_sb: Detected aborted journal
[  584.964316] EXT4-fs (md2): Remounting filesystem read-only
[  584.972785] md0: detected capacity change from 30005002240 to 0
[  584.972794] md: md0 stopped.
[  584.972810] md: unbind<sdb1>
[  584.979298] md: export_rdev(sdb1)
[  584.979344] md: unbind<sda1>
[  584.987280] md: export_rdev(sda1)
[  585.165084] md: super_written gets error=-19, uptodate=0
[  585.165102] md: super_written gets error=-19, uptodate=0
[  589.309845] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  589.963162] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 263495; err -30
[  589.963314]
[  599.310238] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  604.963046] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 262464; err -30
[  604.963153]
[  609.310592] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  614.963071] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 28186168; err -30
[  614.963176]
[  614.963181] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28186171; err -30
[  614.963298]
[  614.963301] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28972747; err -30
[  614.963405]
[  614.963408] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28972690; err -30
[  614.963507]
[  619.310906] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  619.963133] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 263495; err -30
[  619.963244]
[  629.311267] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  634.963038] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 262464; err -30
[  634.963144]
[  639.311561] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  644.963069] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 28186168; err -30
[  644.963172]
[  644.963176] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28186171; err -30
[  644.963288]
[  644.963291] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28972747; err -30
[  644.963395]
[  644.963397] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 8192 pages, ino 28972690; err -30
[  644.963499]
[  649.311846] EXT4-fs error (device md2): ext4_find_entry: reading directory #262476 offset 0
[  649.963202] EXT4-fs (md2): ext4_da_writepages: jbd2_start: 1024 pages, ino 263495; err -30
[  649.963319]
[  653.202216] ata3: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x50000 action 0xe frozen
[  653.202317] ata3: SError: { PHYRdyChg CommWake }
[  653.202379] ata3: hard resetting link

 

Green Computing with a Server Based Desktop Workstation

A lot of people whether friends or family wonder what kind of computer I have and usually say something along the lines of “Areeb must have a supercomputer as a PC”.  Most people are surprised when it couldn’t be further from the truth, and even more, I have no need for a more powerful computer.

A few months ago I decided to upgrade from a self-built AMD Phenom Quad Core CPU with 8GB of RAM and RAID 1 x 1TB hard drives, not because I needed the CPU power, but because I wanted more RAM and grew tired of maintaining so many physical computers in my personal space.

Prior to this I used to have a separate server for all of my testing, VPS and another for filebackups and media.  But it really was quite the waste to use so much extra power when those other systems sat mainly idle.

My solution was to make a hybrid, Desktop workstation on my own (I always prefer to build my own systems).  I must admit I didn’t have an exact plan and it was more of a work in progress when I first started.

My Home Made Workstation

I have used servers based on the AMD Opteron 2400 series and loved them because of their low wattage and high cores.  Almost any of them would give me more power than I had before (which I didn’t need).

I settled on a brand new Coolermaster Case which supported dual power supplies, and more importantly EATX server motherboards.

AMD Opteron Tyan/HP Server Based Motherboard:

I’ve always been a fan of AMD so I couldn’t resist when I came across this model.

HP XW9400 but is really a rebranded Tyan S2915E (I love Tyan products because I find they are incredibly stable and long-lasting, no Asus Desktop product can compare in my opinion).

What’s to love about the Tyan S2915E/XW9400 Motherboard?

 

AreebXW9400build

  • Dual CPU Sockets (I installed dual 6-core AMD 2419EE to keep the power low, at just 45W each for a total of 12 cores)
  • 8 RAM sockets (4 per CPU with support for up to 64GB DDR2 ECC RAM)
  • SAS/SATA Controller (LSI 1068E) with 8 ports
  • SATA Controller (MCP55) with 6 ports.
  • Dual NVIDIA 1gbit NICs
  • Dual PCI-E x16 Graphics Slots
  • PCI-X (2) PCI-X 64-bit 133/100MHz slots
    PCI (1) PCI 32-bit slot
  • Onboard Audio

Can be flashed with Tyan firmware and in case of a bad flash it has a standard ROM chip that can be replaced and/or flashed even from Linux (using Flashrom).

The Build

Since I bought a brand new HP XW9400 motherboard there were some challenges.  First of all it came with standoffs meant for the HP XW9400 case but are completely useless for a standard EATX case.  To make it worse they are TORX screws with a security bit in the middle.  Fortunately it is fairly easy to break the security bits off using a flat head screw driver.

Power Supply is not a standard ATX, I bought one used from the XW8400 (interestingly enough the ones branded as XW9400 are missing the memory power connector so will not work).

Compatible power supply: Delta DPS-825AB B 800W Power Supply 405351-003

What I like about this power supply is that it is incredibly quiet.

Non-compatbile power supply: Delta DPS1050CB 1050W HP P/N 440860-001 (SPARE) 442038-001

CPU Fans & Heatsink are Proprietary (even the power connectors are)

You have to buy the correct HP part# for these but it is worth the money, after 117 days of uptime both heatsinks are luke warm to the touch (no need for liquid cooling).

CPUs

2 x AMD Opteron 2419EE (45 Watts and 6-cores each clocked at 1.8ghz)

RAM
8 x 4GB PC2-5300P ECC Registered RAM Qimonda

It is way too much power for me

As you can see even with a load of nearly 3.0 most cores sit idle and at 800mhz to conserve energy and lower heat, showing that I have way more CPU power and cores than I really need.

cat /proc/cpuinfo|grep MHz

cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1200.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1000.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000

The Green Computing Effect

Because of this build I was able to retire 2 servers and combine them into one.  It is an ideal setup having so many SATA ports that I am able to have separate RAID arrays for different functions so IO does not become a factor.

