Archive for July, 2008

Epic Fail

Why yes, my internet connection is still fubar’d, thank you for asking.

Here’s your epic fail for the day- my internet connection:

Downstream Upstream
Max Allowed Speed (kbps) 1184 768
SN Margin (dB) 4.70 6.00
Line Attenuation (dB) 34.50 20.50
CRC Errors 2516 413

This image is my download speed since I started monitoring. Note that this is just what the modem is reporting, it does not mean that the connection was usable- most of that time PPoE couldn’t authenticate.

Yes, you’re seeing that correctly- my connection is 1 meg down, 768 up.
As far as signal:noise margin is concerned, here’s what DSL reports had to say (thanks general):

6dB or below is bad and will experience no synch or intermittent synch problems
7dB-10dB is fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions
11dB-20dB is good with no synch problems
20dB-28dB is excellent
29dB or above is outstanding

so as you can see, my internet tubes have a hairball. Covad came out and tested the line, they confirmed that there was undue resistance on the line, and that the internal wiring was in perfect working order.

We’ll eventually get to the bottom of this.

Intro to Vim Tip #6 (Multiple viewports)

One feature of vim I don’t use enough is the ability to split the screen and view multiple files at once. I use this feature all the time when I use vimdiff, but not really any other time. I thought I’d take a moment to lay out some uses of it (thank for the reference):

From Command Mode:

  • :sp splits the screen horizontally
  • :vsp splits the screen vertically
  • Ctrl-w Ctrl-w moves between viewports
  • Ctrl-w [right arrow] moves active viewport 1 to the right
  • Ctrl-w [left arrow] moves active viewport 1 to the left
  • Ctrl-w 3[left arrow] moves active viewport 3 to the left
  • Ctrl-w q will close the active window.

and remember that you can open a file with 😮 filename in the newly created viewport

Letter to Cyberonic

sent at 12:01pm:

Hi guys, I’ll try to sum this up real quick to get you up to speed:

Name on Account: Jesse Morgan
Issue: Damanged Line/ Connection problems
land line: ***-***-****
Contact Number: ***-***-****
Address: ************

I’m having line issues- I’ve called both cyberonic and AT&T (before I dropped their service for yours) several times over the last few weeks trying to piece together what is going on. For the record I’ve tried several different DSL modems and routers and have successfully removed them from the equation. Last time I spoke with your team, they confirmed that the link loop (loop link?) was damaged, and it was an issue for the telcos and probably not fixable.

I’ve talked to my father-in-law who works for a large, nameless telco and he offered the following advice:

– AT&T (owners of the line to my house) have an obligation to provide covad (the line you are reselling) with an undamaged line.

– if you contact covad and let them know about the line, they will contact AT&T and demand the line be fixed post haste. While they have duty to do this on your behalf, I suspect they’ll be happy to just to give AT&T a hard time.

As it stands now, the line is unreliable and unacceptable. I am supposed to work from home on Wednesdays and be on-call 2 weeks a month, and the current connection is too unstable for me to risk it.

I understand there’s only so much you guys can do, but the connection dropped today around 7:40am when I was supposed to be doing a code deployment to my employer’s main site. Needless to say the people depending on me were not amused.

I really liked your service when I had it in 2005 in the DC area, however if this isn’t resolved, I may have to switch to cable since you cannot provide “Robust and reliable networking.” I *want* to give you my money, I really do- but I need stability.

Could you please place a ticket with Covad on the line quality? perhaps hint that they need to contact AT&T. I would provide you with an rrd graph showing packet loss and such, but the server hosting said graph is currently on the bad end of the line 🙂

Thank you for addressing this as speedily as possible. I’m a sysadmin who’s job requires 24×7 access, and I really need to get this up as soon as possible. I’ve been without a stable connection for almost a month now and my employers are getting antsy.

Jesse Morgan

P.S. As I wrote this email, I decided to do a quick ping check from work to illustrate the behavior I’m seeing. The first IP is the gateway my router connects to, the second is the ip address of my router:

jmorgan@zeeble ~ $ ping -q -c 20
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

— ping statistics —
20 packets transmitted, 20 received, 0% packet loss, time 19006ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 13.737/15.721/26.443/2.803 ms

jmorgan@zeeble ~ $ ping -q
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

— ping statistics —
447 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 446118ms

jmorgan@zeeble ~ $

Update- 12:42pm

we have recieved your email and update Ticket ID: ******. We are esclating
your reported issue and will contact you soon
Thank you.


