A couple days ago, I put the finishing touches on migrating from my crthomas.org domain to the new one: rlesthom.as.
rlesthom.as is probably the worst domain imaginable, except that my email address is now my name: Ch@rlesThom.as
Back in August, I found this business card via kottke.org
It should be pretty self-explanatory what’s going on with the card. I wanted to do the same, only my name is too common. There was no way I’d ever get charlesthomas.com. Even if it was for sale, some domain seller was probably parking on it, hoping to make an absurd amount of money.
A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that if .as existed as a top-level domain, then I could turn the a in Charles into an @, and register rlesthom.as. It turns out .as is a geo domain run by American Samoa.
Step 0: The idea was possible. I could register a .as domain. It cost me $100 to register ($50/year, 2 year minimum for the initial registration), which was a lot more than I’d ever paid for a domain, but I ended up registering it in the middle of the night one night when I couldn’t sleep. Probably not the most fiscally sound of ideas, but now that I’ve got everything working, I think it will be worth $50/year.
Now came the first hurdle: the .as domain registration site is TERRIBLE. I won’t go into specifics, except to say that in order to point the domain ANYWHERE, my only options were to put in primary and secondary DNS server names and addresses. That’s it.
I contacted name.com, who I recently switched to for my crthomas.org domain after GoDaddy’s SOPA support. Their support team informed me that they didn’t provide DNS only hosting, and even if they did, they didn’t support .as domains.
I hit Google, hoping I could find a DNS hosting service, so I wouldn’t have to spin up my own server, and I came across afraid.org. Not only do they offer exactly what I was looking for, but it’s completely FREE! Apparently the guy(s) just wanted a challenge, so he started playing with DNS. AWESOME.
Since this whole thing was all for an email address, I set that up next. I set it up with Google Apps, which allows use to all of Google’s tools, using your own branded domain, instead of the generic gmail.com. This is done by creating a free account, then pointing DNS records for your domain at Google servers. It took a half a day or something for DNS to populate out to the internet, and then I was all set with the email address. But I figured for $50/year, I should do more with the domain than that, so I decided to move some other stuff, too.
This blog (blog.cha.rlesthom.as) is hosted by Blogger (owned by Google and part of the rlesthom.as Google Apps account), but they allow you to use your own custom domain at no cost. Tumblr does the same. I had recently decided that I wanted my longer-form stuff (meaning stuff I wrote, and not just silly shit I found on reddit) to have a home other than tumblr. That’s why I set this up as blog.cha.rlesthom.as. cha.rlesthom.as is pointed at my tumblr page.
Now that I had all of that set up, I decided to take it further. I have completely abandoned my old gmail.com address, and migrated everything over to the new domain. This is something I was tempted to do when I registered crthomas.org and then never got around to.
I used two Lifehacker posts as guides on how to do this, but the information was out of date. The first post was on how to migrate “all” google apps, except the gmail portion linked to a different post (number 2). The only glaringly wrong bits were that Reader can now be used with a custom account, and the Voice transfer link is no longer any good. It took me longer than I would have expected to find the correct link, so I’m posting it here. Finally, I decided not to migrate blogger, and just start over. I may end up moving old posts over here, but it’s been 2+ years since I last used blogger, and I decided I didn’t want to have to deal with sifting through that stuff right now.
I also had to jump through some hoops unforwarding my crthomas.org mail to my gmail account, and then setting forwards on both accounts to go to the new address. That took more effort than was expected, but it was mostly PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair).
Finally, I also changed the account my phone syncs with. This was pretty straightforward, since I have an Android phone (a Samsung Nexus S for those who care about that kind of thing, which I guess I should assume is a lot of you, if you actually read this far…) However, since it was so easy, I decided to make it more difficult. Rather than just adding the new account, and leaving the old one, I decided I wanted ONLY the new account. Since the old gmail account was the primary account for the phone, I had to restore the phone to factory settings in order to actually remove it. This wiped all of my installed apps, but did NOT remove the data on the phone (I was prompted to remove it, but declined). Since I had already done all of the migrations on the Google side, all I had to do when the phone restored was log in using the new account, and syncing started happening. This is really the beauty of Android and Google. However, since all the apps I installed were under the old account, and THERE IS NO WAY TO TRANSFER APPS, I had to redownload all of them manually. THIS INCLUDED RE-BUYING ALL OF THE APPS I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR. Luckily, I had only paid for 3 apps, for a total of about $10 on the old profile – everything else I installed was free. I could have added the old gmail account back – now as a secondary – but decided it was more important to never use that account again than it was to throw a little good money after bad and just re-buy the apps.
I’m happy with the new domain. All in all, for the domain registration, the DNS hosting, the blog and tumblr hosting, and re-buying my Android apps, it only cost me $110. And I won’t have to pay another dime until 2014. I have already looked into getting cards made by moo.com, but I’m not actually sure I want to pay for it just to have extra cardboard laying around my apartment.