[TriZPUG] TriZPUG reminder - meeting this Thursday

David Burton ncdave4life at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 20:22:20 CET 2012

I filed a support request with UNC, asking for Internet access as a
visitor, and received the following e-mail response, plus a phone call:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: UNC-CH PTR <arsys at remedy05.isis.unc.edu>
Date: Sat, Jan 28, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Dear Customer : The worklog of your problem ticket has the following new
  Worklog Entry: Called user and let him know since he did not have a
direct affiliation with the university we could not register, but advised
user if he could find the person affiliated with the university in the
group, they could register under their credentials, or user could seek to
get affiliate role and then register himself.

The gentleman who called me explained that UNC needs to restrict access to
only computers that are in its database, so that they can track internet
access, and assign blame for copyright violations.  (That seems very
big-brother-ish, to me; I guess things haven't changed much since I was in
college: college students seemingly still are considered less than full
citizens, with less than normal rights.)

He suggested that I get someone in the group who has a UNC affiliation to
register my computer under his credentials, if I need Internet access while
on campus.  (Contrary to the email, he did *not* hold out any hope that I
could "get [an] affiliate role" and register myself -- I asked if I could
get my own credentials, and he said no.)

Alternately, perhaps we could program a cheap router to spoof a registered
MAC address, for use at our meetings?  I don't know whether that might get
someone in trouble.

I don't really need Internet, I guess, except that I might need it to do a
lightning on, for example, lxml.

Of course, if we're going to meet off-campus, this is all moot, I guess.


On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 6:55 AM, David Burton <ncdave4life at gmail.com> wrote:

> The UNC classroom meeting place was very nice in many ways:  plenty of
> room, nice desks, and a fantastic computer projection screen.  The
> difficulty finding it (and getting there on a game night) was the worst
> problem..  However, one other surprising (to me) disappointment about the
> UNC meeting location was the lack of Internet access.
> There were three visible wireless SSIDs, all with strong signals:
> "UNC-Setup" -- open, but I couldn't do anything but ping the gateway
> "UNC-1" -- need passphrase
> "UNC-Secure" -- need passphrase
> Reading on the UNC web site, it appears that they try very hard to limit
> access to "members of the UNC community" (which doesn't include the NC
> taxpayers who merely pay much of the bill).  Apparently, they go to the
> remarkable trouble of keeping a campus-wide database of authorized MAC
> addresses, and their DHCP servers are configured to access this database
> and block access from unauthorized MAC addresses: http://help.unc.edu/4924
> Even wired access is apparently blocked through this mechanism, which
> would seem to rule out my 2nd thought, which was to just bring a wireless
> router to the meetings and plug it in somewhere.
> So, if we need Internet access for a presentation, is there a good
> solution to this problem?  (Programming a router to spoof some MAC address
> in the database doesn't seem like a "good" solution!)
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