But I think this week may top everything. I'll just try to jot down some notes before I forget all the gory details:
nvramconfiguration variables of my trusted wrt54g router in order to add the older daughter's shiny new iPod Touch to the set of 'permitted' MAC addresses. This router, running a custom Linux variant called OpenWRT had essentially not been upgraded since I first installed it, and still required a quick reboots after updating of configuration values. However, that worked fairly flawelessly for 4 1/2 years. Until Tuesday.
tftpbinaries worked reliably, and whether the router prefers
.trximages when using the
tftpprotocol. But lo and behold this worked, and I configured a shiny new Kamikaze aka 8.09.1 version of OpenWRT. This even connected to the cable modem once I helped with DNS entries. OpenWRT generally rocks, and this new release is a lot nice than the more bare-bones version I used to run.
mtdcommand from the commandline.
Anyway, yesterday's highlight was initiated with a mail, seemingly sent to all customers, informing me that
ACTION REQUIRED: Comcast has determined that your computer(s) have been used to send unsolicited email ("spam"), which is generally an indicator of a virus. For your own protection and that of other Comcast customers, we have taken steps to prevent further transmission of spam from your computer(s).and the email went on to recommend some Windows anti-spam measures, including a reference to a page I could only open with IE at work and one URL to a page that doesn't exist. Nice. Not. Needless to say, there are now Windows computers sending mail (via Comcast) here (as the lone windows box, my wife's work laptop goes straight to her university webmail).
And obviously, they blocked port 25, so no more mail sending from home. So I grumpily logged a compaint having been on hold and in telephony menu hell for fifteen or twenty minutes. I was promised to hear back in 72 hours. Hasn't happened yet, naturally, but we're only half way through...
sudo editor /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp_smarthostand add a line
port = submissionin the
remote_smtp_smarthostblock (assumming you have the split configuration chosen for the
exim4-configpackage). Setting port to 'submission' switches from plain old STMP to the authenticated version running on port 587; submission is mapped to 587 in
sudo editor /etc/exim4/passwd.clientand add your user and password id as e.g. for comcast web-login
sudo update-exim4.confto update the configuration
sudo /etc/init.d/exim4 restartto restart exim
/var/log/exim4/mainlogfor any irregularities. Barring those, you should now be sending mail to you smarthost using authenticated transfer over port 587.
In the meantime, it looks like they unblocked port 25 at some point today...
Not this time. Still no signal by the afternoon, and when Lisa called the help line, they confirmed that they could not see our cable modem. That could have given it away, but I didn't click.
This being this time of year, we were actually out overnight on Friday so that I couldn't get to inspect matters at home. Also, friends and neighbours were out the next day so I couldn't get my hands on another cable modem to see if it was the line (my suspicion at the time) or the modem. All I could do was call, go once more over all possibilities with the tier-1 help person -- and schedule a technician to swing by on Monday afternoon, i.e. on Christmas Eve, or about 48 hours later (!!). So I made do over the weekend with two trips to the local library to consume some of their wireless signal to catch up on things.
The big surprise came on Monday. The technician, was on time and rather friendly and knowledgeable, checked the signal strength at the box outside, and on two cable outlets in the house. All fairly well. So during the second call to Comcast, we turned our attention to the cable modem. A few years ago I returned the 'leased' modem and bought an inexpensive 3com cable modem. Only after checking that it was supported, of course.
Well now it seems that Comcast decided that this (old) modem can only talk Docsys 1.0. And instead of telling me in advance, they just fscking dropped it cold. Unbefriggable. I must be getting two fliers a month informing me how great Comcast's so-called (and IMHO rather overpriced) 'Triple Play' is. You'd think that they use that mail-out infrastructure to let me know about the service change. Or use email, after all they are my ISP. Naaah. Rather just drop the service cold right before the holidays. That's the spirit.
To clarify and repeat, I do not mind service updates. I do not mind improving standards and improved throughput. And as I am quite happy to buy a new modem on the spot on Tuesday afternoon -- yes, Christmas eve, because I then have nothing better to do than to troll in the mall to buy a new Motorola cable modem at full retail cost rather than somewhat more cheaply at Amazon or other places -- I could easily have done better if only they had told me in advance. I could go and use some choice terms , but as we're still in the holiday season I better stop... Maybe I should just go back to DSL and save a few bucks.
For once, I didn't seem to have blogged about the last chance but it feels like the previous assignment had held up forever, i.e. a couple of months. Thanks to the good and quick dns service at Gandi, my two domains eddelbuettel.com and quantian.org were again visible within minutes of me finally noticing the chance this morning. Sorry for any service interruptions in the meantime.
Having been forced to use the ISP as a smarthost for delivery (as reverse lookup is not provided for residential service), I depend on Comcast to deliver my mail. But look what we just got for attempting help a user on the quantlib-users list:
Reporting-MTA: dns; comcast.net
Arrival-Date: 8 Sep 2006 1:46:30 +0000
Status: 5.1.0 MAIL FROM:
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; Permanent Failure: Other address status
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 01:46:36 -0000
So a benefit of handing over around $500 per annum is that I do not get my mail delivered because the goods folks at sourceforge.net now think ATT Broadband aka Comcast [ to whom the address mail server 22.214.171.124 resolves ] is a spammer.
Someone please remind me why I haven't switched to Speakeasy?
Only that we ended up getting three in 24 hours. I still suspect that Comcast may not keep these around for seven to eight months as they used to. Time to host my few pages (principally Quantian) elsewhere? Suggestions welcome.
Again, apologies to everybody who tried to connect here lately -- this is unfortunately beyong my control. Traffic back up, DNS has been updated, fingers are crossed as well. Maybe this time it'll work.
And lo and behold, while I was at work, everything dropped once again leading to an eight hour outage. We're back now, on the previously used network address block, in hopes of sticking with this new address for the usual nine month. DNS et al have been updated for the main address but I still need to update the quantian.org address.
Apologies to everybody who tried to connect in the interim, but this is unfortunately beyong my control.
Having updated the DNS entry, and thanks to quick redirection at Gandi, web traffic is already back. If you're on cached DNS data, it should get reflected "soon" too.
To those have tried to access these pages, or the Quantian ones, my heartfelt apologies. The best I can offer for such time would be ... the Google cache. Sorry for any inconcenience. One day I may look into real hosting, in the meantime this will have to do, in particular as the last few gripes are all from over a year ago.
So I just edited the web form at gandi for the DNS of the .com address, sent a signed email to the 'change' bot at db.debian.org for the .net address, edited the configuration for bind, edited /etc/hosts, edited apache's httpd.config, and updated the IP address itself for the mail forwarder. Now all I need to do is wait for DNS to catch up :-/
Somewhat of a silly game, really. Maybe I should splurge for a real provider like Speakeasy?
The whole column is very refreshing for the dismissive tone of his SBC comments. Cringely is a much smarter geek that I'll ever be, and he overcame SBC in neat ways. I'll probably remain scarred from the long troubles we had getting service after we came to Illinois ...
If only DSL providers weren't so low quality, and greedy. But for now I think I rather stay on cable. We'll see.
Too bad it took exactly four weeks, the aforementioned total of five visits and I don't-want-to-remember-how-many phone calls to their (generally also very friendly) call centers. But I will supposedly get a month credited.
Well, at long last we appear to be re-connected so I shouldn't gripe. And it is faster than DSL. Telocity may now rest in hell. Anybody care for a DSL modem? :-/