1 2 3 Previous Next 35 Replies Latest reply: Jul 2, 2008 5:55 PM by BDAqua Go to original post
  • 15. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Bill Da Cat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I finally got in the chat rooms this morning. At least one other person at the chat had the same problem over the last few days. I'm betting the problems were at Chatropolis's end. Thanks for keeping us updated. I'll put that support address in my address book. Gone for the weekend.
  • 16. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Michael Ludwick (the Chatropolis owner) has emailed me back, and he says "It was a DNS glitch that has been fixed. Simply looking at the users online report confirms this". I waited a few hours, tried to gain access again, couldn't, and then sent him this reply:

    _________________

    I've just purged all my caches, histories, etc (with Intego Washing Machine) and I'm still getting the same error, so there's still a problem somewhere...

    I'll try a creating a fresh user account to see if that works (a tech guy suggested this to me at macosx.com).

    _________________

    Needless to say, creating a fresh user account and trying that has made not a jot of difference.

    To say that I'm exasperated is an understatement. The terseness of Michael's replies, and the lack of interest that this implies, doesn't exactly fill me with confidence that he's taking this seriously, but then why should he? I'm the only person in the world it would seem who is having this precise problem, and although I've been a Chatropolis regular for over 8 years, I've never once joined as a paying member. If I was to break out the credit card and join, would my problem be taken more seriously? Perhaps, but then I'm even more unlikely to join than I ever was before - paying for membership, only to still not be able to access the entry pages would be the worst of both worlds!
  • 17. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I had a long & cordial chat with the owner of Chatropolis the other evening, and when I told him that the last thing I had installed was an update to Microsoft Office, he was fairly sure that was the cause of the problem. However Office doesn't integrate itself into the OS on a Mac in the same way that it does on a PC, so I wasn't convinced. However, I'm prepared to try anything at this point, even voodoo or an exorcism....

    As I had updated Microsoft Office from version 12.0.1 to 12.1.0, and he thought that this might be the problem, I ran the uninstaller for Office, and then manually deleted everything I could find that it had left behind, by searching for "Microsoft", "Office" and "2008".

    I restarted, and still the problem persisted.

    I then reinstalled Office (version 12.0.0), restarted & tried again. Nothing. I then updated to 12.0.1 and restarted. Nothing. So I then thought I might as well go back up to the current version again - 12.1.0. Still no luck.

    I've also ran a virus scan on my entire machine, and it found nothing apart from a few ZIP files dated 2006 that were nested several folders deep within the Macintosh HD->Users->user>Library->Caches->Java Applets folder. I deleted the entire contents of the Java Applets folder & restarted. No difference.

    On the Chatropolis home page, there's a post Michael made titled "Yesterdays Problem/Tomorrows Improvements", which read:

    On May 22nd we had a small problem. Users could not connect to the site or would get a server not found error. Without getting to technical this was a DNS problem. Why it reared it's ugly head yesterday and not a couple of years ago will always be a mystery. It has been corrected but it may take a day or so for some ISP's to update the information. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Now even though my problem started around May 18th, I can't help wondering if the 2 things are related in some way. The fact that it said "Why it reared it's ugly head yesterday *and not a couple of years ago*..." to me implies that he had something (or things) set a certain way for many years up until the 22nd, and then he changed some setting (or settings) from that point onwards.

    Now even though I’m using a Motorola cable modem (which according to Michael includes lots of paranoid firewall features), plus a software firewall etc., the fact remains that I’ve been using this Mac, Mac OS X 10.4.x, this cable modem, this firewall, and all my current settings for years without ever having the slightest problem, and then around the time that the DNS settings are changed, everything permanently stops working, no matter what I do. Even setting up a new user account from scratch has no effect, nor does trying Internet Explorer 6.0.2 running under Windows 2000 via Virtual PC!

