* Posts by Tweets

20 posts • joined 5 Oct 2009

Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'


I used to work for an ISP

Back in the 1990's, before the Internet was particularly wide spread, I used to work for one of the bigger ISP's.

I'd been there so long, I was asked to literally 'write the book' on how the DNS systems worked, with instructions on how the data was propagated, how each server talked to each other, and the types of resource record that could be created.

Sadly, the dotcom bust happened and I was out of a job.

Some six months later, to make it easier to do things, I needed a new TXT RR created in the DNS zone file.

So I called up the new Tech Support team.

And told them precisely what to write in the file, down to the last full stop.

"Ma'am, we can't do that, it would be an illegal entry in the DNS Zone file."

"Oh, but you can do this. I know you can."

"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but it's not possible."

"I see. May I speak to your manager, John Smith?" (I knew he still worked there!)

"Yes, may I take your name so that I can pass the message on correctly?"

Don't know why he hadn't asked this so far, but eh... it happens.

"Lisa Lyons"

You could hear the silence, as if gears were slowly grinding....

"Where do I know that name from?"

"Take a look at the bottom of your DNS training document!"


"And if you read page 12, paragraph 8, you will find that it IS possible to add the record I need you do add."

"Errrmmm.... I'm sorry."

Apple slings bug-fixed iOS 9.0.1 at fanbois, PIN bypass hole still open


Still not fixed the Game Center problems!

Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight


The second in UTC is defined as the length of time taken for 9,192,631,770 cycles of the caesium 133 atom produced by the transition between two levels.

So why can't we simply extend a second by a few cycles of caesium? It's not as if we would notice!

Microsoft sez soz over Windows 10 'freebie' balls-up


Would it be too much to ask, just provide a web site that you can enter your Win 7 or Win 8 license key, and it will generate a brand new Win 10 one? I really don't want to have to install my OS once more, just to roll back to the old OS... just so I can then re-upgrade to Win 10 when it IS released.

SPICEWORKS FAIL: Are we ready for ‘social’ network administration?


Well, it looks like Spiceworks are being very transparent about this matter...


BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP


20 years ago, an email signature was frowned upon, if it was more than 4 lines long! It's because so many people were still paying for access per BYTE of data! :)

I really wish those rules of thumb had stuck, but of course as bandwidth increased, emails started to incorporate HTML/CSS... and of course, all email servers now send the email in two parts, so that there is still a plain text version.

And someone saw that you could make emails pretty... so why can't you make footers pretty?

And that was the end, my friends, of a more simple time.

BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog


I'm a long-time Sky broadband customer... But when you consider they STILL don't have 5GHz in their wifi hubs, and their T's & C's expressly forbid the use of any other modem?

I'm really starting to think about moving elsewhere.

Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20


From version 0.99a I was hooked! I STILL have CD's and manuals from the early days... and two massive 16oz mugs with rubber cups/bottoms that I use regularly!

The Internet was so innocent back then, and since I celebrate 20 years of working in the Internet industry in just 10 days... I raise a glass to Netscape; ahhh sweet memory.

And for the former Demon users...

I was the Tech Support manager for CityScape Internet, whom Demon eventually brought... Then I moved to tech support for PIPEX Dial! So, I DO remember trying to run an ISP on a 64kb leased line... and I DO remember the early days when winsock.dll was preinstalled/recompiled, or even overwritten by some badly written software!

Ahhh... those days.

Will we ever can the spam monster?


Re: Yes, but the ISPs won't co-operate

Yaay for PIPEX and the IWF! I worked for PIPEX For a very long time!

As for Spam

Technology changes. Spammers change. Our defences? Sadly do not. This is the biggest problem that I see.

Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0



Reminds me of how GURPS was sold/handled...Dang I miss GURPS! THAT was an amazingly flexible system!

Mind you, I think I must have played about 20 different systems, but nothing could compare to the time my leprachaun got drop-kicked into the maw of a firebreathing demon!

AV for Mac


I use Kaspersky and it appears to do a good job. At least no additional bars or rubbish to clog the mac up...

3CX PBX for Windows: Everything you ever wanted from a phone system


What about source routing? Routing of calls, rewriting of numbers, based on which of the users is making the call?

Also, obviously, the author hasn't looked at some of the other asterisk offerings, since Kerio has been doing this in Operator for a while now (and yes, I work for Kerio for the next 2 weeks, but as an admin of an Operator box, can honestly say that there are alternatives out there that CAN be easy to use!)

