Re: ISP -> Internet Service Provider
"Servicing", in the way bulls service cows ?
1151 posts • joined 13 Feb 2009
I went for a Cosmo - the hardware is fantastic, but the software has been pretty ropey. Lots of irritating little bugs in Android and the occasional show-stopper have prevented me from making much use of mine.
The last Cover Display (CODI) update took me TWENTY-FIVE attempts to install, despite taking all the usual precautions (Notifications off, Airplane Mode On, DuraSpeed Off etc), and the latest firmware update had to be pulled and reissued because it caused so many problems - including the loss of fingerprint data. The latest version requires you to back everyting up, hard reset the Cosmo and restore from backup. A previous version included a dodgy OTA updater that had to be replaced - no way I could trust this thing with access to my Google account details until it was fixed.
Linux functionality is incomplete (forget using it as an actual phone) and Sailfish is still some way away - even if it does turn up, it will almost certainly be a community version without Android emulation and predictive text, just like the Gemini.
So no, I won't be buying the shiny new toy they're dangling in front of me. I've gone back to using my previous "daily driver", a Nokia 5.
Some postgrad had developed a distributed search engine, and set it loose spidering various internet sites.
All was fine until I got a SOS message to the abuse@ mailbox - this thing had malfunctioned, and all the nodes were spidering the web site of a small Italian dialup ISP. Repeatedly and constantly.
It was pounding them so hard, they had to sign up for an account at another dialup ISP to get a message to us. (We had more bandwidth than them)
I checked out the researcher's web site - "If you don't want to be spidered by my bot, set up your robots.txt accordingly".
Bollocks to that son, the internet is not your pet project's chew-toy...
I tried to contact the guy, but he screamed "My work cannot be interrupted !" and slammed the phone down on me.
Okay, you had one warning and that was it... I disabled his network ports and waited for the screaming to start.
It wasn't long before his supervisor rang up to complain, but once I told him why I had taken action, he made the postgrad apologise to the Italians, and asked me to keep the systems off-line until the code could be reviewed.
MORAL: If you don't implement rate-limiting, I will. And you get NOTHING.
Back in the early 90's, I was tasked with the job of hooking up a proprietary Unix box to a VAX, though the vendor reckoned this machine would only successfully talk with IBM kit.
I proved them wrong, but almost at the cost of my sanity... I learned more about Reverse LAT and $QIO than a mortal man is meant to know...
(Icon, because you need many of them after a long DEBUG session)
Indeed, they're one of the few ISP out there that still treats their customers like adults - but that also means you have to take responsibilty for your own security and not rely on them to look after you,
I like that, because it means I can choose and use my own router/firewall to protect myself, and not rely on a some cheap, nasty ISP-supplied device.
So, let's see...
I'm with AAISP, so static IP's and an unfiltered internet connection...
I've got various VPN accounts and Tor on at least one machine...
I've got multiple VM's including Kali...
I use encryption at rest and in transit...
That probably makes me a criminal mastermind in their eyes, and only missing a dormant volcano hideout or a Legion of Doom.
Icon, because even a fictitious Victorian detective would have more luck finding real cybercriminals.
...like hung-over swans.
I used to live opposite a pub next to a waterway, and swans would congregate there. If you decided to eat or drink outside when the swans were around, you were taking your life into your hands - they would relieve you of your food, and help themselves to your drinks.
They would then sleep it off for a while, but invariably woke up all bad-tempered and fighty.
They weren't in the same league as Mister Asbo though.
Icon, because I'll look worse than that if I'm still around in the year 10K...
My predecessor in a previous job set up a real nasty Frankenserver...
Not one, not two, but THREE SCSI controllers - one for disks, one for a CD-ROM and one for a tape drive.
The one with the tape drive wasn't properly configured, so any attempt to make a tape backup would result in the machine locking up solid.
There was a sound card in there for some reason as well *boggle*.
Oh, and all this lot (complete with long SCSI cables) was sat in a ATX desktop case with two 5.25" Micropolis SCSI disks - so it got pretty toasty.
Did I mention this was the site's primary DNS, DHCP and web server ?
I deal with a lot of embedded kit in the day job, a lot of this stuff is ancient, predates 64-bit hardware and can't be easily replaced. Either it's too expensive (research grants to buy kit having long since run dry), the manufacturer has gone bust (so no updates available anyway) or the equipment needs an expensive recalibration after any upgrade to ensure that readings are still accurate - vital if experiments rely on the results from the device. Killing a ten-year study in year nine "because security" won't make you any friends.
Some of this kit is frighteningly long-lived, one or two of these things run MS-DOS, let alone Windows !
I won't abuse people calling for surveys, but that doesn't mean that I have to put up with nonsense. I will firmly but politely refuse to take part, unless there's a good reason to continue the call.
I had one from Microsoft this morning - they've noticed that I don't make full use of my Ofiice 365 tenancy and wanted to know why. Raising a ticket in my name and repeatedly calling me is not going to make me any more talkative.
"Quite frankly, I find your marketing campaign creepy AND I specifically DIDN'T opt-in for surveys. Please close the ticket and take me off whatever list you're using for this nonsense. Good day !"
Salescritters who phone up pretending to be running a survey are a whole different matter - they're wasting my time AND they've already lied to me to make that happen. All bets are off for a pleasant conversation.