Update – 2:28pm
Just got off the phone with Jim- he said he’d checked the line and saw it was down, and they were willing to send someone out to check the line- if it’s an interior problem (unlikely but possible), I’d have to pay for it, otherwise they’d cover it. I offered to have jackie reset the modem, and if that resolves it, he said we could work out something to replace the netopia dsl modem/router with a straight modem, which would rock.

The line has been down since 9am or thereabouts, so hopefully it’ll still be having issues when the technician gets there in the next day or two (they said they’d send the first available technician). Note- Even after jackie restarted the modem, the connection never came back. Hopefully the misbehavior will continue long enough for them to quickly diagnose the issue.

last night called them back, reset the router, went through reconnection process and confirmed there was no signal. tried again this morning before work and no luck. Around 10am it started working again.

Call again this morning, talked to Jim again, had Jackie enable remote management, and he’s gonna watch the error stats over the next few hours or so. Hopefully the connection will drop again while he’s looking.

Evil Plot


  • kid
  • hose
  • sprinkler
  • yard
  • wife who doesn’t want to get wet

step 1
take the kid outside to play in the sprinkler
step 2
immediately get wet with the water that’s still in the hose and warmed from the sun
step 3
get the kid soaked
step 4
take the sprinkler off of hose
step 5
show kid how to drink out of hose, hand him hose. Make sure to hold onto a length for crimping
step 6
tell him to go share with momma
step 7
enjoy the show

in the event of retribution
step 8
Crimp hose
step 9
take hose away and spray until wife is soaked