    As an experiment, Michael gave me a temporary password to log in as "admin" using the Chatropolis proxy server (see http://www.chatropolis.com/chatrosafe.html) which let me log in fine. However, I never took a note of the password, and in any case he said it would only work for a few days, so I'm back to being locked out again.

    One further clue I’ve discovered that might help the diagnosis of my problem:

    If I'm using the PC version of Internet Explorer 6.0.2 running on Windows 2000 under Virtual PC 7.0.2, and I try to enter any room using the “Top 10 Chatrooms” list, or from the Users Online page, I get the “correct” address in the address bar, along with the 403 error in the title bar and the “You are not authorized to view this page” message where the web page should be. For example, I get “http://cs7.chatropolis.com/enter/lookingforexp” in the address bar when I try to enter the “18 Looking For Experience” room.

    However – when I select a room from the drop down menu at the top right of the home page, and then click the “Go Chat” button, instead of getting the “correct” address in the address bar, I get the following instead: “http://www.chatropolis.com/cgi-bin/zap_entry.cgi” - some sort of CGI script residing in the cgi-bin by the looks of things?

    I tried to replicate this in the Mac OS proper, using Safari, and the same thing happens, except that the “http://www.chatropolis.com/cgi-bin/zap_entry.cgi” only appears in the address bar for a fraction of a second, and then it immediately changes to the correct address (such as “http://cs7.chatropolis.com/enter/lookingforexp”).

    Another further clue: I can get access to all the Underground chatrooms no problem. At no point have I ever had a problem getting into them.

    So, I can get into any room that starts http://underground.chatropolis.com/...

    but none that start http://cs7.chatropolis.com/...
    or http://cs10.chatropolis.com/...

    Someone suggested that I try downloading and installing Firefox on the Virtual PC (fresh browser & fresh cache, as a last resort) but that made no difference.

    I also tried unplugging the cable modem from the mains for a minute or so (really obvious but I only thought of it today!) Again - no difference.

    It was also suggested that I try eliminating the modem from the setup to see if that's the problem.

    I’ve no router or anything, just the modem (2MB Virgin Media connection) straight into the back of the Mac with an ethernet RJ-45. However I've no other way to access the internet other than with my modem.

    I can’t try using dial up or a mobile phone. My Mac doesn’t have a dial up modem installed, and I don’t have a cable to connect my mobile phone to the Mac.

    About a week or so ago I tried to access Chatropolis using a friends Mac, who lives less than a mile away, and uses the same 2MB broadband cable product from Virgin Media as I do, and I could get in no problem. Their type of cable modem is different though. Mine is a Motorola SURFboard SB5100. I've no idea what type theirs is - it's a completely different shape, has no manufacturers name that I can remember seeing, and was only installed a year ago.

    There would be no point in trying a different cable modem on my machine anyway, as it would have a different Media Access Control (MAC) address, and Virgin Media accounts seem to be tied to modems with particular MAC addresses. I know this because someone I know gave me a Motorola SURFboard SB5101 a few months ago that they were throwing out, which they had until that point used with Virgin Media, and just out of curiosity I tried it out, and it wouldn't let me connect to the internet at all, even though I saw it working fine at their house. When I swapped back to my own modem, everything was fine again.

    I think the only thing left to do is to phone Virgin Media and ask if they’ve blocked everything starting http://cs7.chatropolis.com or http://cs10.chatropolis.com when the request is made from my IP address. Unlikely, but it’s the only thing I can think of that’s not been discounted.
  • 18. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Clea Rees Level 4 Level 4 (1,245 points)
    If you can persuade your friend to lend you his/her modem, you can test it with your machine. I think the other modem didn't work because its MAC address had already been cancelled (either because the account had been cancelled or because a new MAC address had replaced it).

    Virgin have no way really of knowing which machine is behind the modem. Or, rather, they do, but I don't think they care. You can add machines behind a Virgin IP to your LAN and reconfigure the LAN etc. without anything needing updating.

