Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Classless networks are in style. It’s just basic subnetting.

In Binary Net Masking each Octet contains exponential bits from right to left:

1     1   1   1   1 1 1 1
128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 (128+64+32+16+8+4+2+1=255)

So..

255.255.248.0 in binary is
11111111. 11111111. 11111000. 00000000 = /21 (we’ll get to the identifier in a minute)

255-248 = 7
Therefore 255.255.248.0 – supports 7 networks per subnet
255 – 248 = 7 networks

Or

192.168.1.0/21 supports
192.168.1.0-255
through
192.168.7.0-255

The next subnet supports another 7 networks.

192.168.8.0/21
192.168.8.0-255
through
192.168.15.0-255

So where does the /21 identifier come from?

All net mask identifiers start at /32 and go down.
32-21 = 11 mask bits
Count the zeroes in the Binary Mask!

11111111. 11111111. 11111000. 00000000 = /21
11111111. 11111111. 11110000. 00000000 = /20 (32-20 = 12 mask bits)

What’s the full net mask for the /20 identifier above?

1     1   1   1   1 1 1 1
128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 (8+4+2+1=15)

/20 = 255.255.240.0 because 25515 = 240

 

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Billing customers for internal project management is a bad idea.

There’s a new phenomena in the service invoice category. Imagine this: Your company scores an account set for major growth. It could go from being a $10k account to $150k within a year. When scheduling your internal resources to work on this account and scheduling meetings or conference calls with the client you employ a “Project Manager”. Then you bill the customer back for this “Project Managers” time.

Sounds fantastic until the customer gets the invoice. Four hours @ $120+ per hour for “Project Management”??? Okay, where’s the Project Control document, the Gantt chart? Where is any deliverable at all? Where is there any value add to the customer what-so-ever for the hours you billed them to cover the cost of an internal resource scheduler? This is exactly what NWN Corporation tried to pass off to me over the last couple of weeks as billable work. I told them I would not pay another dime towards the salary of their internal project or resource planners. In fact there seems to be some confusion within some service providers these days as to what the title Project Manager means.

Yep, part of project management is resource scheduling. But unless you are scheduling THE CUSTOMERS RESOURCES you are providing precisely ZERO billable services to the customer. You are doing nothing but charging your Project Manager’s salary back to the customer. Put it in a scenario: I on a security component installation company. Imagine I win a contract to install 100 security cameras. Then imagine that I employ a Project Manager to come up with an INTERNAL project plan and schedule techs for the field. Now imagine I present that persons work as a line item on a bill to the client. WHAT? Why should any customer be forced to pay for someone to create our internal project control documentation and schedule when our techs will be on the job? Absurd. Next up, we will bill by the hour for the work our HR reps do in hiring the staff to do the work. Why not just go all the way to putting a line item for the Receivable Manager’s time to prepare the invoice? How about the janitor? I mean technicians have to pee right? Might as well bill back for toilet cleaning as a line item.

How about learning the difference between internal Project Management and genuine Project Management services for the customer. Nobody owes you a dime for the cost you incur for scheduling your staff or for a non technical person to listen in on conference calls.

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LinkedIn is a security threat.

Scammers, spammers and phishers all have a solid source of information they can call upon to find out who holds what position in a company. LinkedIn provides a reliable, updated corporate hierarchy for them to find the names of Principals and management so they can forge emails in their names for delivery to accounting and payable’s staff they find the names and contacts for where else? LinkedIn.

How do they know the email address to send the message to even if they know the accounting representatives name? There’s a good chance your corporate email address is firstname.lastname@company.com or tsingleton@company.com. Not hard to guess the syntax in companies that don’t use obscurity for security in email address syntax. So the information on LinkedIn is almost like free Lexus Nexus for those with ill intent.

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Google doesn’t convert Digital Storage correctly.

I clicked on “More info”….”Aaron is a Search expert and author of this help page”.

Well Aaron might want to let someone in a nearby nap pod know that there are 1024 bits in a Megabyte.  For about a year when I go to do a quick digital conversion using a standard Google search the answer comes back wrong.

The correct answer is of course 102400 MB in 100 GB.  I’m a little embarrassed for them.   Wait, should I be double checking how much Gmail storage I have left?

