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Mea culpa, XO/Concentric and Comcast
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Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST
Nov 07 2013

The good news is I solved my ftp problem. The better news is it was wasn't XO/Concentric's fault.

One would assume the 550 access denied message comes from the ftp server.

It doesn't.

The message seems to be generated by the ftp client software on the user machine. The client displays the message when the command is not executed.

However, failure to execute the command isn't the server's fault; the problem is the failure of the user's system to open a TCP/IP port.

I discovered this when a Google search for ftp 550 errors returned a number of hits containing references to Comcast, my broadband internet provider. Like a good Comcast customer, I didn't bother to call support... I just unplugged the router and hit reset on the cable modem.

It took a good five minutes for the modem to come back up, indicating a configuration change or firmware update was being performed. Once the reboot was completed, I plugged the router back in, waited for the computer to reconnect to the net, and the fired up the ftp client:

Command: STOR qcount.txt
Response: 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for qcount.txt.
Response: 226 Transfer complete.
Status: File transfer successful, transferred 8 bytes in 1 second

Relieved, I regenerated the website pages and started formulating nasty things to say about Comcast. I ordered my ftp client to begin the transfer, and:

Response: 550 Access is denied.

Arrrgh!

What could have changed in the ten minutes between connect attempts?

I glanced at the Network and Sharing Center display I had opened after rebooting the modem to make certain all the machines on the home network were up. They were- along with a VPN connection to my office in Chicago, a connection I rarely use but had activated to connect via remote desktop to my workstation there.

I disconnected from the VPN and tried again:

Command: STOR qcount.txt
Response: 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for qcount.txt.
Response: 226 Transfer complete.
Status: File transfer successful, transferred 8 bytes in 1 second

So, the problem wasn't XO's ftp server, or Comcast blocking ports, but rather a network connection conflict and a misleading error message.

I apologize for blaming XO/Concentric and almost blaming Comcast.

I've been working with computers for over 30 years, and yet I still fell for the oldest mistake in the book: believing the error message.

The older I get, the more I discover the new stuff I learn every day is actually old stuff I just forgot.

Sigh.


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Quotes of the day: Albert Camus
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Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 9:14 PM EST
Nov 07 2013

Albert Camus (November 7, 1913 - January 4, 1960) was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The Rebel" that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A fate is not a punishment.

A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers.

A time comes when one can no longer feel the emotion of love. The only thing left is tragedy.

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.

As I usually do when I want to get rid of someone whose conversation bores me, I pretended to agree.

At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.

Do not wait for the Last Judgement. It comes every day.

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian.

Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.

In the depth of winter I finally realized that there was in me an invincible summer.

Integrity has no need of rules.

It's better to be wrong by killing no one than to be right with mass graves.

It's better to bet on this life than on the next.

Life is a sum of all your choices.

Live to the point of tears.

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it.

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

Politics and the shape of mankind are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness. Men who have greatness within them don't concern themselves with politics.

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding.

The one thing your friends will never forgive you is your happiness.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.

To grow old is to pass from passion to compassion.

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.

We rarely confide in those who are better than we are.

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.

What is a rebel? A man who says no.

Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and "historical tasks" is an actual or potential assassin.


Categories: Albert Camus, Quotes of the day


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XO / Concentric strikes again
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Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 6:39 AM EST
Nov 07 2013

For the third time in less than two months, KGB Report's hosting service, XO Communications (aka Concentric) has developed a glitch that prevents me from uploading material to the website via conventional methods. It's like renting an apartment and discovering the landlord changed all the locks, and the only way in is that little window over the tub in the bathroom.

The last two times this happened, the problem mysteriously corrected itself, with no explanation from XO/Concentric of the cause.

XO also promised me five free months of service, then claimed no one was authorized to make that offer, even after I provided them with the name and phone number of the representative who had called me. They grudgingly gave me one free month when I complained.

They say the third time's a charm. I've been with Concentric for 15 years, and until a few months ago, I've never had any problems. But obviously they have competence issues, and their dedication to their customers is evidenced by being just about the only major web hosting provider that doesn't provide 24/7 technical support.

More as things develop...


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