It’s Just a Wiring Problem

« Return to Article
  • perper 2007-07-17 15:11
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO
  • Welbog 2007-07-17 15:12
    <span style="{sarcasm:thick;}">Hmmm. I wonder what the problem was...</span>
  • UraniumAnchor 2007-07-17 15:12
    perper:
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO


    Because if they have a rupture in the outer layer, you might get water on the bare wires and then you get a nice zap...
  • KattMan 2007-07-17 15:16
    Because walking on them and rolling carts on them can cause wear in the insulation. It's been like this for years. He's bound the have a bare cable in there someone soon if he doesn't have one already.
  • dustin 2007-07-17 15:17
    the real wtf is that the boss has to mop the floor.
  • KattMan 2007-07-17 15:18
    on another note, I don't think I would have even touched the server. A situation like that can be detrimental to your reputation.
  • Pap 2007-07-17 15:21
  • RobIII 2007-07-17 15:36
    UraniumAnchor:
    perper:
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO


    Because if they have a rupture in the outer layer, you might get water on the bare wires and then you get a nice zap...

    Assuming the mop had a wooden handle: fat chance.
    Would I do it? Fat chance too ;-)
  • Anon 2007-07-17 15:36
    Pap:

    Yep. Instead of tripping over a cable and pulling whatever it was hooked up to onto the floor, destroying it, you'll just trip and fall on your face.

    All in all, a net gain.

    This seems to be yet another in the long line of "I want your suggestions on how to fix this problem that I've already decided how to fix and your solution had better mesh with mine" types.

    There's nothing worse than someone who has already decided what the problem is and refuses to accept it might be something else.

    ("It doesn't matter how much pressure you apply, you're not going to get any blood out of that stone!")
  • 0x15e 2007-07-17 15:41
    UraniumAnchor:
    perper:
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO


    Because if they have a rupture in the outer layer, you might get water on the bare wires and then you get a nice zap...
    Not to mention the "extension cords plugged into extension cords" bit. I bet at least one of those connections was a bit loose and just the right combination of mop+water+loose connection would be just as bad as ruptured insulation.
  • pitchingchris 2007-07-17 15:42
    once I saw the "perky" secretary, I was too distracted to notice anything else :)

    Back on topic, bad wiring jobs are one my pet peeves. And this one has power cables on the floor, taped along the network cables. I'm very surprised they didn't zap all the computers when they mopped.
  • Obi Wan 2007-07-17 15:44
    Now there's an "unrecoverable" ID-10-T job!
  • Zygo 2007-07-17 15:46
    Anon:
    Pap:

    Yep. Instead of tripping over a cable and pulling whatever it was hooked up to onto the floor, destroying it, you'll just trip and fall on your face.

    All in all, a net gain.


    In my experience with those things, they tend to stop carts gently, but firmly, dead in their tracks.

    Still a net gain.

    Then again from what I've read so far I wouldn't be surprised if they had double-decker carts that fall over in a gentle breeze...
  • Zygo 2007-07-17 15:47
    RobIII:
    UraniumAnchor:
    perper:
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO


    Because if they have a rupture in the outer layer, you might get water on the bare wires and then you get a nice zap...

    Assuming the mop had a wooden handle: fat chance.
    Would I do it? Fat chance too ;-)


    So you stand with one foot on wet concrete (i.e. ground) and the other foot on damaged wet power cable (i.e. hot) and voila, one complete circuit, with your crotch in the center...
  • Crash Cash 2007-07-17 15:51
    Shoot, I'd drop a dime to OSHA on these folks in a heartbeat. They deserve nothing less.
  • Anon 2007-07-17 15:57
    Crash Cash:
    Shoot, I'd drop a dime to OSHA on these folks in a heartbeat. They deserve nothing less.


    ++

    I was about to say the same thing. You'd be doing all this fool's employees a favor, even if he ends up shutting down.
  • TimmyT 2007-07-17 15:58
    They should go all wireless, that would help a little bit I think.
  • Anonymous 2007-07-17 16:03
    A few months ago, we had a similar customer. Our sales guy was on holidays, and i did his job on the side.

    A customer called and wanted "a new server". I offered him to visit and talk about what he exactly wants, but he insisted on ordering the server right now - i offered to shuffle my appointments to get to him at 16:00, but he still refused and just wanted a "very fast server, for Windows with 64bit and 8GB of ram".

    I asked him if he wanted a rack mount machine or a tower - "rack sounds more professional". I asked to make sure if he had an IT rack, deep enough to fit a server. He assured me that this was the case.

    I made an offer, he faxed the paper work back, i ordered the server, with direct delivery to the customer.

    A week later, this client called me up again. He had troubled fitting the server in his rack. I tried to talk him through doing this on the phone, but i was seemingly getting nowhere. I offered him to come on site for free, he accepted.

    When i arrived, the place looked quite similar to this one. And then i saw the rack: It was two pieces of wood (with a few big holes in them), in a 19" distance, where a few switches were screwed across.

    He told me that he was unable to fix the server to the two pieces of wood, that the server was to heavy, and that i sold him the wrong server.

    The solution was that he also bought a rack from us, but he still insisted that i sold him the wrong server :)
  • WyrdOne 2007-07-17 16:25
    TimmyT:
    They should go all wireless, that would help a little bit I think.


    Yep, with all those credit card transactions flying around you'd be plenty secure.