Here’s the more in depth explanation https://www.convertunits.com/from/100+GB/to/MB

“1 byte is equal to 9.3132257461548E-10 GB, or 9.5367431640625E-7 MB”.

 

 

 

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Yahoo is a bastion of old white trash, rednecks, fascists and deplorables.

Word is spreading about the place to hang out on-line if your a hyper-nationalist, fascist, hate the environment and enjoyed your 90’s listening to Rush Limpballs spread his Oxycontin driven madness during lunch while getting mad in a pickup truck.  If you’re a proud redneck and consider being twangy white trash a virtue, the Yahoo comments section is the place for you.  It’s a blissfully ignorant vacation from the Fox Entertainment Trump Propaganda network.  A land of dictator lovers and Russian admirers, racists one and all.  A true hive of low educated, low credit, truck driving inbreds who think the mid west is the “heartland”, not a vast wasteland of white trash hate to be avoided at all costs.  Fly over, don’t even drive through it.

A place where country music shitards and angry gun toting tough guys assemble with flag wearing Nazi’s and near geriatric angry old men to complain about brown skin and spew about how bad they want a border wall.   They’re the most disgusting people around us who think that by beating the other worst Presidential candidate in US history they are “winning” despite their King Drumpf winning only 27% of the votes from all eligible US voters.  Math isn’t their strong suit so they’ll never calculate 73% of eligible voters did not support their ignorant fool who saluted North Korean military officials giving them the best propaganda footage their state run media has ever acquired.  Then he commented about how he wants Americans to “sit up” and listen to him the way North Koreans are forced into patriotism.  Yes, Yahoo.  The place to be if you’re an angry, racist baby boomer looking to blame your life failures on anything and anyone other than yourself.  Truly a deplorable place for deplorables to reinforce each others fantasies of success.  Yet, they’re still loosers.  Always will be.

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More evidence of costly, ineffective EDI Document testing by SPS Commerce

Here’s another email between an EDI Analyst and a map developer regarding an SPS customers documents after they made the choice to let SPS hijack their customer base for an ineffective testing ransom.  Will it ever stop?  Will the incompetence and gouging ever be outed?

Hi Margarita,

 

We’re still trying to sort out the issues we’re having with these ALL*** Invoices since switching to their new connection.

We received the below communication from them advising the required freight charges are not showing on the 810 and that these should come through the SAC loop. The Specs for this is attached for your reference.

 

I’m not sure why this is happening? as I copied the Tested TP kit when switching to their new EDI Connection. So everything that was tested and confirmed as passed should match. I’m beginning to think SPSCommerce did a poor job with handling ALL***’s document testing because when I look back to TEST invoices, none of them included this SAC segment. Therefor it should have failed during the testing period.   

 

Reminder: We do not receive POs via EDI for this TP.

TDOC Name: ALL_810_4010X_TRIM2

 

Example of 810 (All Pro New)

ISA*00*          *00*          *01*044381234      *ZZ*ALLPROCORP     *180105*1008*U*00401*000000036*0*P*>

GS*IN*044381234*ALLPROCORP*20180105*1008*70*X*004010

ST*810*000000005

BIG*20171229*INV0670665*20171228*366884***DI

REF*SW*SOD0141885

N1*SE*Trimaco, LLC*92*7950

N1*BY*Miller Paint Co. – AllPro*92*5240

N4*Puyallup*WA*98373-2414**SN*0195

N1*ST*Miller Paint Co. – AllPro

N3*14207 Meridian E*Bldg C

N4*Puyallup*WA*98373-2414

ITD*01**2*20180128***0*****2% EOM/Net 15th

DTM*011*20171231

IT1**64*EA*8.85**MG*84075*BP*84075

CTP***8.85

PID*F****One Tuff Wiping Cloth  75/box 8bx/cs

TDS*69647

CTT*1

SE*17*000000005

 

 

 

 

Thank you,

 

Desireé ******* | Systems Analyst – EDI | *******, LLC

D: ***.***.***

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Why “Geo-targeted” social media advertising will not work for most small firms.