I see Dead People

This is a followup with another developer about DeveloperX

(02:23:21 PM) me: hrm…
(02:23:25 PM) DeveloperY: 🙂
(02:24:18 PM) DeveloperY: man can i go beat whoever developerx is
(02:24:30 PM) DeveloperY: omfg
(02:24:47 PM) DeveloperY: seriously they should get crucified
(02:25:03 PM) DeveloperY: who the heck can be that retarded
(02:25:10 PM) DeveloperY: to not know wtf release is
(02:25:37 PM) DeveloperY: grrrrrrrrrr i’m gonna get out some 4x4s and iron nails ’cause somebody needs to get crucified for being an idiot
(02:30:37 PM) DeveloperY: man i’m still trying to figure out who that dev is
(02:31:04 PM) me: that developer is a good guy, but he does dimwitted things now and again
(02:31:41 PM) DeveloperY: hmmm
(02:31:51 PM) DeveloperY: they’re not female
(02:32:15 PM) me: we have a list of dimwitted things this guy has done
(02:32:35 PM) DeveloperY: its not DeveloperA
(02:32:38 PM) DeveloperY: its not DeveloperB
(02:32:43 PM) DeveloperY: its not DeveloperC
(02:32:45 PM) me: for example, asking a 9 month pregnant woman if she want’s to go out for a beer on thursday
(02:32:50 PM) DeveloperY: oh jesus
(02:33:13 PM) DeveloperY: man is it who i replaced?
(02:33:43 PM) DeveloperY: its not DeveloperD
(02:33:47 PM) DeveloperY: hes too smart
(02:33:58 PM) DeveloperY: i only have 2 candidates left
(02:35:41 PM) me: his application passes plaintext usernames and passwords via get strings
(02:36:07 PM) DeveloperY: hmmmmm must be outside consumer
(02:36:39 PM) DeveloperY: idk who it is but i really wanna give them a good kicking in the ass up and down the hall
(02:37:03 PM) me: on *many* occasions, I’ve had to help debug their code because they couldn’t see what was wrong.
(02:37:09 PM) DeveloperY: omfg
(02:37:33 PM) DeveloperY: i’m in the first stage, denial
(02:38:03 PM) me: I could give it away very easy with the next incident
(02:39:16 PM) me: what the hell. I had to explain why register_globals is a bad thing to have enabled on apache
(02:40:15 PM) DeveloperY: crap.idk who that is
(02:40:41 PM) DeveloperY: man maybe DeveloperE
(02:43:30 PM) me: this developer didn’t know svn creates a .svn directory when you check something out, so doing an rm -rf * won’t “unlink” a directory from a repository.
(02:43:44 PM) DeveloperY: omfg kick kick kick
(02:44:03 PM) DeveloperY: SHOULD NOT BE DEVELOPER
(02:44:12 PM) DeveloperY: CRUCIFY IMMEDIATELY
(02:45:27 PM) me: well, think hard about it
(02:45:36 PM) me: there’s obviously something different about this developer
(02:45:39 PM) me: he comes from another world
(02:46:23 PM) DeveloperY: to this degree i can only put DeveloperE & DeveloperF
(02:46:30 PM) DeveloperY: there maybe others but idk them
(02:46:39 PM) me: yes you do
(02:46:43 PM) me: you’re thinking too hard
(02:47:18 PM) DeveloperY: seriously i don’t think i know em
(02:47:32 PM) DeveloperY: like maybe hi in the hall and blah blah when we’re getting coffee
(02:47:52 PM) me: who would deal with register globals? who wouldn’t use svn that much? who is generally a nice guy who says dumb things?
(02:48:01 PM) me: at any point in this conversation, did I mention java?
(02:48:25 PM) DeveloperY: no…
(02:48:43 PM) me: who doesn’t write java?
(02:48:48 PM) DeveloperY: oh shit
(02:48:59 PM) DeveloperY: [DEVELOPERX]???
(02:49:10 PM) DeveloperY: rofl
(02:49:14 PM) DeveloperY: but [DEVELOPERX] does java now
(02:49:24 PM) DeveloperY: for last month or so
(02:49:35 PM) me: meaning he’s not familiar with the process of building
(02:49:48 PM) DeveloperY: oh that sucks.i like [DEVELOPERX].
(02:49:50 PM) DeveloperY: d’oh
(02:49:54 PM) me: haha, exactly
(02:50:05 PM) DeveloperY: crap i sat with him about subversion & php before too
(02:50:09 PM) DeveloperY: i was thinking too hard
(02:50:19 PM) me: you can totally picture him walking up to stacey and asking her if she wants to go get a beer, too, cantcha?
(02:50:36 PM) DeveloperY: sigh
(02:50:39 PM) me: hahah
(02:50:49 PM) me: this is common to php devs
(02:50:59 PM) me: they’re not used to structure and procedure
(02:51:08 PM) DeveloperY: ya
(02:51:09 PM) DeveloperY: shit
(02:51:13 PM) DeveloperY: i shoulda seen all that
(02:51:31 PM) me: btw, he doesn’t know aobut the developerx post
(02:51:36 PM) DeveloperY: i ain’t sharin’ that
(02:51:41 PM) me: cool
(02:52:09 PM) DeveloperY: hmmmmmm crap i reviewed some of his php code before too
(02:52:09 PM) DeveloperY: shit
(02:52:26 PM) DeveloperY: i never thought about it ’cause he’s so nice
(02:53:09 PM) DeveloperY: i thought it was just natural for php pages to just look like someone to a shit on a plate of spaghetti
(02:53:35 PM) DeveloperY: crap.
(02:53:41 PM) DeveloperY: that’s why he got moved to email on custom.
(02:53:55 PM) DeveloperY: I SEE DEAD PEOPLE
(02:54:13 PM) DeveloperY: i feel like i just watched the end of a movie that made the rest of the movie make sense
(02:55:43 PM) DeveloperY: that’s why he sat in our room
(02:56:01 PM) DeveloperY: arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh she’s not talking to mebecause i’m dead and i’m bruce willis!
(02:56:09 PM) DeveloperY: i see dead people!!!!
(02:56:34 PM) DeveloperY: damn you for taking the curtain away from oz 🙂
(02:56:46 PM) me: I really wish I had more examples
(02:57:00 PM) me: do you know what register globals are?
(02:57:47 PM) DeveloperY: crap that must been from
(02:57:58 PM) DeveloperY: php
(02:57:58 PM) DeveloperY: fuck
(02:58:10 PM) DeveloperY: oh no
(02:58:13 PM) DeveloperY: noooooo

Rage… Building…

So AT&T managed to screw me yet one more time. The “loop link” is damaged, so the best Cyberonic can provide is 3meg/768 rather than the 6meg/768 that I should be getting.

