Bad Service from RoadRunner AND Network Solutions.

I think I've figured out why RoadRunner is blacklisted on so many anti-spam/anti-malware lists. It's because they haven't taught their abuse personnel to read yet.

I received one of the virus emails that's coming along. It consists of an offer for a postcard from your Uncle Louis, or something similar, and points you to an IP address, with gibberish after it. There's another link that's just the IP address.

I checked the IP address, noted that it was still sending the malware (I haven't identified the malware yet, I haven't bothered), and used ARIN's whois servers to identify it as belonging to RoadRunner.

I then included the entire email, plus full headers, plus information on the fact that the _hosting_ computer was on the RoadRunner network.

The next morning, I got a response saying that the sender/receiver were neither on the RoadRunner network, so it wasn't their problem. I sent a response, with their response, _just_ including the information that the IP address belonged to RoadRunner, so they need to get their head out of the warm dark place that they had it.

Later that day, I received another response, saying that they needed full headers of the email if they were to help me. So help me... I'd like to strangle those folks. They obviously have ZERO way of tracking emails, otherwise they wouldn't have done this.

So, I've included in the top of the email, the information on the abuse. I've then included the ORIGINAL email, plus the abusive information pointing out that the machine is on the RR network. So far, I've wasted over an hour of my time trying to help THEM fix THEIR problem, and they're trying to blame me for it for failing to give them the right information. If they bounce it AGAIN, I'm going to be on the telephone, demanding to speak to a supervisor, and asking for them to try to hire people that can actually READ next time, or quit using the automatic 'email checker' they're using.

Sort of related... at least in stupidity.

Trying to move a domain _away_ from Network Solutions. They make it as difficult as possible to do this, to the extent that on the page where you disable the domain protection, you have to go past their "We'll do ANYTHING to keep you as a customer! (except lower our prices and offer better service), Please call us!", to get to the turn off. Then, you request an authorization code. They don't say how they'll send it, or when, or why. Just that they're required to give it when requested.

If you search through their help stuff, you'll find ONE page that refers to transferring away from Network Solutions, and it sort of hints that they'll send it through email, but not really who they'll send it to. Mind you, they have _lots and lots_ of "How to transfer your domain _to_ Network Solutions!"

Trying to get the primary contact's email address changed is also a hassle. Let alone _finding_ it. Every other page, if not every page, includes an attempt to sell you additional services of theirs. Even with the other 20 domains that I help administer that are done through Network Solutions, I don't want to pay them for privacy stuff, or web hosting, or a secure server, or anything else - if I did, I'd rather hit "Products Offered" than have them shoved up my nose when all I want to do is change a phone number on a contact.
  • Current Mood
    cranky cranky

Weird Al and Spamalot

On Wednesday, June 6th, I and some friends went to see Weird Al. The next night, some of us went to see Spamalot!.

Both were extremely good. Weird Al's concerts in the past have been mostly the latest album, plus a scattering of prior album 'hit' songs. This time, instead of doing full songs, it was almost a continuous medley of songs. (Broken up by Al-TV and some videos, such as Weasel Stomping Day).

Spamalot was all that I could hope for, plus more - including a bit of audience participation near the very end. There was music from several movies, shows, and even some Fiddler on the Roof hints (for those Sondheim fans).

If any of you get the chance to see it, _go_. You'll love it.

Anyway, it's about bedtime. I'm going to shut down, get something to eat/drink, and go to bed.

Over, and out.

  • Current Music
    Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Work work and getting workers/contractors.

Okay - I've started the task of looking for people.

Here is what I'm looking for, and the reasons for which I am looking, and what I'm hoping to do. (This may help answer questions for prospective vict... um, associates)

Web/graphics designers

I have a large number of customers, many of which come to me asking for web hosting, email hosting, web site design, or general questions on how to get their sites worked on. Unfortunately, the good web designers I _used_ to know moved away from Houston or moved into other things. (or both) I'm also in contact with other professionals who run into the same problem. I need to find people that can work as part of a cooperative, at least at this point, and give good value for the money. PHPNuke/PostNuke experience is a plus, as many customers need the ability to modify content on the fly by themselves.

