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* Posts by AustinTX

17 posts • joined 15 Jul 2008

Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline

AustinTX

It was a DNS issue, not a general routing issue.

It hit us here in Austin TX. It looked like a DNS outage… but I was using Google DNS. Routing was NOT down… I could still access a selection of web servers by direct IP address, and ping and traceroute. Rebooted my modem and router repeatedly. Modem acquired a link quickly, and status page showed it had a valid configuration. Modem’s signal strength dropped from the usual minus-8-ish to minus-6-ish dBmV. Router acquired IP and WAN domain name effortlessly.

I tried OpenDNS, Earthlink, Dell, and some other public DNS servers I have in a list, but they didn’t work either. All timed out. I didn’t know what TWC’s DNS servers were, so I zeroed them out in my router config, then rebooted. Well, DHCP picked up TWC's DNS servers like nothing was wrong. STILL had no working DNS resolution! And I could still access websites by direct IP address. I was also still receiving mail and web traffic to my own servers, though well below usual levels. The email server was rejecting all mail though, since it couldn’t verify the sender’s domain names.

Exhausted, I gave up and went to bed. Everything was simply working again when I got up.

The evidence suggests that TWC decided to *filter* DNS traffic, possibly even to aggregate and reroute all of it, and they screwed the pooch. I can’t think of any legitimate reason they’d need to do this. I think I’m going to go back to running my own DNS server. Not much I can do about state-redirected DNS traffic other than tunnel it through a VPN perhaps.

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Researchers seek Internet's choke points

AustinTX

Only the highest speed should ever be seen to come up short sometimes

Folks DO realize that modems delivering "lower" cable speed tiers are running at the same maximum speed as all the others, but merely rate-limited by software? All an ISP has to do to ensure everyone gets the speed they've contracted for, is to raise the bandwidth cap high enough so that the observed throughput matches the one they're entitled to.

The same is true of DSL, though they do connect the last mile at varying speeds. However, as I observed with our old DSL service, the configuration is set to a hair's width higher than the contracted speed, resulting in throughput far short of the one we were entitled to. There was no technical reason to do this, as tiers 4x higher were available to purchase.

In other words, only the very highest speed tier available in the area should ever occasionally fail to deliver the promised "up to" speed, as all lower ones would therefore generally always be achievable. Those data caps are employed inefficiently, resulting in no-one ever seeing the speed they're entitled to.

Except for cable modem customers. And this is why I seriously question the study. Unlike DSL providers, cable providers like to enable "speed boosts" or periodic "free speed upgrades" due to having so much spare capacity. I've had cable modem many times and often my speed was faster than that which I'd originally contracted for. This cost the cable company nothing, but resulted in my constant satisfaction. But I suppose the rest of the cable providers could be really crappy or stingy....

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Internet overlords deny Google's 'dotless' domains dream

AustinTX
Thumb Up

Re: It's stupid having to pay someone for a dot and some letters

I didn't know about new.net. Very cool. And I agree with you to a point about the concern for scam websites. So, block registrations of domains that duplicate ICANN DNS. And an alternate DNS network would not place you in a walled garden if it federated/relayed to ICANN DNS upon finding no registrations. Competing DNS systems don't need to cause confusion as long as they simply duplicate ICANN while adding additional services.

Signing up for a new domain name should be as free and simple as signing up for a new email address! Sure, people registered lots of "look alike" emails for nefarious purposes, but we've coped just fine. Assuming an alternate DNS network achieves critical mass and takes over enough of ICANN's turf, the worst that could happen is ICANN gives up on dot-tld and likewise allows anyone to effectively create their own "TLD" for far less than $185,000.00!! I think either Google or Mozilla could manage this almost instantly. FreeDNS or OpenDNS could provide the backbone for it, but of course Google could use their own large network of DNS servers.

It seems like much of the problems we have with the Internet today (high price, poor customer service, walled gardening), actually are about a lack of competition. My main issue with ICANN being that they're obviously a monopoly for-profit corporation posing as a caring non-profit. They have too much power and offer too little for the "services" they impose. They're toll-guards, not facilitators now. I think they're doing enough harm now, that feeling some heat would be good for them. The idea of competing/federated DNS networks scares me less than what I think ICANN might do to maintain their grip on our cohones.

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AustinTX

It's stupid having to pay someone for a dot and some letters

The stinkin' ICANN doesn't have a divine right to force us to rent a dot and three/four letters to tack onto the end of our web addresses! Anyone can create a free subdomain. Anyone can opt-in to use alternate DNS. Just combine the two, and let people register their own addresses, with or without dots, that work for anyone else using that DNS system. I can do it with my HOSTS file, or my own DNS server. Corporations create short web names for their LANs all the time. A simple browser plugin would suffice for http-only resolutions. If you use the alternate DNS, you could go to http://el.reg.is-cool_man, else it would also work as http://el.reg.is-cool_man.altdns.com for those still locked in ICANN's walled garden.

