IT/Web: January 2012 Archives

Analysis of DNSSEC Validation Failure Comcast - DNS Engineering, Comcast"

"How Did Users Interpret the Failure? The DNSSEC-related misconfiguration of the NASA.GOV domain unfortunately occurred on the same day that some Internet websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit blacked out their sites in protest over the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills in in the U.S. Congress. ... Despite this, a website that discusses NASA-related news and information, called NASA Watch (http://www.nasawatch.com) accused Comcast of blocking access to the NASA.GOV domain, seemingly on purpose."

Keith's note: Despite multiple tweets by @NASAWatch about this problem on 18 January 2012 - tweets that were responded to by @Comcast employees - no one at Comcast ever bothered to contact NASA Watch about the cause - until this report was issued. Yet they seem to place some importance on the fact that NASAWatch (and MSNBC) gave this issue prominence. We had to figure it out for ourselves. If Comcast wants people to know why things are not working for their customers, then they need to take the initiative to respond to public inquiries promptly - and not complain about things well after the fact.

Keith's note: Comcast has decided to block customer access to *.NASA.gov due, I am told, to an issue involving how NASA maintains its DNS records. Why these geniuses at Comcast chose the SOPA/PIPA protest day to do this is curious to say the least. Right now, if you are a Comcast customer, you are being purposefully denied access to one part of your government's services.

Keith's update: I have confirmed this via IT professionals at NASA and in several places across the U.S. that Comcast DNS is broken - but only for NASA.gov, it would seem.

Keith's update: Alan Boyle from MSNBC tweeted some good advice - change your DNS setting to Google's Public DNS. Info here.

Keith's update: Everything works again. Apparently NASA provided an update key for DNS and the new key did not match the Comcast key. So Comcast simply cut off DNS access for all of its customers to everything at NASA.gov. The old key has been sent by NASA and everything works again - so far.

Fifty-Seven Student Rocket Teams to Take NASA Launch Challenge

"For a complete competitor list and more information about the challenge, visit: http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/sli and http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/usli."

Keith's note: Simple, yes? Not when NASA's multiple webmasters get into the act. If you go to http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/sli you are redirected to another URL (link) that blinks too fast to copy down and then quickly redirects you again, this time to this link http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/Student_Launch_Initiative.html. Why have the intermediary redirect? Why not just have http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/sli redirect to http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/Student_Launch_Initiative.html?

If you go to the other link provided in this press release, http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/usli the same intermediate redirect happens and you end up at http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/University_Student_Launch_Initiative.html

The answer you get about dueling URLs from NASA is that NASA wants to make it simple for people. I understand that and totally agree. But when you start with a simple URL, jump to another, longer URL, and then end get tossed again to the final (long) URL - that long URL is the one that you are going to save in your browser, cut and paste and share with others, go back to, etc. Why not stick with the short URL in the first place? Baffling.

NASA's Sprawling Web Presence, earlier post

"There is no uniform agency-wide process for ensuring content on the other NASA sites is accessible, updated, accurate or routinely improved. Individual programs and projects at the Centers and offices at NASA Headquarters manage their own content and are responsible for accuracy and accessibility."

NASA's Inability To Speak With One Voice Online, earlier post

"I hear constant complaints from within NASA that funds for websites, education and public outreach, and PAO are limited - and likely to be cut further. Yet the agency continues to waste money on dueling websites - and they use multiple web addressses to send people to the same website."


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This page is an archive of entries in the IT/Web category from January 2012.

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