bobquasit: (Bad Sam!)
After unending hours in live chat, and on the phone, and with technicians remoting in to my system, my ESP All-In-One Printer/Scanner/Copier still crashes every time I try to scan. The latest joke is that they are going to send me a CD of their software. Given that their level-2 technician remoted into my system and personally uninstalled the software and then downloaded it herself and reinstalled it, I am trying to understand why this would help. How could a CD version be MORE up-to-date than an online version which is available to their own technicians?

I used to love Kodak, no lie. They made rock-solid high-speed duplicators, back when I was running the copy center of a large law firm. And I appreciated their recent honesty policy about toner, which is why I recommended them to so many people. But now? I'm getting really, really pissed off at them.
bobquasit: (Default)
A copy of a post this evening from the Fuitadnet forums.

Subject: SpamAssassin again

After several months SpamAssassin went down again on my account this morning. 3,000+ spams per day are now spurting into my inbox.

I am...concerned.

So, I've been off the Fnet forums for a while. Is everything good here now? Did service improve dramatically, thanks to those new extra-qualified staffers?

Jeeze, that's strange. That sounds kind of sarcastic. I didn't mean it to come out that way. Time for me to get some sleep.

Between you and me, I've got to admit something: I did mean to sound sarcastic. Well, not initially, but somewhere in the middle I lost my patience. Could you tell?
bobquasit: (Default)
A thread I started in has become extremely interesting. Current and former employees of my webhosting company are ripping into each other. It's very educational, to say the least!
bobquasit: (Default)
Email went down again last night, around 7-8pm. I got online with a support person and they got it back up around 1PM today. But all email sent to me during the hiatus was apparently lost.

No real explanations of any of this have been given.

Back up

Feb. 12th, 2005 07:08 am
bobquasit: (Default)
My site and email are back up this morning.

Which reminds me, I am going to back up my site RIGHT NOW.

Still down

Feb. 11th, 2005 10:45 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
It's amazing how hard it is to go to sleep with my site and email still down.

If anyone needs to reach me, email:

Bog, I really hope they fix it before I wake up. BTW, I posted a message on the forum and at least two other people are also having this problem.
bobquasit: (Default)
As of this evening I am no longer able to receive email, and my site is DOWN - all the way down. I have opened a ticket.

I am very concerned.

Talk to me

Feb. 7th, 2005 02:29 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Is there anybody out there?

Today marks the 60th day that SpamAssassin has been down on my account. Sixty days of
Now Everyone can afford
New product! Cialis soft tabs.
Tadalafil Soft Tabs - Great results!
High volume bounce on this st0ck
Has your cum ever dribbled and you wish it ...
Dnot spned 2 mcuh
Vioxx, Xanax & more.
Im happy with this Pa|n med1cat10n stuff
Is his wife in Pa!n treatment
Is my daughter in Pa1n
Br0,what abOut the Suffering
cash for all the satisfactions ferromagnet
. is your girlfriend fullfilled
FW : what women like the most
Med1cat10n is n0thing tO be hurting Of
Important Update - Rolex for $150 !! [ger... Your application has bee...
Roid rage for your little man
Pa1n is kiL|ing y0ur daughter
The best V'I,C*o^D-I_N with the best prices
Imagine being viriLe again
DARVON - Darvocet....Lowest prices. HUGE Se...
underground sex info
Meet hot girls for dinners
Reader's Digest : Don't you need romance
Skinny girl wants to meet someone
Re: Mature woman looking for a real man
Re: Real man looking for a woman
Re: Can you let me love you
Fat girl wants to meet another girl
begin spying now
No Subject
Save on OEM Dis.counted OEM Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk ...

I have been forced into the spamosphere.

I can't take it. I can't take it.

I am losing my mind.

5,400 per day...and counting...


Jan. 31st, 2005 08:50 am
bobquasit: (Default)
This is a followup to "Getting In Trouble Again".

I wasn't banned, and the "Super Moderator" didn't apologize - I was basically told to chill out.

I found that a bit offensive, because I wasn' chilled, whatever the hell that means. Still, it seems wiser to let it go. As I've gotten older, I've gotten less and less interested in conflict.

On the other hand, my temper still surprises me sometimes. Yesterday some idiot started beeping and gesturing at us from his car, and I was instantly in a state of berserk fury. I found myself snarling, and smacked my fist into the palm of my other hand with what was, to me, amazing speed. I don't normally do that - in fact I never do - and it wasn't a conscious decision.

