VDSL

I’ve recently swapped ISP, from Zen to Andrew & Arnold. More specifically, I had an ADSL line from Zen, and I now have a VDSL line from A&A; this uses FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet), which BT have just deployed in my local exchange. I’m happy with the new service, and it’s definitely faster than what I had before: according to Broadband Speed Checker my download speed is 24368 Kbps, whereas it was about 3500 Kbps before. Unfortunately, the transfer didn’t go smoothly, and I wound up with no internet connection for eight days; I had to rely on my Orange mobile broadband dongle, which is roughly equivalent to dial-up speed. I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but there was definitely a failure to communicate somewhere along the line. If you’re considering a similar move, this post should give you an idea of what to expect.

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Protecting passwords

When I created accounts with Facebook and LinkedIn, both websites asked me for my email password to help me find people I know. The idea is that they can log into my email account, go through my address book, then search their own database for people with matching email addresses. That would certainly be convenient, and save me some time, but I think it’s a very bad idea.

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RAIDers of the lost sleep

Early in my career, I noticed an error when I rebooted a server, saying that one of the RAID drives had failed. The server was able to keep running, but the drive needed to be replaced, so one of my colleagues came over with a new one. The drive was hot-swappable, so he was quite cheerful about the fact that we wouldn’t need to shut the server down first. However, we disagreed about which drive had failed; the error message referred to drive 2, and there were 5 in total, but I thought that the numbering would start at 0 while he thought that it would start at 1. He outranked me, so he pulled out the second drive. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the wrong one (i.e. one of the working drives), so the entire server crashed, and we had to spend our Friday night re-installing Windows from scratch.

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Fake virus warnings

Someone called me earlier, because she had a big virus warning on her screen. This was actually a hoax (a web page trying to install malware), and it’s useful to be aware of it so that you know what to recognise.

I identified the website which was responsible, but it’s now been taken down. So, the purpose of this post is to warn you about similar sites rather than this site in particular. I observed the same behaviour in IE8 and Firefox 3.6.12 (on Windows 7), but I haven’t tried any other OS/browser.

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SSL: Adding a SAN to a UCC

“Hey, witch doctor, give us the magic words!”
(The Cartoons)

One of my servers has an SSL certificate from GoDaddy. More specifically, this is a Unified Communications Certificate (UCC), so it can have up to 5 domain names. I originally registered 3 names, and I recently needed to add a 4th. The good news is that GoDaddy let you specify extra names through their web interface and download the new certificate without charging any extra money. The bad news is that they don’t provide any documentation on installing the new certificate.

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Disabling 16 bit applications in Windows

In January, someone at Google discovered a bug in Windows that had been there for 17 years. (This was reported at The Register, among other places.) Microsoft have now released a patch, as described in Security Bulletin MS10-015, so it’s no longer a problem. However, I think that the details are interesting, particularly if you intend to move to 64-bit Windows at some point.

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