I can't get Back to My Mac!!



  • The last two days have been hell. Our CEO went on vacation out of state and brought his laptop with him of course. He has MobileMe and uses "Back to my mac" to connect to his imac at home, great! except... it doesnt work where he's staying!

    The main tech talks to him for about an hour yesterday, finally determining that his wireless router is causing problems most likely because its connected behind a DSL router which is already providing NAT, and his wireless router also also providing NAT from that IP address. Brilliant.

    We'd figure we'd make everything very simple and just send up a spare Airport extreme that we had here. He could replace his oddball wifi router with the airport, which was properly configured to simply act as a bridge and let the dsl router do its thing! $50 for overnight delivery, because it was VERY IMPORTANT!

     Today the CEO calls the tech after having installed the magical Airport: "It doesn't work. It keeps telling me invalid password when I try to connect."
    "Nope, invalid password."

    "So, read it back to me please"

    "......"

    "ok that's right,  it still doesn't work?"

     "No."

    So we think for a minute.. perhaps he can just connect the macbook to the airport and configure it with Airport Utility!

    "Do you have an extra cable there?"

    "No."

    fuck. Now I'm starting to doubt myself, could I have possibly typed a wrong character when setting the WPA password? I looked at the password that was stored in my keychain, and sure enough, it was correct. 

     "How long is the cable you plugged into the airport?"

    "About 15 feet"

    "Where does it go?"

    "hmm, um, behind the tv.. it's a real BIG tv!.. hmm b.. OOPS.. messed that up!.. ah, on top of this bookshelf here"

    Ahh man, this is really starting to sound bad.. we can't have him find some weirdly placed device, unplug the cable and plug it into his laptop and make him go through all of that trouble just to double check some airport settings...

    "Ok we're going to have you just hook up the old router and just enable uPNP, I'm sorry to make you go through all of this"

    "Yea, me too."

    At this moment the tech is about to explode in a fit of rage.. The CEO might as well have just bitch slapped this guy who was only doing everything in his power to help him. what else would we have expected? Respect? Politeness? Sympathy that we're trying in vain to help him in a situation next to impossible to solve without physically seeing what he's got? and oh, heck no, couldn't just set up screen sharing on his macbook! That would be too easy.

    So I digress. Back to the story..

    "Still doesn't work."

    "Well,  We've tried everything, I'm at a roadblock here. this is as far as we can go."

    "Ok, I'm going to call your boss, and he'll give you a call back. Bye."

    Wonderful, I'm sure that'll accomplish a lot. Oh by the way, our boss was also away, at some kind of trade show and couldn't be interrupted!

    We discuss amongst ourselves what wonderful ranting the CEO is about to do, and in the meantime, try to see if by any chance anything at their home could be causing an issue - afterall the boss said HE could connect to their computers with HIS mac, so everything was working fine!

     After about 20 minutes of checking his time capsule and 3 other airport devices out, and his imac, we still cant get "Back to my mac" to work, but set up port forwarding for the vnc service to get us into the desktop at least. 

     Just for the hell of it, I thought "Wait a minute, his' wife's computer is there too, and they're tring to use the same service through upnp, and they're both trying to connect to their computers.."

    I proceed to log in to the wife's imac, and shut it down when.. suddenly I stare into desktop infinity. 

    His wife's imac was running a vnc client to his computer which caused a feedback loop when I connected to his wife's computer via VNC. Brilliant. I shut the thing down... Back to my mac starts working! I can see his files from my macbook, I can connect to his computer even! Everything's great! we FINALLY FIXED it - time to let the boss know.

    "Great guys! thank you so much, yea, make sure vmware fusion is running too, he needs to get into his windows desktop so he can get into quicken and pay some bills."

    "WHAT?!!!! HE NEEDS TO DO WHAT?!"

    Thats' right. This guy had two of us working on his issue for 2 hours a day for 2 days. That's equal to having me out of service for an entire day just to help him! Plus $50 in shipping! All of this, for his personal finance which for some reason can only be accessed from a windows virtual machine running on his imac at home.. very strange.

    And... the kicker..

    he STILL couldn't get Back to his Mac!

