6. Conflict of IP and Interests (part 1)

23.8.04 |

It always starts out on a quiet Monday, when everything seems to be going well, there are no emails in your inbox (because you spent the weekend reading office email and replying to odd requests) and you’re about to get the first cup of tea when the boss’ daughter walks up to my table and says, “My computer has an IP conflict.” It takes me a few seconds to register that she’s actually said something that made sense for once, and not just some random buzzwords mixed in some regular daily babble like she usually does.

“So, how do you know it’s an IP conflict again? Did you try pinging the office server and notice packets going missing? Was the network connection intermittent?” I ask her, still confused, since I haven’t had my morning tea. “Um no, the computer told me,” she replies, flashing me some teeth. Slowly it dawns on me that she must have XP Pro on her machine, and the network wiz bubble must have popped up and told her there was an IP conflict. Trying to act busy but being nice to her is hard, but I try anyway by asking her what her OS is. “OS?” I just get a blank stare. Ok Plan B, lets dumb it down a notch, make that a couple of notches. “What do you get when you switch your computer on in the morning, you know, the Operating System splash screen?” I say, mimicking switching a computer on and praying that she wouldn’t tell me that that wasn’t how she switched on her computer. “Oh! OS! I get it, um… I think my OS is ‘MSI’,” she says happily. I just stare at her. “MIS? MSI? Its something like that,” she tries again to get back to me, noticing the glazed look I have on my face. “What the he..” I stop and asses the situation. Work is a little slow (just the way I LIKE it) but it would be good to show that I’m helpful around the office. Forcing down my instincts to set something on fire and run like hell, I smile and say, “That is your Motherboard, I think its part of the bios. Lets speed things up, I’ll just come over to your room and have a look at the pc, then I’ll check it on the router ok?” “Yeah, router, good. I’ll go have coffee now, “and she slithers off to the pantry, even before I can suggest that I go in as well to get some tea. Oh well, might as well fix this and have an extended round of America’s Army when I’m done.

I get to her pc, and it’s a sweet thing with a P4 (cant remember how many MHz) with 512 MB RAM and other bits I don’t even want to think of now. Its already up, and I was right, she does have XP Pro on, and there’s a little yellow bubble over her network icon that says there’s an IP conflict. I check her pc name, then her pc IP address then walk off quickly.

At my desk, I try to ping her IP and her pc name, and it doesn’t work. I’m sitting there and wondering why all of a sudden her IP address is causing a conflict when I see the boss walk out with another new laptop, this one he just bought a week ago. The thing is, the senior consultant ‘helped’ to configure it, and since that day, the boss hasn’t brought it in the office. I try pinging her pc again, and this time it works. So now I know it’s the boss’ new laptop that’s causing the problem, but I’m sure its easily fixed, I’ll just assign her a new IP address, open it up to the net on the router, and I’ll be a hero, maybe even get some expensive tea for the pantry.

I start clicking to get to the internal webpage/control panel in our router, when it prompts me with a password dialog box. Looking back, I knew things were going wrong when I felt like burning something and running away but didn’t. I key in the simple password we’ve had on that router for a while and sit back, wondering if there was any more milk for my tea when the password is invalid and I get a prompt to re-key it in again. After 2 other times, the page just kicks me out and I’m left wondering what the hell happned. I peek up to the senior consultant’s desk, and I see him messing about on 2 laptops. That’s fine with me. “Hi, been good? I sort of need the router password. Any chance you changed it lately?” I ask him semi-politely. “Router? Password? Oh yeah I changed it, cant never be too sure you know,” he says, almost looking down his nose at me, which is hard to do seeing as how I’m standing and he’s sitting at his desk. “Riiiight check ok cool look I’m going to need that password, and then you can change it again to anything you want, ok? I have a meeting soon, and I haven’t even had my cup of tea.” “Oh, you meen give YOU the password? I don’t think I can. Its because we need a sense of control in the office you see, cant have just everyone in the office with the password access!” he goes off on me.

“Well I don’t see what’s the problem here, people come to me when they have issues with the network, and I try to get their issues fixed as soon as I can, unlike some people that keep putting things off then driving off to other states for project implementations,” I retort, trying to make this quick.

“Hrmmm…. I think there’s a conflict of interest here…” he says, which makes me sit down at my desk and cup my face in my hands and think of the 20 minutes I’ve wasted without my tea. I know he’s got on his hobby horse and he’s about it ride it to its death, and I’m resigned to my fate, to listen to him go on and on about ‘network security’ when the only way people can get into our network would be to physically plug into our router/network and get the IP/Gateway address and passwords needed to get online. *cough* “I thought you were going to help me with my conflicts?” comes a voice from behind me, along with a whiff of coffee. The daughter is back. Even before I can say anything, she’s off making a cell phone call. I look at her, then at the senior consultant (SC) who’s just about getting up to give me his security speech and I sigh slowly. I should have just made my tea and drank it in the pantry.


AlesS said...

Man, you have such dull co-workers. When such a thing happens to me, I tend to spice it up. Sometimes a lot. For example, if I were in your place, I'd go and reset the router to factory defaults, then use the default password to set it up to my liking, and let that guy wonder what good is a password when it can't stop me. ;>
You have to avoid being governed by dull people. That's why you have that instinct for burning something and running away. Use it! ;]
Mind you, I haven't ever thought of a diversion, I just confront things... Hmmm... ;)

Davin said...

Yeah see in Part 2 you will find out why I just dont use the 'reset' switch on the back of the router. Basicly I dont have the DSL IP config for the modem and the DSL account name/password

Davin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AlesS said...

Hmmm... In that case I'd configure my box as a masquerading gateway for a subnet and put the PC of your boss' daughter in the subnet. Your own little subnet. Noone will use me as their ego's playground, oh no! ;)
With Linux that's a few seconds of work, but I'm not sure how to do that in Windows. :]
But anyway, can't you just blame it all on that guy and let the boss' daughter deal with him? I mean, she's the daughter of the boss; let the guy suffer for all the inconveniances he caused you! ;>
And if you can, put in a bit of forged evidence implicating that guy in some way. I see there's a long way in front of you as you strive to become a BOFH. ;)

Davin said...

Well I could also just kick in M'soft's 'Internet Sharing' but then we'd need the server up to share out the internet connection to her pc. I'd rather just hang it all on the SC, which, for god's SAKE let me finish up in part 2!