Apparently I scared the guy, because he took off. At the moment, I half-hoped he'd stop his car and get out, because I was spoiling for a fight.

Damn good thing he didn't stop, though. I'd probably have broken my hand, and almost certainly would have been arrested.

Okay, no. I would probably have yelled a bit, and then backed down. But who knows? I still surprise myself, sometimes.

On a totally unrelated note, I just finished re-reading Leave It To Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse. I hadn't read it in twenty years, and was surprised at how good it was. It's remarkably funny, and there are no dull spots at all. I found myself laughing out loud frequently. Amazing!
bobquasit: (Default)
I posted this over in the Fuitadnet general support forum, but for no sane reason I've decided to post it here as well. The poll doesn't work, of course, but if anyone actually feels like voting, feel free to do so in comments.
Thank you for your inquiry. Please wait for a site operator to respond. You are number 1 out of 1 customer(s) ahead of you.
You are now chatting with 'Manish'

Manish: Hello
Peter Maranci: Hi. I'm checking on the status of ticket #HNT-48024-770. No account on my domain has been able to receive email for the past 24 hours.
Manish: How can i help you ?
Peter Maranci: Has there been any progress on this ticket? I cannot receive email, and I cannot open the support ticket page, so I have no other way of knowing what's going on.
Peter Maranci: I have finally received a bounce message, if that would help.
Manish: i check the ticket
Manish: we are working on that problem
Manish: when we will fix the problem we will update you via ticket
Peter Maranci: But I can't view tickets!
Manish: we are making some updates to ticket system , that's the reason you are facing problem with ticketing system
Peter Maranci: Is there any ETR? For the ticket system OR the email problem?
Manish: not sure
Peter Maranci: That's it then? Just wait?
Manish: sir as senior techs are working on that problem,that's the reason i am unable to tell you ETA
Peter Maranci: Not much I can do about that, then. Goodbye.
Manish: Bye sir

Should I have been:
A. Ruder?
B. More polite?
C. Funnier?
D. More stubborn?
E. Speaking Armenian?
F. Masturbating?
G: Other?

bobquasit: (Default)
Five days ago, SpamAssassin suddenly stopped working on my domain.

For those who don't know, SpamAssassin blocks spam at the server. That means that I don't have to download whatever it blocks.

POPfile, my local program, blocks spam too - from the remaining emails, all of which must be downloaded first.

I get about 5,400 spams per day - no, that's not a typo - and SpamAssassin has been blocking about 5,350 or more. It's probably blocking good email once in a while, but how could I search tens of thousands of spam in order to find one or two good ones?

I can't.

Anyway, SpamAssassin went down, mysteriously, for the second time in two months. The first time my host, Fuitadnet, was able to fix the problem in a day or two. No so this time.


Some quick math:

5,400 spams per day =
37,800 spams per week =
167,400 spams per month.

And of course it comes to just over two MILLION spams per year, but the rate will no doubt increase before the end of the year, throwing off all of my calculations.

Even with a broadband connection, it takes an hour or more to check my email. And by the time I'm done, anther two or three hundred are racked up on the server.

Fuitadnet has been having problems. They announced some major new improvements in customer support. I was also told that their main tech was out sick, and would be back on Monday to fix everything.

At 7:30am Monday morning, the spam stopped.

All email stopped.

Everything, not just the spam.

You won't even get a bounce or fail message. Emails sent to me will softly and silently vanish away. And I don't know if those lost emails will ever come back.

I tried to open a support ticket with Fuitadnet, but ironically, their support page is also down. I eventually reached a tech in LiveChat, who assured me that a ticket had been opened and they were working on it. I was given the ticket number #HNT-48024-770.

If you must reach me in the meantime, write to pmaranci at yahoo dot com.

When I get the chance, I'll write about my Saturday with Sebastian. We went to the Children's Museum in Boston and had lots of fun.

And now, to bed.


Sep. 20th, 2004 08:57 am
bobquasit: (Default)
My RuneQuest website guestbook and Chaos Project are based on free services from Alxnet. For a long time they worked well. Spam came in sometimes, but it was killable.

Then recently some bastards who've been spamming my books off and on for the last couple of years attacked again. These guys are particularly obnoxious, because they put an entry in each of my books that totally hijacks them; go to my guestbook or any of the three Chaos Project books and you are instantly transferred to their porn site. I suspect their site also attempts to hijack the viewer's home page settings, etc.

