- RoadRunner Re-IP'd My Subnet: It happened in the middle of the night. I woke up this morning and nothing was working. This is the first time they (RR) have ever done this, at least as far as I can recall. So if you had any of the UT servers in your favorites list, those addresses are now obsolete. Select the servers from the UT browser and you'll be O.K.
- I Still Hate ATI Drivers: But as it turns out, my UT crashes had nothing at all to do with them. The problem turned out to be an out-of-date (vintage 2007) RTL8139 NIC driver. Looking back, this should have been obvious because whenever the system crashed it made a horrendously load BUZZING SOUND, a sign that "something" was stomping all over the soundcard. Obvious because I've seen this issue at least a dozen times over the years. Both the soundcard and the NIC are built-in devices and both are manufactured by RealTek. I did an "update from the Internet" on the NIC and it found a driver from Feb. 2008. Things have been fine ever since. Too easy!
- Marvell NICs Are Not Marvellous: In fact they suck major ass. In the early days of Experimental v1.0 I put a lot of time into making a wireless UT server using one of these pieces of dogshit. It was disastrous. That NIC ended up in my "other" Windows system, which among other things has a "secure" 802.11b dedicated point-to-point connection with a Webcam. That Windows box has been shitting itself for months, so on a lark I swapped out the Marvell NIC with a RaLink NIC and its incontinent days are over. The system is solid as a rock.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Seriously, I have way too much free time.
Last Sunday, I woke up, got a cup of coffee and checked my Gmail. Of course, most of my Gmail consists of Google Alerts. For about two years I've had an alert on "suicide", due to a tinfoil hat theory of mine concerning SSRIs. That morning, there were a ton of "suicide" alerts, among them an unusual number of murder-suicides.
This story caught my eye first. It had everything: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy kills girl, boy blows his brains out.
And, as it turns out, that is the story of 90% of murder-suicides. Typically a "white guy" crime, the killer is in his mid-40s and has had an on-going relationship with the victim, who is female and, on average, six years younger.
Statistically, there are 1000-1500 incidents of this crime per year. This means you can expect two to five murder-suicides per day, which is absolutely perfect for a specialty news aggregation blog.
I was absolutely certain someone had already done it, so I checked BlogSpot to see if the name was free. And, surprisingly, it was.
I've been doing it for less than a week now and I've gotten 21 hits from my Google News Alerts. The blog isn't a happy place, but it's not a happy subject. It just happens, and it happens with astounding regularity.
Click here to check it out.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I'm really at a loss to explain this, but apparently some clown took it upon himself to DoS mrhinkydink.com.
It didn't work.
Hell, I didn't even notice until over a month later.
303,819 requests from someone with a UserAgent of Links (2.1pre36; Linux 2.6.24-1-686 i686; 80x24). So many hits Links took the #3 browser spot in one day.
If I didn't know better I'd swear that was me (wrong Linux version, but I do use Links quite a lot - completely automated to fill out the Proxy List).
And why Election Day? Did some neocon confuse me with that other MrHinkyDink?
We may never know.
Since I've been doing this crap at work for a few weeks now, I decided to aggregate my Google Alerts into a service for IT Security Pros and ethusiasts. The result: HINKY LINKS at blogspot.com!
Hopefully this means I won't bore you to death with this security crap anymore.
Any more than I have to. lol
Anyway, it's not as brutal on the eyes as this black background theme (most security wonks use the same theme on BlogSpot - a very curious phenom) and since it's primarily cut-and-paste the upkeep should be simple (famous last words).
But I am good at this, and even though it's not quite as fresh as it could be at the moment, I get content coming into my gmail account constantly. If you were a coworker, Hinky Links is exactly what you'd see at my work blog.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
For months, the Proxy List has been inadvertently tracking the spread of the Koobface virus.
Koobface is spread via the social engineering of Facebook users, prompting them to view a video of themselves that requires (surprise) the installation of an "updated" (translation: BOGUS) Flash player that subsequently zombifies the user's computer, installing a proxy server (tinyproxy.exe) running on TCP port 9090.
Koobface was allegedly discovered in August 2008. The Proxy List has been reporting proxies on port 9090 since March 2008 (to be exact, three days after the beginning of the Proxy Project).
Granted, a proxy on port 9090 does not imply that tinyproxy.exe is running on that port, but given anti-virus companies are so far behind the curve on protecting consumers from malware, a five-month "0day" status is not unheard of.
According to my proxy database, port 9090 started in March, ticked up in April, took the months of May and June off, and started rising from July through October. In November, it exploded. So much that port 9090 is now the fifth most common port for verified proxies (meaning, they worked at least once) in the database, only a few hundred away from knocking port 3128 (SQUID, CoDeeN) off the #4 spot.
Not surprisingly, the top three infected countries (US, GB, CA) are all English-speaking. The DNS names, with a handfull of exceptions, all reflect consumer ISPs.
There is some serious Facebook ownage going on, and this probably explains the surge in Cameroon users I reported last week.
Is it advisory-worthy? No. The press has been doing a fair job of getting the word out. The security discussion lists (BugTraq, FullDisclosure, et al) have been, as usual, silent/worthless on the entire subject. That's what really pisses me off. I spend a great deal of time sifting through the lists for security information and 90% of that turns out to be wasted effort. In fact, 100% of the information on Koobface came from my own Google Alerts and independent research.
Why do I bother?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Going over the statistics for the Proxy List, I noticed a new trend. Over 27% of my unique users come from Cameroon. In fact these folks (Cameroonis?) have taken the top spot from the USA and pushed Spain down to #3 (I never did look into why Spain was so fond of proxies but they were always there at the #2 spot consistently).
Although I have been shown to be out of the loop on hardware issues, I'm generally well-informed when it comes to security. And my own Web site. I think.
So I hit up Google on the subject and found this story. Here is a telling excerpt:
Scamming has become a very lucrative business among youths, especially among university students most of whom have either abandoned studies or graduated and are jobless. Through this new-found medium of getting easy wealth, youths now drive posh cars and own the latest design of mobile phones. In the small University of Buea community, there is a new group of affluent youths who inundate bars on a daily basis and stay all day long in cyber cafes, luring and defrauding gullible people.Also I found this recent article concerning cheap Internet availability in Cameroon. Check out the vid on that page for "Super Camerooni".