PHP/CGI/Perl programmers

This is similar to the web/graphics designers, with the addition that web scripts, database lookups, and general web based functionality is sometimes asked for. (Or server tweaking)

General programmers (Ruby, Python, C++, and so forth)

I also get asked to give estimates, or track down programmers, for customized system construction. Most of the companies out there that do this sort of work have bloated opinions of themselves or the value of their work (Kill the goose that laid the golden egg, then run), don't work well with others, or simply refuse to learn new systems (Addicted to Microsoft is a frequent complaint in the market)

General Technicians (Wiring, telephone support, computer troubleshooting, system installation, sysadmin/networking)

My business is growing. I need to find people that I can use to keep myself from being excessively overloaded. I have projects that in some cases have been delayed for a year, because of day to day emergencies. Lately, I've also missed opportunities to make money because I didn't have the manpower. Currently, I can't hire a lot of full time workers, but I _can_ provide free training to people that want to learn that work, and don't want to try the self-employment route. It could also be a way to get extra income on the weekends and/or evenings, depending on what sort of response I get.

About me: I'm the owner, and currently the only employee, of Bookworm Computing ( I've been self-employed for twelve years, with two of my three oldest customers still with me. (The third retired five years ago). I do Windows, AIX, SCO, BSD, and Linux administration, as well as setup, mail hosting, web hosting, and general troubleshooting and installations. In other words, I'm a true consultant.

Depending on the results I get, I do have some possible funding to do full hiring and expansion.

Feel free to go to to request more information.

[edited to add this information]

One thing that I can say is that most of the work is based in and around Houston, Texas. Some programming and web design can be done remotely, but at least some of the customers almost demand in-person meetings. (This isn't necessarily a hardship, as for some of the projects, transportation may be arrangeable)

  • Current Mood

I guess I should update

We're moved into the house, mostly. We have some stuff left at my folks, but that's coming over slowly. We still need to come up with some filing cabinets, storage cabinets, and get more bookshelves, but that'll come. I also have to figure out if the desk can be moved into the front room (which will become the main office). (This will require desk disassembly. It's HUGE)

I have to spend some time outside, bagging the water heater, sealing all the pipes, and mounting the pipes to the brick, so they aren't sagging anymore. Then later I get to crawl under the house and do wiring checks, and into the attic to do insulation and wiring checks.

My 'honey-do' list is huge, and getting longer :) (I may have to regrout the shower tile, it looks like it didn't get fully sealed, and that means water leaks can happen)

For the price, we got a good house, with lots of space, and an open ended lease, in case something happens. I don't mind doing repairs - I just wish I could _do_ just one repair at a time, not three :)

We have a spare bedroom, and at least one spare bed; we can have visitors! (well, most of the space is filled with boxes, but that's different)

Anyone know of a source for a tall lateral filing cabinet, cheap? or a tall 4 drawer standard?

Oh - Windows Server 2003 is one of the slowest updating OSes I've ever had the misfortune to work with.

  • Current Mood

Move in - what could actually help.

Right now, the landlord's busy getting the furnace replaced (and A/C unit, and a fridge in).

What we might need help with, because I still have to do my daily work schedule, is help for Kristie with cleaning. Everything has a layer of dust or dirt on it, including the walls, ceilings, blinds, and burglar bars.

I'm going to have to strip paint off a lot of wood, then refinish (or repaint), but that can be done over time - unfortunately, before we can really start moving furniture in, everything _else_ has to start off clean and disinfected.

Anyone want to volunteer to help this week? :) I'll pay for food/gas.


Moving time....

I still have to arrainge for telephone, cable/DirecTV, and internet, but I've done the work to get the power lit up, the water left running, and the gas functioning. We get a key on Monday (maybe sunday night, because the Gas people will be there Monday. Their scheduled visits are "We'll be there between 8 AM and 5 PM. You'll have to have someone there waiting for us whenever we decide to show. If we don't decide to show, we'll come the next day." )

We'll be stuffing a room solid with boxes to start; We probably won't have a truck available for a few days.

Our official move-in date is December 1st, we'll probably try to come up with something that week as a 'house warming' party - or maybe do a 'moving day party' or something for the heavy furniture.