    What this company needs is a serious rewiring job that meets city/county codes and a rebuild of the backend systems with proper system security. (There is no reason a server should have anything except the server software installed on it. And, proper account/policies setup.)
  • Gaffer Gamgee 2007-07-17 16:34
    Gaffer tape?
  • Ben4jammin 2007-07-17 16:35
    There are so many things wrong with this that I don't know where to begin...so I won't.
    The worse that I have personally seen is a small company that had on their computer the Peachtree accounting software that had ALL their financial info AND active P2P file sharing. This was a Windows 98 box.
    I still see it in my dreams sometimes...
  • Mike 2007-07-17 16:44
    Am I the only one terrified at the thought of working in a second story cube built out of 4x4 and plywood? With the way the rest of the company seems to work, I'm not sure I want my office in a tree-house.
  • anon 2007-07-17 16:46
    Mike:
    Am I the only one terrified at the thought of working in a second story cube built out of 4x4 and plywood? With the way the rest of the company seems to work, I'm not sure I want my office in a tree-house.

    I'd be more afraid of being UNDER a second storey cube :P
  • Renan_S2 2007-07-17 16:49
    "The worse that I have personally seen is a small company that had on their computer the Peachtree accounting software that had ALL their financial info AND active P2P file sharing. This was a Windows 98 box."

    That is nothing. I have seen someone use a box with a pirated copy of Windows XP, without any service packs or updates, as a proxy, print and file server, all of this while running (not at the same time, of course) MS Office, MSN/ICQ, IE, Photoshop, Corel Draw, Winamp and sometimes a few games.

    Their definition of "print server"? Save the file over the network, log-in by VNC, open the file on the "server", print it.

    And the proxy server (WinConnection, by a Brazilian developer) often goes down, leaving them on the dark, without any Internet access.
  • Dave C. 2007-07-17 16:50
    Am I the only one terrified at the thought of working in a second story cube built out of 4x4 and plywood?


    No, no, the plywood is great and stacking up is even better. See, when the owner has had enough and sets fire to the place, the plywood will go like gangbusters. Of course, all those cables on the floor will help, too. They're like fuses.
  • Robert Hanson 2007-07-17 16:56
    Why walk out? This sounds like a cash cow. You stop in every couple of days on you lunch hour, "fix" something (remove some spyware, reconnect a cable, replace a cable, etc) and bill at a big hourly rate.

    A nice, mindless, paying diversion from a real job.
  • Myself 2007-07-17 17:06
    Pap:


    Those are more permanent, but I'm sure "Steve" would've preferred this: http://cableorganizer.com/cable-path/
  • EvanED 2007-07-17 17:06
    Mike:
    Am I the only one terrified at the thought of working in a second story cube built out of 4x4 and plywood? With the way the rest of the company seems to work, I'm not sure I want my office in a tree-house.


    I wouldn't want to be in there, but heck, if the ceiling was high enough, and I had to be in a cube anyway, that'd be pretty sweet if it was built right.

    I'm with the guy who said he'd be more worried to be under.
  • James 2007-07-17 17:14
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.
  • kettch 2007-07-17 17:21
    Gaffer Gamgee:
    Gaffer tape?


    Yes, I was going to suggest that. Or the boss could use his superior construction skills to build a raised floor. That should solve the problems with damaging the cables. As an added bonus he would never have to mop the floor down there again. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
  • Russ 2007-07-17 17:22
    WyrdOne:
    TimmyT:
    They should go all wireless, that would help a little bit I think.


    Yep, with all those credit card transactions flying around you'd be plenty secure.

    What this company needs is a serious rewiring job that meets city/county codes and a rebuild of the backend systems with proper system security. (There is no reason a server should have anything except the server software installed on it. And, proper account/policies setup.)


    First of all, there is nothing wrong with wireless if you have WPA enabled. Also the cc info should go over some sort of secure channel like ssl.

    They really should just add wireless, and for the computers that need to be wired, get a bridge that wires them together and connects to the main AP wirelessly.

  • nerdydeeds 2007-07-17 17:28
    James:
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.

    Where did you get such a preposterous hypothesis? Did Steve tell you that?
  • Goldie 2007-07-17 17:49
    pitchingchris:
    ... I'm very surprised they didn't zap all the computers when they mopped.

    Yet...
  • Oliver Garraux 2007-07-17 17:54
    Unless you're barefoot or something, it shouldn't be that big of a problem. Rubber soles on the shoes should insulate it. Not that it makes it any less of a WTF to have cables running all over the floor and mop over them.
  • Garp 2007-07-17 18:09
    Russ:
    First of all, there is nothing wrong with wireless if you have WPA enabled. Also the cc info should go over some sort of secure channel like ssl.


    I'm sorry but thats just not true. Both can still be hacked. Wireless is insecure, end of, and it should only be implemented in a situation where that is acceptable. I wouldn't rate CC transactions as being acceptable. Sure WPA takes longer to hack, but you're still talking possible especially in the common setup, WPA-PSK. For the most part tools like AirCrack will even do the hard work for you.
    http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/wireless/networks/archives/cracking-wpapsk-6730
    for a little more detail on the procedures involved:
    http://docs.lucidinteractive.ca/index.php/Cracking_WEP_and_WPA_Wireless_Networks#WPA_Crackin

    You would be hard pressed to find any financial standards organisations that will authorise CC transmission over wireless networks.

  • Russ 2007-07-17 18:27
    Garp:
    Russ:
    First of all, there is nothing wrong with wireless if you have WPA enabled. Also the cc info should go over some sort of secure channel like ssl.


    I'm sorry but thats just not true. Both can still be hacked. Wireless is insecure, end of, and it should only be implemented in a situation where that is acceptable. I wouldn't rate CC transactions as being acceptable. Sure WPA takes longer to hack, but you're still talking possible especially in the common setup, WPA-PSK. For the most part tools like AirCrack will even do the hard work for you.
    http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/wireless/networks/archives/cracking-wpapsk-6730
    for a little more detail on the procedures involved:
    http://docs.lucidinteractive.ca/index.php/Cracking_WEP_and_WPA_Wireless_Networks#WPA_Crackin

    You would be hard pressed to find any financial standards organisations that will authorise CC transmission over wireless networks.



