Thursday, 17 May 2012

Chantage — Free concert and a Prom

Free concert at St Paul’s Knightsbridge

Join Chantage for a free evening of music with one of the top college choirs in the United States, with a beautiful programme that includes works by Lauridsen, Stanford, Nelhybel, Allain, Chydenius, Byrd, and American folk songs and spirituals. Founded in 1946, the Luther College Nordic Choir has an international reputation and has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the United States, including the Lincoln Center, New York, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, and the Crystal Cathedral, L.A.

Date: Wednesday 30 May
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, 32a Wilton Place London, SW1X 8SH (map)
Tickets: On the door, on the day

Chantage at the Proms! 

On 28 July 2012, Chantage makes history. At the world’s greatest classical music festival — the BBC Proms — they sing the premi√®re performance of Benedict Mason’s meld with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a performance that will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Mason describes his work as a reflection of ‘tension and ritual; with dramas in opposition’, the perfect companion to Rued Langgaard’s symphony of brevity and eternity Ixion.

Date: Saturday 28 July
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP (map)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Requiem for Dr John Birch

Dr John Birch died on Saturday 28 April, aged 82. He was Director of Music at All Saints, Margaret Street, from 1953 to 1958 and thereafter Organist of Chichester Cathedral and the Temple Church. He was also senior professor of organ at the Royal College of Music. Here is the Telegraph's obituary.

His Funeral Mass will be held at All Saints, Margaret Street, on Tuesday 15 May at 6.30pm. The music includes parts of the Duruflé Requiem and some organ fireworks from Stephen Disley at the end.

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

We Are Now a Dot-Com

It's hard luck on the person who sent me an email from Australia yesterday asking whether I'd be interested in buying the domain name, which was about to expire and be released to the public. "Of course," I said. "How much?" A few hours later, the response came, with a suggested price of US$450. "You must be joking," I replied. Or words to that effect.

Meanwhile I did some research on WHOIS and discovered the place where it might be possible to acquire the domain for $69, just as long as no other bidders entered the game. So I contacted the Australian to say I was going to do my own bidding, thank you very much, and that my maximum bid would be very low. I craftily added that I certainly wouldn't be interested in any subsequent "offers" from anyone who outbid me, because I didn't particularly need the dot-com name. It would be nice to have if I could get it cheaply, I said, but it was not essential for my site's success. I had in fact contacted the previous owner of some years ago, but he was not prepared to sell it. My tactical response at the time was to buy the and names, thereby adding value to my domain and reducing the value of his by a tiny fraction!

Switching back to yesterday's adventure, I hoped that my feigned disinterest would thus deter my speculator from bidding against me, and off I went to try my luck with SnapNames, the site that WHOIS told me to visit if I wanted to place a bid. I put in my maximum offer and waited.

In theory, I might have been able to get it more cheaply later on (if no one registers an interest in a name, SnapNames doesn't bother to acquire it), but I didn't want to run the risk of a "domain acquisition specialist" (i.e. shark) buying it in the interim and then trying to sell it to me for some outrageous sum. Whether or not it would be bought depended on whether it was worth anything, so I checked with some valuation sites. Two of these estimated the name to be worth $3,000 (as opposed to $600 for and $0 for several other .com names I put into the calculator for comparison). I was careful to choose valuation sites which estimated the value of domain names per se rather than the value of websites, so that figure of $3,000 suggested to me that I should snap it up while I could. The .com names are generally worth more than names. Even .co without the "m" at the end is a less valuable suffix.

As auction-opening time approached, I went back to SnapNames to see what was happening. Fortunately, no-one had come to bid against me — least of all the Australian who'd been hoping to take $450 from me — and I secured the dot-com for the minimum opening bid of $69. I shall remain eternally grateful to my Antipodean tipster shark for letting me know that the domain was about to become available.

Many dot-com names that come up for sale do not remain on offer for more than a second. They are grabbed instantly by outfits like the one that was offering to sell for $69 before it had even come onto the market. The more valuable the name, the more likely it is to be snapped up the instant it is released. Sites like SnapNames fire off automated requests to buy them at the rate of several times per second, starting from just before they are released on the market, so there's no way individuals like us can compete against them. Such sites compete with each other too for good domain names, but sometimes they have special arrangements with the registrars that are about to put expired names on sale — a bit like a house vendor having an exclusive contract with a single agent to sell the property. Which is how came to be listed on WHOIS as being for sale via SnapNames.

It's taken eight years to acquire our .com, and it now complements the .net and .org in our stable — all the names that matter. Here's an extended article on the subject of acquiring domain names by someone who had a similar experience to mine and who also used SnapNames to acquire his domain name.