    At that moment, I told the boss how to just set up a dock icon for the screensharing client, and gave him the ip address to connect to manually. 

    I'm sorry if this reads more like a rant than a WTF, but again, why am I suprised here? this kind of bullshit probably happens everywhere. Am I right or am I wrong for thinking that this guy just flagrantly abused his position and our resources for his personal enjoyment? I know i'll never be able to actually voice my concern to anyone who actually gives a damn, so instead I post it here for everyone's bemusement. Hopefully I'm not alone here, cuz if so I just look liek a bitch;)

     

     



  • Playing devil's advocate here - some of these things have room for ambiguity, depends on tone of voice and such:

     

    @neuralfraud said:

    I'm sorry to make you go through all of this"

    "Yea, me too."

    At this moment the tech is about to explode in a fit of rage..

     

    This could be "I'm sorry I have to go through it but it's not your fault".


    @neuralfraud said:

    "Well,  We've tried everything, I'm at a roadblock here. this is as far as we can go."

    "Ok, I'm going to call your boss, and he'll give you a call back. Bye."

    Wonderful, I'm sure that'll accomplish a lot.



    This could be "let's see if we can get $TASK done some other way than me accessing my Mac".

     

    @neuralfraud said:

    make sure vmware fusion is running too, he needs to get into his windows desktop so he can get into quicken and pay some bills.

    ""WHAT?!!!! HE NEEDS TO DO WHAT?!"

     

    And this isn't necessarily the only thing he needed to do.  (A CEO running a VM strikes me as pretty unusual in itself, actually.)

     



  • @emurphy said:

    (A CEO running a VM strikes me as pretty unusual in itself, actually.)

    My CEO runs a VM on his MacBookPro to get the windows programs, so it's not that unusual these days - as more people use Macs there's always some program that requires Windows and the easiest is VMware/VirtualBox. However this CEO has also decreed that we will be Mac only now, even bought a Mac Mini Server to replace SBS 2008 we use for mail and domain services. (I've been using an iMac and a Windows XP PC on my desk at work for 2 years now - using Synergy(KM) to reduce the number of keyboards/mouses required)



  • @emurphy said:

    Playing devil's advocate here - some of these things have room for ambiguity, depends on tone of voice and such:

     

    @neuralfraud said:

    I'm sorry to make you go through all of this"

    "Yea, me too."

    At this moment the tech is about to explode in a fit of rage..

     

    This could be "I'm sorry I have to go through it but it's not your fault".

    No. Really, he was actually exactly as rude as it seems. My boss actually called after the CEO talked to him (Boss is the CIO) and asked me if it was true that at one point we were having him try different passwords. He actually told our boss that we were making him try different passwords as if we'd somehow flubbed the config and were simply guessing, and not being perfect little servants. Like I said before though, according to my keychain, I was right and the password was correct. This guy types the wrong stuff in, calls our boss and bitches about us.

    @emurphy said:

    @neuralfraud said:

    "Well,  We've tried everything, I'm at a roadblock here. this is as far as we can go."

    "Ok, I'm going to call your boss, and he'll give you a call back. Bye."

    Wonderful, I'm sure that'll accomplish a lot.



    This could be "let's see if we can get $TASK done some other way than me accessing my Mac".

     Nope. Turns out he just wanted to yell at the boss. After that, the boss instructed us not to call the CEO back. 

    @emurphy said:

    @neuralfraud said:

    make sure vmware fusion is running too, he needs to get into his windows desktop so he can get into quicken and pay some bills.

    ""WHAT?!!!! HE NEEDS TO DO WHAT?!"

     

    And this isn't necessarily the only thing he needed to do.  (A CEO running a VM strikes me as pretty unusual in itself, actually.)

     

    Thank our boss for that. the CEO's son is a mac nut, so is our boss. Our boss decides that the CEO is going to be the only person in the company aside from the boss himself who uses mac stuff. I have a macbook and have a little experience with Mac OS X and thats it. At the end of the day, all issues were totally beyond our control. The only saving grace was having the vnc server on that machine so we could access it without the peice of crap MobileME service. I'm sure it works great for "The rest of us", but here's one case where it should have worked and didnt. Doesn't logmein route back through the LMI servers? Logmein doesn't care if you have uPNP or not because it's not required. This is the problem with Mac Nuts. They abandon all reason and logic in favor of a prettier, fancier, "magical" solution from Apple.

