lundi, janvier 15, 2007

Argh! Internet hell

The day got off to such a lovely start. I got up roughly on time, got ready for work with plenty of time to spare, and took a relaxing ride to work on the bus (i.e., it was low tide on public transport). At work, I had enough requests for support that I felt like I was actually working, but at the same time all the problems were simple enough that I wasn't stressed and I spent a lot of time playing with Google's Beta content hosting system. It's called--imaginatively--Google Apps for Your Domain (NOTE: you need a Gmail account to use this service; email me if you want a Gmail invite).

The service sets up (and hosts on Google's servers) site administration, calendars, email, chat, and web content. The last part was particularly interesting, since Google is trying to offer it's editor-in-your-browser approach to web-publishing. I tested the system on one of my domains,, which had previously been aliased to (which was itself merely parked with a "coming soon" flash animation). The idea is fantastic, and I can't wait to see it fully tricked out, but at the moment the service is rather limited. In the interest in making it noob-friendly, Google restricts a lot of what you can do. For example, you have to choose style templates that are pretty similar to Blogger's templates. The difference is that you can go in and hack Blogger's templates in HTML if you wish, whereas this service doesn't give you the option. And I haven't even tried to figure out how you would go about embedding flash or rolling AJAX. In short, it's a great idea but I'll probably end up building my homepage myself at some point (hopefully soon). By the way, I also have reserved. =]

And then I got home. All three wireless networks were down, which I came to realize just as I had started doing my laundry. So there I was, frantically trying to fix three networks, check on my laundry every 29 minutes, check in with my boss on the phone, reassure the students that their lives weren't coming to an end. The highlight of the evening was when a group of students stood near my open door and said loudly to each other, "This fucking sucks that I can't get on the internet." "Yeah, this is bullshit." "Yeah, these networks are such a pain in the ass." Nothing like passive-aggressive crap to inspire me to permanently disable all the WiFi equipment with a blunt object. Were it not that I would've lost internet access as well, I would've considered it.

Anyway, the networks weren't just being glitchy this time. All three of them went down simultaneously, with alarmingly strange error messages. All of them were failing their CHAP authentication (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol), which had never happened before. I tried everything in my power to make them work for about 3 hours, and then, magically, everything was back online. Well, it wasn't perfectly online, but the networks started giving me the sort of errors that I'm used to and that I can fix.

As I was fixing the last of the networks, crouched in the hallway next to the room where the router was with my laptop, night security guard came by, doing his rounds. As we were chatting, he mentioned that several other non-UofC students from the building came to his desk and complained about service outages for both ADSL internet and phone service. Apparently, there was some sort of physical breakdown with the communications wiring in the building, because someone from France Telecom came by that evening just before our networks went back up. Now I know who to yell at the next time this happens.

Anyway, that was my evening shot. I finished my laundry, cleaned my place a bit, made rotini bolognese (forgive me if I don't post the recipe), and then headed to bed. Oh, and I watched Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (legally bought from iTunes, thank you) and was pleasantly surprised. I don't know that it's a great movie on it's own, but it's pleasant if you've read the books. In fact, I really want to re-read the whole series now.

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