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10 things to do while waiting for your domain name to propagate

by Alex in | | |

Most of the time the Internet does a very good job of creating the illusion that everything can now be instantaneous. You’re on the phone with a colleague on the other side of the world, editing a Google Doc together, and the second you see that typo appear she instantly corrects it. Your roommate tells you she’s sending you that photo now, and wham! there it is in your inbox. You tweet out the latest already-Snopes-certified scam and within 45 seconds it seems like everybody you know has tweeted you the Snopes link. All kind of miraculous.

But occasionally the Internet gods like to remind us that actually we’re dealing with a bunch of wired-together tin cans, and you know, they need the occasional smoke break (or whatever big freakin’ servers take as the equivalent thereof). Registering a domain, or tinkering with its DNS records, is one of those times. You know the domain is there, and ICANN knows you own it, but every other DNS server in the world needs to open its mail and read your change of address card before it knows to point http://yournewdomainname.com to whatever IP address that domain has been assigned.

When you think about it, it’s still kind of miraculous that it only takes about 24 hours for every single name server in the world to find out where to point that URL.  (Here’s a nice explanation of how that works, BTW. And another, with pictures.) But for those of us who are used to living on Internet time, 24 hours feels like about 192,000. (Unlike human to dog years, human to geek hours convert on a 1:8000 ratio).

Happily, there are ways to make those 24 hours productive…or at least endurable. I’m not talking about the grownup, clever planning stuff that you would do if you wanted to keep the propagation time from slowing down your sure march to world domination. Because really, who can think clearly and work effectively when they are waiting for a domain name to hatch?

So here are 10 things to do that will help you pass the time in a bearable, possibly even enjoyable, fashion:

  1. Reskin your computer’s interface with an LCARS (Star Trek) theme.
  2. Look at a few months’ worth of Sartorialist pictures and choose a new affectation. Might I suggest gloves-in-pocket or giant chicken?
  3. Read The Diamond Age (because Cryptonomicontakes more than 24 hours).
  4. Make your own gnocchi.
  5. Register a new Twitter handle and use it to send crank tweets.
  6. Watch the entire first season of Justified. Or Downton Abbey. Or both! Heck, you’ve got 24 hours.
  7. Turn your crappy PC into a Mac.
  8. Turn your crappy piece of Ikea furniture into something new and cool.
  9. Download a dozen different RSS readers onto your smartphone or tablet and try them all out.
  10. Go window shopping for sexy gadgets on Pinterest.

And just be thankful you’re not in a room with peanut M&Ms.

First posted on March 17,2011
  • http://twitter.com/pomomama ebbandflo

    ah thanks for the link to Pinterest (oh wow!)
    i wish i’d had this list to hand a few days ago (when i got my paws on my name domain … for world domination of course) – it would have replaced stacking the dishwasher as my go-to task

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