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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Yet more stupid

A few days ago, my usenet feed stopped working. Today, I noticed, and started to do something about it.

First, I tested the computer that's supposed to collect the usenet feed. To test it, I used pine (alpine), which is not only a great text-only mail reader, it's also a usenet reader. And sure enough, I couldn't log in to my usenet feed.

So I tried another computer. Same problem. And then another ... and it worked! I tried several more, and wound up with two that didn't work, and six that worked.

So I contacted the usenet feed supplier. They responded quickly by giving me a new username and password. That didn't help at all.

I thought a bit, and decided to use telnet. telnet can do anything that other protocols can do. Instead of telnet usenet.com, I typed telnet usenet.com 119, which tells telnet to connect to port 119, the usenet (nntp) port. It asked for a username and password. The exchange looks like this, when it works:


telnet reader.usenet.com 119
Trying 1.2.3.4...
Connected to reader.usenet.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
200 Welcome to Usenet
AUTHINFO USER username
381 Need more.
AUTHINFO PASS password
281 Authentication accepted.

 
And when it doesn't work:

telnet reader.usenet.com 119
Trying 2.3.4.5...
Connected to reader.usenet.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
200 Welcome (servername)
AUTHINFO USER username
381 PASS required
AUTHINFO PASS password
502 Authentication Failed


And at that point, I noticed that the computers that worked, used 1.2.3.4 and the ones that didn't work, used 2.3.4.5. And I thought, why is that? And I had a look at the hosts file, and sure enough, I'd put in an entry that forced reader.usenet.com to resolve to 2.3.4.5 on the ones that didn't work, and I'm guessing that the feed had stopped using that server. 

So I changed the hosts file, and everything works now!






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