Archive for December, 2011

December 28, 2011

Black Friday Blunder

No, I’m not talking about our blunder (although I’m not loving the sheet set as much as I thought I would. I think there’s a chemical on them that I’m extra sensitive to due to pregnancy.) I’m talking about the retailer’s blunder.

It seems we weren’t the only ones who stayed mostly in this black Friday. Online sales were on the raise, especially on Thanksgiving itself. Cyber Monday sales are up too. This is a trend I like to see, as next year I doubt we’ll be spending much time our shopping with such a small infant.

The increase to online sales came with a few glitches. BestBuy, in particular, couldn’t handle the increase demand and accepted more transactions than they couldn’t deliver on. They had to cancel some orders at the last minute. Maybe that’s why the camcorder wasn’t selling out. Maybe in my web browser it appeared available when it really wasn’t.

But BestBuy isn’t the only one. The record traffic was difficult for Walmart and Target to handle. In fairness, Target’s troubles started before black friday.

It’s good news if you’re a web developer. Particularly if you’re expertise is in cloud computing or scaling. Since online sales are up so much, you can bet major retailers will be pulling out all the stops to make sure their ready for next year! I also read (although I can’t find the source) that there will be a push to support more mobile devices, including the iPad. I am looking forward to Black Friday from the comfort of my couch!

December 24, 2011

Owning My Own Name

It’s finally mine! I have my own name dot com!

Shortly after graduating from college, I decided I wanted to register my name as a domain name. Up until that point I had been using a pseudonym online. I was proud of my accomplishments and wanted a more professional presence online. At the time, the only combination of my name not available was “styler.com”. After debating about it for a few days, I went with sktyler.com, since I always use my middle initial and my school email address was ‘skt’. 18 Months later, I decided I wanted sarahtyler.com as well, but it was already gone! 18 months was all it took.

About a year ago I noticed the other Sarah Tyler was letting the domain name expire. I decided I wouldn’t let the opportunity to register it pass me by again. Exactly one year ago, Domingo and I set up a backorder (a service that tries to grab expiring domain names immediately as they expire). Apparently I was being naïve.

There’s only a small subset of people who would be interested in a domain name like sarahtyler.com, however both the .info and .net were already registered. Thus, from a speculator’s standpoint, it seems like a desirable domain name. After all, at least two people out there would probably register the dotcom given the opportunity. Someone may be willing to pay a premium for the domain name. As a result, one of those automatic domain resellers who specialize in acquiring and reselling expiring domains grabbed at it to, and was able to register it before we could. They were happy to sell it to me, for the $400!

Well there was no way I was going to pay that much so we thought we’d wait it out, hoping the automatic domain reseller would either let it go, or reduce the price. Afterall, there aren’t that many Sarah Tyler’s out there! I tried to be sneaky, never visiting the domain directly or giving any hint of my interest by searching for it. I’d visit the reseller’s website and do a series of searches, always trying to hide my true objective. I’d search for ‘sara’ rather than ‘sarahtyler’, and scan the results to see if the price change. (If the reseller knows someone wanted the domain, they have no incentive to lower the price, so I couldn’t just search for ‘sarahtyler’!)

Perhaps I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought, or maybe someone else was eyeing the domain name too. The next thing I knew the price climbed all the way to just shy of $1000! At that point I decided to let it go. I wasn’t willing to pay $400, and I certainly wasn’t willing to pay $1000!

Well, this past week I decided I’d give it one more shot. The price had dropped to $100. It was time to strike. All total with the back order, I spent $120 acquiring the name. Had I registered it in 2004 when it was available, I would have paid roughly $80 over the years, so at least my mistake isn’t costing me too much extra money. Could I have let it go and tried to get a lower price? Sure, but at some point I would have run the risk of another Sarah Tyler wanting it, and then I would be back in the same spot I was in seven years ago.

I also have two ‘lessons learned’ from the experience, if you’re in the market for acquiring domains:

(1) Backordering can be pretty worthless. I’ve had success, and heard of success from others, when the company being used for the backordering is also the same company the domain is registered through. In thesis instances, the register typically does not release the domain, just changes the registry information. Otherwise, domain resellers and squatters typically win backordering attempts, as they have more machines and more resources dedicated to acquiring a domain the millisecond it becomes available.