Twenty classic arcade games

Thumb Up

Surprised that Golden Axe isn't in there! It was one of the few games from that same era that to me summarised it almost as well as Star Wars! Spent many a £ on Gauntlet, Star Wars and Golden Axe!

Are your landlines buried in the stone age?


We scrapped our BT ISDN phone lines two years ago and I have never looked back!

I use Kerio Operator, with VoIP Unlimited as an ITSP (SIP Provider). All I need to have now is a leased line (which I already had for our corporate base) and away I go! I don't need BT any more and would seriously recommend to anyone considering SIP to give it a go! Now I just need to eke out a little more bandwidth, because the proliferation of HD codec devices and soft phones (running as apps on android or iphone/ipad, or on laptops) means that I have had thirty concurrent calls, plus conferences at the same time. Seriously stretches a line. Ah well, double bandwidth should be coming in next year!

Just a tip.

If you are looking at a move to SIP, do it in stages.

1: Speak to your ITSP and see if they will allow you to have all outgoing phones first. This will let you guage how powerful your internet connection is, and if VoIP will run over it smoothly.

2: Once you believe that outgoing calls are trouble-free, it should be a simple job to transfer your incoming numbers to your ITSP.

3: Finally, decide on an external access policy. If you are going to allow your users to use softphones, remember that if you are behing a firewall, it will need to be configured. You will need to allow SIP and RTP, both of which should be in your PBX software.

If you find you have no sound, but can make calls? RTP isn't going through (in about 90% of cases).

UK Gov, and privacy invasion without a safety net


Abuse and PR?

Found myself on a list of people overseeing a new Abuse (as in physical abuse) campaign... was kinda shocked to see the kinds of language being used in trying to write the campaign.

Thankfully I asked just once to be removed and they did so. Can't imagine how a PR agency and .gov accounts got my email address.

BOFH: Key performance undertakers



Please say this isn't the end of the BOFH!!!

Good article as ever, Simon! Happy BOFH christmas to you!

How Google became Microsoft: A decade of hits, misses and gaffes



I'm a little surprised that the near bankruptsy of WorldCom didn't actually make it into your list, considering the 70 BILLION dollars worth of fraud that was subsequently uncovered... cost thousands of IT bods their jobs and ended up in one of the biggest IT near-collapses ever!

PrevX U-turn on Windows update Black screen of Death claim


Black screen woes

I can confirm that it does happen... my husband and I both upgraded to Win 7 and recently his PC started to give the black screen when booting. We wondered if it was because he has three HDD's in the system and one wasn't spinning up quickly enough for the system to recognise, as a reboot often fixed the problem.

I think we'll try the PreVX solution next time it happens, to see if this is indeed the problem.

Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?


I posted one yesterday...

... but I remembered this one while reading some of the fab responses!

It's not exactly funny, but does go to show that there really are some shallow people who call helpdesks...

I was working for a major ISP at the time that 911 came around. We were all watching it streaming, from the bbc web site... and the ISP in question was actually responsible for the leased line of the bbc, so you can see where this is going.

Anyway, the bbc web servers were getting overloaded, major problems serving that live video feed the the millions that wanted to know... so essentially shut down.

And then the calls start, to us, asking why they couldn't get to the bbc!

It was our very difficult duty to advise them that the news events of the day were causing a massive overload of the network and to be patient, the system will right itself eventually.

I got asked by one woman "What events? I just wanted to check the lottery results"... had to tell her to turn on the TV and sit down with a large drink!


My modem isn't working!

I've worked in a helpdesk environment solidly, from 1994 til now.

Things are improving these days, with users finally getting a clue, but I'll never forget the call received while I worked in dial up support for a large ISP...

"Hi, My modem doesn't work"

"OK, and what's the make, please?"

"US Robotics?"

"Perfect, is it a 9600 baud modem, or a 14400?"

"A what?"

"If you turn the case upside down, what does the decription say?"

"Oh... 14400... I think"

"OK, and can you tell me what happens when you try and use it."

"It doesn't get any power."

"You mean none of the lights come on?"


At this point, all I can hear is uncertainty in her voice. And I've got this sinking feeling of dread.

"So, you plug it in to the power socket and lights come on?"

"No lights"

"Ah, OK. No lights. Can you check the back of the case and make sure that nothing is bent where the power cable goes in?"

"Ummm... hang on, I'll go get the case."

"Wait, you said you have the modem in front of you?"

"Yes, but the case is still laying at the bottom of the stairs where I dropped it!"



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