    I guarantee the only thing this guy wanted to do was get into quicken, and maybe look at some personal photos. Regardless, the guy was on vacation and we need a stricter policy in place, one that may actually make mr CEO think twice before having us jump through rings of fire for his latest little whimsical endeavor. Again, though, I'm talking about a person where despite his income, the company still has to buy him stuff like imacs, tv's, entertainment centers, batteries, cell phones..  At least one of those items doesn't belong on a list of common company purchased items!

    Thanks for the insight however, I appreciate it ;)

     

     




  • @neuralfraud said:

    I guarantee the only thing this guy wanted to do was get into quicken, and maybe look at some personal photos. Regardless, the guy was on vacation and we need a stricter policy in place, one that may actually make mr CEO think twice before having us jump through rings of fire for his latest little whimsical endeavor. Again, though, I'm talking about a person where despite his income, the company still has to buy him stuff like imacs, tv's, entertainment centers, batteries, cell phones..  At least one of those items doesn't belong on a list of common company purchased items!

    Thanks for the insight however, I appreciate it ;)

    I'd much rather see my company finance an entertainment center and tv than anything with "mac" in it.



  • @neuralfraud said:

    Am I right or am I wrong for thinking that this guy just flagrantly abused his position and our resources for his personal enjoyment?

    Not really. You're talking about about the CEO! Just be glad he's not buying a personal plane (w/ pilot) and charging it back to the company.



  • @Zemm said:

    @emurphy said:
    (A CEO running a VM strikes me as pretty unusual in itself, actually.)

    My CEO runs a VM on his MacBookPro to get the windows programs, so it's not that unusual these days - as more people use Macs there's always some program that requires Windows and the easiest is VMware/VirtualBox. However this CEO has also decreed that we will be Mac only now, even bought a Mac Mini Server to replace SBS 2008 we use for mail and domain services. (I've been using an iMac and a Windows XP PC on my desk at work for 2 years now - using Synergy(KM) to reduce the number of keyboards/mouses required)

    Tell us the name of your company, so we know not to buy shares in it. Good luck running Active Directory and Exchange on a Mac Mini "server", BTW.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    Tell us the name of your company, so we know not to buy shares in it. Good luck running Active Directory and Exchange on a Mac Mini "server", BTW.

     

    It's kind of sad that a lot of company's that have poor management are making moves like this.  A company I used to work for decided that mac's where the way to go, when we were developing ASP.NET applications.  They're solution when the Non Tech Savy Idiots running the show realized that IIS and visual studio didn't work on a mac was, dual boot (they were warned there would be issues but ignored 'experts' advice).  I asked why couldn't we just spend all that money on faster computers?



  • I don't really have anything against Macs, but Mac servers-- that's a true WTF.

    All the features of a Linux server with... uh... twice the cost. Oh, and when it breaks, it takes Apple 2+ days to get a support person on-site, instead of the 3-4 hours IBM or Dell could have people there in.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    Tell us the name of your company, so we know not to buy shares in it. Good luck running Active Directory and Exchange on a Mac Mini "server", BTW.

    It's only small (4 full time employees) and privately owned. Heh, as an aside, the Windows server hasn't crashed in ages but it has bluescreened twice in the last week...



  • Well if the "server" is XP, it's probably running on some POS cheap commodity hardware. If Windows bluescreens, you have a hardware problem-- that's been true now for a decade-- so switching OSes isn't the solution. (And there's not really any reason to believe the Mac Mini hardware, which is also dirt-cheap POS hardware, will be more reliable.)



  • Right, because Apple couldn't possibly offer a service to expedite onsite server support.



  • @ds0 said:

    Right, because Apple couldn't possibly offer a service to expedite onsite server support.

    Four hours my ass. Maybe in New York and LA city limits.

