Internet Services – Telus sucks

image from sxc.huUntil recently, my company had a Managed ADSL service with Telus, but when the contract expired in 2011 we had no hesitation in choosing not to renew it.

Perhaps it was just bad luck in being assigned poor account managers, or perhaps this poor experience is common throughout Telus’ business offerings.

Either way, I saw the fact that I was paying $485/month for a 4Mbps down/1Mbps up with an SLA that was heavily slanted towards advantage for Telus (as most SLA’s are) as unneeded.

Other factors in canceling the Telus contract:

  • Auto-renewal of 3 year term contract, without notice or follow-up
  • Telus “forgetting” to cancel our Managed ADSL contract after receiving signed letters and repeated call-backs, resulting in many months overages despite the fact that we cancelled the contract


It is unfortunate Internet service is so expensive in Canada, especially for such low speeds. The amount of data that we’re pushing in and out is growing every year, and single digit Mbps just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Over a year ago we added an Internet connection from a wireless ISP, WiBand. This is a 10Mb sustained (20Mb burstable) connection with unlimited GB/month. We have been very happy with this service, and it’s been rock solid for us. Almost all of our services to external clients run over this connection.

With the cancellation of our Telus line, we brought in a Shaw Business 50 connection that is 50Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. While this isn’t guaranteed throughput, it is very cheap (under $100/month) and provides great access for our head office’s general Internet needs. Because we have our WiBand link with an SLA, we don’t need a highly reliable Internet connection from Shaw for general use.

Funny enough, when I asked what Telus had to compete with this Shaw Business 50 service, I was told we would be much better off with a 5Mbps down/5Mbps up fiber service that cost $800/month. Great job there listening to your client, Mr Telus rep.

Despite these nice links, I still long for the day when Canada gets speeds like they do in Northern Europe, with fiber to the home being common and high-throughput links being used.

One year in …

It has Image of number onenow been one year and one day since my first post on Faultbucket. When I was first reading about starting a blog and some common do’s and don’ts, one thing mentioned was, “Don’t post a 1 year summary”.

Screw those people, this is interesting stuff!
In my first year, I have:

  • Made 50 posts
  • Received 18,537 visits
  • Had 35 comments (excluding mine)
  • Blocked 2,753 spam comments

My most popular post so far is the Adobe Flash Installax.exe with 22% of pageviews, followed by Hyper-V Failover Cluster Setup with 15%.


I started Faultbucket for a variety of reasons, including sharing knowledge, having a place to document things I come across, and associating a body of work with my name. So far those things are being accomplished, so I feel pretty content with it.

Originally I was worried about running out of topics, but as of this writing I still have 3 in the queue and I come across more ideas every week. Perhaps this year I’ll even find time to make a logo and a unique identity for the site.

Looking forward to year number 2.

Locked out

On Friday I was in the office working late, because our Dell TL2000 tape autoloader decided to die. During my support call with Dell, I was back and forth between my office and the server room, and had kept my key-card in my hoodie pocket.

At one point during the evening, as I was trying to manually eject the magazines from the TL2000 (no simple task for a single person), I took off my hoodie, left it in the server room, and then promptly closed the door behind me.

Luckily I was able to unlock the door through our security server; small IT with a wide range of responsibilities saves the day again.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, so the moral of the story is, keep your keys and access cards on your person, in a pocket in your pants. I guess the other moral of the story is, I don’t think very clearly at 10:30 PM.

Thoughts on Windows 8 and user privileges

Windows 8 Metro start screenThe Windows 8 developer preview has been shown and released (although I have yet to find time to get it installed), and if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch the keynote at the Build conference here:


I’m looking at this less as a home user, and more as a system administrator for an office-based company of 350 people. Overall I’m very excited by some of the things shown, and think that it will be an immediate upgrade from Windows 7 as we bring in new computers.

Built in anti-virus is a great addition, and if the updates come via WSUS then it may finally be time to shrink our Symantec license count. The additional tools and functionality Windows Explorer, including the ribbon and file copy changes look really nice, and shouldn’t be too difficult to train users on.