Alxnet automatically emails a copy of every entry in any of my books to my main address. These include a way to delete that entry with a single click, without logging in. That's kind of convenient, although it would be nicer if there was a way to block spammers more effectively instead and save me the trouble of deleting all those spams.

So the porno spammers hit all four of my books recently. But Alxnet never sent me their entries for some reason. And when I tried to log into my Alxnet account directly, I wasn't able to; they're transitioning to a new system, requiring everyone to set up new accounts and move their old books over, so maybe that's the problem.

But I couldn't log in to my old accounts, and when I set up a new account and tried to move my books I wasn't able to - the account is "still being processed", and has been for the last four days.

I found a way around it; go to an old email for an entry that has already been deleted and click on the instant-delete link. That takes me directly to the administration page. But those pages are going to go away in a month anyway, along with ALL of my entries (thousands of them) if I can't get the new account to work.

I'm seriously considering grabbing ALL of the entries manually and setting up new books using the tools that my host, Fuitadnet, supplies. But it would be a lot of work, and I wouldn't be able to transfer my entries. I'd have to make some sort of archives, I guess.

What a pain in the ass!


Aug. 2nd, 2004 10:01 am
bobquasit: (Default)
My web host, Fuitadnet, has been acquired by a larger company. Perhaps coincidentally, I have been unable to FTP into my own site (from anywhere), and cannot reach my CPanel.

I've had this happen too many times - signed up with a new host, only to have something happen to the management, after which everything goes to hell. I hold my tongue during one disaster after another, until finally they do something unforgivable. Then I back up some poor schmoe in the host's forum who is being torn to pieces for making a mild complaint about shitty service and incredibly rude treatment from customer "service"...and I get banned. The banning drives me completely insane, and I leave for a new host...

...and history repeats itself.


Mar. 4th, 2004 02:17 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Since I last wrote I have been banned from the Your-Site user forums, and my posts have been deleted. I called to complain about and completely lost my temper. I don't think I've ever cursed at anyone over the phone that way before.

Anyway, I'm taking the three sites I run and getting the hell off of Your-Site.

I'm probably going to move to Fuitadnet (it was recommended by someone in a Your-Site forum - they've probably been banned now, too). The price is comparable to Your-Site, they offer more services, and most importantly, a Google search for "Fuitadnet sucks" turns up nothing - including on Usenet.

I haven't sealed that deal yet, though, so if anyone has anything to tell me, please do!

Man, was I pissed! I'm recovering now, though. But a little nervous about the upcoming move.

No. Oh no.

Mar. 4th, 2004 09:04 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Since my computer died at home I have been checking my email via webmail at work. I deleted spam by hand, which was not fun, to put it mildly. There were over 1,100 good emails on the server from friends and family. Of course I would have received them once

So guess what happened?

I logged in today, and instead of the 1,300+ emails I should have seen, there were 169 - of which most were spam. One email was from Your-Site, though, and it said this:
Dear Your-Site Customer,

Today around 1pm EST, we started experiencing problems in our server network. This initially manifested itself as slow loading times for websites, and some websites not being accessible at all. It eventually started causing problems with email, first with people not being able to check mail, then by people not able to send email. By 3pm EST the website slowness was fixed, but email was still inaccessible.
These problems were eventually traced to a bad hard drive in a RAID file storage unit that contained all users email. The bad drive was identified and replaced, and we began working on synching the hard drives so that any missing data could be recovered. After working on synching the drives for over 2 hours, the system refused all different attempts to sync the drives together. As a result, we are
being forced to start from scratch and re-initialize the RAID unit. We expect this process, as well as the process of recreating everyone's mail directories to take
4 hours. This process was started at 5pm EST, so it should be complete around 9pm EST.

What this means for you is that any email that was on the server prior to today at 1pm EST and has not been retrieved has been lost and is non-recoverable. Any emails that have been sent to an account after 1pm that we host will be either returned to the sender or the messages will go into the queue of the sending server and be set to retry to deliver the message for up to 5 days. Redelivery attempts are the most common response to this sort of problem. We regret that this has happened and that the redundancy of the mail system did not work as intended.

