back to article Things that make you go .hm... Has a piece of the internet just sunk into the ocean? It appears so

You may not have heard of the Heard and McDonald Islands – it's one of the most remote places on the planet just north of Antarctica – but thanks to one of the quirks of the internet you are able to own a piece of it. Or at least you were. Thanks to being recognized as its own territory, the islands have an international two- …

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  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. IceC0ld

    And this years Hide n Seek champion IS .... :o(

    reads like the guy was a bit of a loner, and had no real contact with anyone in his last few years :o(

    sad to think he may actually have passed away, and its only now that anyone is realising due to this ................

    T - otally

    I - nvalidated

    T - his

    S - tates

    U - sual

    P - resence

    1. Martin Summers

      Re: And this years Hide n Seek champion IS .... :o(

      He's probably run off with that guy from the Crypto currency exchange.

      Fact is, some time the bills got to be paid for the servers and if it isn't they're going to disappear too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And this years Hide n Seek champion IS .... :o(

        "Fact is, some time the bills got to be paid for the servers and if it isn't they're going to disappear too."

        If only he'd setup advertising on the site - there's reports of sites continuing for years after becoming abandonware based on direct debits funded by ad revenue.

  4. Rich 10

    sounds like a money minting operation; why would he intentionally close down a vanity domain that people are willing to remain a part of and all he needs is some basic server hardware that gets cheaper to update and run every year. but then again it is summer down there, probably popped off to the beach, partied a bit too much with the penguins, and is now only coming out of his herring vodka haze.

  5. Bitsminer Silver badge

    "just north of Antarctica"

    It's an old joke. A bear walks by, and everywhere he looks is "south". Where is the bear?

    Answer: The bear is at the north pole.

    So, just north of Antarctica, in the direction of......where? Everywhere is north of .aq!

    1. DaLo

      Re: "just north of Antarctica"

      "It's an old joke. A bear walks by, and everywhere he looks is "south". Where is the bear?"

      Joke? ... or riddle?

    2. MJB7

      Re: "just north of Antarctica"

      The emphasis is on the just. In other words, not the Antarctic continent, but not far from it either.

    3. Alfie Noakes

      Re: "just north of Antarctica"

      I thought that the question was "What colour is the bear?"?


      The original riddle had an answer of "white", but i believe that a polar bear has black skin, but transparent (hollow?) fur that appears white due reflected light!


      1. DaLo

        Re: "just north of Antarctica"

        Surely most things are a certain colour due to 'reflected light'?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "just north of Antarctica"

          Surely most things are a certain colour due to 'reflected light'?

          Yes, or emitted light. In some cases color is influenced by various perceptual quirks, and perceived color is not just a simple function of visible-light wavelength and amplitude,1 but to a first approximation, reflected and emitted light are color.

          There's also a philosophical question of whether it makes sense to qualify the description of an object's color (as a sensory attribute) with "appears". Is the color of an object anything other than an appearance? We can say, for example, "we have measured the light reflected from this object given a sufficiently strong diffuse white light source containing all frequencies in the visible spectrum, and that reflected light contains the following frequencies blah blah blah", but that's clearly not what's meant by "color" in the common-language sense.

          When people say "polar bears are white", they mean precisely "when I look at a polar bear, the overwhelming color quale I experience is of white" - nothing more or less (though they're unlikely to phrase it that way, unless they're, y'know, me). They don't give a crap (for the purposes of evaluating the bear's color) whether polar bear skin is black or white or stripped pink and orange, or how much the hairs of its fur reflect, transmit, or absorb and emit light.

          1Perceived color is highly influence by the relative sensitivity of the cones to different frequencies, which is why the sky looks blue (when it doesn't look black, or grey, etc) rather than violet. And it's significantly influenced by color juxtapositions, both spacial and temporal. And, of course, color perception and sensitivity vary widely among the population; there's a sex-linked characteristic which gives a significant population of women four types of hue stimuli instead of the normal three, while on the other end there's a considerable number of people with limited color vision.

  6. Sampler

    Obligatory XKCD

    1. Baldrickk

      Re: Obligatory XKCD

      He does somehow manage to get them in just in time, doesn't he?