Companies like FreeDNS and Google are perfectly poised to add this extended DNS ability, and could achieve critical mass with a single browser update. Though you could reject registration attempts for duplicates of existing ICANN DNS names, I would even suggest it's legal to duplicate them anyway, within the confines of the alternate, opt-in network. FreeDNS's spam and porn-guard service is proof that it's legal to redirect legitimate URLs when using an opt-in alternative. So much for domain speculators and their eternally parked addresses! A nominal fee, and the release of domains unused for x amount of time, would eliminate a good deal of abuse. Not saying there aren't problems with the idea, but every one I've thought of seemed to have a good, solid solution. Instead of renting theregister.co.uk for $30/year, how about http://theregister for $3/forever?

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Has any employer ever delivered the training it promised?

AustinTX
Devil

Stop applying for courses until I say you can apply for them.

If you don't take any courses by the deadline, you won't be eligible again until next quarter. Applying for courses shows your commitment to a career with the company. I have cancelled the courses you applied for. The queues are too busy, and I cannot justify giving you the time off to take courses. Remember, calls take too long at the moment, so to shorten call times, do not document your calls until you have spare time later in the afternoon. To improve the customer experience, our goal this week is to shorten our average call length by 14.2 seconds. Also, here's some pages of names and addresses you will enter in your spare time while on calls. Don't argue with me, I make the rules here! -Dell

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OpenDNS plots expansion with new funding

AustinTX
Flame

Open DNS Plus

Hey Open DNS... I have an idea. Seriously, you should listen to this:

Make a custom URL service available to those who use your DNS, which allows them to assign a string of virtually any characters to behave like any ordinary URL. Make it as easy to set one up as it is to sign up for free subdomains. Let folks flag their URL shortcut as private or public as they like. When set as public, anyone using your DNS servers will enjoy normal IP address resolution using this same string in their browser or other programs. Basically, it would be a free/cheap and more flexible replacement for TLD (Top Level Domains) and subdomains, freeing folks from the literal tyranny of ICANN and the fees of registrars.

If you don't understand what I am suggesting, picture this: folks could type http://theregister into your browser and it will work. You can make your own pseudo-TLD like http://the.register.rocks and it would work too. Since your service would be optional and opt-in, you could override existing ICANN TLD addresses to go to alternate sites; you already essentially do this with your website-blocking service which redirects to message pages. Or you can avoid dealing with a baseless legal tantrum from ICANN, and reject public URL shortcuts that resemble existing registered ones.

You're perfectly positioned to make this possible. It might be a challenge to get people to adopt your service at first, but you could cover a lot of distance by providing browser plugins which check a URL with your DNS server when it's generated a 404 at the ISP's DNS or otherwise doesn't contain TLD strings. Could this service be misused? Well, duh. But ill-doers don't face any real obstacles to using ICANN TLD and working through classic registrars. The idea that URLs have to contain a bit of text that must be expensively approved by a gargantuan and opaque for-profit organization is so last-century. Please help the Internet's citizens obtain this valuable liberty.

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Meet قلب, the programming language that uses Arabic script

AustinTX
Angel

Re: Not the revolution you were looking for

I chuckled at the thought of an alternate version that refuses to compile if it isn't also readable as valid holy scripture... I think this idea has appeared in science fiction before. IIRC, the object was to design a perfect program, that was also a prayer, which would result in either a simulation representing a religious utopia, or the actual alteration of reality itself...

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Linksys vuln: Cisco responds

AustinTX
Linux

Better patch

A better patch is called DD-WRT, but Tomato, Gargoyle, OpenWRT and others make fine choices too! Stay away from the shoddy Fon stuff though. Seriously, does ANYONE use stock Linksys firmware on the WRT54GL?

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US gov on track to miss its own IPv6 deadline

AustinTX
Big Brother

Gee I wonder what the consequences are...

Government mandates switch to IPV6. Government allocates pocket change, if anything, to do it. And it never gets done.

Thus, created crisis is *created*. As world runs out of IP addresses, government suddenly shifts into high gear, taking responsibility for rationing out IP addresses and imposing curiously draconian punishments for failure to follow their consumption guidelines (generously drafted by monopoly telcos) and registering your device(s) with their central IP agency.

