For many, Tooker Gomberg will be remembered as the environmental activist with the odd name who took on Mel Lastman in a no-hope campaign for the mayor of Toronto in November 2000. I will admit that this was the first time I heard of the man. This past Friday, however, a colleague picked up the phone and learned that Mr. Gomberg had died, and a shock passed through the office where I worked.
Mr. Gomberg, while seen by some as an eccentric activist, still managed to make himself into a respected member of the environmental movement though plain hard work. He got national media coverage for his campaign to unseat Mel Lastman, after all, not only because it was seen as a Quixotic quest, but because Mr. Gomberg refused to consider it so. He got out on the streets of Toronto, he organized rallies, he turned people’s heads. He boxed well above his weight, and he didn’t care how heavily the odds were stacked against him.
Mr. Gomberg maintained that level of energy throughout most of his life. He was elected to city council in Edmonton in 1992, and helped launch a municipal recycling program that’s seen as being among the best in the country. Outside the council chamber, he fought hard and loudly for the issues he cared passionately about, including burning his Canadian passport (in Europe) to protest the government’s lacklustre support of the Kyoto treaty.
Mr. Gomberg was a regular contributor to Alternatives Journal, the magazine to which I am now circulation manager. Though I never met the man, I can attest to the warmth and affection my co-workers had for him. It’s clear he was respected for his dedication and passion, by everybody in the environmentalist network.
Unfortunately, Tooker Gomberg struggled with depression through much of his life and, last Friday, it won. The fact that his death has also attracted headlines shows once again how much of a force he was in life. Canadians everywhere will miss his activist zeal, and the attention he brought to the issues he cared about.
Sitehouse No More!
On Monday around 10 a.m., my webhost successfully transferred the ownership and management of Sitehouse.net away from me and onto somebody who’d been trying to buy the domain since the middle of February. It’s the first domain name I’ve ever sold, and I’m excited.
It didn’t go nearly as smoothly as I’d hoped, however. As I was transferring my sites over to 1 and 1, I received an e-mail out of the blue from this man offering to buy the domain. We agreed to a price (not substantial by any measure, but fair and much appreciated) and I set about trying to transfer the domain over to his registrar. But we encountered a problem.
The problem, as it turns out, after several frustrated e-mails to 1 and 1’s long-suffering help desk, was a new ICANN regulation that basically prevented anyone who’d just bought their domain name, or who just moved their domain name to another registrar, to move that domain name to a new registrar for sixty days. This measure was imposed last December to stifle speculation and, more importantly, prevent people from swiping somebody’s domain and then immediately changing registrars multiple times to make it difficult to get the domain name back.
Whatever the case, my domain name buyer had to sign up for a 1 and 1 account and then take over the domain name that way (changes within registrars are not restricted). I must say that it was quite an ordeal.
I remember I purchased Sitehouse back in 2000, when I was really getting my feet wet with webhosting. At the time, I also purchased transit.toronto.on.ca for Transit Toronto and zpoems.net for Erin’s Zeugma workshop. Sitehouse was the name we gave to a lofty dream of running a business of creating and hosting small-scale websites for local businesses and charities. In the end, it became a repository for my circle of friends and immediate family.
Still, I was as proud of owning Sitehouse.net as I would my first home of bricks and mortar, if you can believe it. The domain name felt as though it cost as much — $100 CDN for two years use. Now that I run my sites on 1 and 1, domains can be bought for as little as $6 a year. Erin and I now have six domain names under our control.
All of Sitehouse’s pages can now be accessed at Clarksbury.com. I bought that domain as soon as I heard that somebody wanted to buy Sitehouse. My once lofty ambitions of creating and hosting web pages as a business are still around, and by choosing the name of Rosemary and Peter’s home town, I hope to suggest not only a small and tightly-knit web community, but it might also fit in with promoting Rosemary and Time, should it ever get published. I’ll change the front page as soon as I get a free moment.
The advantage of owning your own domain name is that your e-mail address remains constant, even as you change Internet providers. The disadvantage is, once spammers get ahold of your address, your spam load is only going to grow. I fought very hard to protect firstname.lastname@example.org from spam but, in the end, when I waved good-bye to Sitehouse.net’s addresses, I went from twenty spam mails a day down to near zero. I swore that I’d protect my personal mail address more closely, and I’d route my public e-mail address through a good spam filter.
Unfortunately, one month after setting up a new e-mail address, one which I have never posted publically online (barring the piece of java script at the bottom of this page which is supposed to prevent your e-mail addresses from spambots hands), I received my first spam mail. It was your typical Nigerian scam, but sent directly to my private e-mail address.
I can only conclude that either the MyDoom or the Netsky virus infected a friend or a colleague’s computer, and it discovered my public e-mail address among his cache, and sent the information back to the nefarious spammers.
If this is the case, there is no protecting one’s e-mail from spam. This really sucks. I’m beginning to come around to Bill Gates’ proposal for ‘e-mail stamps’.