Monthly Archives: January 2012

Verizon FIOS Continues to Not Talk to Verizon FIOS

I have two new trouble tickets with Verizon FIOS as the connectivity situation continues to be nearly completely non-functional, as it has been since January 10th. The one entered from the Verizon Business FIOS side of things is TXP08R8CY. During the hour-and-a-half tech support conference call needed to get that one going, I happened to inquire about my previously-entered trouble tickets, and was told that they had been closed. Since the problem continues, I insisted that the tech set one up for my residential FIOS account, too. That one is FLCP08R8EN.

If you are a Verizon customer and have difficulty getting through to this site or other sites I run, be sure to reference the above tickets when you put your complaint in. Thanks.

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Verizon FIOS Doesn’t Talk to Verizon FIOS?

I have a bit more information about the connection difficulties I’ve been having with my ISP, Verizon FIOS. I have a residential account in Palmetto, FL with Verizon FIOS. Mostly, it works fine. I can get to a host of web sites without difficulty, and the transfer speeds are great.

I do remote system administration on two servers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Those servers get their connection via a Verizon FIOS Business plan link. (Yes, Verizon, the servers are on an account where serving is usual and expected.) One server provides my regular email, the other serves a whole bunch of web sites via virtual hosting. And things there are mostly working, where the outside world can merrily get pages served on demand.

But…

As of sometime early last Tuesday morning, January 10th, Verizon FIOS stopped reliably talking to Verizon FIOS. I can tell the approximate time of the outage as the last email message my computer here picked up from the server there was at 1:09 AM CT. The problem is very likely to have manifested within a very few minutes after that. And the problem’s characteristics are just plain weird. One expects most ‘problems’ with connections to be user error. Certainly that’s the primary basis of Verizon FIOS’s residential account tech support, who are ready to quit if the problem isn’t solved by having the user clear their browser cache or resetting the router. This problem, though, is more complex and is not localized to my particular account. First, not all connectivity is gone, just *most* connectivity. I can use SSH to log in remotely and use commands that return small amounts of information. Once I try a command that would return a page or more of text, the connection drops with a ‘Broken pipe’ message. There’s a web page that is static and is only a few hundred characters in size that I can successfully retrieve. But none of the web sites that rely on web applications (Drupal, WordPress, and IkonBoard) do anything but spin forever while the browser displays ‘Waiting on …’.

So let me jot down some things I’ve learned about this so far.

* It isn’t a DNS issue, as ‘nslookup’ finds any of the domain names and returns the correct IP address quite rapidly.

* It isn’t a single port failure. Ports 22, 25, 80, and 587 are, at a minimum, included in the affected list.

* It isn’t a complete break, as connections on the scale of a single packet of data at a time work.

* Using traceroute for other websites shows three hops taken within the Verizon routing center in Tampa. Traceroute for the affected servers shows two hops taken similarly, but the third times out.

* My parents live in Lakeland, Florida, a goodly distance away from where I live, and have Verizon FIOS as their ISP. I visited there this past weekend and asked my dad if he had been able to check this blog recently. He said no, not for about the past week. I tried traceroute from their connection, and it behaved the same way as from my home connection. The problem is not localized, it affects other Verizon FIOS customers.

* I’ve heard from Texas where another Verizon FIOS user of the email system cannot connect to the email server. I don’t have a traceroute result from them to compare.

I have two open tickets on this problem with Verizon, FLCP08NT6J and FLDQ090SXY. There are some other people who have posted to the web saying that they are having network difficulties with Verizon FIOS in the same time frame, but I haven’t seen a report that exactly matches what I am seeing. I’m writing this post by the expedient of using a proxy for my browser, which is a nuisance. (While it is on, my Google search results tend to come back in German, which I can’t read.) It’s a bit of a Catch-22, since I’d like to get feedback from Verizon FIOS users, but if the problem is of the nationwide scale that I expect it is, this post will be unaccessible to them from that account. On the other hand, if it is accessible via Verizon FIOS elsewhere, that would be useful information to have. If you are a Verizon FIOS user, I would appreciate it if you could run traceroute from the Verizon account to baywing.net and copy the results into a comment here. I’ll copy my traceroute results into a comment here shortly.