Arguably, scamming is one of the most booming and ‘admired’ industry that employs thousands of youths throughout the country. Police sources revealed to The Post that internet scamming greatly tarnishes the image of the country, eroding its credibility. Meanwhile, The Post learnt that it is difficult to charge and prosecute scammers since it is difficult either for the victims (most or all of whom are foreigners) to come to Cameroon and make claims in court or show evidence that they were defrauded by one individual or the other.
Whether this is a new development or just under-reported, it's news to me. I know the security lists have been mum on the subject (419 scams are usually brushed off, there's never any new info). Perhaps all African scammers are labelled "Nigerian" just to save column space. Regardless, Cameroonis are hitting the list like a red headed stepchild at Kroger's (local joke, I think). Scammers need proxies. I have proxies, which, for the most part, I have stolen from scammers (the database has nearly a million proxies - mostly dead - that came from a single scammer site).
Does that make me an accessory? I hope not. If it does I'd like a percentage for my trouble, thank you.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Now, they're searching for little old me!
Awww... isn't that sweet?
CoDeeN-Free AT LAST
Things have changed slightly on The List. I have finally kept my original "CoDeeN-Free" promise. The servers are there, but have been moved into three text files. One has all CoDeeN servers, another has just USA CoDeeN servers, and the last has only non-USA servers.
I moved them because most were found on the same day and since the list is sorted by "date found" they took up about 4 contiguous pages. And besides, no one really likes them and they're generally avoided.
In fact, some Rat Bastard CoDeeN server operator in fucking POLAND bitched to my ISP because I pulled five lousy pages off his server! FIVE LOUSY PAGES! Maybe 8K max! Creep! Run a PUBLIC PROXY and WHINE when THE PUBLIC uses it? Utter nonsense. Die, bitch!
Plus, this fucker's proxy is all over the Web. (Check this out as well.) Why pick on Hinky?
What really pissed me off is that this is a network torn off from NeoStrada, which is where a lot of the UT cheatzors come from.
Anyway, I put his address somewhere where it won't be used again (by me), but I left it in the CoDeeN list just to piss him off.
As it turns out, I was the out of the loop on this one. I didn't get the memo.
These suckers are notorious. Who knew? There was, in fact, a class action suit filed against IBM because of them and techies have been calling them "Deathstar" drives for years (and I thought I had just now cleverly made that up).
NOW they tell me.
It was about a year ago that one of these suckers brought down BOT House. It was months before I could recover the data. And that was a fluke.
I had, unwisely, bought two of these damned things. The other I installed in a Windows XP system for my kid, Rinky Dink. That particular drive died last week. This turned out to be good timing since he was coming home for Thanksgiving. He dragged his whole system home for Dad to fix. (He also brought his bride-to-be, the future Twinky Dink, home with him. Nice girl. She knows the wireless password now, so she's part of the family whether she likes it or not. Unfortunately, she's a Mac user.)
When I popped it out and looked at it, I noticed his drive and the BOT House drive were manufactured almost exactly a year apart. And they died almost exactly a year apart. We both got about three years out of them. Very suspicious, since they had a 3 year warranty (coincidence? I don't think so!).
Lucky for him, Dad doesn't do Thanksgiving (being an atheist as well as a vegetarian), so I took another Busman's Holiday to fix his system. Since it died the week before I had time to pre-order a Western Digital 160G replacement drive.
I would've gotten a larger drive but all they (TigerDirect) had were... that's right... Hitachi drives! In fact it seems IDE drives are going the way of CRT monitors. They were outnumbered 4:1 by SATA drives. You probably won't be able to buy IDE drives this time next year. Stock up now because the price of Old Tech always goes up (with the exception of those CRT monitors).
Plan A was to GHOST the drive and fix the OS after getting a clean copy.
There was no Plan B.
I know there are some excellent Open Source alternatives, but I'm an old hand at GHOST'ing, although I haven't used it on a daily basis since the late 90s. I first encountered it in 1996 when it was called "General Hardware Orientated System Transfer".
"Orientated". That always irritated me, from the moment I saw the version 1.0 startup screen. The correct term is "Oriented", dickwad. English, motherfucker, do you speak it? Stupid shit. What a joke.
And that joker laughed all the way to the bank after he sold GHOST to Symantec.
I have version 8.3 (c. 2005) and 7.5 (c. 2000). I started with 8.3 since it was written after Windows XP and it didn't seem wise to use a version that pre-dated XP by a couple of years.
That was my first mistake. 8.3 simply hung trying to read the drive ("hung" is not the right word, it infinitely reset the drive and showed no sign of ever stopping). I dropped back to 7.5 and the same thing happened. I started playing with command-line switches and had better luck, but it would copy about 13% of the drive and die. I did this until about 4AM Thanksgiving morning, when I finally hit on the right combination:
GHOST -NTIC -FRO -BFC -IA -ORI finally got past 13% so I let it run and hit the sack. When I woke up it had an hour to go. I spent the time playing UT (and getting slaughtered). When it was finished it had found a total of 64 bad blocks.
I booted it up, Windows ran CHKDSK, rebooted, and... everything was fine!
Except I had an 80G drive image on a 160G disk. The command line options I used precluded resizing. I used gparted to do the resizing, which got slightly complicated because the data drive was on an extended partition. Extended partitions can't be moved and I needed to do that because some idiot (me) only allocated 20G for the C: drive and Rinky was constatntly running out of space on it. That required backing it up, resizing the system partition to a comfortable 60G, creating a 100G data partition, and restoring the data.
I was done by about noon Thanksgiving morning.
Still, those 64 bad blocks are a concern. Who knows what was on them? Apparently not the OS or it would never have booted. So far everything seems OK, and the application that was nearest and dearest to Rinky's heart (World of Warcraft) was on the data partition, which survived intact.
So we have a Happy Ending for all concerned and I have learned a Valuable Lesson (Google before you buy anything). If you have a Deathstar, back it up now.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Anyone who has spent any hard time in a corporation or bureaucracy knows that there are certain management fads that make the rounds. There is no escape. It's going to happen and it usually happens for a reason.
For our previous CIO, whose job it was to reorganize the IT department it was Who Moved My Cheese.
Back then, if you were a middle manager and didn't have a copy of the book prominently displayed somewhere in your loser cruiser or on your desktop, you could end up being branded as some sort of corporate insurgent. It was everywhere. The most faithful always carried a copy with them to meetings to spread the faith whether they believed it (or read it) or not.
The latest CIO is proselytizing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Ugh. Not again. The less said about that nonsense, the better. That crap has been making the rounds for almost twenty years now.
But this isn't about cheese or habits or CIOs. It's about IT Security and the CSO.
