In which many a college network crumbles before me. Or maybe just Algonquin’s.

So I made vague mutterings about maybe going back to school. In a sense, I did. I went with May over to Algonquin College a couple weeks ago so she could get a couple things done. Since I’d have some time to kill, I took the laptop with me. Largely because she made the mistake of telling me she could receive email, but the network wouldn’t let her send. Come to find out, at least I believe, all the common mail ports are, shall we say, firewalled. Somewhat successfully, I might add. But, and this is where anyone who knows me should be paying close attention, I had a little over an hour and a half to myself. An hour and a half, with an unfamiliar network, wireless access, and one hell of a powerful portable unit with which to play chicken. This can only end not so well.

So I took that portable unit, that wireless network access, that little over an hour and a half, and I did something useful. I prodded my own server looking for open ports. Not open ports on the server, per say, just the network. Ended up getting the college slapped on the block list in the process, but hey, that was fixable when I got home–note to self: try and find the damned IP first, whitelist the thing, then port scan your server to death. Kay? Kay. But I found me an open port. Two of them, actually. And I was already using one. So when I got back to the apartment, I–uh, first, um, unblocked the college (oopsies), then fired the mail server up on the open port I wasn’t using. Odds are, now, if one does it right, mail sends while one is at the college. I’ll need to get back there at some point and play.

Firewalls are awesome. But here’s the thing about them. There’s ports they don’t necessarily block, simply because doing so would pretty much break students’ access to potential external, uh, educational materials. One of those ports is HTTP port 8080. Now, here’s the thing about this server. This server doesn’t run anything on port 8080. As in, nothing. As in, no thank you please. Or rather, it didn’t until a few minutes after I got home. Now, in complete violation of probably a couple standards and definitely in complete violation of one college firewall, the mail server listens on port 8080 as well as the usual mail ports. And a couple others, but I’ll keep those to myself and the people who actually need ’em, lest some Algonquin IT type person with a Google adiction accidentally finds this thing.

Sending mail from on campus, for those times wherein somebody with access to the server, or me, needs to send email while on campus, can now, legally, happen. Perhaps not Algonquin’s definition of legally, but hey–I’m looking at getting into one of their geek courses. Of course I’m going to flex my geek on their network beforehand. Why not? Besides. I didn’t need that port anyway.

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