    I don't think you know what you're talking about. Sure WPA can be theoretically hacked. I've tried it and it wasn't that easy. I also said that all the cc info should be transfered over a secure channel like ssl. So after the guy cracks the wireless (which will take many hours and he has to be in close proximity to the router), he will have lots of fun cracking the ssl, which should take ehh about 10 years.

    Are you saying that you've never bought stuff using your laptop while you were on wireless? That's just preposterous. CC companies even have wireless CC processing units which work over the air (probably a cell phone unit or something).

    Once again, there is nothing wrong with wireless. When you're on the wire people can listen in almost as easily, so in either case you shouldn't trust the network, but trust your encrypted channel. Saying wireless is not secure just because WEP and WPA can theoretically be cracked is crazy.
  • DAR 2007-07-17 18:37
    I have to say, part of the WTF here is why it never occurred to the consultant to recommend they switch over to a WiFi network. Kind of a no-brainer, really. And he would have made a mint off the job!
  • Rootbeer 2007-07-17 18:56
    <i>part of the WTF here is why it never occurred to the consultant to recommend they switch over to a WiFi network. Kind of a no-brainer, really.</i>

    Yes, switching to a WiFi network would be the recommendation of a consultant with no brains. (I.e., a consultant.)

    Sure, that'll solve the network-cables-everywhere problem, but what about the power cables?
  • Eric 2007-07-17 18:56
    I would've taken that job with pride, really. That's the right sort of employment for me if I was a freelancer, totally clueless clients, a situation so evil you can start anywhere and still make giant leaps forward.

    I mean, it's just like the West once was, free and untamed, where you could set up whatever you like and there was no obstacle anywhere except those Indians :)

    Really, that sort of job is where every hour of even mild professionalism makes a real difference. And they bill hourly, lost or scared away all other contractors - they are ripe for the picking. If you use only half your brain, they probably will still praise you decades from now as The Wizard Who Made It Work(tm). A shop like this is an offer of hourly-billed easy work for years on end.

    The mere fact that this shop still existed with all this crap going on means its business fundamentals must be overwhelming, they just had not a single spark of clue how to use technology and build infrastructure. One can only guess how many customers, data and time they lost because of that sorry excuse for proper infrastructure - but no, they didn't go belly-up, they needed a second floor for even more employees. A company still flourishing with that kind of handicap is a hidden gold mine...

    Imagine what this shop could do if you - the magic wizard in tie and suit who slayed the mighty bonziBuddy in just five minutes - would have a proper infrastructure laid out, with real backups, working net connections, access controls, user account management. Their profits should go through the roof.

    Even better: just fix what needs immediate fixing, gain a reputation there, fix some more and watch them outgrow their current office building quickly. Then offer advice on moving into a larger office and take care of the wiring there from the start.
  • vt_mruhlin 2007-07-17 19:27
    Robert Hanson:
    Why walk out? This sounds like a cash cow. You stop in every couple of days on you lunch hour, "fix" something (remove some spyware, reconnect a cable, replace a cable, etc) and bill at a big hourly rate.


    I'm pretty sure the electrocution hazard is enough to keep any smart people out.

    And these guys seem too 'clever' to be taken advantage of by selling them more stuff than they need. Hell, they're clever enough to not even buy the stuff they do need.
  • Andy 2007-07-17 19:42
    WPA-PSK is only insecure if you choose a stupid password. If you use a long random key that fully uses the 128 bit key space it's fine.
  • Darien H 2007-07-17 19:50
    Eric:
    The mere fact that this shop still existed with all this crap going on means its business fundamentals must be overwhelming


    Or they've been in a death spiral (due to crappy tech) and are barely surviving by further cannibalizing from a tech budget ("it doesn't really work anyway") and most of those second-floor employees are off transcribing paper receipts for daily inventory reports...

    Captcha: Muhahaha
  • Evan 2007-07-17 20:29
    Imagine what this shop could do if you - the magic wizard in tie and suit who slayed the mighty bonziBuddy in just five minutes - would have a proper infrastructure laid out, with real backups, working net connections, access controls, user account management. Their profits should go through the roof.


    You assume they're "flourishing" because they have a lot of employees. I'd assume they're not paying their suppliers, employees, taxes, or doing something else shady. "Steve" is mopping the floor and taping down cables because he doesn't see the value in paying someone else to do it-- he certainly won't see the value in proper infrastructure.

    In my experience, every prospective Customer I've seen in that kind of shape got to where they were because they were cheap. Once in awhile you can win a "soft costs" and "productivity increase" argument and get one of these to actually spend some money-- but most of the time they're just looking for the next cheap hack.
  • Top Cod3r 2007-07-17 21:27
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.
  • Mike 2007-07-17 22:27
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor.


    What am I missing? 1500 sq ft is 30 ft x 50 ft. Sounds to me like 330ft of Cat 5 would stretch that distance.
  • EvanED 2007-07-17 22:32
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)


    Dude, you might want to check your math. 100m is over 300ft. Let's be generous to your theory to the point of blatant absurdity and say that the 1500 sq ft room is 5ft by 300ft, and the server is at one end. Multiply it out--1500 sq ft. And yet that STILL isn't far enough from the server to the far end of the room to cause network problems. (Okay, maybe it is once you add slack in the cable. Still, that'd be 30 ft of slack before you reach 100m.)

    A square 1500 square foot room is roughly 40 ft by 40 ft, or 13m by 13m, which means that you could string a cable across the long diagonal of the room, back across, then across and back again, then across one more time and you would STILL be slightly under 100 meters.
  • Jay 2007-07-17 22:32
    He said that the building was 1500 sq feet, but he also said that it was split between office and warehouse.