    But they told me on the phone, despite that same promise being on the page, that they couldn't get anybody to the hospital I worked at at the time same-day... we're only 40 miles from Seattle. Dell and IBM (the servers we already had installed) were both there in an hour, two hours at most. Let me say that again: they could not offer same-day support 40 miles from Seattle, even if I called at 7:00 AM. Simply unacceptable for a server.

    This was about 4 years ago, so maybe they've really built-out their support organization. I doubt it; I think it's more likely the webpage is giving best-case times, and assuming you are located in big city. Or flat-out lying, it's not like Apple's never lied to customers before.



  • Wow, that's some poor service. Have to admit, this has me kind of concerned. I'm actually going to check with their server group to see if this has, in fact, gotten better. Definitely hope it has.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Well if the "server" is XP, it's probably running on some POS cheap commodity hardware. If Windows bluescreens, you have a hardware problem-- that's been true now for a decade-- so switching OSes isn't the solution. (And there's not really any reason to believe the Mac Mini hardware, which is also dirt-cheap POS hardware, will be more reliable.)

    If only that were true.  Plain old software has always had the capability of bluescreening XP.  My latest bluescreening adventure was only a few months ago. Microsoft's Services For Unix (SFU, not to be confused with STFU) was bluescreening my work PC every now and then.  A few hours of dedicated Google researching finally turned up that SFU was incompatible with certain vendors of antivirus. (PS, if my past self ever reads this, the fix is in [url=http://support.microsoft.com/kb/934326]KB934326[/url].)  I can't fathom the horrible interaction of bytes that would result in such a thing.

    As easy as it is blame Microsoft's OS crashes on bad hardware, the truth is, they just make shitty software.



  • @Xyro said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Well if the "server" is XP, it's probably running on some POS cheap commodity hardware. If Windows bluescreens, you have a hardware problem-- that's been true now for a decade-- so switching OSes isn't the solution. (And there's not really any reason to believe the Mac Mini hardware, which is also dirt-cheap POS hardware, will be more reliable.)

    If only that were true.  Plain old software has always had the capability of bluescreening XP.  My latest bluescreening adventure was only a few months ago. Microsoft's Services For Unix (SFU, not to be confused with STFU) was bluescreening my work PC every now and then.  A few hours of dedicated Google researching finally turned up that SFU was incompatible with certain vendors of antivirus. (PS, if my past self ever reads this, the fix is in KB934326.)  I can't fathom the horrible interaction of bytes that would result in such a thing.

    As easy as it is blame Microsoft's OS crashes on bad hardware, the truth is, they just make shitty software.

    Well, I guess drivers can cause bluescreens too. If you have a bluescreen that wasn't caused by either a hardware fault, or a buggy driver, I'd be really shocked. I mean, I've been running and supporting Windows 2000 and up since it came out, hundreds or thousands of workstations over the years, and I've yet to see such a beast. (Not to say it's impossible, just to say I've never seen one.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Xyro said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Well if the "server" is XP, it's probably running on some POS cheap commodity hardware. If Windows bluescreens, you have a hardware problem-- that's been true now for a decade-- so switching OSes isn't the solution. (And there's not really any reason to believe the Mac Mini hardware, which is also dirt-cheap POS hardware, will be more reliable.)

    If only that were true.  Plain old software has always had the capability of bluescreening XP.  My latest bluescreening adventure was only a few months ago. Microsoft's Services For Unix (SFU, not to be confused with STFU) was bluescreening my work PC every now and then.  A few hours of dedicated Google researching finally turned up that SFU was incompatible with certain vendors of antivirus. (PS, if my past self ever reads this, the fix is in KB934326.)  I can't fathom the horrible interaction of bytes that would result in such a thing.

    As easy as it is blame Microsoft's OS crashes on bad hardware, the truth is, they just make shitty software.

    Well, I guess drivers can cause bluescreens too. If you have a bluescreen that wasn't caused by either a hardware fault, or a buggy driver, I'd be really shocked. I mean, I've been running and supporting Windows 2000 and up since it came out, hundreds or thousands of workstations over the years, and I've yet to see such a beast. (Not to say it's impossible, just to say I've never seen one.)