I have a RAID10 array for my main OS and /home, a second array for media and a third for Virtual Servers.

I’ve saved a lot of money, power and also don’t have the hassle of maintaining more systems than I need, all in a rock solid build with more CPU power than I’ll need.

People are always surprised when I tell them what I am using and usually they have spent a lot more on a computer they don’t need and have a CPU that uses far more power (eg. 150+W CPU).

This is a great way to go green, save power and also consolidate unnecessary systems and make life easier so it’s been a win-win.

WIPO UDRP Domain Dispute Domain Seizure Experience

When providing hosting and domain registration services, there are known and various risks including fraud, DOS attacks etc…

Unfortunately in this case, it was customer based fraud and this is something almost impossible to predict or stop.  A customer from Brazil purchased a domain and hosting from us and then reported the transaction as unauthorized.  As many businesses will know, even rock solid proof that the purchase was authorized is often a futile attempt in fighting fraudulent credit card chargebacks.

After the chargeback we naturally canceled their hosting and moved the domain back into our name and it was parked as any standard domain to prevent them from making use of it.

How I learned about UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) & WIPO First Hand

UDRP is a sort of internet domain lawsuit challenging the rights of the current owner under the pretext that it contains trademarked words and/or is misleading and confusing over whatever brand or rights they claim to hold.  It can cost as little as $1000 USD to file a UDRP complaint and if successful the domain will be transferred to the complainant (assuming you do not file a lawsuit to fight it).  UDRP is something any TLD (Top Level Domain) under ICANN that you agree to accepting when registering any ICANN administered TLD (so virtually almost all TLDs).

According to Bradesco Bank and counsel from Brazil, the domain registered by our customer “ativacoestabelabradesco.com” allegedly contained one of their trademarked names in Portugese.  To us the domain was gibberish and a random string of characters that we didn’t recognize, and we had never heard of the name, likeness or bank in Brazil since none of us even speak Portugese or have ever visited Brazil.  They e-mailed our administrative contact with a notice of the UDRP filed with WIPO.

What is WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)?

It is a third party organization established through ICANN for UDRP disputes.  They act as a quasi-judicial court for domain name disputes and are supposed to be impartial, however a Google search reveals many outrageous complaints about “rogue” adjudicators or judges.  In essence and practice the adjudicators do not have to follow precedent cases or even apply all the rules as I believe my experience shows, there is a wide range of discretion for the adjudicator.

What does it take to win a UDRP Dispute?

Here is what WIPO says as of 2016-02-13 (note our dispute was back in 2013): https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy-2012-02-25-en#4

By definition the following tests must be met:

4. Mandatory Administrative Proceeding.

This Paragraph sets forth the type of disputes for which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding. These proceedings will be conducted before one of the administrative-dispute-resolution service providers listed at www.icann.org/en/dndr/udrp/approved-providers.htm (each, a “Provider”).

a. Applicable Disputes. You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a “complainant”) asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that

(i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

c. How to Demonstrate Your Rights to and Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name in Responding to a Complaint. When you receive a complaint, you should refer to Paragraph 5 of the Rules of Procedure in determining how your response should be prepared. Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Business Decision to Fight the FBI/Court Order

Mr. Cook has clearly made a strategic decision to be one of the first and few tech companies to challenge a court order of this magnitude, and if anyone can do it, it would be Apple.

Now to be clear there is a very serious matter in this case, and it is a tricky rope for investigators and business to get it right.  A crime has been committed and the authorities have presumably presented credible evidence and there is a court order, however the order is essentially unlimited access to all Apple devices.  The business (Apple) has two choices, co-operate or deal with the consequences of not doing so, in Apple’s case there is little financial consequence to not co-operate.  The opposite case could be made that Apple recognizes that if the public finds out that they complied that their encryption is as good as useless, their analysts probably put a price tag on the customer backlash and likely predicted a huge drop in AAPL shares.  Aside from the business case, it looks like now that the issue of privacy has come knocking on his doorstep, he has no choice but to take a bold and very public stand.

This is not a typical court order but is in effect a blanket and mass surveillance project.  Apple is basically being asked to make an app and backdoor to bypass their encryption, or at least disable the 10-try mechanism so they can try traditional bruteforce password methods.  Tim Cook stated very clearly that the ramifications would go far beyond this one case and validated his concerns by mentioning there would be little control over oversight over such a mechanism if Apple complied, which could mean the backdoor could be abused without due cause, as has been the case in the past with other surveillance.

One wonders if Apple has pondered its next move because it is unlikely that Apple can indefinitely delay or win the fight in the end.  They are legally under US jurisdiction and must win their challenge or comply.  Failing that Apple’s only option would be to move overseas/off-shore and this would be a huge blow for the US economy, tech sector and other companies may follow suit, such as McAfee’s weighing in on the issue and offer to crack the iPhone.

My philosophy has always been the US is a great place to do business with huge potential, but I always advise people to understand that any traffic transiting the US and especially data stored there is subject to US laws and regulations.

It will be interesting to watch where this goes, I have a feeling that most are cheering for Apple and Tim Cook at the moment and it is really no wonder with what is at stake.