    Perhaps the total distance of the office space was less than 100m, and the rest was warehouse space?

    Nice one.
  • EvanED 2007-07-17 22:35
    Evan:
    You assume they're "flourishing" because they have a lot of employees. I'd assume they're not paying their suppliers, employees, taxes, or doing something else shady. "Steve" is mopping the floor and taping down cables because he doesn't see the value in paying someone else to do it-- he certainly won't see the value in proper infrastructure.

    In my experience, every prospective Customer I've seen in that kind of shape got to where they were because they were cheap. Once in awhile you can win a "soft costs" and "productivity increase" argument and get one of these to actually spend some money-- but most of the time they're just looking for the next cheap hack.


    Hey! Who are you, and why did you steal my name? ;-)
  • tin 2007-07-17 22:36
    Gaffer Gamgee:
    Gaffer tape?


    Only if it's proper Nashua Gaffer tape. Anything else is rubbish.

    Also, I'd have considered it dodgy but not bad enough to dob them in... Until the mopping. Then I'd be letting OH&S regulators know that there's someone needing a surprise inspection.
  • Mr Steve 2007-07-17 22:47
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    I don't get it - 1500ft^0.5 ~39 ft ~12m

    if the office was a square each wall would only be 12 metres - that's a small office hence the tree houses. You have to get really creative in order to use 100 meters network cables ;]
  • JBange 2007-07-18 00:06
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    The real WTF is why someone would call themselves "Top Coder" when they don't know the difference between "1500 square feet" and "1500 feet square". Of course, the fact that you spelled it 'leet style "Top Cod3r" pretty much indicates that it's wishful thinking rather than accurate self description anyway.
  • Timm-eh 2007-07-18 01:34
    Plus, isn't that the theoretical distance due to signal degradation? One switch along a 150 meter run should fix that problem.
  • dmitriy 2007-07-18 02:23
    Robert Hanson:
    Why walk out? This sounds like a cash cow. You stop in every couple of days on you lunch hour, "fix" something (remove some spyware, reconnect a cable, replace a cable, etc) and bill at a big hourly rate.

    A nice, mindless, paying diversion from a real job.


    If Steve is not going to pay for proper cabling, then he probably isn't going to pay for this. Furthermore, what you propose sounds unethical -- while you are doing these few things each day, Steve's employees continue to be exposed to the danger of electrocution and / or fire.

    I agree with previous posters who would warn OSHA about this guy.
  • death 2007-07-18 02:43
    Jesus! Ive had to go cheap on my home net but this is unbelievably bad. Im coning to post a sidebar WTF about the nearest case :)
  • amandahugginkiss 2007-07-18 03:45
    Rootbeer:
    <i>part of the WTF here is why it never occurred to the consultant to recommend they switch over to a WiFi network. Kind of a no-brainer, really.</i>

    Yes, switching to a WiFi network would be the recommendation of a consultant with no brains. (I.e., a consultant.)

    Sure, that'll solve the network-cables-everywhere problem, but what about the power cables?


    If they're not going to pay for new hardware, why would they pay for wireless infrastructure anyway?
  • SteveBosman 2007-07-18 03:46
    Garp:

    You would be hard pressed to find any financial standards organisations that will authorise CC transmission over wireless networks.

    So how do the handheld chip and pin devices here in the UK ( http://www.chipandpin.co.uk/media/resources/photos.html ) work - fairy power?
  • Utunga 2007-07-18 04:21
    Eric:
    I would've taken that job with pride ...

    Really, that sort of job is where every hour of even mild professionalism makes a real difference. And they bill hourly, lost or scared away all other contractors ...

    The mere fact that this shop still existed with all this crap going on means its business fundamentals must be overwhelming...

    Imagine what this shop could do if you - the magic wizard in tie and suit who slayed the mighty bonziBuddy in just five minutes - would have a proper infrastructure laid out, with real backups, working net connections, access controls, user account management. Their profits should go through the roof...

    I'm guessing you haven't actually worked on many real jobs like this out there in the 'real world'.

    Regrettably, a nutcase like Steve would've refused to pay even a small part of what was required for the massive upgrade needed. Witness his comment about 'its only cables' and 'its been working for years'.

    You are probably right that the business fundamentals are strong, but to some extent perhaps part of their profitability comes from his cutting corners.

    Have you ever heard the term "technical debt"? http://www.martinfowler.com/bliki/TechnicalDebt.html

    It sounds to me like part of the reason Steve has got to where he is because by cutting corners he's saved a lot of cash on IT (and goodness knows what else). Unfortunately his business has now racked up a big technical debt. What IT folks sometimes fail to realise is that doing things 'properly' can cost real money and slow a business down, so in point of fact it can actually be a real win for a business to cut corners - sometimes! Unfortunately for Steve, having cut all those corners for so long, he now has a choice between a huge cost to upgrade the existing infrastructure to where it needs to be to continue growing (ie pay back the princpal on the debt) or he can keep paying heavy ongoing payments (of 'technical interest' in the form of continual down time).

    If you could convince someone like Steve to make that kind of shift in thinking, then you would indeed be a Wizard, and worth every penny of your hourly rate. Unfortunately having met folks like Steve I'm sure he no doubt hates folks with the 'professionalism' you describe especially when they are looking for the hourly rate to back it up.

    Regrettably, someone like Steve is going to make it virtually impossible to get any real 'wins' because he'll cut the legs off of every suggestion that could make a real improvement and instead go for the cheap and nasty every time.