I won’t repeat every feature that I’ve seen so far, but there are two things concerning me:


  • With the new hybrid sleep/hibernate power model, when will group policy computer settings be applied, and will putting the computer into this mode constitute a log off?We rely on our group policy objects for many things, including program installations and keeping various applications up to date. If one needs to wait until Windows Updates are done to force a real reboot (once a month based on Microsoft’s update schedule) that is an awful long time to go before GPO processes new changes.
  • I was really hoping Microsoft would revamp the permissions model within Windows, to allow program installs without Administrator rights.As more and more of our workforce get familiar with Windows and its programs, or even have grown up their entire lives using it, those people expect more control over their computer due to that familiarity. While it has always been recommended to lock down users to standard accounts for security and to ensure un-authorized programs are not installed, we are quickly entering a world where this will no longer be acceptable, due to the large amount of users who balk at the idea of control being taken away.

    Ideally what I would like to see is the Power Users local group brought back, but made better. Standard users would remain devoid of many privileges, and UAC would prompt for elevated credentials if required. Administrators would retain full control over all aspects of Windows, but these rights would only be granted to IT staff.
    Power Users would have the ability to install programs, and that’s about all. No ability to make permission changes, can’t change user accounts or rights, and are still prompted by UAC for elevated credentials when trying any of these things.

    This would give those who are comfortable with Windows the ability to install programs if necessary, as well as give IT the ability to assign programs through GPO and have it actually work without requiring Admin rights.

  • The last thing that would make my life (and our upcoming help desk staff) much easier would be the ability to unlock a user account as an Administrator, or even log into a different user’s profile with Administrator credentials.Lets say John Doe is logged on, and submits a ticket to the help desk for a problem only experienced with his profile. IT goes to that user (or remotes in) and finds the computer locked, with John no where to be found. The solutions to this are to keep a list of John’s passwords, or wait until he returns, neither of which are good solutions.

    It would be better if that IT staff remotes in, see’s the computer is locked by John, and unlocks it with their own account, getting into John’s profile. IT is already trusted with the keys to the organization, so its not like there is a security issue with this model.


I guess these last two things don’t really have much to do with Windows 8, but they were on my mind as I watched the keynote.



Thoughts on my career path

A post by Ned Pyle was just released on the AskDS blog, which is excellent and should be read immediately: image from

Reading through this got me thinking about my own career, my abilities and attributes. I consider myself good at my job, and invaluable to my company, but reading pretty much anything by Ned or other respected IT personalities (those at the top of the Serverfault reputation list come to mind) leave me wishing I had more.

More knowledge, more skills, more time to study, play in a lab, read more books. More motivation to excel and be more creative for my company.


I find that it is difficult to really retain knowledge and gain expertise on technology with which you don’t have any real interaction with, and I’m always afraid of spending time learning and mastering something, just to have that knowledge wither and die. When I graduated from SAIT in 2005, I had my CCNA, was trained for CCNP and would have passed the test easily but never took it because my first job was entry level system admin. Since then I haven’t touched a real routing protocol, or any Cisco device for that matter, and those skills have atrophied. I’m fearful that things I spend time on that have no relevance in my current position will be a waste of time.

Perhaps my perspective on all this is a little skewed, since at this medium sized company there are only two IT staff (myself included) and every area of IT falls under my responsibility. I’m directly responsible for (and have implemented myself) Exchange, Hyper-V, SQL, Windows Server and client OS, networking, backups, purchasing, policy making, documentation, monitoring, the list goes on. In addition, I’m beginning to learn C# and for developing in-house tools at my company.

Just as Ned mentioned, it’s hard to be an expert in everything, but since I deal with everything, sometimes its hard to be an expert in anything. We’re hiring for a help-desk position in the near future so hopefully that will remove some lower end duties, giving me a bit of free time for some real learning and professional development.


All that being said, I start thinking about the things I am involved in at work, and can see many areas of improvement. Exchange and Hyper-V both come to mind, as those have both been my implementations, but I am in no way an expert for either. They’re also both critical to my company, and that in itself is a good motivator for improvement.


Either way, knowing there is room for improvement is powerful, and there’s a lot of helpful links from Mr. Pyle that I’ll be following up on.