Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

AT & T U-Verse Business Class. Really?

Over weekend one of our clients moved to new offices. Since the timeline was tight, their primary Internet connection wouldn’t be ready for another couple of weeks. So we decided to get them up and running on their backup connection: AT&T Business Class U-Verse.

The router came up easily and we were able jump out to the Internet. The next step was to get their locally hosted applications working (email etc.) and we wanted to configure our client’s Sonicwall firewall to work with AT&T’s 2Wire 2701 router.

After awhile we bailed on that option. Normally we would configure the 2Wire in bridge mode essentially making it an Ethernet switch. Unfortunately due a unique type of authentication, you can’t do that with U-Verse. Then we thought, why not just open up all traffic from the 2Wire to the Sonicwall and let the Sonicwall do the filtering.  Nope, you can’t do that either. The only way to enable that on the 2Wire is to place the Sonicwall in a DMZ (they call it DMZ Plus) – but on the 2Wire you can’t place a device with a statically assigned IP in a DMZ, it has to be in 2Wire’s DHCP range. Huh?

Okay fine – for a few weeks, we decided that we could use the 2Wire as the firewall and bring the Sonicwall back when the primary connection was up. The next step was to configure NATing and some firewall rules to allow outside traffic to the appropriate hosts. Easy stuff right? Not so fast. You can’t simply type in a LAN IP address and forward traffic – the 2Wire has to detect it the LAN first. And the 2Wire doesn’t detect anything on the network without some ‘coaxing’.

We wrestled with it for a while and finally got the firewall configured to forward the correct ports. But it still didn’t work. After about 6 hours on the phone with various agents at AT&T Tier 2 support, we ultimately found the guy that knew the answer. The ports were blocked by default at AT&T’s end. About 30 seconds later we were up and running.

Conclusion – if you have a small business that needs to connect to the Internet and you don’t host any applications locally – U-Verse will work for you – otherwise I would stay away….

Further more AT& T needs to do a much better job training its support personnel and documenting their system. We have IT clients all over the Bay Area and we’re in a position to recommend or not recommend ISPs…

January 27, 2012

What Apple taught me about customer service…

Recently after the need to contact several different vendors’ support departments, I was reflecting on my first Apple iPhone Support experience…

I had been primarily a PC user for years and had only limited exposure to Apple’s products.

But I’ve always been somewhat of an early adopter and, of course, had to have one of the early iPhones. I loved it. The whole Apple process and I don’t mean just the device and it’s applications. I was obvious to me that someone had put thought into each aspect of the experience from the ease of initially ordering the phone to opening the box. Even the cables were packaged in a way that had the end user in mind.

A couple of months later something went wrong with the iPhone and I called Apple Care for support. The telephone support experience was great, the tech was on the line in no time, courteous, personable and knowledgeable. We determined that I did indeed need a replacement phone and it arrived via Fed Ex the next day.

Apple’s focus on the details was obvious. In the box was the replacement iPhone, a return shipping label, a wad of packing tape and instructions.

The instructions told me to take a paper clip, remove the SIM card from the failed iPhone and plug it into the new one. That’s when I noticed another small zip lock bag in the box and it contained, you guessed it, a paper clip.

Apple had provided everything I needed to get my replacement phone working and return the defective one.

I still have the paper clip.

January 26, 2012

Electric Cars in Israel

I’ve been saying this for years. The best way to insure the success of battery operated vehicles is to offer rapid battery changing stations…

January 26, 2012

PC Anywhere Insecure

If anyone is still using PC Anywhere you should uninstall it a use a different remote control solution…

January 26, 2012

New Mozy Sync Service

Mozy now wants to compete with Dropbox and etc – read this: