March 17th, 2005


The word for today class is STUBBORN

I spent the balance of my day continuing to whack away at a pair of Nortel Contivity 1010s (nifty little VPN boxes that we're putting into a couple of Police departments) that are sitting on my bench. We started configuring them yesterday with the assistance of our Nortel engineer. The site-to-site VPN config came together reassuringly quickly. But then there was the plain vanilla 'PC to VPN box' config — something that should be really easy. It wasn't. I left work yesterday befuddled, but with hope that our Nortel guy could tell me the thing we were missing.

That was not to be. I spent several hours on the problem at work before finally deciding to clear out and take a different approach. I lugged a spare 1010 home with me and spent another three hours pounding on it until I discovered the problem. In this version of the Contivity software you not only have to tell it to hand out IP addresses to clients via DHCP, but you have to tell it which DHCP server to use. This part is buried in a sub menu of a sub menu and simply doesn't exist in the version of the software that we've been using on our older Contivity.

I emailed our Nortel engineer telling him that I'd worked out the problem and offering my opinion of the current rev of the Contivity software:
Thank you Contivity development team: you have officially passed the point where the nigh infinite profusion of features in your box has essentially crushed poor, unloved, little Miss Usability to death. <picks up skull> Alas, poor Usability, I knew her well.
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