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Comcast Domain helper service, a DNS breaking service which shows you search results when you try to access a site which doesn’t exist on the Internet (e.g. http://blah.blah).

Ever since I noticed this “service” on my Comcast account I have disabled it.  I don’t like it, I don’t want it, and basically it breaks the basic workings of DNS on the internet.  If a site doesn’t exist, I want a cannot be found error, not search page which is cached in my browser and forever holds the bad domain as real in my history.

So this evening I jump on the internet and mistype mail.yahoo.com, as I so often do for some reason, and notice that the Domain helper service is enabled, AGAIN.  This has to be the fourth time the service has reactivated itself on my account.  So I go out to my Comcast account to shut it down and notice that the option to do so no longer exists!  What!?

I call Comcast and the person on the phone is as befuddled as I am, plus not so happy that the option is missing from his home account also.

I have been on the phone for 33 minutes now while a resolution is trying to find a solution to this.  The end result at this point is that an “IT” ticked has been opened and this support person is to call me back with a status.

I wonder if I will ever actually receive that call?

UPDATE:

It is now Friday, August 6th, basically one week since I called Comcast and I have not heard back from them at all.  Not like I really expected to, though it would have been a nice change.

I am not looking forward to it, but I must fight my way through Comcast option-hold hell/support once more…

Update again:

Well the support joker never did call me. What did I expect, really support from Comast? No chance of that.  The good news is that the place on the Comcast customer site again has the place to disable the service.   YEAH

This is pretty nasty and will surly have a wide impact on home Internet users.  I just read about an exploit which has the potential of affecting millions of home internet users.  The exploit affects home routers and will be explained in detail next month at the Black Hat conference in Vegas.

http://blogs.forbes.com/firewall/2010/07/13/millions-of-home-routers-vulnerable-to-web-hack/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/19/home_router_hack/

I shouldn’t have to say this, but IF YOU HAVE NOT CHANGED THE DEFAULT PASSWORD ON YOUR HOME ROUTER, DO IT NOW!!!

Don’t think it really matters?  Well here is how easy it is to get a list of default passwords.

If you don’t know what to do, call someone who does know what to do.  If you don’t know who to call, call me (i.e. leave me a comment) I will be more than happy to help anyone secure their home network.

That is the question isn’t it.  One of the single most difficult professional decisions anyone will make is, do I stay comfortable as a master code slinger, or do I step into the world of management?

For me it always seems to be the other way around.  I never got into hard-core programming until I was a one man shop or in a managerial/lead role.  And I truly love to write software applications, I find it to be such a rewarding activity.  Specially when others are using, and better yet, making money using the software you have developed.

Though time and time again I am pulled to lead instead of producer.  Maybe I am just slow and sucky and nobody has the heart to tell me?  It’s possible, sure.

Fact is, I am there again at my current job and this time I am really, really OK with it.  I am managing Information Systems again, which I seem to always have a bear of a time with aystem admin’s ( I think it’s because I spent 8 years as one myself).  So that isn’t the highlight here, but a necessity of the corporation.  What I am heading up is Information Security, and that has me really charged up.  I have always worked with security, at both a technical and managerial level.  It is a really important step in my corporation’s life and I am going to bring them to that level while at the same time, bring myself up a few levels too.  It is exciting, scary, overwhelming and challenging.  What else can I ask for out of job?

I have made the hard and firm decision to obtain my CISSP certification.  My goal is to sit for it in October; kind of  a birthday gift to myself.  I have looked at this certification for years and shied away from it.  Not this time, I will complete it.  I know at least three of our clients have asked if we have a CISSP certified member on staff in the last year.  It’s a logical supported next step, and having support from senior management is always a big plus.

Now here is the other exciting side to this. I will not be coding much at all at work.  Why is this exciting to me?  Simple, I will not be tired of coding and I can work on my own projects!  There is nothing I like better than coding stuff I want to.  I would guess most core developers think this way.  I have lent a hand to some open source project and developed some of my own crazy stuff.  My current one, which I personally find very useful is BD File Hash.  A Windows Forms base file hashing and hash compare tool.  Hey someday ask me what the BD stands for.

So as you can see I am hitting the best of both worlds here.  I am greatly improving my professional aptitude and still able to do the things I really enjoy doing. On top of it, I work two miles from my house, so I am not a complete stranger to my family.

Don’t worry, I”ll always remain  your IT Slug!

I have been using Planet SMB hosting for a year or more now, and find them to be an adequate host who give a lot of stuff for the dollar.  I wouldn’t run a high availability application on them, but than again, I am not doing that, so it all works out.  I highly recommend them for any developer who needs a place to showcase stuff and use as a staging site or fee-based hosting site for their clients.  To clarify, when I say high availability, I don’t complain about them having downtime, because I really don’t experience much at all.  The issue I do have is wait times.  For applications to spin up, and the Plesk Panel which seems to always be painfully slow and times out. No phone support, though emails are usually answered in a decent amount of time.

The issue I had with Plesk is that when I setup my domains (I get 5!) an expiration date was set on them.  So today at some time they just stopped working!  WTF!  I know I never set this date, is this some strange default which was set?

I set in a critical ticket to PlanetSMB and it’s been 15 minutes and no reply.  In this case I figured out what happened, but I still want to see how long it takes to reply to my critical ticket.

UPDATE: So this is cool, I heard from PlanetSMB Support (Mike Eldredge actually, the owner) in 16 minutes with a good answer to my issue.  So he was right on it with the critical ticket, Yeah Mike!

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