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Most Recent (Last update: 2200 11/17/02)

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...


Well, I had yesterday off from work, but it didn't do me much good: I woke up with the stomach flu... Sheesh. I'd managed to recover from the sleepless night Friday and the lost day Saturday and had a very full day planned for Monday, but that all fell down rather hard.

Ah, well, I'd managed to get a bunch of stuff moved out of the library before I went to bed sometime Monday morning, so I guess technically the day wasn't a total loss. ...but man, I really didn't plan on sitting around and not getting anything done at all.


I'll count myself lucky I managed some 7-up and saltines by half-time (whooeee, what a show Gannon put on), and I don't think I'll push my luck and try to go in to work today...

Have a good one!


Bleah! Tuesday's "Adventures in GI Tracts" continued today! Most unscheduled. Most...

I picked up a headache last night and didn't sleep well at all; then, while I was getting ready to go to work and gather the kidlets up for school, the cold sweat thing started. Grand Bother. ...and I didn't have today marked off as a day at home. Apparently my body had other plans.

Ah, well, Lemonade Time: I caught up on bills, and did some configuration work on one computer. ...and found out why the banking stuff wouldn't work on on the new box (it needed 128 bit encryption). In between, I just took my time so I wouldn't beat up my body too much and cleaned the kitchen and living room for Shelley. I figured with her cold and lack of sleep, and her working three days this week, it would do her good to come home to a place that didn't look like three guys lived there...

Let's see what tomorrow brings...


On to geek stuff for a day or two... Last weekend I solved one of the puzzles that needed to be completed before the library move could finish up: dealing with the current X-10 controller...

Yeah, at some point I'll likely have MisterHouse running on one of the webpads; but for now I needed a home for the Enerlogic controller. Yeah, they've been out of production for years, but you just can't beat the thing for 24x7x365 stand alone service. ...but there are a few tiny details. Like it needs a power source without any filtering inline, so no surge suppression gear. ...and a fairly close proximity to the mains box so the signal can cross the 220 border and maintain some strength. ...and its interface and compiler run under DOS.

This hasn't been much of a problem as Athena was always available on standby, but she's headed to St. Louis to an inner city thing in a while. ...and putting it next to Shelley's computer makes the run to the service entrance box just too long. ...and then I got to thinking about the relocated tech bench: it has a nice short run to the panel since I'm pulling its power from a dedicated run that the freezer used to be on. ...and there's room. Hmmmm...

...but how about controlling it? Well, I wouldn't need much of an excuse to put a machine out there <g>. ...or maybe one of the cast off laptops? Yeah, that would work. Only... Wait a minute... Those webpads are all sorts of portable. ...and Win95 is native to them. ...and a flash card in a PCMCIA slot acts like a drive!

Oh, for the glory days of DOS programs! One look across the network at Athena's "D:" drive, a quick pull of the program directory to a PCMCIA card in the slot in the front of this box, a short walk outside to the bench with the card and a webpad and I was golden! Well, not quite: com1 on the pad vs com2 on Athena. ...but in another minute I was in the controller looking around. Cool...

Now to tackle the server issue...


Some thoughts on MTUs... Yeah, Dave's culprit. For those who don't follow the geekery that goes on with the Daynotes Gang, one of the members fell off the net recently. Well, not all the way off, and therein lies the tale.

Dave recently completed a physical move; and as a result, also lost his ability to use DHCP with his residence-based web site. No problem, ASDL and broadband ISPs are moving to PPPoE since it essentially acts as Dial-Up Networking to the end user. Bonus: they don't have to develop authentication systems since Dial-Up already works with their Radius stuff. No muss, no fuss. Ummm...Not quite...

'Cause Dave disappeared for me. ...and not from my work site, just from my home network. Okay, that's DNS and we'll just give it a day, -eh? Not. No problem from work; no contact at home. ...for a week. Okay, we'll try straight IP, since we know he's no longer static. No go. This went on for a bit and it started to nag at me a little. ...because I could see the DNS return an IP to my machines (Win2k, Win95 and Linux). ...and I'd get a "connecting to" but never any data, just a "waiting for...".

So I asked him if he or his ISP had blackholed the 12.81.x.x bank (the other week, Bob Thompson had a story of an ISP who'd banned the entire RR network due to one spammer's efforts). Nope. Darn...

We went back an forth a bit, and then John Dominik chimed in with a similar tale. Okay, two data points now. Then Mike Barkman came on board with a new twist: His Zone Alarm installation wouldn't let him hit Dave's site, he'd get an ICMP timeout. ...and he could connect without ZA. Now, wait a minute...

In the meantime, the other Gang members were able to connect with Dave's site just fine, although one or two mentioned it was slower than it had been before the move. Time to get interactive once again...

So we went looking for what had changed with the move. ...and the PPPoE thing came up. A little Google work while I was home sick yielded a tidbit about a guy running one version of PPPoE who had a problem with connectivity and who dropped his MTU locally and all was well. Straws? Well, sure; but at that point one option was co-location and Mr. Surburbia's new status as a homeowner wouldn't make that an easy choice. So he tried it. ...and lo and behold, The Silicon Underground was restored to all (and faster to still others<g>).

...but that got me to thinking. I mean, besides being an incorrigible smart ass, I'm also a bit of a "Why's guy": I want to know the ins and outs of some things. ...and a machine that would connect but not serve bothered me. So I went looking. ...and found a ton of information about how to lower the MTU on Windows boxes to be able to make things work. WT??? This wasn't a Windows issue, it was platform independent and browser independent. ...and even firewall independent: Zone Alarm was having fits; but in at least one case, Black Ice behind another firewall could care less! On to other resources...

There is no short version, but there is a point to the length of this piece, so bear with me... For people running home/private networks and serving up to the Internet, PPPoE adds some overhead in that DHCP doesn't; it's not much, but enough to cause some issues. Another problem is the 1500 MTU that's running just fine locally: once it hits the router, things can get royally hosed unless the router can handle a local rate and a net rate. Basically, your TCP negotiation fails and isn't recovered. Great. ...and since some firewalls block ICMP messages, things come to an immediate halt there also.

Want to know what else can get hosed? How about a straight ftp call? Yeah, remember? There's a local server connection established. ...ever have a problem pulling a directory? ...and that explains one local outfit's ftp problems that caused Great Troubles some time back.

So, got connection issues at a site? Got PPPoE running there? Maybe it's time to apply one of the ping tests from the page shown in the bibliography (both Orb Designs and the Time Sink like 1472 or lower, by way of illustration) . ...and hey, this may also apply to VPNs according to one of the links.

Yeah, a longish one for me, but maybe worth someone's time...

A PPPoE Whitepaper
Nat32 Reference Manual
A broadband forum thread (with some test procedures)
NetBSD Programmer's Manual
"Optimal PPPoE Configuration"
Carrick Solutions: PPPoE


Whooeeeee... That's the end of a week that shouldn't have been: Shelley sick, me sick, kids with last minute homework add-ons, Shelley working three days, both kids on sleepovers Friday night, me catching up from being off work, one cat getting diagnosed with diabetes, another one throwing up in the corner as I type, the fog here to stay for a while, two soccer games at two disparate locations in a few hours...

...and the partridge doing his imitation of a doodah bird.

Heh... Life in the land of the Time Sink <g>...


No day of rest here! Man, I'll be ready to hit the workplace in the morning. ...just to be able to rest!

I hope you had a fine weekend...

Thanks for visiting!
All content Copyright 1999->2002 Daniel C. Bowman. All rights reserved.