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

Rob Thomas xrobau at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 10:03:45 EST 2020

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
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.


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.


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.

More information about the AusNOG mailing list