If I’m lucky, the problem with be with the illegally run line through my neighbor’s yard. If I’m unlucky, it’s a damaged like 1/4 mile away and completely unfixable. I plan on calling the proper people about the illegal line and having them re-run it. with any luck, maybe that’ll fix it. If not… oh well, I guess 3 meg will work. Shame it costs so much.

I really hate AT&T.

What’s blue and white and still not working?

My internet connection.

SO here’s the scoop

5 days until cutover:
I call AT&T, tell them I’m moving and need to transfer my Static IP DSL service on the 30th(Monday). Tech says no problem it’s all set. I am pleasantly surprised at how little of a hassle it was and that it was way smoother than any other interaction I’ve had with them.

Saturday, 2 days until cutover:
We’re planning on doing the actual moving Sunday morning and plan to spend Saturday packing and planning. However at 3am Saturday morning, the internet connection drops, leaving me unable to contact many of the people who may be able to help us move. It sucks, but ok, we can work around it. I still have enough people to get by with and have ways to contact most of them. Since we asked to be connected on Monday, maybe they had to disconnect the old line the day before in order to get their stuff in place. Maybe they cut it on Saturday rather than Sunday because nobody works on Sunday. I get that, I can understand it. While annoying, it’s still better than my previous interactions with them.

Sunday,move day, day before cutover:
We move on Sunday and realize that we never actually checked to see if the house had any phone cables in it. It didn’t. Fortunately my father-in-law knows a bit about phone installation and was able to help me wire up a stub for the AT&T guy to connect to.

Monday, 1 day after move:
AT&T shows up, runs cable, says service will be enabled withing X hours. yippie.

Tuesday, 2 days after move:
Connection is there, but my ip address has changed. “crap,” I think, “now I gotta update dns entries for our sites.” But I can understand this, perhaps my old static ip was tied to the network near my old apartment and didn’t reach this area. I can buy that. So I change my DNS entries… and they don’t work. I look again and I apparently mistyped the IP because the new DNS entry doesn’t match the external IP on the router. So I change it again. and 20 minutes later the external IP has changed again.

They had me on a fricking dynamic IP. For the non techies out there, large ISPs only have a limited number of ip addresses, and more often than not don’t have one for every customer. Since few customers stay online 100% of the time, they can take addresses away from people not using them and redistribute them as needed. This is called a Dynamic IP account. For people who run servers from their homes, keeping the same IP is important, so when your computer goes to connect to, it needs to be able to find the right IP address. That’s why I pay extra for AT&T to guarantee me the same IP address. That is why I am pissed. While there are ways to get around this (dyndns) but they’re a pain in the ass an not an option for me since I run an IRC server as well.

So I tinker around, thinking maybe *I* did something wrong- maybe my router was reset and it cleared the static info. I dig around with Jackie’s help and find the original documentation and try to set up the networking listed manually. No dice. Then I remember that yes, they did manage the info via the PPOE settings, and that just required a user name and password, which is what I was originally using. I switch it back and get yet another dynamic IP. I should point out that my static IP range was 75.x.x.x, while the dynamic stayed in the 66.x.x.x range- this made it easy to keep track of what was going on.

So I call them up and surprise surprise, they screwed up. See, they don’t really transfer accounts so much as shut off the old one and create a new one. The tech didn’t bother to notice I had a static account and replaced it with a dynamic account. I’m livid at this point, and tell them that it needs to be switched back. “Ok, I’ll put in the order. It’ll be ready in 10 days.” Now, this should NOT take 10 days from a technical point of view, this is all red tape causing the delay. But WTF can I do, so I say hell with it and go along with it.

At some point my father-in-law comes back over to help with the baby gate and notes that the technician illegally ran the line through the neighbor’s yard. While I’m half tempted to yell at them to fix it, I just wanna get a connection up and running again so I can actually write about the house.

Saturday, 5 days after cutover (timeline gets a little fuzzy here)
Connection is still flaky, but generally working. I call to check on the status of the static IP order, and find out it was never placed. They’ll get right on that.

