What’s up?

So I’ve been pretty quiet since I hit 100k words- what’s been going on?

  • Round of layoffs at work
  • Friend diagnosed with cancer
  • Another round of layoffs at work.
  • Jackie became a pampered chef consultant
  • Finances have been wiped out from christmas and getting her PC stuff off the ground.
  • 10% paycut at work
  • Guitar lessons are now done because no one can afford them.
  • Have been reading Manuscript Makeover for ways to improve my book
  • Decided to do an initial cleanup of the first draft of my script, then rewrite the outline before starting draft #2
  • started yet another opensource project- this time it’s a collection of Nagios Plugins.

So I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve finished the cleanup of the first two chapters of book 1; hopefully I’ll finish the rest shortly, but it’s very slow going. We’ll see where things head in the next few months- I expect more crappiness.

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!

AT&T disappoints yet again.

So my father in law has been going on for years about how great Ameritech/ SBC/ AT&T’s new broadband service is gonna be once it was activated. I personally like the idea of having fiber to the curb, so I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.

A few months back they sent a rep out to let us know they were offering ‘U-verse’ in our area. I wasn’t home at the time, so Jackie got information and said I’d get back to them. I didn’t bother since we’re looking for a house. I figure I can look them up after we find a house.

Well, they came back Wednesday. They had already been by when I got home, and Jackie told them to come back later. I hadn’t been in the door more than 20 minutes when they knocked again. I then listened to them go through their spiel about how they were going to save me money by charging me more per month than I was paying already. ($30 phone+ $30 DSL + $15 static IP < $59 TV + $30 fiber) I managed to get them to understand that I didn't want the TV or telephone service- just the internet connection. I also asked them one question that proved to be their undoing: "How much will a static IP cost?" I asked that question 10 minutes into the 2 hour conversation- most of the time was spent with the rep on hold with AT&T's customer support, who gave the following responses: * What's an IP? * What's a static IP? * You mean dynamic IP? * Yes, we have those, it's an extra $15/mo for DSL * We don't have those. * You can change the setting in your router so your computer has the same address. * We don't have those in Michigan. The first five we receive several times, the 6th I was told by one of their "technicians" who didn't get that I wanted the router's external ip to be static so I could host this site. Finally the rep called a friend of his who was a "technology director" and found out they didn't offer them in Michigan. I told them that was a dealbreaker and bid them farewell. Two hours later, they came back- apparently he called someone else and was told that U-verse does in fact have static IPs, and they're $15/mo. That would bring the total price to $45/mo (once I cancelled the TV portion), where as now I'm paying $45/mo + $30/mo for a phoneline I don't use. Quite a deal, right? Sign me up. He tells me that the form he has doesn't cover the static IP and I'll have to call in the morning to have them append that to my order. So the next day I call to have this set up- and guess what? After 3 hours standing outside talking and now 30 minutes on the phone, they decide they do not in fact have static IPs available for U-verse customers. I ask the phone lady to call the rep I talked to and figure out who's right. after another 5 minutes on hold, she says his source was mistaken, and he will correct whoever he talked to. So I cancel the service I just signed up for because it didn't provide the only feature I requested. I'm not sure what's more disappointing:

  • The fact that NO ONE seemed to know what a static IP was
  • The sales rep was given the run around just like us customers
  • They apparently don’t offer this very simple service
  • The fact that most of the support people couldn’t find this information
  • They charge $15/mo whereas Jasnet charged a one-time $15 fee
  • That the sales rep probably misled me to get the sale so he could get a comission
  • So, if anyone knows of an ISP in Madison Heights, MI that offers a static IP, decent upload speed, no blocked ports all at a decent price, please let me know.

My political conspiracy theory

I do my best to avoid politics on this site because it’ll always piss someone off. I don’t like the bible-thumping direction the republican party has taken over the past decade or two, and I can’t stand the democrats demands that we give up personal freedoms to save the children.

I’m gonna talk about politics today because I’ve noticed something happening that’s so surreal I had to say something. I’ll use the names Candidate A, B, etc to represent the players in this little scenario.