    There's a reason this description sounds like countless 'small' businesses out there. Small businesses like this don't grow into the kind of 'big' business environment you are probably used to.
  • MadMike 2007-07-18 04:31
    Andy:
    WPA-PSK is only insecure if you choose a stupid password. If you use a long random key that fully uses the 128 bit key space it's fine.


    I'm using a random generated WPA-PSK and feel pretty comfy with the setup. The only 'problem' is tiping that dang key on devices that don't have a keyboard like my Noxon 2, http://www.my-noxon.com
  • Kiss me I'm Polish 2007-07-18 05:32
    I remember being once an innocent 22 year old student that would do almost anything for a few bucks to pay his bowl of noodles with shrimp flavored sauce (no actual shrimps).
    A friend told me he was leaving town and there was this company that used to call him to fix problems with the network, can you give me a hand and go there and see what seems to be the problem today, I owe you a beer.

    10 computers connected to a single 12 port hub located in the boss' office connected to an adsl modem - fair enough, that's cheap and gets the job done. Using one Cat5 utp cable for 2 computers - not exactly what I would call a great solution, but it used to work for them. At least until that day. They even had troughs for the cables.

    I started by rebooting the adsl modem (it usually solved most problems with adsl back then), but it didn't work. Worse, the internal network was unreachable. Unconvincedly I wanted to restart the hub (I've never heard of a hub crash before), I shrugged seeing the two-headed utp cables, and then I noticed the problem. The problem was standing in front of me, breathing heavily and sweating like hell. It was the boss.

    The company that did the wiring had not only the great idea of cutting costs by using less cable than necessary, they also had put the sockets in random places. In the boss' office, the socket was near the door, quite far from his desk. But hey, what's that thing just behind the desk? It's the hub! And it happens to have a free socket called "uplink", haha that's funny. We don't need no stinkin' uplink. We need a socket 'round the desk. We plug the cable into the socket. We have no network. Nobody has network.

    I unplugged the cable from the uplink and put it in the last spare socket. Wow, it works. Don't do that again, kthxbye.

    They called me again next week. The network went down. The boss had brought his laptop from home and he wanted to plug it in...
  • Hoover 2007-07-18 06:11
    dustin:
    the real wtf is that the boss has to mop the floor.


    Not really. It fits right in with his modus operandi. Does he look like he's the type of person willing to spend actual money?
  • El Dorko 2007-07-18 06:55
    Hehe, I've had a customer exactly like that. A 6 person shop with a large warehouse where wireless won't work because of all the tons of metal between, so they had drawn cables over the shelves. And naturally every now and then someone would lift a forklift too high and yank a cable, so that all the ends were broken - the little thingamajickie that keeps the cable secured. So whenever anyone touched a cable from then on, it would come lose and something would not work.

    They had a network printer which was very much in use by everyone, and naturally they were totally upset every time a network cable came loose and they couldn't print. So they asked me to help with it ("the printer doesn't work"). First thing I recommended was install some cable trays and attach everything nicely. Would've cost a few hundred euros + work, but no, that was too expensive. No problem, I said I can't really do much else, but give me a call if you still need me in anyway.

    A week or two later they called me and asked if I could come in and install a printer. Or two. Or actually, six printers. What they'd done was buy six printer-fax-copiers, one for everyone, because "the network printer never works". Cost about 10x what it would've cost to just redo the cables properly, but hey, I don't mind, I spent a few hours installing the printers and billed that, it's cool with me ;-)

    So now the customer still has a network that is down every now and then, a perfectly good network printer that is not used, and a huge multifunction machine taking half the desk space on every desk - but they're happy with it. I guess the sky is just of different color on some people's home planet than on mine...
  • Dave 2007-07-18 07:48
    WyrdOne:
    TimmyT:
    They should go all wireless, that would help a little bit I think.


    Yep, with all those credit card transactions flying around you'd be plenty secure.


    yes, I'd much prefer my CC number securely sent over wire to the spyware-laden windoze-ME based 'credit-card server' :)

    captcha: gotcha
  • galgorah 2007-07-18 08:18
    The absolute worst I have seen was back in 2000 at a residential treatment center for adolescent girls. I was hired as network/sysadmin. This place consisted of 6 buildings all connected by Fiber. The network itself was this weird mix of token ring/ethernet. Servers, routers, and hubs were often placed in employee offices. Where the fiber cable came into the building was often were the students could often just grab and break on a whim. No Server rooms, locks, or anything to protect the equipment. Often times employees would unplug some crucial piece of equipment to plug in their fan. I managed to convince them that they needed to redo their network and they did over a few years time.

    However one day was a complete nightmare. I'm sitting in my office configuring a new server when I get the call from maintenance that I should come over to one of the dorms and assess some damage. When I got their John the maintenance guy told me the story.

    apparently the previous night some kid managed to break the toilet and water started to spew from the pipe. Well as it turns out no one thought to call maintenance to shut off the water, they just let it run ALL NIGHT. Water had seeped down 2 floors to the dining room before setting off the fire alarms in the building, Completely destroyed Everything in the office below, and caused a good amount of structural damage to the building. Several people were fired and all in the cleanup was a nightmare. I had to get the entire buildings network redone from scratch.
  • NeoMojo 2007-07-18 08:38
    You're all over thinking the solution. Duct Tape fixes everything.
  • Henry 2007-07-18 09:24
    Dave C.:
    Am I the only one terrified at the thought of working in a second story cube built out of 4x4 and plywood?


    No, no, the plywood is great and stacking up is even better. See, when the owner has had enough and sets fire to the place, the plywood will go like gangbusters. Of course, all those cables on the floor will help, too. They're like fuses.


    The solution to the problem is obviously more plywood. Build a false floor over the cables on the floor and you don't need any tape for the first layer of cables, and you have a whole 'nuther floor surface to lay cables on top of.