Has your business been offered the opportunity to run “geo-targeted” social media ads by a small, local digital marketing firm?  This is a simple enough concept in printed media, run an ad in a publication exclusive to Atlanta, GA and an audience in that area sees it.  This is quite a bit different when it comes to social media and it’s track record for small businesses is abysmal.  It’s a matter of those pushing the product, smaller social media digital marketing firms, not understanding the underlying technology and it’s limitations.

Digital geo-marketing relies primarily on data collected by a couple of firms in attempts to obtain legitimacy.  Maxmind and Digital Envoy TRY to collect geo-location data using ping responses.  Ya, if you’re a network admin go ahead and laugh.  Ping data.  “Pinging” IP addresses is a technology older than the World Wide Web.  It’s a command used to identify latency times between computers and network appliances.  On wired and private networks these ping response times measuring latency are pretty reliable.  On public networks and more specifically mobile networks ping latency is far less reliable when it comes to pinpointing IP address locations.  It’s literally a guessing game, full of of too many assumptions to list.  Even the geo-location companies admit it’s “a bit like solving a mystery”.

Geo-location companies do not know with any precision where an ISP is delivering an address, certainly not with any accuracy down to 30km or less, just over 20 miles.  Most often that level of accuracy cannot be achieved.  So the smaller the area you want to target your advertising, the less likely it is any marketing will reach that designated audience.  If you want to advertise in the entire state of GA exclusively, you might get the results you’re looking for.  Maybe.  Assuming none of the internet service providers re-address or redesign their network in a broad area.

There are other limiting factors in using IPv4 internet addresses to try to identify audience locations.  Many ISPs, especially those in Asia and Europe are switching to IPv6 public network addresses, abandoning IPv4 entirely, the address model used by these geo-data aggregation firms.  Spectrum Communications is doing this in the US now.  This is not information digital media marketing firms want you to know.  The geo-targeted marketing they are trying to sell is an inaccurate science, relying on assumed information and technology that is becoming more irrelevant every day.

All that said geo-targeted marketing is possible and is currently working for several large enterprise organizations.  I say “enterprise” because I am referring to Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other organizations which have millions to spend on entire departments to make sense out of network addresses and their delivered locations using Ping Triangulation, a sophisticated and manual process.  For example Google uses cars in every major metropolitan city in the world to triangulate and confirm IP addresses and subnets delivered by local ISPs to subscribers.  They do not provide this collected information to third parties, not even for a price.  Google will target your ad geographically for you at their rates.

So unless your local digital media marketing firm has a few cars checking IP addresses on a daily basis in every market you may wish to advertise it’s likely they are working off bad and inaccurate data.  Of course they won’t tell you this which is why my opinion is that most, but not all, digital marketing firms should be relegated to the same receptacle as the stale and now irrelevant firms still pushing search optimization, SEO, the trash bin.

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Federal Universal Service Fund “Administrative Fees”

It seems commercial customers of major telecommunications companies (that would be most American businesses) are now mostly subject to the carriers collection of the cost of their required contribution to the Federal Universal Service Fund.  This is a fund that is supposed to reimburse or pad the cost of telecommunications expansion into rural areas where service would often not be available due to profitability in the market.  So let’s first define how absurd this fee is to begin with.

Say we have a small rural community area 100 miles from their nearest metropolitan neighbor.  It has a population of less than 800 people and no local ISP’s or broadband providers.  A telco carrier (Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast, Windstream) may not find a return on investment to run fiber lines into this community so many miles from their nearest C.O. (central office).  If there is a close breaking point for profitability, over the course of say 5 years, the carrier may choose to build the infrastructure for service but then seek a subsidy from the Universal Service Fund.  So the money from the fund pads the carrier until a term of profitability can be reached.

All well and good to insure rural areas can get high speed broadband.  If that were actually happening.  Truth is that even with USF subsidies available most carriers are skipping out on rural infrastructure development, leaving most of these areas at the mercy of satellite broadband services that are expensive and still prone to latency.  Then comes the revenue generator created by industry and FCC, i.e. government, collusion: The FUSF Administrative Fee.

