AT&T may be the most irritating company ever. They think our account is past due because we’re not paying the setup fee we were told didn’t exist…and guys kept showing up at the door even though we had said we would self-install & they wouldn’t be allowed to touch our devices/network anyway…they’ve apologized & said they’d fix it three times so far. And now they’ve cut off service.
This happened once before, in New Orleans. I’d tell you the story, but I think I’ll work it into fiction…we’ll see how it goes this time. Meanwhile, their office appears to be closed.
So, not much done yet. Will keep working over here, and will hope to have better news tomorrow.
(The above was posted from my phone. This part wasn’t.)
See, here’s the thing. It was annoying that I couldn’t access the internet via my laptop–and, due to a recent “update” to iOS, I couldn’t tether the laptop to my phone either. Unless I jailbroke the phone, in which case the Uber app would complain…
I poked around. I noticed that DNS, the system that resolves hostnames like “cnn.com” to IP addresses like 184.108.40.206, was still working just fine via my “suspended” DSL line–it was part of the way AT&T chose to forward all web traffic to their page that tells me I need to call a number they don’t answer on holidays. Most traffic was blocked, but DNS worked fine. Hmm.
Well, okay. DNS traffic uses port 53. What does that mean? Not a lot, really. It’s just a convention. Like, a web server listens on ports 80 (normal http) and 443 (https). If you connect to a web server from your computer, your computer generates a random-looking port number for each request, so it can tell (when the server answers) which data is part of which image or bit of text or whatever. Sound arbitrary and easily messed with? Yep. You’re right.
So I keep a couple of servers out there in cloudland. I told one of them (via my phone) to listen on port 53, just as if it were a DNS server, which it ain’t. Then I told my laptop to listen on a custom port (I chose 9080 for no particular reason) and forward all traffic from there to port 53 on my server out on the internet. Then I told my web browser to use localhost:9080 as what’s called a socks proxy.
Voilà. I’m online! From my laptop. Though I appear, to websites I visit, to be browsing from within someone else’s data center. No skin off my nose, except that it can be tracked back to me. (So I also use Tor, but that’s a separate post…except that it’s actually in a book I wrote.)
Yes, I can do more with this…but I don’t necessarily want all my household’s video streaming to go out via this tunnel–I actually pay for traffic to and from the server I’m using. Upshot: AT&T is annoying, but handled for now. I told them I’d bill by the hour to deal with ’em, too, just for fun. We’ll see how it goes.
Back on track, sort of. Down most of a writing day, though.
Have fun out there!