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Obligatory XKCD

        Apparently a collection of tall stories that might appeal to Reg readers is about to be published - I'll get one just to support some very droll cartoons.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Visiting is like taking a step back in time when webpages were hand-coded HTML and images were frowned upon

    No ads, no flashy animations, no trakers, no 'like' buttons, no javascript... it's so last century!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It must load like a greased weasel, and be soooo sooothing to visit.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "It must load like a greased weasel, and be soooo sooothing to visit.""

        It does and it is. Although I note the complaints process can only be entered into by writing out your complaint and faxing it. Yes, it really is still the 90's down there!!

    2. Andre Carneiro

      Did you notice how quickly it loaded and how straightforward it was to access the relevant information?

      I do miss those days...

    3. horse of a different color

      It even uses tables for layout. That's some seriously old school HTML.

    4. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      @Potemkine, Ian, Andre

      Indeed, I miss those days, too. That probably means that we are old farts, born and raised in a different millenium. Or, nowadays they simply lost their minds and haven't got a feckin' clue about proper UIs.


      1. jimbo60

        I vote for "haven't got a feckin' clue about proper UIs". Even very large public companies that practically wrote the book on good UI design no longer have a feckin' clue.

    5. bob, mon!

      Now waitaminnit

      "... like taking a step back in time when webpages were hand-coded HTML and images were frowned upon"

      That's how I maintain my website!

      *That's not how you maintain your personal webpage!*

      Well, I've been meaning to get around to it....

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ironically, I wish it had a 'like' button.

      How refreshing.

  8. jphb

    Not so isolated

    The article is wrong in stating that the Heard and Macdonald Islands are the most isiolated place in the world. That honour belongs to Bouvet Island, a Norwegian (yes!) dependency roughly half way between South Africa and Antarctica. It shares the honour of a dormant DNS domain (.bv). I remember lecturing a class of computer science students on the SMTP protocol and mentioning casually the existence of unused domains. When I got back to the office, via the staff bar, there was an email for me from !

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Not so isolated

      Unless they amended it in the meantime, doesn't it say "one of the most isolated"? It does for me. And that's certainly correct!

  9. dshan

    A Domain of Fire and Ice

    A recent story about the place that may be of interest:

    1. Graham 2

      Re: A Domain of Fire and Ice

      What a great article, a really interesting place.

    2. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: A Domain of Fire and Ice

      Unfortunately that's what the UK will look like after Brexit :(

  10. GreggS

    .UK or .GB??

    I know .UK became more popular but isn't .GB actually the TLD for the UK?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: .UK or .GB??

      Yes, but since it's the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, .GB would exclude Northern Ireland, and they're already feeling a bit bullied right now (and in the past). So most people seem to prefer the more inclusive .UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: .UK or .GB??

        How "Team GB" became the name for the UK Olympics team without causing more 'trouble', I'll never know. Was Arlene in a happy space at the time?

        1. 142

          Re: .UK or .GB??

          Oh, they complained alright, but couldn't propose a solution.

          Given the unusual collection of territories competing in the team, there's no accurate name for the organisation without it being about 40 characters long...

        2. BebopWeBop

          Re: .UK or .GB??

          Arlene's happy place involves having a hard knee into someone's balls - preferably a catholic, but I suspect in extremis anyone will do.

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: .UK or .GB??

          Was Arlene in a happy space at the time?

          The name was chosen several years before she was first elected, so maybe so.

          It's not just in NI that it can cause offence, it also excludes the Crown Dependencies like the IoM & the CI, and other overseas territories that are British but not in GB (or even in the UK for that matter).

          But really, given the recent Olympic medal successes, who cares what it's called? It has no bearing on the abilities of the athletes.

      2. daldred

        Re: .UK or .GB?? least until the UK no longer contains Northern Ireland. With things going the way they are, we might need that .gb within a few years.

        Though actually be then we'll probably be arguing over what to use for England and Wales, since the Scots are quite likely to have gone too.

    2. aks

      Re: .UK or .GB??

      Vehicle registration plates were first used back in 1903

      GB = Great Britain

      UK = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

      GB and IRL for Ireland were the original designations.

