The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, February 05, 2007

As if switching web servers wasn't bad enough

Well, that was certainly pleasant. Not only do I end up moving all my sites but my DSL provider was switched out at 12:00 am this morning (and to think, on Sunday I was taking about having total control over the entire DSL connection to my house—sigh).

About three or four months ago Smirk mentions that due to costs, and the relative “lack” in sales of DSL circuits, it was too expensive to keep the our circuit up. In fact, it would be cheaper for the company to provide DSL accounts with a third company (in this case, DSLi (who I used to use actually) than to keep paying The Monopolistic Phone Company for the DSL T-1. I knew this was going to happen at some point in the future, but that point was never stated.

So when I lost DSL connectivity last night, it at first didn't dawn on me that the switch over had occurred. At first, I thought that maybe the Radius database server had crashed (used to authenticate the DSL connections—a requirement of The Monopolistic Phone Company) and just needed recycling (it's happened once or twice in the past). Wlofie and I spent about two hours trying to get connected through his cell phone, and we were able to eventually log into the Cisco router and change it to use the backup Radius database server (man, there's nothing like using a keyboard with keys about the size of Tic Tacs, on a screen that's maybe 2″ and where if you pause for more than twenty seconds you get disconnected).

That didn't work.

But given that it rained all day yesterday, I thought maybe the phone line was too noisy to maintain a signal.

Ah well, I thought. I'll deal with this when I get up.

I awoke to Smirk's phone call, warning me that the DSL cutover might be today.

Gee, thanks.

That was indeed the problem, but since then it's only lead to multiple problems. Problem one—I had to reorganize the network yet again. It took about two hours just to get the DSL modem reprogrammed. I tried changing its internal IP address and got locked out. No problem, I thought, just do a factory reset (which requires a MacGyver Multitool) and …

I'm still locked out.

Every single consumer grade routing device I've ever come across uses the network block. Every. Single. One. Except for my DSL modem, which uses the network block. That wouldn't be so bad, except I'm already using the network block for my internal network. On top of all that, the DHCP client I'm using under Linux (which is how I found out, or rather, remembered, that my DSL modem uses this block) leaves the network in a wierd Nuclear Christmas Tree mode that is useless for passing traffic if you stop it (I ran it on the wrong interface). Sure, I could have spent an hour or so researching how to shut off the Nuclear Christmas Tree mode to keep the system up, but it was quicker to just kill the software.

Once that was straightened out (the DSL modem and other networking issues, not the MacGyver Multitool), I could get on with reassigning IP addresses (major pain: losing a slew of public IP addresses—sigh) and in the process royally screw up my email, since I run the email server here at Casa New Jersey. Let's just say that three hours later and I hope I have it correct (email is coming in, but slowly). And I doubt I'll be able to send email because there's no proper reverse DNS for the IP address I'm using (at a lot of sites, that will automatically cause the email server to reject the email) and trying to configure my new virtual server to handle email is harder than just getting what I have working (already put in a trouble ticket about the reverse DNS to DSLi).

At least now if there's a DSL outage, I get to call someone.

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