Be careful of low-balling the scores, that can trigger a follow-up call. Three once annoyed me with a survey, so I gave them zeroes across the board to make a point. Next thing I know, someone more senior calls me, wanting to know why I gave the scores I did.
"You screwed up my service, then asked me to tell you how well you did. What the hell did you expect ?"
Let's just say that short-circuited his little script.
"After the laxative cake of 2012 no one's going to take snacks from us," the PFY points out.
I'm amazed they didn't go for a sedative-laxative combo... You'll shit yourself, but you won't give a shit about it.
Add in a little LSD for extra effect - having someone screaming "CAN'T YOU SEE THAT BLOODY DRAGON ON THE BOARDROOM TABLE ?!" as they void themselves will live long in corporate memory...!
"Don't know whether they still do and I'm just on an 'awkward list' of people who never reveal any information on any incoming* call"
They still do, and I still tell them I will ring back on one of the bank's normal telephone banking numbers. And WHY am I such a git about this ? I had one cheeky bastard try the "Hello Sir, I am from your bank" opening gambit on me.
"What's my name ? Which bank ?"
Yes, it's a new decade, and people still fall for this crap.
I had to read DNS and BIND in its entirety before I was allowed to do *anything* with DNS.
Shame it hasn't been updated for a few years, but DNS for Rocket Scientists isn't a bad resource.
One day, I will probably have to print this all out... just so I can roll it up and beat someone over the head with it.
"Years back, the whole root DNS of a major global company was the only service run on a very old HP workstation in the DC"
Been there, done that. And that was back in the days when resolvers were generally open so you never knew who was using you until you turned on query logging to debug issues...
...like finding several thousand NTL cable modem users and a whole Far Eastern university campus forwarding their traffic through our local resolvers, which back then were a couple of desktop PC's.
From a post I put up in 2018 - at this point, I was serving my notice ahead of a move to a new employer, partly because this lot refused to take things like Y2K seriously... Icon, because I wasn't officially on-call that night, and had already consumed several of...
I didn't get paid an extra bean. They even chained up the door to the computer centre just in case the heating control system set fire to everything, that's how confident they were. (I did point out that this was the same type of heating control system that covered student halls, which were still occupied by a few overseas students over Christmas)
Just after midnight, I quickly checked the most critical systems, said "Meh, my stuff's fine, everything else can go whistle" and went back to partying like it wasn't 1999 any more.
Some sites turned EVERYTHING off, just in case. Some of them then discovered that leaving stuff powered down but still plugged in won't necessarily save it from a nearby lightning strike. Just when you think you've covered all possibilities in your disaster recovery plan, Mother Nature says "Hold my beer".
I had one like that, but one day I snapped and delivered this...
"Don't worry, I'M the one they pay to Think Bad Thoughts And Make Sure They Never Happen !"
Apparently, he went over to someone else and asked "Suppose Chris goes under a bus...?"
No that he got any sympathy there either - "Well, we can only hope he'll take you with him !"
I still have a cheque book, but I haven't issued one in over a decade - seems the last one I issued was to that place up in Kendal that services Leatherman tools. (I made the mistake of lending mine to a friend who messed up half the blades, but they sorted it out, and said friend is no longer allowed to borrow or use any of my stuff)
So it's coming up to Christmas, an academic wanders in to my office and throws his coat open like a flasher mac.
"Oh my God, what have I done to deserve this ?" I asked myself. Then I noticed he was fully-clothed and there was a bottle in each of the inner pockets.
"Thanks for everything you've done this year - would you like a bottle of red or white ?"
(Yesh, it'sh the one with pocketsh big enough to take Clanking Bottlesh of Joy - hic !)
I also hear the L-word used for systems that people want to get rid of, but they hope that they can just stick it in a corner and hope it will eventually biodegrade because the New Shiny Thing Is Coming.
I've ended up nursing a lot of these poor old things, making people plan properly for migrations, making sure data gets backed up (or destroyed) as appropriate, and doing all the things necesary to take a system out of service without any unforseen consequences.
(Maybe I need a new job title and business cards - should I be "Systems Executioner" or "The Decommissioner" ?)
I've previously documented one machine that was sat on a carpet of cigarette ash. I had to work on that machine wearing a mask and thick latex gloves, and it was totally yellowed with all the nicotine.
By "fix", I meant removing the hard disk and cleaning it outside, placing the rest of the machine in a thick bin bag, and sealing it up tight. "The fans are gunked, the processor is totally fried, and this kind of damage voids the warranty. You'll have to buy a new one and it's not coming out of our budget".
I played it on the Spectrum, and Commander King was a serious Space Bastard.
Most of my cargo was drugs, firearms or slafes. and anyone stupid enough to shoot first got added to the manifest as "Slaves 1t" if they ejected and I had space in the cargo hold. I even used the undocumented key to abort hyperjump and pick fights with the Thargoids in their own back yard (Witch Space) because 50Cr a bug-head and a reduced criminal status usually came in jolly handy.
I also hit a weird bug (and not a Thargoid either) with one of the special missions - the one with the ECM Jammer. Normally, this is one hop to the system next door, the jammer kicks in and you loose off all four of your missiles at the hijacked station to destroy it. I had to make a 50LY journey, scooping fuel as I went and having to fight guns-only because I needed all four missiles for the station. That's no fun when most stars are patrolled by some nutter with with a bad dose of sunstroke telling you you can't have any of "his" fuel.
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