A few months back, the CSO sent us this link (don't bother reading it, it is crap) to an article on "Lean Security" and noted we would be hearing more about it in the months to come.
Uh-oh. In my mind that meant "here come the budget cuts, kiddies!"
I dutifully read the article and before going beyond the second paragraph I got an erie feeling of déjà vu.
I knew I had read it before, but something was different. The subject had come up in the late 90s, but back then it was "Lean IT". As I read on I became convinced that the author had simply recycled the "Lean IT" article by searching for "IT" and replacing it with "Security".
It was an astounding epiphany. "What now?" I asked myself. Was this going to be the Next Big Thing industry-wide? In order to answer that I created - what else? - a Google News Alert for "Lean Security".
The were very few hits over the next few months, and nearly all of them pointed back to the same article the CSO had provided a link to. That settled the "industry-wide" question in my own mind. There was no buzz. Anywhere.
The CSO never mentioned it again.
This brings us to the sock puppets. It turns out there's a Lean Enterprise Institute. They've been responsible for distributing this crud for over 11 years. It figures. They even have a Lean Forum, and that's where my most recent Google Alert came from. It pointed to this thread, which goes like this:
Sock Puppet #1: I've read several articles of applying LEAN principles to security operations. Can anyone suggest additional readings? Just a really interesting concept for me. Thanks!
Sock Puppet #2: It makes sense. Security is just another process, with a specified outcome.
Sock Puppet #3: I'd be happy to discuss this topic with you. I have co-authored the original article on applying lean principles to security and will continue a series of columns in Security Technology & Design Magazine for the next 10 months.
Oh, brother. Nothing stands out like a self-serving clusterfuck.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Here's a little bedtime story about Life in Hinky Dink's Security World.
Back in the Old Days, when l33t H@X0Rs and scriptkidz wrote viruses just for lulz and masssive IT butthurt (as well as worldwide credz) and had no clue how to make The Big Bucks pimping juicy 0day hax for e-gold, anti-virus companies used to send out newsletters enumerating newly discovered lulzware.
Back then (c. 2001-2005), people used to like to make the Security Team look bad by being better informed about such matters. We had to stay one step ahead, ready with a risk assessment at the drop of a hat. It was simple. In those days, viruses and worms travelled from East to West. Some guy in Hong Kong would go to work at 8AM, open an email, get infected, and begin the process of spewing lulz all over the Intertubes. By the time 8AM rolled around to New York City, most of Europe and Asia would be already infected and the security mailing lists would be well ahead of the anti-virus vendors (it was a funny time - all the "security experts" on those lists got hit the hardest and were generally the most butthurt of them all).
Scanning the lists and sending out local alerts became part of my job. If something was serious enough an email would be blasted to the entire IT department. Since this tended to make otherwise only mildly neurotic server room Trevs completely shit their pance and go into Full Panic Mode, it was avoided as much as possible. It was more important to keep them calm and focused. Otherwise they'd get so scared they wouldn't come back from lunch. For days (I'm not kidding).
At the very least, I would email the security team just to keep them informed. The same went for security patches and the like. It was extrememly important to keep on top of things. It still is.
That was then, this is now. Anti-virus companies can't keep up with the malware anymore and they don't send out alerts (in fact, AV is hardly any defense anymore). The Security mailing lists are just short of useless. The oneupsmanship is gone, mostly because now it's all about patches and the server room Trevs hate patching. As far as they're concerned patches don't exist and they never heard anything about them.
And instead of three people in the Team, there are now nine security droids. Most of them are newbs, and will freely admit it. And with minor exceptions they appreciate the "heads up" email I - used to - send.
Everyone except His Nibbs, the Chief Security Officer.
To be fair, the CSO gets a lot of email and it causes him unbearable butthurt. It's so bad he's just now answering emails from last May (again, totally serious). In this respect he is an extremely poor communicator. I'm convinced he does this on purpose for "plausible deniability", but a large part of the problem is all his responses must be perfect in every detail, the right font, the right bullet, the right signature, pertinent hyperlinks, etc. so it takes him the better part of an hour to respond - masterfully - to a single e-mail.
It was no big surprise that the Directive came down to "Stop Discussing Things In Email". The Team didn't stop. We simply refrained from cc'ing him. This worked very well, the CSO was oblivious, and everyone was happy, until one day His Nibbs got a hard-on for a huge, steaming pile of Microsoft SHIT called SharePoint.
Then we got a new Directive, "Start Discussing Things In Sharepoint".
OK, fine. I moved my "alerts'n'stuff" to the SharePoint Discussion Board. Only there was one problem: when you discuss something it sends everyone in the Team an email notifying you of the new discussion. When someone joined into the discussion, everyone got another e-mail. Net effect: no change in the amount of e-mail you received.
Frankly, this is configurable. You don't have to do it and there are other ways (RSS) to get some kind of notification. So then Mr. CSO had a Bright Idea: we would vote on whether or not to turn off e-mail notifications. The "Or Not's" won.
Honestly, I think most of the Team voted it down because the CSO was such a whiner about e-mail. (Note to CSOs who may be reading this: Democracy does not work in your favor. Whether you like it or not - and most do - you are a Dictator. So start acting like one and stop being a Whiny Little Bitch.)
After that, Yet Another Directive came down from the CSO: "Only Discuss Things That I Want To Discuss On The Discussion Board".
That immediately put an end to all discussion, all email notifications, etc. The crickets moved in and the Discussion Board promptly died. Not only did he not want to discuss anything, but the things he wanted to discuss amounted to nothing but Boring Shit. Plus he used it as a venue for new Directives, which, in his perfect and sublime mind, require no discussion. Who would dare argue with the CSO? Problem solved.
Naturally, the Team went back to e-mailing each other without cc'ing the CSO. "Fuck that noise" was the general consensus.
Noticing the Discussion Board traffic dropped down to nothing, and thoroughly annoyed by the all chirping crickets, the CSO decreed SharePoint should be expanded to include Blogs.
Therefore, New Directive: "Discuss Things I Don't Want To Discuss In Your Blog" or, more aptly, "Put That Shit Somewhere I'll Never Have To See It".
I became a reluctant, but prolific, Corporate SharePoint Blogger, starting out with a series on Why You Shouldn't Blog At Work Or Anywhere Else (there are no guidelines, no policy, no list of "Do's and Dont's", nothing). I made certain all my blogs were simple Cut & Paste articles. No original content whatsoever, with proper attribution and a link to the original whenever possible. I don't "say" anything and I'm going to keep it that way until these bozos can tell me what kind of trouble I'm getting myself into.
