5:01 p.m. at a customer site. A head pops up from a nearby cubicle and wails plaintively, why can’t I get onto Facebook? His lower lip quivers at the injustice in the world. Like a bulldog that has been denied cake, as Wodehouse would put it.
Oh bloody hell, I think. What’s gone down now? I’m onsite trying to resurrect a MySQL server, but the issue has nothing to do with web access. A quick diagnostic ping to www.google.com tells me that the Internet connection is up, DNS resolution is working. So what is blocking Facebook? I have a look at the error page in the user’s web browser. Ah, it is the CSC-SSM-10 card in the Cisco ASA. There’s a policy in place that blocks social networking sites during business hours.
It’s past 5 p.m., the user points out. He’s been watching the clock. Meanwhile, a couple of other users have gotten wind that tech support is onsite and chime in about their urgent need to tweet. Altogether, it is a creditable reenactment of the junkies from Trainspotting huddled around Rentboy as he cooks up. It is Friday before the long weekend. Don’t these people have parties to go to? Shouldn’t they be at happy hour? And then it hits me. They need Twitter and Facebook to tell them where the party’s at. Alright, then. It is a bona fide emergency.
A quick SSH into the Cisco ASA and with the show clock command, I see that the time is off by 7 minutes. I correct it with a clock set command:
ciscoasa# sh clock 16:56:21.250 AST Fri Sep 2 2011 ciscoasa# conf t ciscoasa(config)# clock set 17:03:00 2 sep 2011 ciscoasa(config)# sh clock 17:03:05.141 AST Fri Sep 2 2011 ciscoasa(config)#
Once the time on the ASA is corrected, the policy on the CSC-SSM-10 no longer applies. Web traffic to Twitter and Facebook is restored, as was intended. The party animals are able to clickety-click their way to social Nirvana.
By the time the MySQL server is back up and running, the office is empty and happy hour is well under way. Someone has left me a cold Corona at the helpdesk, beads of moisture condensing on the bottle. I got two turntables and a microphone. That’s where it’s at.