Holy Father

It is 23 years and 7 months since my last confession. Since then, I have downloaded Ethereal and started to sniff packets off the network. I know it was wrong but we had worked for a week on this problem. We had all exhaustively checked everything (twice) and we were tired, hungry and increasingly desperate.

I fervently wished this was a conventional database problem or even an unconventional Siebel problem but the symptoms, the controlled tests and all the hard evidence increasingly pointed to ’the network'.

Initially, I was swamped by gigabytes of meaningless data until I discovered all about the powerful filters with an esoteric syntax (that sometimes even worked). Then I could trace a complete ‘conversation’ between the browser and Web server. I was so excited when I could actually examine HTTP requests and the associated response. Why I can even look at the packet sizes and the actual contents with timestamps to the nearest microsecond.

I am desperately resisting the urge to examine the detailed effects of content expiry and static file compression and publish a whitepaper. Worse still, I am feeling increasingly lured by ‘/etc/services’ to find interesting ports to sniff on.

Please have mercy on this wretched, miserable, pitiful sinner kneeling before you.

Yours faithfully

Norman Brightside