So that goes on for a few days and one morning I get a call from the CSO. It seems the CFO got her panties all in a bunch about the Pentagon getting infected with a virus and he wanted to know what the Hell was going on.
"Oh," I said, nonchalantly, "DIDN'T YOU READ MY BLOG? I WROTE ABOUT THAT TWO DAYS AGO."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Here's a screen cap for posterity just in case they discover the error of their ways.
Very curious. I figure it must have been the Recombo DNA video, which I created for my tinfoil hat e. coli theory from last year.
Either that or last year's celebration of National Handwashing Week or my dissertation on towels, hotels, and MRSA tipped them off that I was some sort of health guru.
Whatever the reason, I'm honored.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I removed "everything Apple" (iTunes, Bonjour, QuickTime, etc.) from my system and UT99 stopped crashing.
For about a week.
Then it started up again, so I gave in and downloaded the ATI Radeon Driver-of-the-Month (dated last Thursday) and installed it. Usually this is guaranteed to lose me forty five minutes of my life.
Not this time. It was more like three hours and a dozen or so reboots and fucking around with the Windows XP registry.
But it did work. UT stopped crashing. I played several rounds at BOT House and EXP3 and was very satisfied that the system was stable again. I might even put that Apple crap back on.
Then... I noticed something.
My CD and DVD drives had vanished. They had the "yellow piss stain of shame" in Device Manager and they didn't show up in Windows Explorer.
I did the usual: uninstall and let Windows rediscover them, reboot, and... nothing.
Same story over and over, "Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)"
It was getting late, so I went to bed. After my first cup of coffee the next morning I had a moment of crystal clarity:
"GOOGLE IT YOU FUCKING USELESS MORON!!!"
Take this as a lesson: "Google first, fuck around second!"
It seems this is a very common problem although why a video driver update would affect IDE drives baffles me (although I am easily baffled these days... probably due to the early onset of Alzheimer's).
Then, while bitching and whining about this problem on a message board, someone pointed out there was an option: Omega Drivers. It turns out some clown with too much time on his hands has been tweaking the ATI reference drivers for a few years (he also does NVidia and 3dfx).
That was news to me.
I downloaded the "latest" (January '08) Omega driver, but decided against installing it because all the tweaks seem to be centered around the Catalyst interface, which I despise and never install (and yes I did install it as part of the troubleshooting process - it didn't help and only contributes to an extra long login process while it does... whatever it does).
I might be compelled to try it out if someone can give me a testamonial. The research I did indicates all the performance "enhancements" are subjective and anecdotal, but if they helped you out, let me know.
The ATI Driver-of-the-Month crashed, so I installed the Omega driver. It crashed too, but the system recovered with only a screwed-up desktop resolution (and brightness/contrast/gamma) when I quit UT.
Also, there is no Catalyst driver whatsoever, so it's not as bad as I thought.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
A while back, I went to my local Microcenter and stumbled across a bin full of cheap ($5.97) USB Webcams.
I have this thing about cheap (upper limit: $19.95) USB Webcams. I have a whole collection of them. They all suck, and I expect them to suck, but I can't stop buying them.
So I bought one, took it home, plugged it into the nearest Linux box I could get my hands on, and the sucker worked!
This is unheard of. The next day I went back and bought five more (I'd include a link for these things but even the manufacturer - Sakar - doesn't seem to know they exist). Since then I've been researching ways to use them and learned a whole lot of Things I Didn't Know About USB Webcams And Linux, even though I've been banging my head against the wall on just this very subject for over three years now.
And so begins a series of blogs on what I've learned.
But what if you don't have a Webcam, USB or otherwise? Why, use someone else's!
This subject has been beaten to death on the security front since the heyday of the X10 cam (remember those wonderful popup ads?), so I don't feel compelled to issue a Hinky Dink Security Advisory on it. But the fact is, people are silly enough to leave Webcams up 24x7 in their living rooms, bedrooms, front windows, etc. ever since they started selling these things.
Consider this scene of domestic bliss (left).
I've been watching this cam for about a year now (they eventually mounted that large screen TV over the fireplace). I have the URL saved as one of my favorites and whenever I get bored I tune in to see what's going on.
I honestly think they forogt they had a Webcam, but it's been moved at least once in the last six or eight months, so somebody knows it's there.
Perhaps their housekeeper (right) moved it. This was the original position of the Webcam.
Am I creeping you out yet? Sometimes I creep myself out with this shit, but when they put the big screen TV on the wall (it took forever) I showed it to my wife (Pinky Dink) and she only gave me a mildly dirty look.
A mildly dirty look, mind you.
In fact we watched the progress of the TV installation together (we're getting one sooner or later and were interested in how complex the operation was - we have since decided not to go with a wall mount).
How do you find these gems? You should know this one by now. It's GOOGLE of course, silly! There are a number of different brands of Webcams that identify themselves by the URL required to access them. The most famous is this simple search:
You will get thousands of hits. And then, suddenly, Google will decide you must be either a virus or a Creepy Internet Stalker Dude and will stop sending results.
Well, that's only one brand. My wireless Webcam uses a different URL, so I decided to search on it. Here it is:
There you have it. If you stumble upon my friends with the chubby housekeeper and the big screen TV, take it easy on their bandwidth. I'm fond of those people. It takes me back to a time when I was a young and stupid newlywed myself.
Ah, the memories.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
In January of this year I decided to blow my Christmas Bonus on a new PC for my Winter Project, MythTV. If I had it to do all over again, I probably wouldn't have bought the hardware I did, namely the Asus Pundit P-1 AH2 shown below.
I "fixed" that by buying a run-of-the mill SoundBlaster card for thirty-ish bucks. That doesn't break the bank, but together with the PC-HDTV card I bought it does max out the number of PCI slots this little guy comes with. I don't like that. There should always be a spare slot.
Fast forward nine months later and we're still in "Winter Project" mode. I couldn't bring this thing into production until it was wife-proof. First, "mythtv-backend", the service that runs everything, simply refused to start up automatically most of the time. I just couldn't see myself on the phone with my wife...
"OK, honey, just open a shell and type 'sudo /etc/init.d/mythtvbackend start', plug in the root password and hit Enter."
That's just not acceptable. Pinky understands On/Off buttons. She thinks a "shell" is some kind of macaroni.
As it turned out, that issue was due to DHCP. Once the IP address was hard-coded, the backend process started every time. That was just one problem.