How to invoke traceroute:

Under Windows, open a command prompt. In the command prompt, type in the following:

tracert baywing.net > tr_baywing.txt

It will take a few minutes to complete if you also have the problem I’m having. The result ill be in a text file, ‘tr_baywing.txt’, in that directory. Copy and paste the text in a comment here if you aren’t seeing the problem, or contact me if you are having the problem.

On Mac or FreeBSD, open a terminal window. At the command prompt, type in:

traceroute baywing.net > tr_baywing.net

On Ubuntu Linux, open a terminal window. At the command prompt, type:

tracepath baywing.net > tr_baywing.net

Here’s my email, if you can’t leave a comment here (remove spaces and convert to symbols as indicated): w e l s b e r r at b a y w i n g dot n e t

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Connection Issues

My connection to the servers in Texas from my home systems is unreliable. For the moment, my only reliable link to various of my web sites and my usual email is via my Android phone. Fortunately, I’m grandfathered into an unlimited data plan and have a Bluetooth keyboard. But that is still not a long-term solution. I have a trouble ticket in for my Verizon FIOS ISP that has been active since this past Wednesday without resolution. I just got a call from Marc saying that another email user is having much the same connection problem, so he’s also putting in a trouble report from his side. The servers run on a Verizon FIOS business plan, so connection outages are a concern on that basis, too.

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No One Expects the Comparative Anatomist

Upcoming television series on PBS: Inside Nature’s Giants, begins January 18th at 10 PM.

Professor Joy Reidenberg is an unlikely TV star. She’s a comparative anatomist with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Physically, she is diminutive, dark-haired and dark-eyed, and not the sort of slender sylph in morphotype that TV producers seem to favor. But Joy has deep anatomical knowledge and a gift for communicating what she knows, and that led the producers of the documentary series, “Inside Nature’s Giants”, to feature Joy in their program.

Diane and I have known Joy for years as a fellow attendee of various biennial conferences hosted by the Society for Marine Mammalogy. At the latest conference, we caught up with her following the conference-end banquet. She spun us a fascinating tale of how she came to star in a television series. Joy said that she received a call from the producers early one Friday afternoon preceding a holiday weekend, asking her if she might be interested in dissecting a stranded fin whale for a television program. Sure, she said, thinking that they were prospecting and planning for a project that would be months, if not years, down the road. So the question following her “yes” response floored her: Could she be on the plane for Ireland at 6 PM? Maybe was the answer, as Joy told us that physically getting to each part of the transportation network she’d need to get her stuff and passport would stretch things. Her husband and daughter decided to join the expedition. To cut things short, Joy and family made it to Ireland, and despite various amusing misadventures, made it to the locality of the whale stranding on time. There, the documentary producers pressed her into service as liaison to the local health authorities, who had to be convinced that permitting a whale necropsy on the spot was the best way forward to safely disposing of the carcass. She also had to try to convince the police to keep people away from the body, and she reported less success on that front. In any event, Joy got to do the dissection there for the cameras, and her innate enthusiasm and ability to draw people into discussion of anatomy impressed the producers so much that she became a regular co-host on the series.

There was also the adventure of traveling back home. Diane and I have attended necropsies of cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds, and sea turtles, and one has to take fairly strong measures to deal with the remaining odor that clings to clothes, skin, and hair. Joy had to physically get inside a decaying whale there in Ireland, and that makes for a different scale of olfactory assault. Joy told us of taking a succession of showers with vigorous scrubbing, but in the end even her family opted to stay in a separate room at the hotel. On the plane ride back, Joy was shifted to the very rear of the plane by the flight attendants, who kindly told the other passengers that they were having trouble with the toilets to explain the stench.

The TV series, “Inside Nature’s Giants”, is slated to air six episodes on PBS, starting January 18th, 2012, at 10 PM. The series is all about charismatic megafauna, but concentrates on post-mortem anatomical examination. Check your local PBS affiliate to make sure of the schedule. Another regular on the series who should be familiar to readers is Prof. Richard Dawkins.

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