Shift to IPV6 is delayed indefinitely as government talking heads warn that there are serious unresolved "security issues" with it (they don't mention that it's because it's more difficult to monitor everyone). Crisis continues unabated. Government octopus spreads further and wider, intercepting every Internet packet in order to "protect" our "limited resources" and keep commerce and banking functional.

One resource that seems to be limitless is funds for government octopus. Could have come in handy earlier. But hey, as long as we have this infrastructure in place now, let's secretly insert some "powerful law-enforcement tools" to it. So many protections! We're so safe now!

or

Government is just incompetent.

Scary choice, huh? ;)

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Reg hack cast adrift as Illuminati Online goes off-line

AustinTX

Other cool email tricks

Lots of forums and file download sites insist on me providing an email address for registration, and I'm aware that some of them may be selling/leaking this info. I'd like to know where spammers got my email address, so I generate throw-away addresses using a free subdomain service that forwards email sent to the subdomain. Email addresses are typically formatted like this:

<name of website>.<date>@<mysubdomain>.<host>.com

Example:

elregister.11may2@austintx.cjb.net

Works pretty well! :)

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AustinTX

Hail hail hail

Hail Eris perhaps, but Kallisti was just one of the call center workstations.

http://img806.imageshack.us/img806/7228/iofloormap.jpg

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AustinTX

Pics of Illuminati Online's Facility

This is true. I worked at IO from 2000-2001 (shortly before they moved to Prism) and this was when Gov. Bush moved his locked server cabinet (the only one in the server room) pending his announcement to run for Prez.

Here's some pics of the IO facility:

http://img864.imageshack.us/img864/9721/govgwbushserver.jpg

http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/3448/serverroomsouthwall.jpg

http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/4896/serverroomnorthwall.jpg

http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/4025/callcentreeastward.jpg

I've got gigabytes of logs showing the servers on the verge of exploding, as it was a daily occurrence requiring CMA, and all kinds of photos and other tidbits found around the network. Ahh, memories! A sizeable chunk of my MP3 collection came from perusing what other employees had Napstered. ;)

Interesting fact: IO had a telnet server for customers to access a legacy account management interface. When you logged in (as guest), the shell provided was Lynx, instead of bash, because the interface was really web-based. IO forgot to restrict Lynx, so you could still type "g - space - period" and drop down to the filesystem. IO utterly failed to police file permissions, so numerous /home/~username/html_docs/ directories were browseable, and files were downloadable. Someone at Prism seems to have fixed this in the years after IO was re-hosted there.

IO was, on one hand, a pretty fun and cool place to work, but on the other hand, management and security was a seriously cruel joke.

I'm game, if any old IO employees/customers want to get together for a meet-up and Fnord about old times. :D

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US airport body scanners can store and export images

AustinTX
FAIL

Just a bit obvious...

Did it ever occur to anyone, that those example black and white "nude x-ray" photos, which every article and blog on this topic puts up, involves a body scanner that stored and transferred the image?

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Fon community embraces GSM

AustinTX
FAIL

Fon Blogger

We're embracing this? Says who? Actually, it's more like Fon is just doing it's own thing, as usual, and suggesting that they have legions of ecstatic fans. I'm not aware that the topic has even come up on the English Fon discussion forum http://boards.fon.com

This is how this deal will work out in the end: Fon will sign on a carrier who agrees to share a small fee with Fon for every call their customers make on a Fon-tocell. Fon will force Foneros (members who have purcha$ed Fon's router and maintain Fon wifi hotspots) to give free wifi to those carrier's customers. Foneros won't get to make free calls, and Foneros won't get a cut of the money Fon rakes in. Foneros will be reminded that they get free wifi around the world if they're lucky enough to find a Fon hotspot. No value added for the Foneros. That's about it. It's the same deal every time. Fon makes money selling their cheapo, locked-down proprietary merchandise, then these suckers have to give free wifi to new Fon e-partners.

AustinTX, Fon blogger for 3 years.

http://elfonblog.fondoo.net

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Dutch plan 'Energy Island'

AustinTX

Don't waste electricity to store electricity

Ring the reservoirs with windmills. Couple the windmills *mechanically* with the water pumps. Then you would simply be capturing the wind, in the water, to use later for generating electricity.

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SF's silent sysadmin pleads not guilty

AustinTX
Happy

Credit him for an unhackable system

I hear that Cisco and other experts are all over this thing, days later, still trying to hack their way back in. Give this guy credit for securing his systems so well!

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BT updates Home Hub Wi-Fi box with 802.11n

AustinTX
Flame

Does this new router include BT FON?

Fon is a network of public hotspots which BT customers may opt-into. Bandwidth used by guests are not counted agains the BT customer's normal allotment.

Does this new 802.11n router include the BT-FON ability? This would make them the very first n-Fon hotspots!

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