I took an odd tech support call at work the other day. Someone called in asking about how quickly she could get a new IP address, because she didn’t want anyone to know where she lived. I tried to explain it was all about the network connection, not the physical location, and no, it wasn’t associated with her email address either, and how are you connected?

It transpired that she wasn’t even one of our customers, and that she wanted us to “block” her IP by putting X’s through everything “like you have on your website.”


Well, our website has directions on changing your network settings, and a short write-up explaining how blocks — as in blocks of text, or city blocks — of multiple IP addresses are broken down. (You get them in multiples of 8, the first and last are reserved, and one is assigned to the router, so you can use 5 addresses in a block of 8, 13 in a block of 16, etc.) I had written up a sample list of addresses in a block of 8, to make this clearer (or so I thought). To discourage people from using the samples in their network settings, they were in the form: xxx.xxx.xxx.120, xxx.xxx.xxx.121, etc.

I spent the rest of the morning rewriting those web pages.

(The crazy part? Eventually it turned out she didn’t want to hide herself, she wanted to identify someone else who was harrassing her by email. At this point I was able to tell her to call her own ISP.)

Oh, yes, I doubt it’s related, but last night the webmaster account for that site received an email consisting solely of the question, “what is this???????????????????????????????????????????????” Yes, it had that many question marks.

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