Not long after that issue went away, the box started taking forever to boot up. The pretty splash screen would disappear and the screen would stay at...
Activating swap drive swap
And that turned out to be The Problem. The code used the /tmp partition heavily. There were literally hundrends of thousands of tiny temporary files I neglected to delete. The system was hanging on the /etc/init.d/bootclean script, which cleans out the /tmp folder every time the system restarts. There were simply too many files to delete in a reasonable amount of time.
In fact I couldn't delete them, so I reformatted the /tmp partition. Then I had to mess around with the permissions to make it world-writable again.
"rm -f /tmp/*" will not work if you ever find yourself in this situation, due to limitations of the command line interface. Since most people don't create a dedicated /tmp partition, if this ever happens to you, Google "Linux bulk file delete".
In retrospect, this issue may have been self-inflicted. I made all the partitions, except the root partition, JFS (Journaling File System) because I had read that JFS is the perfect filesystem for MythTV because it can delete very large files very fast. In the early days (1998-2000ish) JFS was known to have problems with multiple small files, but that issue was reported to be fixed. Perhaps it wasn't. If this happens again I'll reformat the /tmp partition as ext3.
This one came up at work after a massive power outage. All my Linux boxes (none of which are "production") were flaky after the power came back on. One by one I got them all back into line except for our WikiMedia test server. MediaWiki ran, but it ran incredibly slow. Also, the vnc service was broken. But I had other things to do so I ignored it until The Boss (our new CSO) called to complain about MediaWiki being slow.
The MediaWiki issue was related to memcached, a performance enhancement that caches Web pages to memory. For security reasons, memcached listens for connections on the local interface (/dev/lo, also known as localhost or 127.0.0.1) because it's not the kind of service you want on the network listening for connections from just anywhere.
The problem was /lo was not coming up after reboot. Odd. "ifconfig lo up" fixed everything.
So that's that. Linux and I have had a love/hate relationship going on for over fourteen years now and I thought I knew it inside out. You learn something new every day, and if you don't or if you can't, it's time to look for another line of work.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
So I bought one to replace it.
I had a price I wanted to pay and a minimum system in mind. I thought I found it in this Lenovo system advertised at Tiger Direct (yes, I finally forgave... in fact I don't remember why I was mad now). The right amount of RAM, disk, good CPU, just the right price. It was perfect.
So perfect I put it in my cart and clicked for checkout. A "May we suggest..." panel was displayed for add-on accessories, one of which was a FUCKING AC ADAPTER FOR FIFTY BUCKS!!!
Six hundred bucks and YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU NEED TO CHARGE THE BATTERY.
But to be fair, there is no AC adapter in the "Photo Gallery", so you should just know that it's not included.
Disgusted, I dumped my cart and closed my browser.
A few days later I found the Acer laptop on the left. Same price, same specs (almost), and AC adapter included.
And no checkout surprises.
The big difference was the OS. The Lenovo came with XP Pro. The Acer with "Windows Vista Home Premium". Let's call it WVHP for short.
So I ordered it. The next day, Sunday, Hurricane Ike plowed through Ohio with 75mph winds, knocking our power out for 48 hours. It was weird. There was no rain, just wind. After it blew through, 230,000 people were powerless.
It took my mind off the laptop issue. We had no juice Sunday and came home to a dark house on Monday. Tuesday morning I dragged my three uninteruptible power supplies in to work (where we were on generator power) and charged them up. When we got home Tuesday evening the power was back on.
It figures. I spent most of that evening getting the UT servers, and the power supplies, back online.
Wednesday we came home and the laptop was sitting on the front porch, which severely pissed me off. The last time I bought a PC, UPS would not deliver it without a signature and here was a laptop that cost more than that PC, just sitting there.
But I got over it, unpacked the laptop, and gave it a rundown. Not a bad little unit, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with WVHP, which I expected. I was certain I was going to wipe it and install XP.
Being a Microsoft TechNet subscriber, I can get OS licenses for "free" (after the $400/year subscription fee), so I already had a valid license for XP. But I figured I'd give Vista one more shot and download "Windows Vista Ultimate Edition" (WVUE) just to see if it was any better than WVHP.
And it is. But it's not worth the extra eighty bucks.
I've had it running for a week now and I think I'll stick with it. The performance is fine if you ditch the "Aero" theme. I've heard all sorts of Bad Things about UAC ("User Account Control") in the press, but, oddly, it doesn't bother me at all. I think that comes from using Ubuntu for the past three years. If you want root access, you have to give Ubuntu your password every time, which can get really annoying (usually I just open a root shell anyway). Vista is the same way, but you don't have to plug in a password, just click through a few boxes. And if you want a "root shell" you only need run CMD.EXE as Administrator.
I don't see an issue with that at all.
The problem with Vista, as I see it, are all the stripped down "Home" versions. They are useless. Even the "Business Edition" sucks ass. Ultimate is the only way to fly. If you're curious about the differences, here's a chart to refer to. Don't pay any attention to the MSRPs since Vista is heavily discounted everywhere.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I'm always on the lookout for proxy news. You may remember this story about Florida government workers bypassing URL filtering in the workplace (one of my present job duties is Network Nazi for a large organization). And yes, I'm well aware of the proxy angle in the latest Palin Pwnage but I'm really tired of her and that's so "last week" anyway.
It seems this fellow decided to open his school's filtered proxy to the world so that students wouldn't have to be bothered entering a user name and password to use it.
"My thought was why would someone use a proxy that has a filter on it? "
The result: tens of thousands of users from all over the world slam his proxy, using it to forum-SPAM the planet, and resulting in his IP address getting blacklisted by Google ("We're Sorry...").
Then he decides the right thing to do is blog about his PWNAGE.
In a way this is commendable. I've known many admins who would attribute an event such as this one to "getting hacked" in one way or another and initiate a massive cover-up, but the guy did own up to screwing the pooch all by himself. (In fact, we have an assclown admin at work who smashed the Exchange servers single-handedly and the entire IT department, from the top down, conspired - successfully - to cover it up. This is one of the reasons they don't like security - we uncover the truth.)
Still, in many business environments, this is the kind of crap that gets you canned on the spot.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Yes, boys and girl, it has finally happened.
I finally beat that whiny little bitch over at Daily KOS (see below - click for a larger view).
I also have him beat in US search results as well, but it's my YouTube page. True, my Websense Policy Bypass video is still the number one Google hit for "Websense Policy Bypass" and has been for ten months, but it's just not the same as the Blogspot hit, which has been definitely affected by the Proxy List referrals.