This fee is passed on by the carriers to consumers and companies for the “cost of collecting” the carriers required contribution to the fund from their customers.  It ranges by carrier, while not likely arbitrary it is left up to the individual carriers calculations.  A calculation I’d imagine surpasses the actual “cost” of collection which is left to a programmed formula in an ERP or accounting system to be places on invoices.

The FCC’s website titled “Understanding your telephone bill” implies carriers cannot charge more than the percentage cost of their contribution to the USF for interstate customers, typically businesses.

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/understanding-your-telephone-bill

“Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their contribution to the USF”.

But what about the “Administrative USF Fee” put in place by almost all major carriers now?  Verizon charges .41% of the total bill.  AT&T, the worst offender, charges .88%.  For clarification as to how this could not be considered a cost that “exceeds the percentage of their contribution to the USF” I inquired with the FCC.  Here is my original email and their response.  Notice their response has no way for a consumer to make an inquiry.  This is a pinnacle example of corporate backed government bureaucracy.  It’s also a clear example of why we need to get industry insiders out of regulatory oversight and make sure no one in government can become beholden to later opportunities in industries they are supposed to be regulating.

From: Todd Singleton
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2016 11:51 AM
To: FCC504 <FCC504@fcc.gov>
Subject: USF Collection Fees

On the following FCC web site titled “Understanding Your Telephone Bill” you have a section regarding Universal Service Fund contributions by carriers.  It is widely known many carriers pass this cost on to customers however, I am looking for clarification on the “Administrative Fee” carriers add to the bill for the cost of collecting this fund contribution from customers.  https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/understanding-your-telephone-bill

On the page you have the following comment:

“Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their contribution to the USF”.

By passing through the administrative cost of collections are they not doing precisely that?  Please clarify the position of the FCC on the matter of this administrative collection cost for USF contributions and since no limit or percentage is defined on this administrative fee how it is not, in fact, “an amount that exceeds the percentage of their [the carriers] contribution to the USF”.

Thanks

Todd Singleton

The bureaucratic response.  Apparently a call is required to make “inquiries”:

To be more responsive to your comment, inquiry , or complaint, we direct your attention to the options below.  Not sure I’ll ever want an answer bad enough to call the FCC.

By following the steps below for comments, complaints, or inquiries, we will begin to act on your communication right away:

If you would like to file a COMMENT in a PROCEEDING, please visit our Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/hotdocket/list and follow the instructions on the page.

If you would like to file a COMPLAINT about a telecommunications related service, please visit our consumer complaint page at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us .  From this page, you will directed through a series of prompts to a specific complaint form, which you can fill out and submit to the FCC.  Submitting your complaint on one of our complaint forms insures that we have all the information we need to process your complaint, and will also shorten the time you will have to wait to receive a response from the company or entity you have a complaint about.

If you would prefer, you can also submit your complaint over the telephone, by calling our consumer call center at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322).

If you would like to make an INQUIRY into an FCC policy, or have general questions that the FCC might be able to answer, please call our consumer call center directly at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322).

Thank you for contacting the Federal Communications Commission.

Can you smell the fleecing?  It burns!

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Very little faith left in Strava rankings. GPS variance may be to blame.

Got some first hand experience in the reliability of Strava rankings this weekend.  Might be due to GPS variance but there may be more to it.  Data collection and analysis may have something to do with it too.  Either way, myself and others know the truth as of this weekends results.  I give you exhibit A, a segment known as Riverview KOM.  This is the result of my riding partners upload.   Notice anything strange?

21.7 avg. yet 19 MPH max.?

How did Juan average 21.7 MPH when his max speed on the segment was 19 MPH?  Even better… how did these results rank him at 26th when all present on the ride know I chased a slower rider in a forward group to the top of this hill segment, in a brazen attempt to see if I could summit first and then I literally waited at the top of the hill for Juan to get to the top.  I stopped and waited.  And it wasn’t even recorded as my personal fasted time on that segment by my GPS.  So is my Garmin Edge 500 to blame?  Or is Juan’s iPhone 4s the culprit?  The next questionable segment sheds some light on the blame.

