[AusNOG] My condolences to the people trying to sort out remote learning

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Mon Apr 20 10:10:11 EST 2020

FWIW, I’ve been looking at a lot of the options, and I know a lot of other people who have as well, for various school districts and universities, and the best option (mainly from a not-exposing-children-to-malware-and-naked-Nazi-zoombombers perspective) is BigBlueButton.  It’s open-source, well-supported, and runs entirely sandboxed in the browser, HTML5, like Jitsi, but with an online-classroom focus rather than a business-meeting focus.


That said, I’m not trying to use it in production myself.  Friends who are say it’s mostly great, but the audio quality isn’t as good as some of the commercial options.  Which isn’t surprising.  Audio noise cancellation is the subject of a million patents, and patent-trolls.

> On Apr 20, 2020, at 2:03 AM, Rob Thomas <xrobau at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm watching my wife and her friends on derpbook try to consolidate
> their tech support hints and tips to get the rugrats onto and into Day
> 1 of their remote learning, and the last thing she sent to me was
> 'High school has fully crashed'.
> I understand that all your stuff is on fire, and everything that was
> on fire yesterday is now a towering inferno, and you probably feel
> like everyone is blaming you.
> Please don't stress. If you have someone breathing down your neck,
> here's a bunch of technically correct, but also useless excuses you
> can give people to get them off your back for a while, while you
> actually fix the problems that have cropped up without having to
> explain them to a non-technical audience.
> 1. There are IPv6 problems (you can grow this one out as much as you
> want. Blame NAT64)
> 2. We aren't receiving all of AARNET's BGP announcements (bonus points
> are awarded if you're not MEANT to be receiving AARNET's BGP
> announcements, but still manage to use this as an excuse)
> 3. Some of our peering links are down (Well, you can't use that if you
> REALLY have all your peering links up, but who is in that state right
> now??)
> 4. Office365 is playing up _or_ Office365 has just started working
> (You can alternate this one, to match reality)
> 5. There's congestion on the Telstra network (Don't be specific as to
> WHERE the congestion is)
> 6. Have you checked YOUR firewall? No, really. Check it again. (Repeat
> several times)
> 7. Wildcard! Blame VoIP.  SIP is so complex, most people will glaze
> over when you start explaining that the SDP is being mangled
> incorrectly so RTP is leaving bogus port forwarding in place in your
> border NAT device which ... blah blah.
> But here's the important thing.  This is not the end of the world. If
> stuff is down because of something out of your control, or because
> you're busy putting out other fires, IT DOESN'T MATTER. Here's a photo
> of my pair not CARING that everything is broken.
> https://i.imgur.com/jBXrE9M.png
> They're the end users, they don't care. No matter who is saying it's a
> life and death thing, it's not. There ARE things that are life and
> death (eg, 000/VoIP!). Care about those.
> And geez, if you REALLY get stuck with something that you think that
> you should be able to figure out and can't, post it here. We don't
> mind. Got a VOIP problem? Ask me here, or off list. BGP Filters not
> working? Routing loops? Whatever. Post it here. (Except, possibly
> enough of the 'Office 365 CDN is corrupt' stuff, because this is
> something that Microsoft REALLY SHOULD have solved by now)
> I always find that even just talking about, or writing down, a problem
> that has stumped me always helps (see 'Rubber Duck Debugging'). Half
> of us are sitting around twiddling our thumbs because we've got 50% of
> our normal traffic, and I'm sure we'll all be willing to help.
> --Rob
> PS: I honestly, truly, care. I've been RIGHT at the end of my tether
> for stupid reasons and because I was under insane pressure. You,
> personally, are more important than your job. Don't kill yourself
> (metaphorically OR literally).  Wanna chat about shit? Call me.
> 0402-077-155. Anytime.
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