# # Phantom Connections
APLawrence.com -  Resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Bloggers and the self-employed

Phantom Connections

I've removed advertising from most of this site and will eventually clean up the few pages where it remains.

While not terribly expensive to maintain, this does cost me something. If I don't get enough donations to cover that expense, I will be shutting the site down in early 2020.

If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.



Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© December 2006 Anthony Lawrence

2006/12/12

I had coffee with Mark Jones of Micronet Network Services, Inc. this morning. The purpose was to discuss some Unix and Linux customers he has, but of course we started swapping stories and I liked this one so much I had to share it with you.

This happened to be a SCO Unix customer who Mark had recently converted from serial terminals to TCP/IP telnet sessions. They run Medical Manager, but that's not important to the story. As Mark told it to me, it went something like this:

"So there's this one Windows box forty feet down the hall from the server. The woman that's using it calls me up and tells me that sometimes she sees what someone else is typing in Medical Manager."

I (Tony) raised my eyebrows. "Only in MM?", I asked.

"No", Mark said, "Command line too. I went in and checked it out: she really could see what this other woman was typing."

He paused for a sip of coffee.

"So my first thought was that the machine was rooted or that maybe the Windows boxes had some screwy viruses. Checked it all out; couldn't find a thing. I was sure the SCO box had been compromised, but since I couldn't see any evidence, I decided that the best thing to do was reinstall from scratch."

At this point I was thinking that I'd like to have run "fuser" on the ptty's to see what on earth could be going on. I didn't think that a rooted machine was likely, and Mark confirmed it.

"But nope: that changed nothing. Complete fresh install and I could sit at that darn machine and see what the other woman up the hall was typing. Frustrating!"

I agreed. It must have been very frustrating.

Mark continued: "So now I'm back looking at the Windows box again. It had to be there. So I'm looking at everything, and the darn typing from the other machine was driving me nuts, so I reached in the back and unplugged the network."

Mark paused and smiled. "See where I'm going yet?", he asked.

"Nope." I admitted being clueless.

"Well, the typing kept coming. I figured it had to be some stupid buffer, but it didn't stop. I shut the machine down, even ripped out the nic card, but when I turned it back on, the darn typing kept coming!"

I shook my head in amazed befuddlement.

"It was right about then that I remembered something rather important."

Mark was grinning like the Cheshire cat now. "Remember when I mentioned this office was a good forty feet way from anything else?"

Yes, I remembered.

"Wireless keyboards. I totally forgot about them. Forty feet apart but one machine was picking up the others typing. Forty feet away. I've had that happen close by, but never forty feet away. I just never even considered it. But that's what it was. Exchanged the keyboard, problem disappeared. Case solved."

Great story, isn't it?


If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.



Got something to add? Send me email.





(OLDER)    <- More Stuff -> (NEWER)    (NEWEST)   

Printer Friendly Version

->
-> Phantom Connections

4 comments


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Take Control of OS X Server

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

Take Control of iCloud, Fifth Edition





More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence







Wed Dec 13 16:02:32 2006: 2723   Sledge


I had that problem with a customer. I got called over to help another person. As we were helping remotely, the other guy was freaked out and reinstalling drivers and reassuring the user that his machine was not compromised (at least we couldn't see anthing in netstat or the process list, etc). The first thing I asked is what changed and the second thing I asked is who else has a wireles keyboard. Got the classic answers, nothing changed, no one else has a wireless keyboard. The more we looked, the more convinced I was that another keyboard was interfering.
Long story short: about an hour later I finally convinced the user that the wireless keyboard and mouse in the office above his (in the same company) was interfereing. Found out after that they had purchased several of the same make and model wireless keyboards and mice. Still not sure what users hear when we say "what's changed?" but that is another thread.



Wed Dec 13 16:19:40 2006: 2724   TonyLawrence

gravatar
Right: might as well ask what color their eyes are for all the good it will do :-)



Wed Dec 13 16:25:09 2006: 2725   BigDumbDinosaur


I ran into this over five years ago with an office where the owner's son decided that it would be cool to fix up everyone with a wireless keyboard. To this day, I go out of my way to discourage the use of wireless anything in offices.



Wed Jan 10 20:27:51 2007: 2808   sgnlzero


Okay, wireless 'could' be the answer but here's another possibility (I have seen it twice so far), the common denominator was the users we're using laptops with a standard install of Microsoft Office. Office by default turns speech recognition 'on'. Since the laptop has a microphone, any noise is taken as speech. The computer will try and decipher the speech to text (the noiser the area, the more processor intensive) and depending upon where the mouse is located (if over a text window, it will try and type what it hears) or if it is over an Internet Explorer window, it can slow the internet down noticibly while it tries to dechipher what it has heard to convert to text.

Microsoft KB articles are 315765 and 316215

------------------------


Printer Friendly Version

Have you tried Searching this site?

This is a Unix/Linux resource website. It contains technical articles about Unix, Linux and general computing related subjects, opinion, news, help files, how-to's, tutorials and more.

Contact us


Printer Friendly Version





Generally, old media don't die. They just have to grow old gracefully. Guess what, we still have stone masons. They haven't been the primary purveyors of the written word for a while now of course, but they still have a role because you wouldn't want a TV screen on your headstone. (Douglas Adams)




Linux posts

Troubleshooting posts


This post tagged:

Lighter

Troubleshooting



Unix/Linux Consultants

Skills Tests

Unix/Linux Book Reviews

My Unix/Linux Troubleshooting Book

This site runs on Linode