text != Word

On Friday there were some sales people and solutions engineers having a crisis. They had a customer who had been running their own Windoze-based nameservers for their domains. The boxes had been set up by one of their folks who acted as their IS/IT department. Said folk left, and they had some domain-related issues, somehow this became my company’s problem (most likely because the sales people wanted to close a sale, so fair enough).

Unfortunately, said sales and solutions people were also clueless as to how DNS works. I am not and, even more unfortunately, some people know this and told the sales and solution people. They called me, and tried to make it my problem. I resisted, but eventually their calls became a major pain in the ass, and it was recommended I help out in the interest of keeping the customer happy.

Fine. Their in-house administrator didn’t know what a zone file was, couldn’t tell me which method/app they were using to host the zonefiles, nor could give me any clue as to how many hosts they had configured. So, I had nothing.

I took a quick look at the domains and the zonefiles were broken, with invalid (and stupid) info in the SOA records, missing NS records, and a bunch of problems with CNAME references. Thankfully, they also hadn’t locked down zone transfers, so I just pulled the files directly from the nameserver. I corrected all the problems and tested the zones. I then sent them to the solutions engineer, who wanted to review them before they were submitted to our DNS hosting group. I did this all on Friday at 15:30 because people were panicking, and had the corrected, tested files out by 16:15.

Everyone had already gone home. I guess the name of the game was actually getting someone else to take the problem, so they could go home early.

It got better this morning. Around 09:30 I received an email from the solutions engineer as follows:

Thank you for your help. Unfortunately I am not able to open the file to check it. I am afraid that the customer can’t do it neither. Please let me know if you can convert it to a Word document. Thank you!

I had identified the zonefiles as textfiles in the email. Our naming format for zonefiles is “domain.name.zone”. So naturally, when the engineer went to verify them, all he did was double click on the attachments, bringing up the application association dialog. I guess expecting someone who is going to check a zonefile to know something like how to use a text editor was a little much. Once again, you must be this high to use the internet. Thank you for flying air kev. This is a guy who puts together IP solutions for our customers in hosting. *sigh*

On a happier note, it was the sales rep who sent him instructions on how to open the file. Technology, yay! Our solutions eng verified the file, then instructed me to hurry up and get it in place – no thank you. I did get a thank you from the rep, who seems like a decent guy. It’s nice to see that once in a while, although the whole “please put it in a Word file because I fucked off on Fridayand now it’s impacting my life again” note from their solutions guy still makes me see red.

My productivity continues to improve. I am scared.

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