The odd thing about that is China isn't even in the top 20 countries hitting that page (a fraction of one percent) and no one from China has ever played UT at any of the DinkNet servers.
But, obviously, they like me! They really like me!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I Still Hate ATI Drivers
I bought a new USB keyboard and mouse combo kit. I bought the combo because I have given up on wireless mice for the time being. Too many dead batteries.
When I started playing UT on the new keyboard the system consistently hung after about three games. I was convinced it was the new keyboard, so I finally dragged out my old keyboard.
Same deal. The system would just freeze and the sound card would make a loud, annoying sound. Like a buzzsaw. Had to hit the Big Button to get her back. Then I remembered that at about the same time I bought the keyboard & mouse I had upgraded the video driver to the ATI Radeon driver-of-the-month (July 2008 version).
I rolled it back to the 12/2007 driver (the last version 7 driver they made) and it's been rock solid ever since. I swear I have to play this game with the drivers about twice a year.
Proxy List Hits One Million
It took five months to get the proxy list to a half million servers (mostly dead, of course). Less than a week after that I hit the one million mark and now it's holding steady at 1.14 million. After that, I re-wrote a lot of the code to make the whole system faster because I was importing so much data.
Then, two out of the three best sources I had dried up.
PROOF GoDaddy Reads My Blog
Once they migrated mrhinkydink.com to another box, the GoDaddy guy called to make sure everything was OK. He explained that the server had "more resources" than the old server.
"Oh, you mean it's beefier?" I asked.
"I don't think said that," he snapped back. "I don't think I ever said it was 'beefier'."
OK, whatever. He was clearly defensive. Maybe the call was being recorded for quality assurance purposes.
EXP /// Outage on 9/6/08
I took down EXP /// to take another look at the drive that died last December, this time backing up everything I could pull off of it and wiping the drive.
While I was at it, I put up another UT server on a - GASP! - Windows box. It's called "House of TOO MANY MODS" and it will be up through the weekend. This was a "Private Label" UT server I ran on the old ISA 2004 server, which I retired a few weeks ago after its BIOS burnt out.
That box, BTW, was the original BOT/BITCH House server than ran from 2003-2005. May it rest in peace.
I did it partially because I was waiting on the backups to complete and partially because I have never run the Chat-O-Matic program across the network. It works flawlessly, and I may move EXP /// over, since it's a weak box and it needs all the CPU cycles it can get.
It may turn out that our new CSO is a wash. I do like the guy, but every day (in every way) he acts more like our old CSO.
He doesn't appear to be able to make a decision, or answer simple "yes-or-no" questions. He has been rumored to have "dropped the ball" on our budget, among other things. He has demonstrated that his technical knowledge is weak, but he won't admit it when he doesn't understand a technical explanation. And, once something has been explained, he has no retention whatsoever. None.
Our team is split up geographically (about 10 miles between buildings) and half of the team seldom sees the other, but I had an extended cigarette break with one of the guys and he is under the impression the CSO has ADD.
My team buddy is no psych expert, but he admits he himself has ADD and is on medication for it. He knows the signs and says the CSO has all the symptoms. He's concerned that this guy isn't going to work out unless he seeks help. He says the rest of the team is as clueless as everyone else is as to where the CSO is taking the Security Program.
Luckily, the place is big enough to jump ship to another department. Unfortunately, I have a lot of inertia.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
They fixed it!
They moved the server to a new box. They didn't mention if it was "beefier" or not, but they moved it.
I'd like to believe this is the end of the story.
I must say, I'm impressed. Stunned. That was a weird problem and they actually paid attention.
I asked GoDaddy Guy what the problem was and he was "not at liberty to say".
That, hopefully, is that. I sure got my four bucks worth this month.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Yesterday I get home from my busy day at work (which consisted of waiting for the boss to make a decision that is still in limbo as we speak, even though the deadline in sow rotting in its grave), there was a voice mail from GoDaddy waiting for me.
I pick up my cell phone, I call the 800 number, select "1", then "1", enter my account number and press pound, etc.
I know the drill. I'm turning into an expert on this part.
The first level tech answers, I tell him that I have an open ticket, give him the details and he puts me on hold with the Squirrel Nut Zippers music I am so familiar with by now (I love SNZ but they seriously need to get some new "hold" music at GoDaddy).
While I'm on the cell phone, the land line rings (yes, we still have one, Pinky and I being the oldtimers we are).
Surprise. It's the guy from GoDaddy who left the voice mail. He tells me to hang up on the other guy, which I consider kind of rude but I do anyway. (It suddenly dawned on me that "life imitates tech" here... dropping the connection without a proper close... how... cosmic... wow. Just... wow.)
First off, the GoDaddy Guy tells me the new server is EXACTLY the same as the old server.
Except... "it's beefier."
Otherwise, it's EXACTLY the same. EXACTLY. But beefier.
I suppose if he knew I was a vegetarian he would have told me it had more fiber.
I don't get that. If it was exactly the same it would have exactly the same beefitude. Perhaps my definition of "exactly" isn't quite right.
Anyhow, the GoDaddy Guy wants to see exactly what my script does so they can troubleshoot the server by duplicating the problem.
Of course, the FIN/ACK issue has nothing to do with the script at all, and they can duplicate it any time by just ftp'ing a file, but I email the script to him anyway.
Here it is for the world to see, less some private details...
login [my login name]
password [my password]
I'm not sure what these Layer 7 details have to do with a Layer 3 issue but I send it to the guy. I explain to him it's the ".netrc" file for the user running the process that uploads the file.
Unfortunately I pronounce it "dot net are see", which immediately confuses the poor fella. I knew it was a mistake the moment after it came out of my mouth. I bit my tongue as soon as I said it.
"I'm more of a Webmaster than a programmer," he says, "I don't know anything about Microsoft .Net programming."
The .netrc file (which should be pronounced "net arse eee" for future reference - the "dot" is silent), for the Linux newbs among us, supplies auto-login information for any ftp site you wish to define within it. So when you type "ftp myftpserver.com" at the command line, the ftp program will peal these details out of the .netrc file and log you in automatically, optionally performing any other commands you specify.
A very nice feature, widely regarded as a security vulnerability. But I'm a Big Boy and I can take care of myself. Don't worry about me.
But GoDaddy Guy doesn't seem to think the .netrc file is enough. He wants the script that actually calls the ftp command.
What the heck, I send it.