After watching how the Michigan and Florida democratic primaries went down, I started to wonder if maybe there was an underlying conspiracy to guarantee those delegates to a certain candidate. Imagine the following scenario:

  1. Candidate A has supporters in a position of power that helps move the state’s primary forward on the primary schedule against party rules.
  2. Candidate A has connections in The Party that disqualifies the state and have it’s delegates stripped in punishment.
  3. Candidates make a pact not to campaign in the state. All act ashamed of the State’s behavior.
  4. Candidates B,C,D, and E remove themselves from the ballot in deference to party rules, while Candidate A leaves their name on the ballot.
  5. Candidate A gets the lion share of votes in the state since they’re not only the only one on the ballot, but any votes for names not on the ballot (B,C,D,E) are thrown out.
  6. After everything is said and done, Candidate A petitions for the state’s delegates to be reinstated, essentially saying “the citizens shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their leadership”.
  7. Candidate A’s connections in The Party change their minds and decide to reinstate the delegates, essentially handing over the delegates to Candidate A with no competition.
  8. The delegates handed over to Candidate A is enough to give them enough to get the nomination for the party.

We’ve seen everything except the last two steps. The sane thing would be for the democratic party to have a “redo” on their election and make it fair for all candidates. Anything less will be bad news.

I am curious to see how this turns out- I think that if this does play out like I’ve outlined and the American public figures it out, there’s a good chance the resulting disillusionment will result in a republican president.

alt+z strikes again

I’m claiming the win on this one… remember that the tinyURL that this bot messages is in fact a link to tubgirl.

15:14 -!- Pats-Sox [] has joined #asp
15:18 < @lanshark> we dont want any chowda heads in here
15:25 < Pats-Sox> "chowda head"...I don't know why that just caused a really really bad "yo momma"
         joke to pop in my head
15:28 < Pats-Sox> I just googled "chowda head" for the heck of it.  This site is pretty funny... 
15:28 < Pats-Sox> Chowdahead
15:32 < myles_> !search Chowdahead
15:32 < Crusher_> myles_ > Your search returned 12 results. Press alt + z to receive a link to them.
15:33 -!- edmundo [] has joined #asp
15:33 -!- myles_ is now known as myles
15:33 < myles> !search Chowdahead
15:33 < Crusher_> myles > Your search returned 12 results. Press alt + z to receive a link to them.
15:35 -!- edmundo [] has left #asp []
15:36 < Pats-Sox> !search chowdahead
15:36 < Crusher_> Pats-Sox > Your search returned 12 results. Press alt + z to receive a link to them.
15:38 < Pats-Sox> it can't be a coincidence that edmundo left immediately after the post to press alt 
         + z....twice
15:39 < Pats-Sox> once is funny, twice is HILARIOUS
15:39 < Pats-Sox> nevermind, one was a join.  jokes on me
15:39 < @morgajel> Pats-Sox: you think it's funny, but you didn't even see what happens AFTERwards
15:39 < @morgajel> the bot does send a link.
15:39 < Pats-Sox> do I dare ask to what?
15:40 < @morgajel> only one way to find out.
15:40 < unEZ> lol
15:41 < Pats-Sox> Don't take it personally, but I'm not trusting you right now
15:42 < unEZ> what? after you've known me for 15 years? wait, thats someone else. I see your point
15:42 < Pats-Sox> I'm thinking that a bot can't process the key combo because the key combo is 
        processed by the irc client, therefore exiting the channel before the bot can catch the key press
15:43 < @morgajel> worst case scenario, I'm wrong, you pop out, pop back in, and I laugh like a retard.
15:44 < @morgajel> if I'm right, the bot messages you and gives you the blue pill.
15:44 < Pats-Sox> A normal key, z, could not possible work as well alt-F4.  It just can't.
15:46 < myles> pornocracy
15:47 < @morgajel> Pats-Sox: only one way to find out
15:48 < @morgajel> my do-not-push-the-red-button sign, let me show you it.
15:48 < Pats-Sox> alright, I'll take one for the team....
15:48 -!- Pats-Sox [] has left #asp []
15:48 -!- Pats-Sox [] has joined #asp
15:49 < Pats-Sox> ...and my technical analysis of the situation was absolutely incorrect....
15:49 < Pats-Sox> and the IS THE SINGLE MOST REPULSIVE THING I have ever seen in my life
15:49 < Pats-Sox> and I am a farely demented individual

I wrecked the car.