    Also, I've substituted a neighbour's cable modem for ours to test whether our modem was on the blink or not when we had issues. They have Virgin; we have Virgin. With their modem, everything worked just fine.

    So, yes. They'll look at the MAC address but if you can borrow one from somebody with a current Virgin account, you can test whether that makes a difference.

    - cfr
  • 19. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for your advice.

    You were right about the other modem not working because its MAC address had already been cancelled (they had closed the account). This had never occurred to me!

    I borrowed the modem from my friend with the active account, and right enough, it works fine (I'm connected with it right now), but it has made no difference to the Chatropolis problem.

    At least I can now discount the modem as the source of the problem.

    See if I find out that it was Virgin all along, blocking everything starting http://cs7.chatropolis.com or http://cs10.chatropolis.com when the request is made from my IP address - I will personally go round to Richard Branson's house and stab one of his hot air balloons with a knitting needle!

    As I've come more & more to realise, the problem is patently not with my Mac (or modem!) and if Chatropolis has 4 million regular users, with 700,000 logging in on an average day, and yet I'm the only one who can't log in, then it has to be my ISP blocking things - doesn't it?
  • 20. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Charles Minow Level 6 Level 6 (9,190 points)
    Diamond Dave wrote:
    As I've come more & more to realise, the problem is patently not with my Mac (or modem!) and if Chatropolis has 4 million regular users, with 700,000 logging in on an average day, and yet I'm the only one who can't log in, then it has to be my ISP blocking things - doesn't it?


    I'd be really surprised if it's Virgin. Everything you've described so far sounds like it's happening at Chatropolis. Some of it sounds fairly normal, like the CGI scripts bouncing you from one page to another. Other stuff sounds like routine configuration problems with their servers.

    I'd say that with a site with 700,000 people logging in every day that it's fairly unlikely that you're the only person with problems logging in. Unless they're all contacting the site's support, the site may have no idea so many people are having problems.

    Look at it this way: if there are 700,000 people logging in every day, that's over 8 every second. Couple that with graphics and stuff, and you could be looking at 10 to 50 times that number of log entries every second, depending on how their servers' logs are set up.

    Couple that with the normal variances in day by day in traffic, and it doesn't seem unlikely to me that you could have a pretty significant number of people with problems before you'd notice it without complaints.

    One thing, however, that you should do with Safari, if you haven't already done it, is to empty your cache when you start having funny things happen like this. It's an item in the "Safari" menu.

    charlie
  • 21. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Clea Rees Level 4 Level 4 (1,245 points)
    Diamond Dave wrote:
    See if I find out that it was Virgin all along, blocking everything starting http://cs7.chatropolis.com or http://cs10.chatropolis.com when the request is made from my IP address - I will personally go round to Richard Branson's house and stab one of his hot air balloons with a knitting needle!

    Unless you have a static IP address, they could not reliably block you this way because your IP address today may be somebody else's tomorrow. The constant, from their point of view, is the MAC address of the router.

    If you wanted, you could run traceroute (in Terminal or using Network Utility) to see where your requests are going. That should tell you whether the ISP is blocking your requests or not.

    - cfr
  • 22. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Charlie

    The 700,000 a day figure I got from an email from the Chatropolis owner. It may be wildly exaggerated of course. Even so, I completely take your point about many people potentially having problems, but if I'm the only one that bothers to email technical support, then it looks like I'm the only one having a problem!

    As far a emptying the cache goes, I'm way ahead of you. Before I quit Safari, I always go "Reset Safari..." every single time, and clear everything apart from website icons. And immediately after I've quit, I always run Intego Washing Machine 1.1 and securely erase everything it can find, apart from Safari bookmarks.

    Thanks for your input once again.
  • 23. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Clea

    Officially, I don't have a static IP address. I've never asked for or paid for one. But, ever since I started to bother to check (a few weeks ago) I always seem to have the same IP address whenever my Mac is on. In other words, for all practical purposes, it appears that I do have a static IP address, which means I don't think I can completely discard the "Virgin is blocking me" theory just yet.