On a different note, we are in the process of setting up an entirely new mail system on a faster network, with more servers and even more redundant storage and network
connections. This will eliminate the email delays that currently happen at certain time of the day now. We are targeting this mail system for going live by the end of
this month.

We have many new and exciting features being added in the next few months, as well as adding a new e-commerce hosting plan, several major changes to the existing hosting plan which will provide more of what people have been asking for at the same low price we currently charge and finally more network redundancy on a more stable network.

We appreciate your understanding during the problem and look forward to serving you in the future.

-The team.

On their site Your-Site claims that they have daily backups. Apparently that was just bullshit. Can anyone recommend a new hosting service?

McAfee MIA

Oct. 27th, 2003 04:29 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
My troubles with McAfee's SpamKiller began no later than September 26th, and actually probably closer to September 20th. Today is October 27th. The problem is still not solved. McAfee has still not written back; I guess they haven't been able to find an expert on SpamKiller.
bobquasit: (Default)
Between 10PM last night and 9:12 AM this morning I received 87 emails. Of those, 84 were spam, and the remaining three were from mailing lists that I don't read that often. Am I the only one who'd like to see spammers heads' being used as pinatas?

I finally got a letter from Major General Franklin Kirby (i.e. the senior McAfee tech), which explained the ten-day silence: he was trying to find a SpamKiller expert to help me. He apparently hasn't found one yet. It has taken more than ten days for McAfee to locate an expert on their own software.

But then, my (unfortunately too late) research turned up that SpamKiller was NOT originally a McAfee program; they bought it, but apparently they don't support it very well. And by all accounts SpamKiller uses an inferior methodology. It has junked quite a few valid emails, and let a lot of bad ones through.

Okay. SpamKiller sucks, and if I'd done a little research beforehand I'd have saved my money and tried something like Popfile or Spambayes. I may still try them, actually, assuming I'm able to uninstall SpamKiller without also uninstalling the antivirus program.

But now more than ever I'm planning to let my entire McAfee subscription lapse next year and switch to Norton Antivirus and a Bayesian spam filter.
bobquasit: (Default)
Well, it's almost midnight and I'm online again with McAfee. Same problem. But this time I was able to capture the conversation, so I thought I'd post it here for the terminally bored. To protect the technician I have changed his name to John Matrix, the name of Arnie's character in the unappreciated classic Commando. The senior tech's name has been changed to Franklin Kirby, Matrix's commanding officer. I am feeling silly tonight. That is all.

Please wait while we find a technician to assist you...
You are currently at position number 2 in the queue.
You have been connected to John Matrix.
John Matrix: Peter, thank you for contacting the McAfee Online Support Center. How can I assist you today?
Peter Maranci: Hi. I've been having a serious, ongoing problem.
Peter Maranci: I have been contacting McAfee for over three weeks now, and have been escalated twice.
Peter Maranci: The problem is still not solved. VirusScan seems to be conflicting with my newly-purchased SpamKiller.
John Matrix: Okay.
Peter Maranci: I was emailed by an Escalation Team member a week ago.
Peter Maranci: His email was blocked by SpamKiller because it "looked like spam".
Peter Maranci: When I managed to get back in touch with him, he recommended uninstalling and reinstalling SpamKiller.
Peter Maranci: It didn't work, and when I emailed him and told him so...I never heard back from him again.
Peter Maranci: I think it's understandable that I am not at all happy.
Peter Maranci: VirusScan is apparently detecting viruses in infected email which is being blocked by SpamKiller. I am constantly interrupted by warnings.
John Matrix: What is the warning ?
Peter Maranci: Depends on what's in the blocked emails. Exploit-MIME.gen.c, W32/Swen@MM, and W32/Yaha.g@MM are common.
Peter Maranci: I've been through this many, many times now so here's the information I know you need: I am running Windows 98 SE, 4.10.2222 A.
Peter Maranci: My IE version is 6.0.2800.1106CO. 128-bit.
Peter Maranci: Build 8.0.20 Engine Version 4.2.60 DAT Version 4.0.4298
Peter Maranci: SpamKiller 5.0.57.
John Matrix: Peter, when was your issue escalated ?
Peter Maranci: Hold on, let me see...
Peter Maranci: The second time was around October 11.
Peter Maranci: The first time was a day or two earlier, I believe. But there was a glitch on the technician's end and he lost me. Took me an hour to reach someone again.
Peter Maranci: The second tech was Franklin Kirby.
John Matrix: May I place you on hold for a couple of minutes while I research that for you?
Peter Maranci: Yes.
John Matrix: Thank you for holding.
Peter Maranci: Okay.
John Matrix: Please tell the session number which you had with Franklin ?
Peter Maranci: Our communication was by email, no session number. I have many session numbers from other people, though, and I have his complete email.
Peter Maranci: By "other people", I mean other technicians with whom I had previously spoken.
Peter Maranci: In chat.
Peter Maranci: I just looked through my log file, and I have 8 session numbers saved. The last was 1234567.
Peter Maranci: Which was not with Franklin. That was...let me see...Rae Dawn Chong.
John Matrix: Okay.
John Matrix: Give me a couple of minutes.
Peter Maranci: Okay...
[About five minutes pass]
John Matrix: Thank you for holding.
Peter Maranci: S'okay.
John Matrix: Peter, did you had the same issue when your case was being handled by Franklin.
Peter Maranci: It has been the same issue throughout, yes.
John Matrix: Okay.
Peter Maranci: Of course, at first I thought it was a virus infection. Only later did it become clear that it was a SpamKiller/VirusScan conflict.
John Matrix: Peter, you will receive e-mail from us.
Peter Maranci: However, by the time I emailed with Franklin the real problem had become pretty clear.
Peter Maranci: That would be nice.
John Matrix: Is there anything else that I can assist you with today?
Peter Maranci: Please cc: it to as well as my home address (, since I cannot be sure that SpamKiller won't block it.
John Matrix: Okay.
Peter Maranci: I've added Franklin into the filter, but it doesn't seem to work right 100% of the time.
Peter Maranci: When may I expect the email? Roughly?
John Matrix: It will at earliest. [HUH?]
Peter Maranci: I see.
Peter Maranci: Well, I need to get some sleep, so if you could give me the session number? There are no other issues for me right now.
[Long pause]
Peter Maranci: Hello?
John Matrix: Your reference number for this chat session is COMMANDO.