Whoops. This happened after work on Tuesday. Jackie was at home.

I was on a small service drive that T’d into a 4.5 lane road that was fairly busy. looked left, saw a car with it’s right turn signal on in the right lane. looked right, say a red light. looked left, saw the car with the blinker slowing down as if to turn down the road I was on. looked right, saw the red light turn green, meaning I had about 10 seconds to react. I had been at this intersection for about 3 cycles of that light, and saw this as my oppertunity. as I pulled out, the lady with the turn signal showed me that she actually was meaning to go straight. She sheared off the front of the car from the front of the front tire foreward- bumper, lights, hood, etc. radiator and engine were intact.

Cops gave me a ticket for failing to yield, but I’m gonna try and fight it since she had on her turn signal and failed to add that to her report. The witness on the scene saw the turn signal, but said it was because she was changing from left to right lanes and then just left it on.

So the car has $10k worth of damage because the frame is bent. They’re probably going to total it. I got away with just a sprained wrist.

Oh well, at least we’ll get a new car out of it (probably).

I voted

Did you?

Go try, even if you’re not registered.

New Low.

So I just got hit with a new low…

Looks like I’m inelegible for unemployment. Apparently I haven’t been in michigan long enough to warrant helping me out. when I look back on my life, this will be the moment when I said “this is as bad as it got.”

I’m hoping it doesn’t get much worse at least.

The depression that I’m sitting in right how is the soul crushing type where you lose the will to do anything. Hell, I’m only writing this because I’m bored of playing disgaea 2- if that doesn’t tell you how bored I am, I don’t know what will.

So yeah, fuck you Sean. Fuck you for convincing me to trust you on this job.

fun with forms

I recently signed up for a form with a bunk email address for something or other… for my name, I put in something amusing rather than my real name because, hell with them, I don’t want them sending me stuff. I even checked the little box so they wouldnt…

sure enough, they spammed me. how can I tell? well, the bogus account I used gave it away, but they addressed each message by the first name I gave them…

Pissed off vs. Pissed on

Today I find myself a little of both.

I was called into the confrence room today and told that the company I was contracted to requested that today be my last day.

Yes, I am officially unemployed.

Fortunately I was laid off, not fired- turns out business wasn’t as good as they were hoping and they can’t afford someone to try and fix their broken infrastructure. Since they fired a developer a few weeks ago, and the lead developer put in his 1 week notice today, I can’t say it’s suprising- if they’re getting rid of me after losing two other people, they must be hemmoraging money pretty badly.

The worst part is, not only did I see this coming, but I worked my ass off there knowing it was coming. I was hoping they’d at least have the decency to give me some severance pay, but apparently since I’m just a contractor they don’t feel the need. They did however give me a nice 1 paragraph recommendation letter- I guess that makes up for laying off a guy with a kid on the way who they shouldn’t have hired if they knew they wouldn’t be able to afford him.

I’m pretty pissed off right now because I feel like I made a mistake coming back to michigan- I won’t be able to find work around here since I’m pretty specialized (michigan is Microsoft territory, and at this point I’m pretty specialized in linux) and the economy is crap to boot.

The worst part about all of this is jackie and I went so far into debt to move back and we still haven’t dug out. Now jackie’s pregnant and my hopes for employment are slim to none, and we couldn’t even afford to move somewhere else if we wanted to because our credit cards are maxed out from the last move.

I feel pretty bad for the other sysadmin because they’re gonna crap back on him again and he’s just gonna take it. The Devs are screwed because I did a lot to make their development environment more professional- seperate user accounts, testbeds, standardized development/beta/production servers, version control, etc- most of that will go down the shitter because it will all be neglected if it’s even kept at all. the other sys admin will probably either format them or ignore them.

It’s been a hell of a day, and I need to take a shower still after my walk- then I’m going to bed. If you know of anyone looking to hire a Linux Sys Admin or a perl/php/ruby developer (or some combination of either), send them my way.

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