This script is called "masterxml". What it does is collect all the player data from any UT99 game that may be in progess (BOT House, BITCH House, Classic3, EXP///, or any of the "seledom seen" UT servers I put up every now and then), mashes it into an XML file and sends it to the server. It's not going to do them any good without the script that calls it (which is the Robo-Spectator stuff) or any of the other support scripts.
I mean, if they really, really want to duplicate EXACTLY (there's that word again) what I'm doing, they're going to need to put up a UT99 server and run my scripts on it.
Which could be cool, but there's no point. The scripts don't affect what's going on at the wire level.
This is going to be fun.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
After I post this blog I am going to commit the new firewall rules.
The IP bans will all be cleared. You may see some folks you haven't seen in a long time.
Then, in a couple of minutes, they'll disappear again.
Traffic has dropped off since the power outage on Sunday (8/24) took me out of business for over four hours. Being out that long, the IP address lease expired and changed.
So, that's part of the reason. The other part is simply the firewall ruleset is way too big.
Here we go! Have fun!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Last week I received this email from GoDaddy:
I was going to blog about it but I thought I'd give the some time to screw the pooch before I said anything.
Dear ---- ------,
As part of a continuing effort to provide the highest quality service for our valued customers, your hosting account, MRHINKYDINK.COM, will be migrated to a new server in 24 hours. If you are using external DNS servers or your domain was created under a separate customer number... blah blah blah...
And, by golly, screw the pooch they did. It only took them a week. Such a shame. Things were going so well, boys and girls.
I came home today to find the 4PM proxy run hung up. Sure enough, the World Domination Map was fucked as well. But it's not the "426 Connection closed. Transfer Aborted" problem this time.
It's something Tech Support will never, ever understand. I don't understand it much myself, but I do have a great deal of documentation on how the old server acted during an ftp transfer, and here's how it used to work:
- the ftp transfer completes
- my side issues a QUIT command
- GoDaddy sends a 221 response
- GoDaddy sends a FIN, ACK
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- it's over
Here's how it works now:
- the ftp transfer completes
- my side issues a QUIT command
- GoDaddy sends a 221 response
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- my side sends a FIN, ACK
- ad infinitum
See that? They didn't send a TCP "FIN, ACK" after their 221 response. As a result, my ftp process never gets the "It's over, Johnny" signal and waits for a long time. Sooner or later it times out, but the ftp command doesn't exit until that happens. In the map process, this is very, very bad, because it will still be waiting by the time the next run is ready (the runs are 30 seconds apart).
Lucky for me, I found a work-around. I issue a "close" command right after the QUIT in the ftp script. Basically, "close" means "Fuck this shit, I'm outtahere!" It's very rude, but it's the only way out without the ftp server sending a "FIN, ACK".
So far it seems to be working well.
The Proxy List process is a different story. I'll need to get a few more captures to see what the problem is there, but I added the "close" to that script just for funsies. But I can see myself writing a separate script for each page (ugh) to get around this crap. The map process is one file. The proxy process is twenty files.
I just wish GoDaddy would stop doing me these "favors".
Saturday, August 23, 2008
... but it seems to happen all the fucking time here on BlogSpot.
What it is, what I think it is, is FireFox trying to display compressed content as though it were "text/html".
That trick never works.
In fact a lot of tricks never work around here. I'd complain to the management, but the place is free. What're ya gonna do?
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This Web site was brought to my attention the other day:
These crooks offer free "network management software". They market this crap to network administrators.
Administrators are the people who have total, complete control over every server and workstation in your environment (I'm guessing your environment is Windows).
Here is a rogue's gallery of the BOZOS who have actually installed this nonsense on their network. One of them even works in a hospital.
A FUCKING HOSPITAL!!!!
Before you start thinking Mr. Hinky Dink is flipping out (and shit like this does drive him nuts), here is how these crooks keep their spyware "free":
Relevant, unobtrusive ads from our sponsors help keep Spiceworks free. We understand that not everyone can have or wants ads in their environment. With Spiceworks MyWay you can replace the ads with your logo for just $20/month.Are you getting the picture now?
They use the network credentials of the IDIOT who installs this crap to install it on every computer in your network.
I can see it now (cue the harp music)...
Admin (to himself): "dum dee dumm... wah? This looks like a valuable Enterprise application suite! I think I'll install it!"Get the picture?
Boss (from other room, screaming): "WTF ARE THESE PENIS ENLARGEMENT ADS DOING ON MY DESKTOP!!!???"
[Admin frantically gets out credit card, pays twenty bucks to get rid of ads.]
Saturday, August 09, 2008
As you can see, the Proxy Project has added quite a bit of traffic to the site, which was really only originally designed to hold UT mods (don't worry - they aren't going away).
I was surprised to see this because going by the "eXTRMeMe Tracking" results you'd hardly think anyone at all was hitting the place. I'm also getting a Hell of a lot more search bot traffic than I thought I was.
Everything prior to that is just UT mod downloads. I'd like to think my Websense hack had something to do with the December 2007 results, but looking at the 2006 results it was probably just the Christmas rush.
You might recall on Christmas 2006 I added Santa to the Robo-Chat program. That was a lot of fun, but I never got around to doing it for Christmas 2007. In fact by that time I had hacked the program around some much it was difficult to bring Santa back. Or I was just too lazy. I can't remember which.
UT2004 went up today. I found a public mod server. It doesn't seem like anyone's really interested in playing. One of the reasons may be because I shut off stat logging, but from what I remember nobody really cared about playing it in the first place, although there are a lot of servers out there. The AMD64 version turned out to be pretty flaky, so I decided to run the x86 version on the AMD64 box. There's no noticeable difference in play. The last time I monkeyed around with it, Robo-Chat worked fine with the voice chat feature except for certain phrases. Not anymore, so getting it "on the Map" will be a problem.
Friday, August 08, 2008
It seems I forgot more than I ever knew about putting up at UT2k4 server.
One of the problems is that you need to have the game installed in order to test the server.
That was a trial. I looked everywhere. It took about a half hour but I finally found all 6 CDs in the original package hiding behind a book that was leaning next to my stereo amplifier.
After firing up CD #1 it said "Enter the activation code on the cover of your manaul".
I found the CDs in the box, but no manual. Crap.
Luckily I had it installed on my old Windows XP box (which is using most of the RAM for the Proxy Project) as well, so I dug into the Windows Registry and, to my surprise, found it! I scribbled it onto CD #1's envelope for future reference.
