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.

Friday, November 28, 2008

“You didn't get the memo?”

Today was a quiet day as I spent most of it offline in quiet contemplation. But it wasn't my idea—the Monopolistic Phone Company's left hand did not know what its right hand was doing.

Bunny and I spend about two hours on the phone trying to get the DSL connection back up. It was working this morning. It wasn't working this afternoon. Bunny doesn't touch the router; I haven't touched it in months. Neither one of us had touched the DSL modem.

The problem from our end was that the PPPoE authentication wasn't authenticating. And I could tell from listening to Bunny with Technician #1 that Technician #1 had no idea what was wrong, even after a hint about the PPPoE non-authentication. That lead to Technician #2, who had us attempt to hook the DSL modem directly into a Windows system (of course they don't support us Linux or Mac users; after all, we're just a piddly 10% of the market).

After that debacle, I got on the phone. I informed Technician #2 that we have a static IP address. So he had me configure the router with our static IP address. He mumbled the netmask, so I can only assume I got that right. Now, static IP address is a public IP address, and I only mention that because of what happened next.

“Okay, so what's the gateway address?” I asked.

“What's the default gateway on your computer?”

“The address?” I asked. address is a private IP address, and can't be routed on the Internet.

“Yes,” said Technician #2. “Your gateway address is”

On the router?


I pulled out my clue-by-four. “That will just cause our router to route packets meant for the Internet back onto our local network! Now, what's the public gateway address?”

“Let me check with my supervisor. Can you hold for a few minutes?” A few minutes pass. “Are you there?”


“Okay, put your public IP address as your gateway. Sir? Sir? What's that horrible noise?” [For those that might not know, this wouldn't work either as packets for the Internet are told not to even leave the router. A sure fire way to overflow the bit bucket if you ask me. —Editor] [But I didn't ask. —Sean] [Do I need to use a clue-by-four on you? —Editor] [Sorry. Continue. —Sean]

“Oh sorry, that was my head experiencing rapid deceleration trauma against the desk. Tell me, do you know anything?”

“Let me get my supervisor,” said Technician #2.

A few more rounds of clue-by-four with Technician #2 and I finally got The Supervisor. I patiently told The Supervisor that Technician #2 needs to be taken back to the Re-education center and by the way, can you tell me the gateway address? I was assued that I would get an answer and put back on hold.

That's when Technician #3 picked up.

While my day was quiet, evening was turning out to be anything but.

I calmly explained the entire mess to Technician #3, and stressed that nothing changed on my end.

“Well sir, are you aware that we recently changed our password requirements and any passwords not meeting that requirement are not allowed to authenticate? Would you like—um, sir? What's that horrible noise?”

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