     

    I've heard other folks make that claim before, and I'm confused by it every time.  I've come to the conclusion that I just use computers in a fundamentally different way, and that my ways are not used or tested or supported by MS or their fans.  I've had nothing but poor experiences* with Microsoft products, yet other people seem totally fine.  Are others just not using SFU?  Why should an antivirus product destabilize it?  Why should I have to tolerate an antivirus product in the first place?  Why is it acceptable that my company's workstation computer's OS be so incompatible with my company's Unix servers?  Then I go home to my Linux computer with its virus-free 15 million year uptime and native server compatibility, and everything fits like a glove.  Whatever, we all probably have Stockholm Syndrome.



  • @Xyro said:

    I've heard other folks make that claim before, and I'm confused by it every time.  I've come to the conclusion that I just use computers in a fundamentally different way, and that my ways are not used or tested or supported by MS or their fans.  I've had nothing but poor experiences* with Microsoft products, yet other people seem totally fine.  Are others just not using SFU?  Why should an antivirus product destabilize it?

    I thought I explained that but maybe I wasn't explicit enough.

    Because the anti-virus product probably installed a driver. And it's driver is causing the blue-screen, because SFU is doing something that the shitty anti-virus driver developers didn't realize could be done, or decided wasn't worth supporting.

    Guess what? Cisco's VPN client software completely and utterly fails if you're using Internet Connection Sharing. This isn't Microsoft's fault, this is Cisco's fault for simply not giving a shit whether their product worked correctly or not for all possible configurations of Windows. Hey, GTK+ apps don't work with Windows voice control or touchscreen/table features. This isn't Microsoft's fault, this is GTK+'s fault for not giving a shit if their product works correctly for all possible configurations of Windows. I could name a hundred examples. Firefox doesn't (generally) support Group Policy, Chrome doesn't launch the OS-preferred RSS handler when it encounters RSS files, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

    Gripe about Microsoft when they release buggy shit, seriously. Gripe long and hard. But don't blame them for things that aren't their fault.

    @Xyro said:

    Why should I have to tolerate an antivirus product in the first place?

    Why should you? I don't. I seem to get along just fine.

    Of course, I'm also careful about what software I install-- Adobe and Oracle/Sun products are virus-havens. The only virus I've gotten in my 5-6 years of not running anti-virus was from a security hole in Java.

    Despite Microsoft getting all the blame ever about insecure software, from my experience, Microsoft software is far superior to Adobe and Oracle/Sun software.

    @Xyro said:

    Why is it acceptable that my company's workstation computer's OS be so incompatible with my company's Unix servers?

    Well, first of all, in what way is it "incompatible?" What's your Unix server serving that Windows can't handle? Windows can do HTTP, it can do FTP, it can do file-sharing, printer-sharing, Unix databases, source control... fuck you can even run Novell if you want, it still works on Windows 7, surprisingly.

    Secondly, assuming there is some service your server is serving that your Windows workstation can't handle (and I doubt there is, I think you're full of shit), why blame Microsoft instead of your company for buying incompatible systems? You could either have bought Windows servers with your Windows workstations, or bought Linux work stations to go with your Unix servers-- and yet somehow it's *Microsoft's* fault you decided to mix-and-match?

    @Xyro said:

    Then I go home to my Linux computer with its virus-free 15 million year uptime and native server compatibility, and everything fits like a glove. Whatever, we all probably have Stockholm Syndrome.

    Unsure if serious...



  • @Xyro said:

    Are others just not using SFU?  Why should an antivirus product destabilize it?
    I used SFU a lot in the past, and the only problem I had with it was it's incompatibility with DEP. I never had any bluescreens in that time. My guess is that some shitty antivirus hasn't been tested well enough with alternative subsystems, and since it's vendor wouldn't budge, Microsoft added yet another workaround to their OS.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    This isn't Microsoft's fault, this is GTK+'s fault for not giving a shit if their product works correctly for all possible configurations of Windows.
    Actually, it's not that GTK+ developers don't give a shit - it's just that there's only 1 or 2 of them that even care about Windows, and they have their hands full just keeping the functionality that works from deteriorating (this is showing - XP themes were broken in 2.18 and early 2.20 releases, and tablet support is broken since 2.18).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Xyro said:
    Why is it acceptable that my company's workstation computer's OS be so incompatible with my company's Unix servers?