Here is another very odd result of this ride that does in fact decide a KOM.  I’m happy, almost proud, Juan got this KOM because it was his first ever but…. there’s another problem.  I pulled Juan on this segment.  The entire segment and in fact the entire road the segment is part of.  His first comment to me upon seeing this KOM was “but you pulled me”.   This was so close that I can only attribute the 10th of a second difference to GPS variance because I was indeed in front, and occasionally creating separation up to 2-3 bike lengths that Juan would have to make up.  Further segment analysis proves data collection is the likely offender.

Here are the results of this KOM segment shown from Juan’s Strava profile and my own.  Notice Juan’s top speed, 44.3 MPH.  I assure you we never did 44 MPH on this segment.  I’m confident because my bike was in front and my GPS reflects the more accurate 27.5 MPH top speed leaving me to believe it was Juan’s iPhone 4s skewing the results, giving Juan the KOM.

Top speed 27 MPH.

Before jealousy and animosity are presumed please understand while I care if the rankings are correct, I could not care less if they result in accolades for myself.  Like I said I’m happier Juan got his first KOM regardless of how it occurred technically than if I got another.  However I will no longer put a lot of faith in top Strava rankings separated by a second or two since I now have personal experience and first hand evidence there is some level of GPS reliability or data analysis skewing results.

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How Windstream Business makes sure they are the WORST in customer service.

You hate Comcast customer service?  Think the former Time Warner was evil to do business with?  Ha! Amateurs.  Windstream Business has engineered a way to make sure there is no direct customer service conduit available.  They funnel everything through a single 800 technical support number.  That magical number is 1.800.600.5050.  If you or ever unfortunate enough to dial this number, plan for suicidal tendencies.

This time I dialed and was greeted with “Thank you for calling Windstream Business” then dead air for a total of 2 minutes and 47 seconds according to the call timer on my phone.  Once you finally reach the automated attendant you get four options (verbatim as of the date of this posting):

  1. “If you are experiencing down or bouncing issue on T1 or DS3 services press 1”
  2. “an issue with data services such as Internet, Ethernet, MPLS or other managed services press 2”
  3. “If you are having trouble with POTS or local lines press 3”
  4. “Experiencing voice relate issues with voice services such as Voice over IP press 4”

Notice none of these options are for customer care or billing.  None.  They all transfer to “technical support”.  Once you get one of these technical support representatives they will be very aggravated they have to handle a billing call because apparently the hand off to “customer care” is a painful process for them.   They insist they must stay on the line because the possibility of getting cut off is a good bet.  Then you wait 15-20 minutes.  Once connected to customer care I voiced my complaint about the lack of number straight to them, having to go through technical support.  My customer care representative said “it says for customer care use option 3”.  Odd.  I played the greeting I dialed into again:

3. “If you are having trouble with POTS or local lines press 3”.

I am not having a problem with POTS or local lines.  I have a problem with bills you are sending me for data services that were turned down in April.  This has precisely ZERO to do with POTS and local lines.

Windstream cut off some of our business services that we discontinued in April 2016.  We are still getting bills for these accounts in August.  They are disputing we never formally disconnected the account through our account rep, supposedly a person named Byron Ball.  I was insured by “customer care” that my request for Byron Ball to contact us has been escalated.  Despite several emails, no Byron Ball.  Some at Windstream have told me he doesn’t work their anymore.  Now they are telling me he does and will be giving me his bosses information.

Meanwhile they gave me Byron Balls bosses number, Bryon Waters.  Now I get to call him and see what the excuses are.  Chances I’m going to ever got to speak to Mr. Bryon Waters are damn near zero since all of this is just stonewalling by Windstream.  Their goal is to get legally binding contracts signed to initiate billing and then forgo any semblance of customer care or account management.

If anyone thought Windstream might be better at business services than they are residential services, for which they’ve lost lawsuits, think again.  This company is the worst in telecom.  Do not make the mistake we did and select Windstream or their former Paetec as a carrier.  Pay more to AT&T or Time Warner Telcom.  They suck too but at least you get someone to talk to about the problems.  What Windstream is doing deserves an FCC investigation, except the FCC is padded with government insiders.  Another perk of the marriage between government and business.  It’s not just residential consumers getting screwed, it’s businesses across America too.   These corporations do not discriminate in who they rip off.

 

 

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