Heavy furniture to move from one or the other location.

Chest of Drawers
Several computer desks
Several bookshelves
Large wooden desk
Two wooden credenzas
wooden filing cabinet
steel computer/server cabinet.
Several more generic shelves
extremely large and heavy photo slide cabinet (anyone know someone who wants a storage facility with light box for their slides?)
king sized bed.
round table
five 'waiting room' chairs.
two lab stools.

This, plus bazillions of tubs, boxes, computers, computer parts, and lord only knows how many years of accumulated stuff that's scattered throughout my folks' house, storage building, workshop, and barn.

I may have that house full before we can move in *hm*

Now, what I probably _will_ need assistance with is the big heavy furniture - specifically the big desk and credenzas. The other stuff I'm sure that Kristie and I can manage.

We're getting there!

Suggestions on internet access?


Houston, We have a house.

Or rather, we've signed the lease on a house. It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with extra room, plus living room, dining area, kitchen, and hallways. It's in Lindale Park (between 45 and 59, south of 610 loop)

We get the keys on the 27th of November, with our official 'move in' being December 1st.

Any volunteers for grunt labor? :)


The move is done (almost)

This has been a nightmare, at least, the first three days were.

Original plans:

Kristie picks up the truck and car trailer at 10 AM Eastern, goes to her father's house, picks up the two or three pieces of furniture there, then goes to her trailer and start loading boxes - which were mostly supposed to be ready to go. I fly in at approximately 1 PM Eastern, get picked up, we go to her trailer, and I help load and pack the last of the boxes, and we go to dinner at about 6 PM with my uncle. (need to send him a thank you card) We'd then start off early Sunday morning, and hopefully be in Houston by Monday evening.

NOTHING was right, other than the flight up. (Getting off of one plane and heading straight for the gate of my connecting flight as they were boarding isn't fun, but at least it was only about 60 feet)

I flew in at 12:20 PM - early. About 12:30, I call to say I'm at the airport. I find out that the Penske agent's location had JUST gotten the truck in - that was supposed to have been there at 10 AM. No car trailer. They passed off a tow dolly as "This is good enough". (It wasn't the agent's fault. He was PISSED) To add insult to injury, the truck didn't even have the right ball for the trailer - so they had to get another truck.

Kristie's father picked me up about 1, and we headed to the rental place with her car - it had to be checked with the tow dolly. As suspected by the agent and by Kristie, you couldn't even GET the thing on the dolly due to the ground effects built into the bumper (fog lamps extending the bumper down). The agent said that the district manager had been transferred, but not replaced yet - however, he DID track a manager down at his home, and that manager called back 10 minutes later (trying to find where the trailer we were supposed to get was), and there were _no_ car trailers available. Only the car dolly. (Useless). I tell him to keep the dolly, we'll caravan.

Okay - at this point, the time is now about 3:00. Five hours wasted by Penske. We get to Kristie's father's house with the truck, and back it up towards the door (using the ramp as a bridge). Two pieces of furniture and a trunk have now become two pieces of furniture, a truck, and about nine boxes and two garbage bags with clothing/blankets/toys, and some misc. clothing. We're now running behind. We get to the trailer park, quick change of clothing, and head out - we end up 20 minutes late for dinner, due to a mishap with exits. Dinner was fun to watch, but unpleasant for my aunt and uncle, because they were shorted on the vegetables (Benihana's). For me, it was okay, even though my food was prepared in the back to keep it away from the mushrooms and onions. (mind you, they ended up having to recook it. They mixed mushrooms into it). They STILL put shrimp in it, but that was easy enough to shovel over to my uncle. Don't go to Benihana's if you have any food problems. They also don't understand the difference between an allergy and an intolerance. (One you can't digest, the other triggers off the bodies immune system. )

We get back to the trailer, and I get a shock. (I got some of it when we went there to change.) She hadn't been packing. She spent five days doing overtime at work to 'help out' the new guy - UNPAID. She didn't pack for her own moving because of it. I may send the University of Michigan a bill for her working for them on my time. We do some laundry and basic packing with the new tubs I bought, and pass out. Next morning, we start packing - she keeps getting distracted. Relatives come over, we go to brunch (takes too long), we go to U-Haul, and empty that storage room into the truck. I check on trailers, and they've rented one, with the other down for maintenance. Joy.