    Well, first of all, in what way is it "incompatible?" What's your Unix server serving that Windows can't handle? Windows can do HTTP, it can do FTP, it can do file-sharing, printer-sharing, Unix databases, source control... fuck you can even run Novell if you want, it still works on Windows 7, surprisingly.

    Secondly, assuming there is some service your server is serving that your Windows workstation can't handle (and I doubt there is, I think you're full of shit), why blame Microsoft instead of your company for buying incompatible systems? You could either have bought Windows servers with your Windows workstations, or bought Linux work stations to go with your Unix servers-- and yet somehow it's *Microsoft's* fault you decided to mix-and-match?

    The problem was lack of NFS support, which is why I installed SFU.  Before getting that to work, FTPing/SCPing files back and forth was the fashion of the workplace.  I find that sort of bottleneck intolerable, but then, I grew up on Unix.  Higher expectations, I suppose. 

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Xyro said:
    Then I go home to my Linux computer with its virus-free 15 million year uptime and native server compatibility, and everything fits like a glove. Whatever, we all probably have Stockholm Syndrome.

    Unsure if serious...

    I am never serious, but sometimes I point to serious things.  I'm like a postmodern metaphor of seriousness.

    But I do compare vendor love with Stockholm Syndrome.  As we all here know, while computers are of course amazing and fascinating and fun and revolutionary, they suck.  They suck hard. One day in the far future, we'll have computers that don't crash and bloat and change your data just to piss you off.  Until then, we accumulate boring war stories for our grandchildren who will only pity us.

    PS, the "shitty antivirus" is e-Enterprisy McAfee Enterprise 4.5 Enterprise edition.   So... yeah, shitty.  Amusingly, it took about 30 seconds for its "About" screen to pop up after I selected it from the system tray icon.

    Edit:  Or maybe it's version 8.7i?   It says the "McAfee Agent" is 4.5, but the "VirusScan Enterprise + AntiSpyware Enterprise" is 8.7i.   But the "Host Intruder Prevention" is 7.0.   I dunno.



  • @Xyro said:

    PS, the "shitty antivirus" is e-Enterprisy McAfee Enterprise 4.5 Enterprise edition.
    Well, that says it all.



  • @Xyro said:

    The problem was lack of NFS support, which is why I installed SFU.  Before getting that to work, FTPing/SCPing files back and forth was the fashion of the workplace.  I find that sort of bottleneck intolerable, but then, I grew up on Unix.  Higher expectations, I suppose. 

    Well, since SFU is created by Microsoft... I'd argue that Windows does support it, to some extent.

    Or you could have installed a different file-sharing protocol on the server that Windows supports "more natively", like SMB or WebDAV.

    @Xyro said:

    But I do compare vendor love with Stockholm Syndrome.  As we all here know, while computers are of course amazing and fascinating and fun and revolutionary, they suck.  They suck hard. One day in the far future, we'll have computers that don't crash and bloat and change your data just to piss you off.  Until then, we accumulate boring war stories for our grandchildren who will only pity us.

    Fine. But don't blame Microsoft for things beyond Microsoft's control. Hell, you should be praising Microsoft for going out of their way to fix a bug in McAffe's software. That's all I ask: credit where credit is due.



  • @ender said:

    @Xyro said:
    PS, the "shitty antivirus" is e-Enterprisy McAfee Enterprise 4.5 Enterprise edition.
    Well, that says it all.
     

    McAfee has been shitty since the DOS TSR days!



  • I've seen (and done) very similar with regards to the CEO stamping his feet. I'm not going to say what as it's kinda unique and who knows who is reading these forums or what google turns up. 

    But basically it went down to this "But we know nothing about X, it would be far quicker to pay Y, plus we have tight deadlines for project Z."
    "No, I pay you, you do it."

    Took us about 18 hours to do the job. It would have taken someone with knowedge about 3 hours. 

    Of course, 3 days later we were asked why certin deadlines had been missed... 

    But hey, at least we learned something new. Something that we'll probably never ever do again. 


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