    What puzzles me is not the OSHA thing, because they don't inspect until they get a complaint, but the local fire marshall often does routine inspections of commercial establishments.

  • topcat_arg 2007-07-18 09:56
    sometimes the best thing you can do it transform yourself into arsonist and finish the job at night ;)

    captcha: kids don't do this at home...
  • DOA 2007-07-18 10:06
    topcat_arg:
    sometimes the best thing you can do it transform yourself into arsonist and finish the job at night ;)


    Someone's been watching Office Space :)
  • A non-racist James 2007-07-18 10:24
    James:
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.


    Wow.

    It's been a while since I've seen such an ignorant and bigoted comment in a thread like this. Way to give us James' a bad name.

    It's a long, hard road to make Grand Dragon, but with your attitude, I think you can do it!
  • Look at me! I'm on the internets! 2007-07-18 10:38
    Mr Steve:
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    I don't get it - 1500ft^0.5 ~39 ft ~12m

    if the office was a square each wall would only be 12 metres - that's a small office hence the tree houses. You have to get really creative in order to use 100 meters network cables ;]



    But, if the office is only 4 ft wide, thats 114 metres long.
  • TexDex 2007-07-18 10:44
    Look at me! I'm on the internets!:
    Mr Steve:
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    I don't get it - 1500ft^0.5 ~39 ft ~12m

    if the office was a square each wall would only be 12 metres - that's a small office hence the tree houses. You have to get really creative in order to use 100 meters network cables ;]



    But, if the office is only 4 ft wide, thats 114 metres long.


    Yeah, and if the office is only 1 foot wide it's almost 500 meters! Might be a bit hard to fit a 17" monitor though. Better use flat screens!
  • Jno 2007-07-18 10:46
    MadMike:
    <snip> http://www.my-noxon.com

    Um die folgenden Seite betrachten zu können, benötigen Sie eine aktuelle Version des Flash-Players.

    WTF? Der noxon geplonkt sind.
  • masonReloaded 2007-07-18 11:12
    Uh, even if he wants to half-ass the job, at least help him half-ass it in a way that will fix the problem - tell him to get some cheap plastic conduit/pipes and run the wires up the wall across the ceiling. Do a cable test on all the existing cables and replace any that are busted, and move them all to the ceiling instead of the floor...

    if only the guy was willing to pay just a little to fix the issue, but not enough to just hire a professional cable installer to completely rewire the office, this would be the kind of job I would love to fix - limited budget, creative solutions - easy way to make a big difference.

    captcha:ninjas
  • ashkelon 2007-07-18 11:17

    This seems to be yet another in the long line of "I want your suggestions on how to fix this problem that I've already decided how to fix and your solution had better mesh with mine" types.

    There's nothing worse than someone who has already decided what the problem is and refuses to accept it might be something else.


    Right up there with the owners of antique and / or homebrew commerce systems who introduce themselves with "I know everything that has to be done, and I'd do it myself, but I just don't have time..."

    Flee for your life
  • bronzy 2007-07-18 11:30
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    ...


    1500 ft^2 yields a linear distance of less than 40 ft for a square room. Maybe if the room were really long and narrow ...
  • operagost 2007-07-18 12:46
    Rootbeer:
    <i>part of the WTF here is why it never occurred to the consultant to recommend they switch over to a WiFi network. Kind of a no-brainer, really.</i>

    Yes, switching to a WiFi network would be the recommendation of a consultant with no brains. (I.e., a consultant.)

    Sure, that'll solve the network-cables-everywhere problem, but what about the power cables?

    SO I take it that a solution is useless unless it fixes everything at once? This is an IT contractor, not an electrician. The solution to the power problem requires the appropriate professional.
  • stevekj 2007-07-18 12:58
    James:
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.


    I quite agree. He's giving all us Steves a bad name.
  • Sam 2007-07-18 13:45
    Top Cod3r:


    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    "Steve" is that you?
  • Random Code Monkey 2007-07-18 13:46
    Um die folgenden Seite betrachten zu können, benötigen Sie eine aktuelle Version des Flash-Players.

    WTF? Der noxon geplonkt sind.


    Apparently "WTF?" is universal :D
  • poochner 2007-07-18 14:32
    Kiss me I'm Polish:

    The company that did the wiring had not only the great idea of cutting costs by using less cable than necessary, they also had put the sockets in random places. In the boss' office, the socket was near the door, quite far from his desk. But hey, what's that thing just behind the desk? It's the hub! And it happens to have a free socket called "uplink", haha that's funny. We don't need no stinkin' uplink. We need a socket 'round the desk. We plug the cable into the socket. We have no network. Nobody has network.

    I unplugged the cable from the uplink and put it in the last spare socket. Wow, it works. Don't do that again, kthxbye.

    They called me again next week. The network went down. The boss had brought his laptop from home and he wanted to plug it in...


    I take it this hub didn't have a switch on it for that port to make it flip it from cross-over to normal? And have you ever known a bossoid to pay attention to "don't do that again?"
  • Jerim 2007-07-18 14:34
    I really liked your analysis. I have worked for and with small businesses for a while now. At first, I was resistant to anything that wasn't "standard." But as you work with small businesses you realize they have a point. IT can be expensive, even for a small network. Price out what it would cost for someone to come in and setup a network correctly, with "acceptable" computers, routers, switches, servers, etc. It could easily be $5k or more for a small business that only has $20k to work with. That is 1/4th their budget. And they still have to open the doors, pay utilities, wages, and other expenditures for a few months until the money starts coming in.