      Expanding GB to cover Northern Ireland has been argued over since Irish independence. It's still a sensitive topic.

      Car racing was originally banned in GB but permitted in IRL. The first car races were therefore held in Ireland, which is why British racing cars were green.

      1. nil0

        Re: .UK or .GB??

        And further, and the root of much confusion:

        GB = Great Britain

        UK = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

        GB = country code for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: .UK or .GB??

          And if you're an FX trader, sterling (AKA LSD) has the code GBP which is pronounced "Cable" and the denominator is ALWAYS gbp no matter which direction you're going -- the only currency in the world for which this is the case.

    3. MJB7

      Re: .UK or .GB??

      GB is the ISO two letter code, but the .uk TLD had been assigned (and was in use) before the Internet standardized on ISO two letter codes. (UK is reserved in ISO_3166-1 on the request of the United Kingdom.)


      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: .UK or .GB??

        My understanding was the Ukraine had a claim on ".UK" which is why the UK's ISO3166 code is, somewhat inaccurately, GB

        Presumably this extends to the kind of organisation that would look to ISO3166 for reference, like the Olympics.

    4. Peter Galbavy

      Re: .UK or .GB??

      .gb was delegated to the bloke - name escapes me, sorry - who was involved with JANET and ISO protocol stuff at UCL and he was too much of an academic to understand why others might want to register domains who were not academics involved in JANET, so (again, as I recall) Jon Postel unilaterally created and delegated .uk to those who actually wanted to do stuff.

      No UK / GB "real" politics involved. just academic ones.

      I may on the other hand just be completely misremembering.

  11. eldakka

  12. imanidiot Silver badge

    El Reg interview time?

    Might be interesting to have a chat and a pint with this man after this has blown over. Seems like an interesting story. How did he get to be running .hm. And why? How much time does he spend on it. What's the hardware involved. Does he have provisions taken to make sure .hm can be transferred to someone else in case of his untimely demise? Does it impress the ladies if you say you run one of the worlds Top Level Domain registrars? Inquiring minds need to know!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: El Reg interview time?

      It sounds like the registry is completely automatic, needing no maintenance and just sends him a cheque every few months ... and it shut down because a bill didn't get paid or some certificate expired etc etc. It would be a good story for El Reg.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: El Reg interview time?

      Certainly eligible for "Who, Hm".

  13. Gti Jazz Blue

    Bye Bye

    I have a feeling that after this 'slight issue' that his clients will be looking for business continuity plans or looking to migrate away. Not ideal to lose touch with your registry provider when registrations are due for renewal

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Good to hear that it's all turned out OK but it would be nice to think IANA would be prompted to look at succession planning.

    1. Mike 16

      Succession Planning

      Like that going on currently in the U.S. state of Virginia (named, IIRC, for a certain queen who apparently lacked any such planning)? At the moment, it is likely that the next governor will have, effectively, been drawn by lot, as the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General are all facing calls for their resignation, and the next in line (Speaker of the house) owes his post to a 1-vote majority, which in term was provided by a tie for one house seat, which was then decided by drawing lots (or flipping a coin, or some such).

      Comparison and contrast to some watery tart handing out swords.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Succession Planning

        "Comparison and contrast to some watery tart handing out swords."

        Upvoted for the Monty Python reference.

  15. Tom Paine


    we've spoke to four current or former registry managers

    "Tragic"? Whatever do you mean?!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He is getting free marketing... In a time there is a insane number of TLDs to pick from...

  17. OzDave

    And now it is the SSL standard that is deprecated

    Payments my well be working again, but unfortunately, the web site uses an old version of SSL. Edge and Chrome do not support it at all. I have an old version of Firefox that still does, but that is planned for deprecation too. As of 14 Feb 2023 Microsoft update, you can no longer use IE. (Wish I'd realised this before I applied the update).

    So, pretty soon, renewals are going to be all but impossible. I wonder if the lack of money coming in will motivate him?

    I sent an email about it weeks ago, but now response as yet. I tried calling the contact number, but it is disconnected.

    I have taken the pre-emptive move of reducing my dependence on this domain. All this does not bode well for long term viability.

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