    I'm not exactly looking forward to phoning them, and having to suffer some call-centre numpty asking me if I've tried switching my "PC" off at the wall and on again... I'm sure directing said numpty to this thread and asking them to read it would be akin to tossing a copy of War & Peace at me & asking me to translate it into Sanskrit.

    Anyway, I returned the borrowed modem to my friend earlier today, and once I'd plugged it back into their Mac (which only runs OS 9.2.2 & I.E. 5.1.7 incidentally) I checked if I could log into Chatropolis, and as before, I could. Same MAC address, different Mac & IP address - different result...

    I've just run traceroute, and got the following results:

    traceroute to www.chatropolis.com (209.25.220.196), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
    1 10.125.0.1 (10.125.0.1) 15.219 ms 6.332 ms 9.016 ms
    2 80.195.0.6 (80.195.0.6) 12.511 ms 7.928 ms 13.251 ms
    3 lee-bb-b-ge-300-0.inet.ntl.com (195.182.178.94) 12.361 ms 22.175 ms 24.325 ms
    4 pop-bb-a-as1-0.inet.ntl.com (213.105.175.130) 27.633 ms 21.227 ms 16.730 ms
    5 amst-ic-1-as0-0.inet.ntl.com (213.105.175.6) 36.580 ms 34.009 ms 32.250 ms
    6 ams-sara-cor-1.peer1.net (195.69.145.209) 25.967 ms 26.666 ms 26.441 ms
    7 oc48-so2-1-0.ldn-teleh-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.115.49) 47.681 ms 24.729 ms 28.018 ms
    8 216.187.115.33 (216.187.115.33) 114.556 ms 114.314 ms 135.842 ms
    9 oc48-po2-0.tor-151f7-cor-2.peer1.net (216.187.115.125) 125.848 ms 129.277 ms 127.884 ms
    10 * oc48.so-2-0-3.van-hc21e-cor-1.peer1.net (216.187.114.137) 198.756 ms 187.853 ms
    11 oc48.so-2-0-0.sea-coloc-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.88.214) 193.968 ms 194.862 ms 191.642 ms
    12 10ge.ten1-2.sj-mkp16-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.88.202) 217.905 ms 221.454 ms 210.203 ms
    13 paix-2-pos2-0.maxim.net (216.187.88.250) 212.503 ms 212.253 ms 212.283 ms
    14 vlan12.fmt6509-2.maxim.net (66.40.24.74) 208.465 ms 227.109 ms 241.535 ms
    15 * * *

    Everything suddenly ground to a halt at item 15, and about every 15 seconds or so, the next item would appear, slowly followed by the 3 stars, one at a time. Once it had got to item 64 it gave up. Does this read out mean anything to anyone? It doesn't make much sense to me.

    I also ran a Port Scan, which gave:

    Port Scanning host: 209.25.220.196

    Open TCP Port: 22 ssh

    This too ground to a halt, and only finished when I clicked Stop. As I've said before, Chatropolis claims to be pure HTML. No Java, JavaScript or plugins required. Pure port 80 apparently.

    Over the last several days, the terse responses to my emails to the Chatropolis owner have changed into no responses whatsoever. I'm sure he's sick of my emails. I know I would be. I reckon I'll have to phone him again. I've actually to phone Virgin about some other stuff anyway, so I'll call them first just to make sure that they're not up to anything nefarious.

    Thanks for your help once again.
  • 24. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    andyBall_uk Level 7 Level 7 (20,320 points)
    Hi Dave

    so we're clear - is it true that you can't even access http://cs10.chatropolis.com/enter/currentevents , never mind actually entering the room in question? ( that's how I read you...)

