Avoiding the Chasm

February 4, 2006

Dear Valued Customer

Filed under: Technology — vextasy @ 12:44 am

I have been a very loyal customer of DynDns for quite sometime now, but a few days ago the following email dropped into my mailbox:

Dear Valued Customer:
The hostname, slug.xxx.co.uk, in account ABCDEF, has
been blocked for abuse. This action has been taken due to the
receipt of multiple updates originating from the same IP
address.
...

The message was from DynDns and was sent in response to the actions of my incorrectly configured DNS update client. What surprised me was just how taken aback I was at the use of the term abuse. As someone who has been using the Internet since some time before the introduction of the web browser I was shocked that I could be accused of abuse. Surely there was some mistake. Nevertheless they were absolutely right.

According to dictionary.com:

Abuse
1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
5. Obsolete. To deceive or trick.

And I was certainly using their service wrongly. The problem was in the way that I had configured my SLUG to update its own entry on DynDns so that I could always find it from work by its fully qualified domain name even if my non-fixed home IP address changed. My mistake was in not making its update rules quite strict enough. I was occasionally updating my DNS entry when it hadn’t really changed and so I was violating the DnsDns Update Abuse Policy.

The best things may be abused.
– The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs.

I’ve fixed the problem now and hopefully I’m no longer an abuser but a valued customer once again.

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