After about 45 minutes of setup it says, "Insert Play CD" so I get the CD out of the box and there, underneath the Play CD, is the FUCKING ACTIVATION CODE!!!
"Manual" my ass.
In goes the Play CD and setup chokes on it. It try everything to get it to read the CD (including the toothpaste trick) and nothing works, so an hour after I started this mess it says "setup failed".
But I click on the shortcut and eveything's fine. It runs better than it ever did on the old XP box (probably due to the PCI Express video card and the AMD64 CPU).
I had moved the files over to the BOT House server and then noticed that there's also an AMD64 binary, so I moved it again to my Dual Core AMD64 Mythbuntu system (I haven't said much, if anything, about the MythTV project that had me tearing my hair out earlier this year, but this is the most powerful box I own).
What followed was about an hour and a half of fiddling around with the INI settings, but I finally got it running off-Net. VERY smooth performance.
I need to check into a lot of things before it goes online. There have been a ton of patches and I'm not sure which ones I've installed. There's the issue of downloads. I have none of this stuff in the utmods folder on www.mrhinkydink.com so I'm hoping to find a public download server. That was the problem with running it before. All the downloads were sent locally, which caused serious LAG on the other servers.
If I can't find a public download server I'll burn a DVD with the data and sneak it online over the 40mBps connection we have at work. While no one's looking.
Of course, I'm the only who ever looks. I'll have to make sure I'm looking the other way.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I'm sure you remember the December Disaster. I lost a lot of stuff that was very near and dear to my heart, including:
- My UT2004 server, BITCH House 2004 (a very unoriginal name, yes thank you)
- My SOCKS code, a big, BIG part of the Proxy Project
Well, nine months after the disaster, Fortune has smiled upon the Dinkster!
Today I took down Experimental /// in order to add a USB 2.0 card to it (it was only capable of USB 1.0, seeing as it's almost ten years old). I found a Web cam that actually works on Linux and I wanted to play with it, but that's incidental.
While I had the box apart I went looking for that USB card amongst my huge collection of computer junk (note to self: always find the parts first, before taking the box apart). I found the card and a couple of hard drives. One was the Hitachi that died in December and the other turned out to be a good drive I had installed Vista RC1 on last year (I was never impressed with Vista and I'm not upgrading as long as I can avoid it).
I also found an old dual IDE-133 card that had been a great disappointment. This card was a dud if there ever was one. The manufacturer made a Windows 2000 driver and then promptly went out of business. But I figured I had an extra drive and a card to plug it into, so I slapped them both into EXP/// and fired it up.
Worked just fine.
I figured I had nothing to lose so I shut down and plugged the dead Hitachi drive in and booted back up.
ALL THE DATA WAS STILL THERE.
I don't know where the magic came from because I've done this a half a dozen times trying to recover that stuff and it never worked before. I think it's part Linux and part weirdo IDE card. Perhaps the card is just too stupid to know that the drive is bad.
I don't know and I don't care. I'm just glad I got the stuff back!
EXP/// will be down while I tinker around with the hardware and add the extra drive (not the Hitachi). It shouldn't be much longer.
And look out for BITCH House 2004! It's coming back, BITCHESSSS!!!!
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Because he's GONE now. And all variations on ".*Keller.*" as well.
You have to be careful about who you say "FUCK YOU" to. It might just be the sysop and ... who knows? ... he could be in a BAD MOOD.
So... don't do that. Don't be a jerk. It's not nice.
I wasn't really in a BAD MOOD, even though GoDaddy's been JACKING ME AROUND ON THIS GODDAMNED 426 PROBLEM THEY HAVE WITH THEIR SERVERS.
I feel sorry for the poor little lady who answered the phone when I called yesterday (Friday 8/1/08). That morning I woke up to The Proxy List trashed and The Map script getting kicked from the server every time it tried to upload game data, which if you're familiar with the process happens twice a minute if anyone's playing (like Keller won't be from now on).
It took several tries to manually upload The List in tact and if I hadn't been pressed for time (this was at about 6:30AM, just before I leave the house for my Day Job) I would have gotten back on the phone for another "Technical Support" session.
When the day was done and I got back home I slipped into my beer-swilling outfit and sat down in front of the monitor just in time to see...
... staring back at me, twice a minute, in beautiful, bold, 12 point Lucida Console.
You see, for about two weeks I've kept the live ftp transfer log opened in an ssh window to keep track of this problem. Usually, it just runs and runs with no problems. Let me repeat... no problems.
So I get my customer account number, my PIN, and my incident ID in front of me and call GoDaddy. While I'm dialing the number and navigating the menu, it stops. Everything goes back to normal.
Then this... ummm... gal answers the phone. Probably a nice young lady, I'm sure. I explain I have an open ticket and give her the incident ID number, which she proceeds to ignore completely!
"Just tell me what's happening," she says.
And I said, "It's all in that incident ID I gave you. I've explained this a dozen times and I'm tired of explaining it. They told me to call whenever it happens and it was happening before I called but now it stopped."
"Well," she said, "this is the first time you've explained it to me."
I tried, boys and girls, I sincerely tried. She wanted to know, like several of her co-workers before her, what "ftp client" I was using. They want to hear "FileZilla" or "Internet Explorer" or something, anything mainstream but I said, "The ftp client that comes with Debian Linux 4.0r1."
"What's it called?" she asked.
"`ftp`", I said.
"No I mean what's the name of the ftp program you're using?" she said.
I said, "It's called 'ftp'. Do you want me to spell it for you?"
Needless to say (every English teacher/professor I ever had always used to scribble "Then why say it?" on any paper I ever wrote with those three words in it - they weren't very original) the call went downhill from there.
"Listen", I said, "it stopped. We're done. I'll call back when it starts happening again becuase I know it will start happening again. I was told to call back when it happens and it happened but it stopped. We're done. Please don't send me a Customer Satisfaction Survey."
And that was it. She was kind of flustered, blubbering "Why won't you let me help you?" as we... well, I, ended the call.
It started up again about 45 minutes later. I got a different Tech Analyst, who took my Incident ID and immediately escalated it to "Second Level Support". They witnessed the problem (not the first time, but it hasn't ever helped) and I was told ONCE AGAIN that I'd get a response in 24 hours.
We'll see how that works out. They've said that twice before and never sent a response. But it's the third time, so that should be "the charm".
So remember, boys and girls, when you play UT on the Dinkster's servers, he likes to play incognito. And, even though it's not your fault, he might be in a Very Bad Mood.