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Panix domain name hijacked

January 15, 2005 @ 10:24pm

When I first came back to NYC after college I had a job working as a night secretary and tech support guy. Both of those roles were a bit of a stretch. I was a lousy secretary and horrible at using Word, but I would be a stellar one today. I knew a bunch about Macs and even had a repair certificate after working at an Apple dealer in Texas, but I really had a lot to learn about computers.

I learned Appletalk and Ethernet networking, network wiring, email administration and a ton about software, especially Word and Excel working with analysts who put together groups of investors to buy and sell airplanes.

The email administration was particularly cool since this was 1991 and we had a ring of Macintosh email servers relaying email between Hong Kong, London, Tokyo and New York over high-speed modems (9600 baud!). The whole system was set up by Alexis Rosen.

Alexis Rosen ran Panix, which is short for "public access Unix" and is the oldest commercial Internet provider in New York, providing access since 1989. He was this nutty, expensive (but not at all looking back) consultant and it would be safe to say that he hated me. If he didn't, he should have. They would use me for everything they could, since I was cheaper and always in the office and if I busted something or there was anything I couldn't figure out, they called Alexis.

Eventually, I was up to speed enough for everything the company needed and Alexis didn't come around anymore, but I kept track of his ISP's progress. Panix was never swallowed up in a dot com merger and they didn't go down in flames in the dot com crash. They were stable. They catered to a hardcore crowd who wanted shell access and they are run by an Internet guru.

So I was surprised to hear today that is no longer taking people to Panix. It is now owned by an Australian company, the DNS is run out of the UK and email ends up in Canada.

Panix didn't approve this transfer. Their name was hijacked. Panix is diverting everything to their domain, but there are a lot of services that are hard coded to and it's a huge mess.

Hopefully they can get this resolved. I saw a copy of the note Alexis sent to Network Solutions to try and get the situation cleared up. He got a response that basically said he was out of luck. This is like Bill Gates being put on hold by Microsoft when he's looking for a little tech help with Windows XP.

If they get this name thing resolved and start any kind of domain name transfer reform movement, I'll sign up. It's the right thing to do and maybe Alexis will hate me less.

This is insane. How much software would stop working if this happened to or How many businesses would lose money if it was a few days of redirected or Maybe they're next.

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