Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Websites on Windows servers can have outages because of IIS permissions issues

Recently my legacy “” site has had some outages, in the form of slow response, connection refused errors, and sometimes HTTP 503 service unavailable.  Througout the outages I could log on to my account and see the files directly (without http).  I was finally told that the permissions for my account within Microsoft IIS server were not correctly set, apparently when it was transferred to another server over a year ago after a corporate buyout of the hosting company. 


Here is a document explaining how permissions work in IIS.  t this point, I do not believe it would be a security problem. 

Update: Nov. 30

Further experimentation (by chance, with a new laptop set up by Geek Squad for travel) shows that the IIS has trouble if the user enters or clicks on a url that requires translation of the "www".  That is "" will work when "" sometimes gives a service unavailable or connection refused. This sort of thing used to happen before 2000 on some servers.

Update: Dec. 25

The site "Bobcares" explains the complexity of IIS application pools and users that can cause 503 errors, here.

It sounds logical that problems could occur fending off DDOS attacks and botnets, but the topic is complicated, as in this Microsoft reference

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Geek Squad apparently suspends service to support Black Friday sales for Best Buy (until Sunday) in some locations

Here’s another little customer service snafu. 

Today, I wanted to take in a backup laptop, an early 2015 Lenovo with Windows 8.1, to get all the updates brought up to date, because the updates don’t run now. I may use it as a second laptop on a road trip soon.

So I go over to a Best Buy Geek Squad around 10:30 this Saturday morning (supposedly “Small Business Saturday”, ironically), and find that the Geek Squad is closed until Sunday, because all the agents were out “selling” as a continuation of Black Friday.

Useless trip.  A big business should be open for customer service during its normal hours.  It should not divert repair technicians to “sales”, which sounds like a temperamentally different career.
Although I remember this kind of controversy when working for Univac in New Jersey from 1972-1974. I didn’t have a “marketing profile.” 
Update: Sunday Nov. 26

I turned in the device today, and was told that the shutdown of GS happens every year for Black Friday, but that techies work on catching up, not on selling.  There actually is a sign that says you need to make an appointment even to drop off an item for repair. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

There is demand for teachers in prisons to work with inmates

I’ll put this little “scoop” on this blog, even though it’s about teaching jobs rather than programming.

Today at a Thanksgiving dinner, I heard a man, upper middle age, describe what it was like to work as a teacher, teaching math (algebra) not just to adults but specifically to prisoners.

Some prisoners are serious about getting GED’s and training. But some tend to sandbag their grades to stay at lower levels, he said. 
I came close to an adult education teaching job at the end of 2005. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Database calls and customer service in a cab company

Here’s an example of I.T. affecting customer service.  Recently, I moved to a condo.  I had apparently used a cab company’s app before.  When I requested a ride to the airport with their website, I put in the new address and printed out the request.

Yet, when the cab didn’t come, I called twice and apparently found that their request still had pulled the old address from the app. Maybe it read my phone.  Maybe it’s a database “current of set” problem if it uses something like IDMS.

Then, when I rented a car, I had to talk to an agent by remote screen, and was given a contract for any compact car. When I walked there, there was none.  Finally one came, and I was told the car couldn’t go out.  I wound up with a full sized car after a 30 minute wait.  Why couldn’t they assign me a specific vehicle? 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Government contractor fires female employee over being seen on social media giving Trump motorcade the finger from her motorbike

A female associate of Virginia contractor Akima LLC was fired from her job for violating the company’s personal social media policy after a picture of her giving Trump’s motorcade the finger went viral on social media even though her face was not identifiable in the picture. She did admit to HR to being the person.  She had been riding a motorcycle when she encountered the motorcade by happenstance. 

The woman, Juli Briskman, held a “marketing” position at the contractor.  Perhaps it’s more understandable that could be viewed as bad for business.  There is no double life anymore. 
A typical story appears on the site AVClub, here.

Sinclair-owned WJLA also has a story today here