Sunday, 6 days after cutover
Connection goes down at 7:37am. Completely. It does not come back. Jackie calls tech support this time. Flames, brimstone cries of the undead ensue. Eventually I take the phone and find out there’s still no mention of a static order of any sort for our account. Guess what? They can’t do anything about it because “orders” isn’t open on weekends. They agree to send out a tech to look at the line since they can’t see the modem from their end. He should be out between 8am and noon on monday

Monday, 7 days after cutover:
Connection begins working again around 7am- I think to myself “great, maybe they just took it down to switch over to the static IP- finally I can get my stuff up.” Nope, still a dynamic IP address. I call AT&T to get the static IP address set up and let them know the connection is up. They say hold off until the technician confirms it’s not an issue. ok. I’ll call back later. I spend my time waiting for the technician looking for any other ISPs in the area on

Technician comes out, nice guy, doesn’t see anything wrong, says he’s seen this behavior before when switching from dynamic to static, but the business won’t fess up to it. Whatever. At least the wiring was good, presuming that both the installer and the inspecting tech were both competent. While he was tooling around, I found out that Cyberonic, my ISP from DC, covers this area (they didn’t in grand rapids or rochester hills). They resell business class Covad lines to residential customers. I contemplate switching over to them, but figure it would be too much effort since I’ve gotten this far. I’m not even sure they’d have a decent plan in this area.

So he leaves and I call AT&T back and get the static all set up. She also said the static IP would be in place tomorrow. Just as we’re finishing she informs me that since I don’t have a contract, my payment will go up to $70 a month from $55. “WTF, this isn’t my screwup- you guys said you could transfer service, then you pooch it, then you want to charge me for it??”

“Oh, no,” she says, “When we transfer service, we don’t transfer contracts. If you want the original rate, you’ll have to sign up for another year of service.”

This is where Jesse snaps.

“You know what? Fine, make it the month to month price, because it’ll take me about 3 weeks to get covad in here.” She was a bit shocked by that statement, and the conversation ended awkwardly. I think she was supposed to ask if I was please with my experience but she knew the answer.

I then spent 10 minutes looking through DSL reports for ISPs in the area and narrowing down their plans- turns out that Cyberonic offers the same plan I had in DC for $60. Lets compare the plans side by side:

AT&T Cyberonic
Download speed 3meg 6meg
Upload speed 386k 768k
IP address 5 static 5 static
Stability False True
Cost $55/mo $60/mo

I call up cyberonic, phone is picked up on the 3rd ring. I tell the technician that I’m interested in their plan, I get signed up, cc infos taken, etc. The entire call lasted 22 minutes and 28 seconds. I was never transferred once, my call was never dropped, the technician never once said “I don’t know,” and they were going to do a hotswap on the line and cancel the AT&T DSL for us since we obviously can’t have 2 DSL services on the same line. The transfer should take place in the next 7-14 business days.

I’d like to point out that AT&T still hasn’t got their act together as of this morning (Thursday), and dropped my connection while I was beginning a deployment for work. That was real awesome btw. Thankfully my neighbor is allowing us to use his wireless connection until we get it straightened out. If the issues aren’t resolved by switching to cyberonic, I’ll have the neighbor report the cable crossing his yard and they’ll have to come out and redo it (this is my backup plan).

The good news is we’ve moved our blogs to I’m still in the process of converting them, but expect to be done by next Monday. The only site that will still point to my static IP is, for my streaming music, IRC server, etc. We’ve also decided to move all of our pictures to flickr, so expect to see broken images for a while.

I really want to thank for in all of this. I highly recommend them for any domain name purchases or hosting. They’ve been handling our domain names for years now, and their service is outstanding. I’d also like to thank our new neighbor Bobby for being one hell of a cool guy.

I’ll keep you updated on how things go. Hopefully I’ll start writing about the house soon.

*UPDATE 2008-07-14*
Cybronic called and told me they’d be sending a technician out tomorrow to verify the lines. Hopefully I should have a working connection soon.

*UPDATE 2008-07-16*
My bad, it was wednesday. Connection is up now and I’m back online with a static IP!

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