Back to the trailer - continue packing. I can't do the packing, because I get yelled at for putting the wrong things into boxes. Kristie's relatives keep trying to talk instead of helping, or getting out of the way. I keep trying to force her into the room with all the half-filled plastic bins to finish filling them - she starts cleaning the kitchen. (you do that AFTER you've gotten everything out of the house!)

To make a long story short, we FINALLY get everything loaded up about 8:00, and head out. I wanted to get as far as possible before stopping for the night. We end up in Lima, Ohio - about two to three hours from Detroit. Not bad. It's a TravelLodge, good rates by the coupon we picked up at a rest stop, good rooms, decent beds. No odd odors, no loud noises.

Next morning, we miss the continental breakfast, so go across the street to a Locomotive themed restaurant. (decent food, kind of slow). During that time, I call Penske, and negotiate for a trailer nearby. None in the route, they asked if we'd go to Toledo to get one (that's over an hour backtracking). THEN tried to offer a couple of extra days of rental to make up for it - I was planning on returning the truck four days early - what the HELL good does having a truck blocking the driveway for two extra days do me? They find a trailer - in Indianapolis.

Detour time. Down to Dayton, west to Indianapolis. Get to the place about 3:15-3:30. They find a trailer, we get it hooked up, load up the truck, and head out about 4:30. Stop about eight miles away for fuel, and have some unpleasantness with trying to get out of the parking lot. (Person in front of us was gone inside for a LONG time, then goes inside, then comes back out again, then gets ready to head in again. I call "Could you please move your truck, so we can leave?" and get told that she's 'About to pump her gas!'. Stupid bitch. If you want to park for that long to be inside, park in front of the damned gas station, not blocking a pump with your asshole chihuahua mutant inside the vehicle)

Anyway, we're rolling down the road now, west on I-70. Exit 77 is where the Penske place is. We had just passed exit 59, and had to get off of the road. (5:30) The brakes on the trailer had locked up, and the trailer turned into a drogue chute, rather than a car hauler. (5:35) Call the Nationwide service number. Five minutes of hold time later, I hang up. (5:40) I called the Penske place directly, got in touch with someone in service, they said they'd send a mechanic out. An hour and 10 minutes later, I tried the place again, got the service line, left a message with a priority notification asking why we hadn't seen anyone show up yet. Contract mechanic shows up about 10 minutes later, expecting to have to replace the brake module on a tractor trailer rig. No clue what was wrong with the trailer. Discussion with the boss, and was told to follow us back to Penske - they had another trailer we could use. Have to go 8 miles down the road for the next turnaround, then head back east. Eight miles short of exit 77, the brakes on the trailer grab again. Pull over, the mechanic felt the extreme heat coming from the brakes on the trailer, then starts to dig around undernearth. Pulls out two rubber centering plugs that were supposed to be mounted on caliper bolds (on disc brakes). Found that one disc brake was missing a bolt completely. Bled out the lines, then forced the pads back. We then continued to Penske, where an actual Penske mechanic had been preparing to head out with the heavy duty wrecker, until he found out that we were already on our way back. (more wires crossed). We get another trailer and head out - (by the by, we've since found that the built in trailer jack is broken/failed, you have to lift the trailer on and off by hand now.) Oh. In addition, the truck uses a Ford service body based on an E350 engine. The gas cap jammed on there was for a Chevy. They couldn't find a replacement, and I tried two different dealerships in two different states as well. I'll try to find another one tomorrow, since I'm sure the dropoff agent won't be able to find one. Ford changed the caps in 2005, and noone has the specs, apparently.

Anyway - that trailer works, but we're now on the road at 9:30 PM. We now have the following.

Lost 5 hours the first day from Penske
Lost 2 hours the second day from Penske on the phone, plus detouring to Indianapolis.
Are now on a totally different route from originally intended, due to the detour.
Lost an additional hour getting the first trailer.
Lost an additional four hours getting the replacement trailer
Lost another thirty minutes from going BACK to where we were.

Total lost time because of Penske - 12:30.