    If so, what about trying http://cs10.chatropolis.com.nyud.net/enter/currentevents ? which would present a different ip to chatropolis & at least confirm that it isn't {i]them blocking your ip.
  • 25. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Clea Rees Level 4 Level 4 (1,245 points)
    Diamond Dave wrote:
    traceroute to www.chatropolis.com (209.25.220.196), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
    1 10.125.0.1 (10.125.0.1) 15.219 ms 6.332 ms 9.016 ms
    2 80.195.0.6 (80.195.0.6) 12.511 ms 7.928 ms 13.251 ms
    3 lee-bb-b-ge-300-0.inet.ntl.com (195.182.178.94) 12.361 ms 22.175 ms 24.325 ms
    4 pop-bb-a-as1-0.inet.ntl.com (213.105.175.130) 27.633 ms 21.227 ms 16.730 ms
    5 amst-ic-1-as0-0.inet.ntl.com (213.105.175.6) 36.580 ms 34.009 ms 32.250 ms
    6 ams-sara-cor-1.peer1.net (195.69.145.209) 25.967 ms 26.666 ms 26.441 ms
    7 oc48-so2-1-0.ldn-teleh-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.115.49) 47.681 ms 24.729 ms 28.018 ms
    8 216.187.115.33 (216.187.115.33) 114.556 ms 114.314 ms 135.842 ms
    9 oc48-po2-0.tor-151f7-cor-2.peer1.net (216.187.115.125) 125.848 ms 129.277 ms 127.884 ms
    10 * oc48.so-2-0-3.van-hc21e-cor-1.peer1.net (216.187.114.137) 198.756 ms 187.853 ms
    11 oc48.so-2-0-0.sea-coloc-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.88.214) 193.968 ms 194.862 ms 191.642 ms
    12 10ge.ten1-2.sj-mkp16-dis-1.peer1.net (216.187.88.202) 217.905 ms 221.454 ms 210.203 ms
    13 paix-2-pos2-0.maxim.net (216.187.88.250) 212.503 ms 212.253 ms 212.283 ms
    14 vlan12.fmt6509-2.maxim.net (66.40.24.74) 208.465 ms 227.109 ms 241.535 ms
    15 * * *

    Everything suddenly ground to a halt at item 15, and about every 15 seconds or so, the next item would appear, slowly followed by the 3 stars, one at a time. Once it had got to item 64 it gave up. Does this read out mean anything to anyone? It doesn't make much sense to me.

    Well, it stops at item 64 because the "64 hops max" setting constrains the number of items it will list. That's the default though you can change it (at least, if you're in Terminal you can - don't know about Network Utility). The "* * *" can be caused by various things (type "man traceroute" in Terminal for details) but doesn't necessarily indicate a problem.

    If your ISP was blocking you, I would expect to see many fewer hops than this though I don't really know. Perhaps somebody else could chime in on this who knows what results a block would give.

    The addresses with "ntl.com" in are presumably Virgin's.

    I don't know how common it is to see this many hops. I haven't had all that many reasons to use traceroute but, when I have, I've never had anything like 64 items returned. Anybody?

    - cfr
  • 26. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Andy & Clea

    A major breakthrough today! However not all the resulting questions are answered....

    To answer your first question, yes, it's the entry-pages to the rooms that I've been unable to access, never mind entering the rooms themselves. So, for example, I'd get a 403 error when I tried http://cs10.chatropolis.com/enter/currentevents. However, the Chatropolis owner has removed this room (and several others) at some point in the last 12 hours, so if anyone tries that link now, they'll get a 404 error (as opposed to a 403).

    However, early this morning (before the room was removed) I tried your http://cs10.chatropolis.com.nyud.net/enter/currentevents alternative link and I was able to get in fine, which proves that my IP address was being blocked! As I said in my previous post, my IP address has been effectively static for several weeks (since I first started noticing it) or perhaps even longer.

