Transferring a domain can be like pulling teeth

It’s been awhile, but I had to break my blog silence to rant talk about my experience with Hostway. I registered my first domains ( and via Hostway and since I’ve been with Dreamhost for over 7 months, I decided on transferring registrars i.e. placing my domains in the care of Dreamhost. This would make sense because I got tired of essentially paying $12.95 per domain to Hostway for domain name renewals ($7.95) and Whois Protector Lite ($4.95). At Dreamhost, they automatically provide Whois protection at no cost and a fee of $9.99 for renewing the domain name.

Well, for someone who’s never done this before, Dreamhost has a short & sweet list of to-dos in order for your domain name transfer to successfully happen. Here are the brief rules:

1) Do not renew your domain name with the old registrar. This will throw a major wrench in the works as I learnt the hard way. Why? Because transfers of domain names are prohibited for 60 days after a domain name is registered or renewed.

2) Remove any Whois protection that prevents your real name and contact information from being viewed. Why? The new registrar needs to get in touch with you and they do that by reading information in Whois.

3) Oh and if you have a bogus email address in the Whois information, take this time to update that with a real email address. Again, the new registrar sends emails to the Admin or Tech contact listed on the Whois info page. If this is incorrect, you won’t receive that email telling you to click a certain link as proof that the domain name transfer was initiated by you. 🙂

4) If your domain is locked to prevent accidental transfers, unlock the domain. My old registrar had this feature and I had it enabled on my accounts.

5) Auth codes are de rigueur now and make sure you have the auth codes to the domains you need transferred. If this is not an available option on your old registrar’s website, call them to get this code.

6) It is much less stressful to do 1 – 5 at once so that you don’t repeat the transfer process indefinitely versus doing 1 each time and realizing that I had to do the next step. In other words, Read the documents or RTFM.


Editing video and the things they don’t tell you

In my blogging life, I’ve had the good fortune of having access to tools such as TechSmith’s Snagit and Camtasia Studio. The video output from these two utilities can be manageable i.e. low file sizes depending on video length and the output is compressed & ready for uploading to file sharing site like Youtube, Blip.TV, Vimeo, etc. However, you will have scenarios where you have no control over the initial video generated i.e. files straight from the video camera, etc. These files are usually several hundred megabytes and unfit for Youtube/Blip.TV as they are.

Thankfully, there are tools (free and paid) are available to perform these tasks of compressing the raw video date. Some of these tools include: (Quicktime 7 Pro, Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, Microsoft Expression 2 Encoder, Handbrake, etc). I have actually used all 4 programs listed for a variety of tasks mostly compression (using MS Expression 2 Encoder to compress large .wmv files generated from screen captures), conversion (Quicktime 7 Pro, Windows Media 9 Encoder and Handbrake). They work great out-of-the-box, but I had some trouble dealing with a .mpg video file that 2 popular tools were unable to assist me with.

Last week, I recorded some videos using Sony’s HD HandyCam and the file sizes ranged from 300MBs to 900MBs in size. At first, I did not think I would run into any problems because the file format was mpg. I was dead wrong. Right off the bat, Microsoft Expression 2 Encoder and Quicktime 7 Pro did not help me because they could not open/convert mpg files. I guess I should have read the manual because Quicktime Pro does have the capability, but needs a separate add-on (MPEG-2 Playback Component) to be purchased (for $19.99).

Microsoft Expression Encoder failed with error code 0x80131537 and was generally a little unhelpful in deciphering if it just couldn’t open mpg files or if my file was corrupt (which it wasn’t). I’m not even going to pretend that I’m knowledgeable about the powerful abilities of Microsoft Expression Encoder 2, but this article by Ben Waggoner did justice to the power of this tool. (Back to my story), I knew I was in trouble, but I didn’t despair yet. I turned to Handbrake which I’d used to handle smaller files. I started the conversion and let it run. I came back after ~ 1 hr and found that my laptop had the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD). Wow. This simple task of compressing my large video files was rapidly turning into a huge pain in the butt.

Then, I tried Windows Media Encoder 9 Series. It did a good job of converting the files to the format(s) I’d specified, but little to no compression was present. However, this was most likely due to my compression options which I have yet to nail down. Below are some screenshots of the process to encode a file using Windows Media Encoder 9 Series:

  1. This page allows you to select your source file and designate a destination folder (and name) for your output file.
  2. The supported file types (for the source file section) are: asf, avi, bmp, jpg, mpg, wmv, mp3, wav, wma
  3. The supported file types (for the output file section) are: wma  and wmv.
  4. You are asked the question of how your content needs to be distributed because “using a distribution method that is different from what you specify may negatively affect playback quality.”

Choosing your input source and output destination
Choosing your method of Distribution

Choosing Encoding Options
The first option that is automatically selected when choosing to convert a file in Windows Media Encoder 9 Series is for high definition. This could have been because my source file was a high-definition file in mpg format.

As you will see also, the output for this first set of encoding options is 1280 x 720. That is  huge and on my first try, my encoded file ended up being the same size (relatively speaking) as the original file. While high quality is a good thing, clearly the size of the generated file is going to be a problem and may make watching the streaming video a futile (or exasperating) experience. Thankfully, there are other options when you click the black arrow pointing downwards (under Video) as shown in the picture below:

More Encoding Options

For my purposes (hat tip to the IT guy at my place of work), I selected “DVD quality video (CBR)” and the obvious ‘menu’ changes are changes to the bit rate and the output size. See below:

DVD Quality

Another option that may be of interest is the VHS option, but be aware that the video quality drastically goes down. 🙂 And that’s that for now. I’ll leave you with the last screenshot of the changes.


Just in case you selected wrong encoding options, there is an option to start encoding your file immediately or not. Obviously, you should opt NOT to start encoding your file whereupon you will be taken to Windows Media Encoder 9 interface which gives even more encoding options. Enjoy!!