    Small businesses work on a different playing field and you need to understand that field. It isn't about being stupid, it is about being prudent. Why spend money on computers this week, when you won't be able to pay salaries next week? We being in the IT industry, we bought always put IT first. For these businesses, IT is a small part of their operation. You have to learn to work under those circumstances. Work with these companies, and when the day comes to finally upgrade, you will get the call.
  • AdT 2007-07-18 14:36
    ... desktop computer ...
    + ... running Windows ME ...
    + ... completely overrun with spyware ...
    = ... credit card server ...

    WTF?
  • Corey 2007-07-18 17:01
    Not really. I'm sure signal degradation plays a part though.

    The big reason has to do with the signal propagation speed through the wire. Putting an upper limit on the maximum cable length also puts an upper limit on the time you have to transmit to make sure you can detect any collisions in progress. I.e. if you and a station the farthest allowable distance from you start sending at the same time, how long does it take for you to see his transmission, noting that there's been a collision?

    Putting a switch in the middle does solve the problem, because each port of a switch is a separate segment of Ethernet (a separate "collision domain"). It also solves signal-degradation problems, since it retransmits the packets at layer 1.
  • Tinkerghost 2007-07-18 17:31
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.

    1500sqft = 38 X 38 storage room. NOT exactly prime candidate for overunning 100M max length. Running it all the way around the room is less just around 1/2 the max run for a cat5 cable. Now of course the room could have been 1' 1500', but it's unlikely :)
  • HarryR 2007-07-18 17:46
    So you walk on them, roll on them and break the outer "protection" coating which is supposed to sheild them from magnetic interferance and things like... uh I dunno... people washing them?

    :)
  • Fred 2007-07-19 02:50
    Yup, Why not use PoE (Power Over Ethernet) then put the ethernet over wireless and since you probably need more juice put in a couple of GigaWatt microwave links and you have solved the problem. Anyone walking by will be vapourised by the beam and there won't be any evidence for the OHSA guys. In fact, if you're really lucky it might even set fire to all the plywood !
  • method1 2007-07-19 08:17
    <sarcasm>Yeah,these american immigrants who come to the UK - they're always doing stuff like that</sarcasm>
  • Christian 2007-07-19 08:39
    Is that the submitter of the story didn't care enough about the safety of the people working there to call OSHA, even if it would hurt his professional reputation.
  • Steve 2007-07-19 12:11
    I'm going to have to agree with you. This guy is giving Steves a bad name--- doing housework like mopping the floor better left to his perky receptionist.
  • Rich 2007-07-19 16:02
    poochner:


    I take it this hub didn't have a switch on it for that port to make it flip it from cross-over to normal? And have you ever known a bossoid to pay attention to "don't do that again?"


    Possibly this was a switch/hub where the "uplink" was just a crossover of port 1. That could mean that port 1 had the real "uplink" (possibly with a crossover cable) and then when the boss plugged into the uplink, that either futzed the real uplink or brought the whole switch down with two cables effectively plugged into the same port.
  • ze 2007-07-19 18:50

    don't forget:

    + boss mopping the floor!
  • Firethorn 2007-07-20 13:08
    Why would you? That essentially describes the second story of most homes as well.

    They just never bothered to finish it up. Still, I'd want to see the quality of the work...
  • Cy 2007-07-20 16:45
    Garp:
    You would be hard pressed to find any financial standards organisations that will authorise CC transmission over wireless networks.


    Umm... I suppose you've never come across a wireless PDQ then? Example: http://www.terminal-solutions.co.uk/products.html

  • Kyle Soze 2007-07-20 18:52
    The real WTF is:
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.
  • AJS 2007-07-23 08:48
    1500 square feet = about 150 square metres, so the room is most likely about 12.something by 12.something if it's square, or maybe 6.something by 25.something if it's oblong. Plenty of room within the 100m. limit.

    And on those cheap little ethernet switches, the "UPLINK" port was hardwired in parallel with port 1 but wired the opposite way around (pins 1-2 swapped with 3-6). So you can't use port 1 if you're using the uplink port. There was usually some sort of graphical indication that you might have a hope of understanding if you already knew that you weren't supposed to use them both at the same time (the point of using icons instead of words is that an icon is equally incomprehensible no matter which language you speak).

    Thankfully there's now a new "cheap switch" chipset which autodetects the wiring, so those cheap switches only have 8 ports; each of which can handle any combination of sense and polarity (I checked, well, somebody's got to). As a bonus, the newer ones can even handle a bigger routing table, so they last a fraction of a second longer before locking up completely if you join two of them together.

    BTW, did you know that Konqueror displays the text-entry area as just 2 rows by 19 columns? It's like surfing the Internet on a mobile phone!
  • Neuro 2007-07-24 12:38
    Actualy the standard is 90m for the runs alowing 10m for patch cables at each end.

  • Neuro 2007-07-24 12:38
    Actualy the standard is 90m for the runs alowing 10m for patch cables at each end.

  • Another Freelancer 2007-07-24 18:08
    Okay, I have worked for some bad clients before, but this takes the cake.
    If this is a totally true story, which I could abstractly see, the company must have had money to be employing all of those people. The man in charge should have gone with the rewire right?
    They should just be reported to OSHA just because the man in charge was such dummy. All the employees were at risk so better they get laid off then killed.
  • whatwouldtuxdo? 2007-08-01 03:43
    Rootbeer:
    sure wireless will solve the network cable problem but what about the power cables?


    touche, touche indeed....
  • PDK 2007-08-31 12:55
    No.
    No.
    Just.... No.
  • themagni 2009-03-11 12:23
    Top Cod3r:
    The "consultant" in this story was the biggest WTF. He said himself that the building was 1500 sq feet, but 100Base-T has a physical distance limitation of around 100m, so the intermittent network problems were most likely caused by physical distance of the cable runs, not some guy mopping the floor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100Base-T)

    Sounds this this guy was about to get canned for a job where he got in over his head and decided to bash his former client on Worse Than Failure to get back at them.