Okay, the reference number wasn't actually COMMANDO, but why would you care what that number was? :D

Sleep. Now.
bobquasit: (Default)
Or rather, Discover won't release us. As I suspected, rather than close our account completely as we requested, they did what's called a "soft" close - if anyone tries to do a charge against our card (for example, for an annual renewal), that will be treated as a request to renew the card and the whole pain in the ass continues unabated. So the card isn't really closed at all.

But worse than that: we received a new bill. Somehow they hit us with $44 of "finance charges" last month, and when Teri called and asked for our total, they must have "missed" a charge or two - in other words, we still owed $36. So now our balance is $80, and the card is not closed.

Incidentally, since I've educated myself so much on the subject, I took a look at the fine print on the back of our bill. Much of it is actually missing - it says that additional information is in our account agreement. Could you put your hands on a credit card agreement that you signed more than a year ago? I can't. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that I ever signed it.

But I did see on the bill that they're using the most punitive possible method of calculating our finance charges, the "two-cycle method". Discover is really determined to screw us to the wall, and never let go.

So we're going to have to get more serious. The balance will be paid off again, in person and in cash, at Sears (with a receipt, of course). Then we're going to send a registered certified letter...well, all the information on what to do is here.

We'll go one further than he recommends, just because Discover is SO sleazy: we're going to make it clear that we will not accept any further charges against the card, that we want the card completely terminated, and that we want written confirmation that the card is closed. While we're at it, I think we'll also ask to to have no further contact with them by phone, mail, or email. And if THAT doesn't work, we're going to the Rhode Island attorney general's office.
bobquasit: (Default)
When it's McAfee's SpamKiller, that's when. Oh, there's been a lot of amusement of late. I've spent a lot more time online talking to technicians, none of whom have been able to fix the virus problem - but the picture is now a lot clearer.

One funny thing: I had my case re-escalated, and was told that I would be contacted within three hours via email. Three hours later, there was no contact...until I took a look at the blocked email log of SpamKiller. You guessed it, McAfee's SpamKiller killed email from the McAfee escalation team because it looked like spam. Ouch.

At this point it seems very likely indeed that there is no real virus problem, and never was - the problem is that McAfee is detecting the viruses in blocked virus-infested inbound email, which is quarantined by SpamKiller. So I've been working my ass off trying to solve a problem that was caused by the people who are supposed to be PROTECTING me from all this!


bobquasit: (Default)

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