eXtensions - Wednesday 7 March 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (47): True Router Runabout - A Fix that Made Things Worse
By Graham K. Rogers
One of the more important companies, along with Bell Labs, of the technological change we have seen in the last 25 years is Xerox, especially its PARC research establishment: Ethernet, the mouse, the GUI and more. They recently claimed that (Reuters, Business Insider) "Darwin Deason does not have any right to nominate directors to the company's board outside of the nomination window". Dearson and Icahn are trying to stop Japan's Fuji from taking over Xerox.
Recently, one of president trump's friends, Carl Icahn, managed to save himself some money by selling of $31.3 million in shares of Manitowoc Company Inc "a steel-related stock company" (Ryan Sit, Newsweek). Within days of the sales, trump announced his tariffs on steel to everyone's surprise, including those in the White House, and prices of steel-related stocks began to fall, followed by a dip in all stock prices. What an amazing coincidence. What absolute luck for Carl Icahn.
When asked whether trump talked to Icahn before the announcement, Sarah Sanders dodged the question: "I'm not aware of any of their - of a recent conversation between the two of them. So I'd have to verify and get back to you. But I'm not aware of any conversations" (Judd Legum, Think Progress). And we hear this morning that the president's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn has announced that he plans to resign. Rats. Sinking ship
Although fire officials do say that the source of the fire was on the upholstered chair, the report does not confirm it was the iPhone 6: "The cellphone was on a combustible surface while charging. It was in the area of origin but was not ruled out or determined to be the igniting object or direct cause of the fire."
There are a couple of things that bother me about this $600,000 destroyed farmhouse in Canada: the insurance company will not let Apple anywhere near the device; and both the charger and part of the charging cable are untouched by the "devastating" fire. When I am charging my devices, unless I am in the room, I always leave them on a hard surface and not on an armchair.
I am now also thinking about subscribing to the Superbike Videopass, particularly with the next race scheduled for the Buriram Circuit (23-25 March). That money might have gone to F1, but not now.
The condo system is not connected directly to the outside world as my last house had been. I think there is a receiver (for want of a better term) in the block and each unit links to that (see below), so when the power goes off, although the fans and the lights all come on, users need to wait for that receiver to come online before the outside world is accessible. The time this takes seems to have been lengthening of late, and it sometimes needs me to restart my router three times.
I don't use the WiFi from the router. I have an Apple Airport connected to the router by Ethernet, but that won't provide internet access until the router is connected. I wait for a couple of minutes before disconnecting, and then each restart takes a minute or so and then I have to wait to see if the world is going to connect. I asked about this when I paid the bill this week. It was suggested that a technician pay a call and maybe replace my unit. Silly me, I said Yes.
When he arrived at the condo I sat down with him and explained the restart problem, expecting him to check the condo receiver unit first. Instead, he brought a new Humax brand unit out of his bag and set it up.
It turns out I was on the right track. I checked with one of my colleagues at the Department of Electrical Engineering and as well as teaching the theory he sets these systems up for organisations. He confirmed that my "receiver" is known as a Fiber Distribution Box (FDB) or sometimes a Fiber distribution Cabinet (FDC).
Replacement WiFi Router
Once the page was up and running, I looked at what could be wrong: simple analysis. I tried Fetch on the Mac again, but each attempt gave me the same results. I checked for any update to Fetch, but I had the latest version. I was reasonably sure that this was not the problem as nothing had changed on the Mac since I had last used it, so tried the iPad where I use a utility called iFTP Pro. This also works on the iPhone and has saved me once or twice when away from home. Again, while a connection was made, no files were displayed.
The helpline has an automatic voice response with no English options. I let it run, then pressed 0, hoping that would connect me to a person. It did, but the first person I spoke to admitted his English was close to zero and asked me to wait. Whoever I spoke to next had quite good English and knew what I was talking about. He checked my connection and told me that all ports on the firewall are open, which explained why I could only find a way to close ports. There is no reason, he said, for this to happen (accepting that it was) and he would check further.
When the same technician who had brought the exchange router arrived, I demonstrated the problem to him: Fetch, iFTP Pro and the iPhone. He seemed to grasp the problem and spent some time trying to reconfigure the router by himself and under guidance from base. After around 40 minutes, he decided to reconnect the first (Zyxel) router. Once that was set up I tried Fetch. I was not wholly surprised to see that a connection was made properly. While he was there, I also checked using the iPad. iFTP Pro displayed the site files right away.
He took the router with him and said he would check it out. At work (remember I am based in the Electrical Engineering Department) the technician knew immediately what I was talking about when I said "FTP". When I explained the situation, he suggested a firmware problem, which is a possibility. The True technician will return on Thursday morning which will mean a third day of allowing time for something for which the cure was worse than the symptoms.
I reminded myself of the Flanders and Swann song, The Gas Man Cometh (still just as funny); there is also the Burl Ives' song, There's a hole in my Bucket. I always remember Harry Belafonte singing this.
I think I am going to cancel this.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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