My Job is a Pain in the Ass

or, Why Don’t I Get Paid More?

Z. (my project coordinator):

C. (the client’s “programmer” and defacto IT person…),

We’re ready. I’m copying Heath on this as he will be the one to help if you hit any snags.

FTP Credentials:
FTP Server: ftp.servername.com
Login: ladida_da
Password: HG639478!H87T


M. (our Client contact coordinator, not technical):

Z.,

This appears to be a non secure FTP site. Do you have a secure site that we can connect to since this is considered confidential data?

Thank you,
M.


Me:

Hi, M.,

Our server will establish a secure connection if the client requests. The client must connect to us using SFTP over port 22.


C.:

Z. and Heath, when the site is set up, please email the full SFTP site name.


Me:

It hasn’t changed in the last hour and a half:

FTP Credentials:
FTP Server: ftp.servername.com
Login: ladida_da
Password: HG639478!H87T


C.:

I wasn’t sure what the following meant: “The client must connect to us using SFTP over port 22.”


Me:

If you connect using FTP, our server will use that. If you connect using SFTP, our server will use that. The presence or lack of secure encryption lies in how you folks try to connect us. If you want a secure connection, then connect to us using SFTP (I mentioned port 22 just in case your client does not set that automatically when setting it to connect via SFTP). It’s not possible to retroactively secure a standard FTP connection from the server or client end.

To summarize:

If you want a secure connection, then connect to us using SFTP.


C.:

Heath, the ftp failed, apparently with a bad host name (sftp.servername.com). Any ideas?


Me:

C.,

The server name is ftp.servername.com NOT sftp.servername.com


C.:

Heath, can you explain what you meant by “Our server will establish a secure connection if the client requests. The client must connect to us using SFTP over port 22”?


Me:

If you want a secure connection you guys have to connect to us using sftp. In your screenshot it appears you are doing that, except you are trying to connect to sftp.servername.com which does not exist. The FTP server is ftp.servername.com. It supports both ftp and sftp. If you connect to us using the standard FTP protocol, our server will accommodate that. If you want to connect to us using the sftp protocol, our server will accommodate that.

i.e. here is me connecting to ftp.servername.com using the sftp protocol:

[hhouston@heathnix ~]$ sftp ladida_da@ftp.servername.com
Connecting to ftp.servername.com…
ladida_da@ftp.servername.com’s password:
sftp> ls
error
in
out
result
sftp> cd in
sftp> ls
sftp>

C.:

Heath, I’m having issues connecting to your server. Are you seeing anything on your end that might indicate the reason. My process has the user-id and password imbedded in a support file and won’t let me actually see the character I’m typing, but I’m fairly certain I’m using the value you supplied. I don’t think issue is the password, but perhaps you can verify.

[Editor’s note: I. Just. Effing. Did. That.]

15:50:28 I The workflow has started
15:50:28 I Activity ‘FTPSFTPFTPS’ started
15:50:28 I Starting Step ‘Ftp’
15:50:28 I SFTPProtocol
15:50:28 I Sftp Client connecting user ‘ladida_da’ to host ‘ftp.servername.com’ on port 22
15:50:28 I Remote host connection complete. : 0 (OK)
15:50:29 I Remote host disconnected. : 0 (OK)
15:50:29 E Connection error: 1032 Password authentication failed. The following authentication methods are available for this user: publickey,password.
15:50:49 I …attempting retry`

M.:

Did you get this resolved? Let me know if you want to get a call together.

Thank you,


C.:

No, I’ve not heard from Heath.


Me:

I’m not sure what I can do for you at this point.

You can connect, so there’s no firewall or proxy issue.

You’re using the sftp protocol, which appears to be functioning normally, so that’s not an issue.

I’ve confirmed the account credentials (username and password) work, so that’s not an issue.

I’ve logged in myself using those credentials and transferred files, so it’s not a permissions issue.

I assumed you’ve double checked for typos in the credentials you’re entering to make sure they are exactly what I gave you.

At this point the only thing I could do to help further would require me to get on a plane and fly out there and take over.

[Editor’s note: this is a government agency, not part of our company, so the idea of me flying out to do his job for him (and the implied “I could do your job better having never even seen your software before”) was intended to be mildly insulting.]


C.:

Heath, I’ve tried a simple put of a test file to your ftp site from a command line. I can make the connection, but when I try to put, it fails. Any idea why?


Me:

Okay, so the credentials do work. Great.

I’m pretty certain you’re trying to do this with the Microsoft command line ftp client. It fails because that ftp client is around 20 years old and can’t do Passive ftp, only Active. Try using anything else.


Me:

(a day later)
Hi, C., any success yet?


M.:

I’m pulling in additional resources to work on this with C. I’m out of the office this morning but will be in this afternoon with information.


(another day later)

Z.:

M.,

Any luck with your additional resources?


C.:

Heath, am tying FileZilla to manually connect to your ftp server. Was unsuccessful. Charlie

[Editor’s note, he includes a screenshot of him trying to connect to ftp.ervername.com whereas the server is ftp.servername.com]


Me:

Z. Am I being punked?


Z.:

Holy crap, what medication is that guy on?


Me:

C.,

ftp.servername.com


C.:

That did it. Keying error. Thanks for noticing.


*sigh*

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