Safe Transmission

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Posted by w0ep on October 17, 2018 at 9:03 pm

[Today’s run: 3.4 miles]

One of my jobs at the work is to write up little computer programs that either fetch or send (upload or download) files to various places.  I have a handful of these things that are dedicated to downloading payment files from banks, credit card handlers, that type of thing.

There’s this big bank out on the west coast and they have a system called Safe Transmission.  I have a program that connects to them once a day, Monday through Friday, and checks for one or more files to be downloaded.  It works very well.

These guys are pretty sharp, as you would expect big banks to be.  They have two different computers with two different internet addresses and they are supposedly set up to be able to use one as the back-up for the other.  For about half of the year they send us to system A and the other half of the year system B.  So far so good.

A lot of their customers access their systems via a web browser or web interface with a URL.  So they, the bank, controls which system you get to through their resolution of the URL, sometimes to A  sometimes to B.  And most customers never see it.  But we are an odd duck because I don’t have name resolution set up on my servers as a security measure.  I have to configure a specific address for each of these transfers. They have accommodated wierdos like me by sending out an email warning when they are going to do the biannual switch-over.

We got the email in August and again in September that they were switching on October 14th, last weekend.  They usually do it on a Sunday.  I was uncharacteristically prepared and we changed things over late on Friday the 12th so the Monday transfer would be all set.

Come Monday, my program went to look for the file and we couldn’t connect.  Hmm.  I switched it back, and tried again and it went through fine.

So I called them up and waited quite awhile on hold (as you might imagine).  Finally I got to talk to a real computer guy.  I could tell he was a real computer guy because he spoke credible American, wasn’t very well versed in customer-facing-gibberish, and he did not insist on saying “is there anything else I can help you with today?”.  He told me they had a problem with the switch and they will try it again later.  We got a broadcast email later that day which said they would try again at some time yet to be determined.

Not a big deal, nor an exciting story except the big bank let me talk to one of the real bit-banging minions in the basement somewhere… and who knows what happened that their backup site wasn’t ready even after a two month lead-up.   That,  and I actually was prepared in advance this time and I still had to figure it out on Monday.

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1 Comment

  • On October 17, 2018 at 9:14 pm Jonathan Howard said

    If the bank is associated w horses then m not surprised.

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