Our February of 2014:
We have had a bad few weeks, and this week seems to be the pinnacle of a very long climb planning to frustrate us all.
Starting back a few weeks ago, our outgoing traffic felt at times like you were connecting your email at dialup speed again. It came and went, with promises all around as to, "Its going to be fine by tomorrow" but it never was. All of us were frustrated, many of you voiced your anger, we listened and continued our efforts to get things back to normal.
This past Friday I gave up, ordered a completely new circuit to fix the problem (instead of "fixing it" just start from scratch) Monday night late, I was staring at the issue, hoping for inspiration, and found some incoming traffic that wasn't being shown in port checks, just traffic with no real destination. A bit of analysis I find that its all (tech talk follows, you are warned) port 123 traffic, usually dedicated to NTP, but in this case seems to be just UDP garbage traffic. I shut down all incoming traffic on port 123, immediately our network re-awoke (traffic still coming in, but since we aren't answering it, its not slowing things down any more) and I declared (after testing my theory, and waiting a bit) things back to normal... Monday night, the speed is back, Dave is smiling.
Tuesday rolls in, mail is mailed, the websites are web siting, its all good.
Wednesday... A storm. Our network connection starts going up/down. All day. Runs 15 minutes, off for 5 on for 10, off for 10, like this all day. 10pm, its fixed. Nothing I did, it just started working... After a couple of weeks of slow internet, I was about to go nuts. But, it was working when I went to bed Wed night...
Thursday, we had scheduled replacement of our main power panel, lined up electricians, generators, etc. So they show up, move the servers to the generators, and kill the power here. Stuff ran great, for a couple of hours, on generators/batteries... About 1 hour 50 minutes into it a few servers dropped out, but main things were working. And then it happened. The wrong panel was purchased, we were provided with some temporary power (while parts are acquired) and we try to get the batteries back to normal (they had all died by now).
It went badly... Power out, the batteries are now too low, and the generator just can't keep up, so things shut off. Hard, without hesitation. Got it working again... We have new pretty, safe, power, yay! PROBLEM... 1 server, used to manage our billing system shorted out the power supply, it had been running for ages, and just didn't come back (power failures do that on occasion), replaced it, then bad news of all bad news, our syix.com mailserver corrupted its database storing the virus tools. This is a giant 40Gb database, and it refused to load. No database, no email. Last time this happened it took forever (seemed like it) to fix... ARGH.
By about 9pm, everything is done, working normal, and appears happy. February will be over in 22 hours. YAY
Lately, this term is getting a lot of attention! Cryptolocker looks like this:
First thing to know, if you have this on your computer, currently at this time, your data cannot be recovered using "normal" methods. So, we recommend you protect yourself from this one. Anti-viruses, Anti-Malwares and other such tools for some reason are not protecting people from this one (not a "sky is falling thing" I promise)
Fortunately until we have a better permanent solution, there is a nice tool out there. Check this guys webpage and see if its something you could use: http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/
We have it installed here, on a couple of machines, seems to not be annoying, and so far we haven't gotten the Cryptolocker!
More JAVA news, another claimed compromise. If you don't need JAVA please just remove it from your computer, its not safe. At least don't let Internet Explorer use it, turn off browser access to JAVA if you can.
Look in "control panels" and find your uninstall software section, locate JAVA and remove it. If you MUST have it, please be safe, and careful. The last compromise allowed random people to install software on your computer, without your knowledge.
Cloud? Nah, just Client/Server like the old days...
I have been using Cloud Computing for YEARS. My first computer was a dumb terminal that talked to a mainframe via an acoustic coupler. Without the coupler it was capable of NOTHING useful. So the "cloud" marketing sillyness lately has mostly just made me laugh. My computer needs to have its own data and computing power, not someone else computer elsewhere, just so they can sell my info (looking at you Google) and save me what? Anyway, today I was gratified to see that I am not the only one who thinks "cloud computing" is just silly.
From PC Magazine, this was written by John Dvorak: "I have never been all-in with the cloud. I want my processing power to be local, preferably right in front of me. People were trying to get away from central control for decades when the first personal computers appeared in 1975. These were wimp machines by today's standards and off-board storage was a cassette deck. Now we have incredible processing power and you can get a high-speed 4 Terabyte hard disk for $180 at Costco. Yet people are returning to the big mamma in the sky, accepting a client-server relationship that was a consistent flop decades ago. That is, until the Internet began to dumb down the majority of users. With Linux never catching on and the rise of the cloud-centric operating systems alongside the weak phone/tablet OS taking over, everyone is back where they started: pre-1975. Centralized control wins out. I guess that is what the public wanted all along and the "personal" computer movement was actually a fad. Who knew? "
In as short a sentence as possible. Just say NO.
To expand a bit, be sure that any computer you buy has Windows 7, or can be "downgraded" to Win7. Do yourself a great big favor and just DON'T buy it as an upgrade. Don't. Really really don't.
I installed Win8 on a new computer today, the "Pro" version, with all the features available and enabled. It is ugly, hard to use, makes NO sense at all, and generally annoys me. Internet Explorer 10 (comes installed that way) just feels weird.
Its an operating system designed for Tablets or Smartphones. Not computers, no matter how many ways Microsoft trys to spin it. On a tablet, it might be fine, or a smartphone, it might be okay. On a desktop or laptop PC, just NO.
If you don't believe me, come into the support office, ask Bill or Andre to look at the Win8 computer. See what YOU think, see if you don't agree with me completely.