    Nice one.


    Hooray for you, Top C0d3r. I love your posts and, more importantly, the responses you get.
  • Peets 2009-03-11 16:33
    Zygo:
    RobIII:
    UraniumAnchor:
    perper:
    How can washing cables be a bad thing? Walking on them, yes, rolling cards on them, yes, washing them? NO


    Because if they have a rupture in the outer layer, you might get water on the bare wires and then you get a nice zap...

    Assuming the mop had a wooden handle: fat chance.
    Would I do it? Fat chance too ;-)


    So you stand with one foot on wet concrete (i.e. ground) and the other foot on damaged wet power cable (i.e. hot) and voila, one complete circuit, with your crotch in the center...


    Well, that would stop him d*cking around.

    What that place needs is a nice fire. Try explaining it to teh insurance..
  • undrline 2009-03-11 17:36


    Anyone notice that there are two "see larger image" that are the exact same image? Amazonian Failure.
  • Kilroy 2009-03-11 22:22
    Ah yes, small businesses. The backbone of the American economy.
  • blunder 2009-03-12 00:39
    Eric:
    Imagine what this shop could do if you - the magic wizard in tie and suit who slayed the mighty bonziBuddy in just five minutes - would have a proper infrastructure laid out, with real backups, working net connections, access controls, user account management. Their profits should go through the roof.


    That sounds really nice, but I am living your dream right now and you've left some things out.

    These are people who don't understand the tech. That means they don't see the value in it, and don't want to spend money on it. You think a guy that builds a floor out of plywood, in violation of the law as well as a high-schooler's understanding of physics, is going to shell out for *anything*? You think those people are going to like not being admins on their own box after years of being able to install whatever crap they want? You think they'll remember their passwords? No, you end up either having to (a) walk, or (b) make short-term concessions but plan on very slowly tighten up security and make necessary upgrades one at a time.

    You end up spending half of your time doing the work and half defending what you did to people who will never see the value in it. Having free reign is nice, though. But if it was just about the money I'd be looking for something else to do.
  • pizzaguy 2009-03-12 00:56
    A non-racist James:
    James:
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.


    Wow.

    It's been a while since I've seen such an ignorant and bigoted comment in a thread like this. Way to give us James' a bad name.

    It's a long, hard road to make Grand Dragon, but with your attitude, I think you can do it!


    Actually, I work for immigrant entrepreneurs (who aren't bad at all) but more importantly 90% of the business is selling to other immigrant entrepreneurs. He couldn't be more right.

    I am first generation American and my first reaction to that statement was honestly, "wow, how true." Now that you pointed out that it's bigoted I agree and I feel bad about that. But really, it's pretty damn true.

    Some guys just think if they can work cheap everything will work out in the end. Or they think "I can do this" and try anything, even stuff they're grossly underqualified to do, like network cabling. Or they call up Jimmy so-and-so who knows how to hook up a car radio. Eventually through trial and error they get something that sort of works. Perhaps it's because immigrants are they type of people crazy enough to just move to a whole other country.

    The nice thing is, if business is good, sometimes you do get the chance to get it right. There are worse qualities to have than confidence.
  • ScribbleJ 2009-03-14 11:05
    Okay, it's possible, maybe likely that there is more than one shop in the world that precisely fits this description. That said, I fixed a network for a customer that had a setup /exactly/ like described in this office, in about 1993-1994. I couldn't remember the name of the place now if I tried, but it was a jeweler in some small town, Wisconsin. They had a respectable shop up front and in back, an office/warehouse/grinding+polishing area in back that had the described cubicle loft.

    Wiring, power, network issues aside, I actually thought it was pretty cool in the same sort of way that kids think bunk beds are awesome.

    Heh!
  • ELIZA 2009-10-16 04:41
    But it has to be in moderation. Do you remember Dick Cheney or the Neocons?
  • ELIZA 2009-10-16 05:13
    pizzaguy:
    A non-racist James:
    James:
    All of this sounds like something an immigrant entrepreneur would do. Or at least not someone named Steve.


    Wow.

    It's been a while since I've seen such an ignorant and bigoted comment in a thread like this. Way to give us James' a bad name.

    It's a long, hard road to make Grand Dragon, but with your attitude, I think you can do it!


    Actually, I work for immigrant entrepreneurs (who aren't bad at all) but more importantly 90% of the business is selling to other immigrant entrepreneurs. He couldn't be more right.

    I am first generation American and my first reaction to that statement was honestly, "wow, how true." Now that you pointed out that it's bigoted I agree and I feel bad about that. But really, it's pretty damn true.

    Some guys just think if they can work cheap everything will work out in the end. Or they think "I can do this" and try anything, even stuff they're grossly underqualified to do, like network cabling. Or they call up Jimmy so-and-so who knows how to hook up a car radio. Eventually through trial and error they get something that sort of works. Perhaps it's because immigrants are they type of people crazy enough to just move to a whole other country.

    The nice thing is, if business is good, sometimes you do get the chance to get it right. There are worse qualities to have than confidence.


    PS, the problem is not always confidence, as here where it appears to be values: If the depictions of American and third-world offices I have read and seen are correct, Steve appears to be used to doing business in the third world where the local equivalents of OSHA are too often corrupt hicks more interested in kickbacks than occupational health and safety, and he does not understand that workplace safety is something important.
    Likewise, people like Peter Brimelow (from England) come to America, and others such as David Duke are BORN AND RAISED there, and think it is supposed to be a land of opportunity for only politically correct immigrants (IE English-speaking, Christian, not "Liberal", and depending on the xenophobe, often necessarily white).