    Typing nyud.net into a browser doesn't return a website. Who/what is nyud.net, and is it the case that anyone can add ".nyud.net" to the end of a top level domain and access any website, presenting a different IP address than their real one? If so, this could prove to be incredibly useful for diagnosing all sorts of problems on all sorts of computers!

    Ironically, when I got home this evening and turned on my machine, I was able to get to the entry pages of any room I liked, immediately, without adding the ".nyud.net" to any of the addresses! My flabber was well and truly gasted! I checked my IP address, and guess what... it's different! For the first time in weeks!

    Now that we know my IP address was being blocked, can we say for certain (by referring to the traceroute readout in my previous post) if it was Chatropolis doing the blocking, or Virgin Media? I hope there is a definitive answer to this. If there is, that means I can definitely phone the culprit up and unleash a torrent of verbal abuse at them. If you're going to block someone's IP address, you should at least have the good manners to tell them you are doing it! Letting me know would have saved me over 2 weeks of grief - scroll back up this thread for a summary of it!

    Once I know who was doing the blocking, I can try to ascertain why!

    Now I could just go "it's ok folks, everything works now, let's all forget this ever happened" but I'm not inclined to do that. There's no telling that my new IP won't be blocked, or I might get my old one back tomorrow and be locked out once again, or that the same fate might befall you, the reader, or anyone else!

    The initial problem has (finally!) been solved, but I'm not inclined to click the "solved" button to officially close this thread until I can report who was doing the blocking and why.

    Clea - I knew about the 64 item default, sorry if I didn't make that clear. It's a preference in Network Utility, and yes, the addresses with "ntl.com" in them are Virgin's. Virgin bought over NTL & Telewest and merged them, so any URL that ends ntl.com, ntlworld.com, ntlfreedom.com, blueyonder.co.uk or virgin.net is a Virgin Media domain.
  • 27. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    andyBall_uk Level 7 Level 7 (20,320 points)
    Dave

    I get a similar traceroute to yours- I don't think it reveals anything about the problem you faced. but you should've used the address you were having trouble with ie traceroute cs10.chatropolis.com which would show you the actual numerical address too, as would
    dig cs10.chatropolis.com ( or cs7 too of course...)

    nyud.net is actually http://www.coralcdn.org.nyud.net/ & yes, you're right about it being useful.

    I found you can bypass dns lookup for cs10.chatropolis.com by using http://209.25.220.205/ which was letting me enter rooms ok , the nyud.net dodge only worked until entering rooms, it then reverted to the regular chatropolis.com address , so maybe wouldn't have let you actually join a room? ( not sure if you meant that you could access the room, or merely the entry page ).

    from what I read, these sort of issues do crop up due to errors on computers between us users & the actual host, or sure, chatropolis may've been blocking your ip for some unknown reason

    mtu settings also sometimes cause problems ( not 403's )

    anyhow, fingers crossed for you....
  • 28. Re: Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browse
    Clea Rees Level 4 Level 4 (1,245 points)
    It doesn't actually prove your IP address was blocked. At least, that's not obvious. It depends on exactly how the Coral system works but it isn't obvious that you might not be seeing the equivalent of cached pages - unless you are interacting with things in a way which rules that out, of course.

    - cfr
  • 29. Why do Chatropolis entry pages give "403 Forbidden" error on all browsers?
    Diamond Dave Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Andy

    I should have made it clear in my post that contained the traceroute readout that I got a pretty much identical result whether I tracerouted chatropolis.com, cs7.chatropolis.com, or cs10.chatropolis.com. For all 3, things ground to a halt at item 15. I've just run cs10.chatropolis.com again & the same thing happens.

    To be honest when I tried the nyud.net dodge this morning I was so thrilled to get an entry page to load that I didn't even try to enter the room itself, and I was running late for an appointment anyway so I didn't have time to experiment further.

    I get the impression that you think my difficulties were more likely inadvertent Chatropolis problems, rather than Chatropolis subterfuge (or Virgin Media subterfuge)?