(2) If the domain is available, and you think you might want it either now or in the future, register it! It really should have occurred to me to register SarahTyler.com when I saw it was available. $10 a year is not that much in the grand scheme of things, and once you’re domain is registered there’s no guarantee the other person will ever be willing to part with it!

December 19, 2011

1 + 1 = 3…

… for large values of 1.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the math joke.

As the title implies, Domingo and I are expecting our first child! We’re happy to report we’re out of the first trimester woods, so to speak, and while anything could happen, everything looks great. So far things have been relatively easy. I’m tired and not 100%, which is why we largely stayed in for black Friday, and why I haven’t been baking as much but that’s to be expected. I haven’t had traditional morning sickness, but I have had an icky, nauseous feeling. My main symptom has really been fatigue. But feeling exhausted, or even slightly nauseated, is not so unusual for me – hello grad school stress.


Here’s Zippy at 7 weeks.

I did learn that I need extra sleep. I have been going to bed one to two hours earlier, and still wake up at the same time. If I stay up until my normal bedtime (or worse, later) I get so tired I need a nap the next day. There was one time I took a nap upstairs, walked downstairs and decided it was time to nap on the couch! This was extra problematic because I started sleeping through meals.


Here’s Zippy again just shy of 10 weeks.

Domingo nicked named the baby “zippy” after our 10 week ultrasound. Baby was moving his/her little legs and arms like nobody’s business. We have a very active little baby. Zippy re-earned his/her nickname at the 13 week ultrasound when he/she would not sit still long enough for the technician to take her measurements! In fact, zippy kept turning over and mooning the technician. At one point the technician jiggled the ultrasound wand over my stomach to convince the baby to move into a better position. When she took another look, Zippy was doing a headstand, back still to the technician, butt facing out! It was too funny. I suspect we have a troublemaker in the making.


Zippy at 13 weeks, waving hello.

We did get an early prediction of gender, but I’m going to wait until we have confirmation at the anatomy scan before I tell everyone.

Needless to say, we’re both super excited!

December 1, 2011

Winter Traditions

The mild winters in California have really grown on me. I miss the snow from the east coast, but can get used to the lack of cold! Though this is only our second holiday season as husband and wife, we’ve been working on a few holiday traditions.

In terms of Baking I make Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls and Peppermint Bark.

My secret for world famous pepper bark (or at least colon family famous peppermint bark) is to use old candy canes. Seriously. I know it sounds weird, but older candy canes are softer, almost chewy. The softer texture, and same great taste, allows you to have bigger chunks of peppermint in the bark. I also use two layers of chocolate, dark and white. So yummy!

Sorry, the recipe for the cinnamon rolls is a family secret. It’s my Grandmother’s recipe that has been passed down through three generations now.

I wanted to have a new Christmas ornament each year to represent each of us. Specifically, I was hoping we’d each pick out our own hallmark ornament, since I find them so adorable. It seemed like a great idea in 2009. In 2010 there were no ornaments we liked, so we turned to ebay to find older ornaments for our 2010 tree. This year was another bust. After two years in a row struggling to find ornaments, I gave up. We’ll still do purchase new Hallmark ornaments, but they’re more Christmas theme. So much for my grand plan of one to represent each family member over the years. I did end up making a 2010 and 2011 ornament, so maybe handmade ornaments can be our tradition instead?

Another we tradition for us is that we don’t exchange Christmas gifts. We buy gifts for friends and family, just not each other. It’s partially because we typically shop together, and partially because we’re not usually in want of anything by Christmas thanks to our black Friday adventures. We enjoy the hunting for a deal together, more than unwrapping shinny paper. Once we have kids, “Santa” will make sure everyone gets a present.

We don’t really have spring or summer traditions. I do want to make an anniversary craft project each year, and our anniversary is the first weekend in Spring. However, I have no idea what to make this year! I have been thinking about it for months and I am still coming up blank!