This was enough that instead of one hotel room, we ended up with two hotel rooms. If I hadn't pushed it through on the third day, we'd have had _three_ hotel rooms, plus I lost a full days worth of work. Total miles on the first two days - approximately 450. Total miles on the third day, 850. (with detours and everything else, we ended up at approximately 1440 miles instead of 1330).

Needless to say, I'm going to rip Penske a new one.

However, I will say that the truck itself performed quite well, and even with the full load, and the badly fitting gas cap, we still managed approximately 9 MPG.

I don't appreciate bait and switch, and I certainly don't appreciate being offered something worthless to me and to the person offering as 'compensation' for bait and switch. At a minimum, they owe us:

1) The gas for the caravaning of two vehicles, instead of just one, for the first full day.
2) Recompense for one hotel room night.
3) A SERIOUS refund/rebate because of the hassles they put us through. Preferably just dropping most of the cost of the rental, if not all.

We're here now, Kristie's trying to sort out stuff tonight, and we've loaded a 10x15 storage room with just her stuff for the wedding and household goods (not including what's here at the house). We're also looking for house rentals now.

Tomorrow I get to spend probably five hours on the road, servicing customers. Joy and bliss.


Driving Ms. Kristie...

Saturday morning at 7:00 AM, I'll be on a plane, to eventually end up in Detroit.

Then, Kristie and I get to finish loading a truck, then getting ready for a long drive to Houston.

It's happening. Can't say I'm _excited_, as such - more 'stressed to the limit'.

I have to finish packing, do some cleanup, and get at least a few hours of sleep.

Governmental Stupidities - Reiterated

Has anyone else noticed that when a security measure actually proves it works, the government uses that as an excuse to add more security measures?

Also, that the people that supposedly run our government are stupid?

Latest inanity. Now you can't have gels or liquids in carry on luggage.

The raw facts? Terrorists were "a couple of days" from tests, using a chemical explosive. Were they on an airplane? Nope. At an airport? Nope.

So why the FUCK do we have bazillions of troops now stationed in airports to help corncob passengers? Obviously, THEY CAUGHT THE PEOPLE BEFORE THEY GOT TO THE AIRPORT.

Therefore, IT WORKED. Government response? "We need more security!"

Bullshit. What we need is for people to kick the government out of the damned airports, tell the FAA to get back in the radar stations where they belong, and enforce the Constitution against our own bureaucrats. At the point of a gun, if necessary. (It's in the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the US).

Force everyone to take responsibility. Also force those morons at the various "U.S. Muslim" groups to quit trying to disclaim all responsibility. They aren't directly responsible, no, but they are responsible for forcing people to quit using the "If the shoe fits" method of people to check at the airports. The terrorists _are_ Islamic. The christian terrorists, for the most part, have quit being willing to blow themselves to smithereens. They want a reasonable chance to get away (at least, the organized groups of them. - IRA and so forth)

I mean, you can almost certainly discard all women over the age of 50. Under the age of 16 as well. You can then toss out most of the various asians - they don't tend to be part of fanatical Islamic sects.

For that matter, I believe that the statistics show that the Islamic terrorists tend to be male, Arabic/Semitic in background, and of the ages between 20 and 40.

So, a couple from Hoboken with two children can be strip searched just to avoid 'labeling' someone as being in a higher risk group. Could you see that sort of thinking applied, to, say, genetic testing? "I'm sorry, even though you're in a high risk group by statistics, we can't justify giving you this test unless we give it to everyone."

If the woman next to me wants to have a spring loaded beartrap in her purse - I don't care. Especially if I have one in my backpack. The point is that terrorists are _always_ outnumbered. That's why they are terrorists, not Government Troops. sixty people on a plane CAN overpower ten people - especially if that six to one ratio includes weaponry.

I want to know how many of these terrorists we've caught _in the airports_, _by the TSA_. Not by flight attendents or passengers calling security. By the checkpoint itself.

If the TSA refuses to give numbers, then the number, by default, is zero.
If the number is zero, then the security checkpoints are worthless.
If the number is non-zero, find out what actually worked. Also, what were those people who were caught? (Age, gender, ethnicity, religious background, whatever).