Sunday, June 12, 2011

IPV6 Testing Follow-up #1


Now that IPv6 Testing Day is over, a huge chunk of the Internet that cares now has a good idea what problems they have. I heard back again from the great Jason Fesler of with further details about the current state of IPv6 and its impact on users. He suggested reading the following two articles posted at his site: views on 6to4

About the "v6ns" test

The first article discusses the 'transition mechanism' (aka make-shift patch job) to provide internet IPv6 compatibility called 6to4. You can read more about it here:


The second article makes a brief reference to the OpenDNS IPv6 Sandbox, which did NOT work for my Mac. You can read about configuring your Mac to use this sandbox here:

How to Use the OpenDNS IPv6 Sandbox

Despite my FAILed test results, I am going to continue using this sandbox in hopes that either they get it right or I figure out what they're not telling me might be wrong at my end. Today I am adding references to their sandbox in my router settings. Below is a grab of the resulting setting inside my Airport Extreme Base Station. Note the separate line specifically for adding IPv6 DNS Server addresses. Update your router after adding the addresses:

NOTE: This is the stuff of geeks. Do not play along unless you have the experience and patience to deal with its high level of geekiness. At this time, I am not going to teach how to create the proper IPv6 settings beyond what I have already posted. Also be sure to refer back to CNET's article which I linked in my original IPv6 post.

Gradually the clunky stuff will be resolved. But it would be no surprise to find that even after the drop dead date, which IPv6 goes manditory.

Question: So when will IPv6 be manditory?
Answer: There is no actual set date at this point. However, to quote Wikipedia:
The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) suggests that all Internet servers be prepared to serve IPv6-only clients by January 2012.
IOW: Expect there to be a rush to get everyone up to speed starting this fall. It's going to be another 'OMG' panic to get everyone IPv6 capable by New Year's Day.

Question: Are my router, operating system, DNS servers and web browsers ready to do IPv6?!
Answer: It's time to go RTFM! Please do not go around asking other people this question. If you can't find the FM, then check out the websites of your providers. Here is a list of possible answers you will discover there:

A) Yes, everything is adequate. Enjoy.

B) Your router needs a firmware update. Everything else is fine, but be sure you have the latest software updates.

C) You are SOL buddy! Your router is too old and/or your router provider isn't customer satisfaction oriented enough to care. BUY A NEW ROUTER!

D) Your operating system is too old to have a clue about IPv6. Either buy an upgraded version of the OS that is compatible with your hardware. If your hardware is not compatible with the required operating system version, you're SOL buddy! GO BUY A NEW COMPUTER!

Question: Is my Mac compatible with IPv6?
Answer: If your Mac can run at least Mac OS X 10.3.3 and above, you're mostly fine.

Question: What about Mac OS X 10.2.x Jaguar?
Answer: Mac OS X 10.2.x has IPv6 compatibility included. I says so right here:

To quote:

The inclusion of IPv6 in Mac OS X 10.2 keeps the Mac up-to-date with other operating systems and ensures continued access and compatibility with the Internet.... Many of the networking APIs in Mac OS X have been improved to support IPv6.

Wikipedia disagrees, for whatever that's worth.

HOWEVER! You have to turn IPv6 on and configure it. Here is a brief article describing how to enable IPv6 on Mac OS X 10.2.x Jaguar using the Terminal:

IPv6 Day - Mac OS

Question: Is ye olde Mac OS 9.2.2 IPv6 compatible?
Answer: No. You're hosed.

Question: What about Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.1?
Answer: No. You're hosed.

Question: So is Mac OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard totally RadiKewl with IPv6? It has to be! Right?
Answer: Nope! It's NOT. Here is a relevant article over at Wikipedia, as 2011-05-28:

Comparison of IPv6 support in operating systems

To quote:

DNS name resolution in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) fails for hosts with a CNAME record.(Many publicly-accessible hosts have CNAME records.) No public APIs work to get the IPv6 host address.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard also has no support for IPv6 relevant 'DHCPv6' or 'ND RDNSS'.

And what is DHCP? The short answer is that it allows your computer to be handed an IP address by your router or your ISP's own routers. In the case of DHCPv6, you can be handed an IPv6 address. Without DHCPv6 you CANNOT be handed an IPv6 address. Right now, this situation is of minor concern. Check back in January 2012. 

Hopefully, Apple will provide an update to their routers, as well as Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, that will rectify the situation. If Apple do not include DHCPv6 in 10.7 Lion, you will have the opportunity to scream bloody murder at them, always a good time for one and all.

And what is ND RDNSS? ND stands for 'Neighborhood Discovery Protocol'. (Why isn't it abbreviated as NDP? Ask the dweebs who abbreviated it. I hate acronyms!) What about 'RDNSS'? That stands for 'Recursive DNS Server'. There's lots more techy information about the IPv6 Neighborhood Discovery Protocol here:

At this point in my article, I have to defer to greater experts than I to explain these finer details of IPv6. What I could find about Recursive DNS Servers was down at the source level of technical papers, which is far beyond the scope of my intended audience.

Let me therefore refer you to The TCP/IP Guide ('A TCP/IP Reference You Can Understand!') for further details. This is the starting page for their section on IPv6:


If you, like me, are now buried in a mountain of acronymic alphabet soup, haunting your waking thoughts as well as your darkest nightmares, I highly recommend going to the grocery story and wreaking revenge through the buying and consumption of your favorite brand of alphabet soup. You may also find various brands of crunchy alphabet oat cereals. As you consume the these alphabetic nutrients, think to yourself about chewing up all the nasty tech acronyms, protocols, processes, code and nomenclature. Get into a nom nom rhythm and think of yourself as the master of what you once thought was unfathomable. No letters are your equal. Technology is nothing more than another human creation. It gets complicated. It gets buggy and obtuse. Persistence, the march of your nom nom teeth on every delicious bite, will get you through. Patience will help you spoon down a whole bowl full of techy goodness.

And hopefully other people, such as myself, will help translate geek-speak into the vernacular, enabling all of mankind to comprehend and put technology to work toward the improvement of our tech enabled lives! 

(Cue the marching band...)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

IPv6 Testing
(revised 2011-06-09 3:00 pm ET)

Hi kids. Today, 2011-06-08, is IPv6 Testing Day. Below is some information about it as well as some useful information as we progress toward manditory use of IPv6 across the Internet. I hope you find it to be a good starting point in your testing.

Today a collection of web companies are trying out IPv6 on their servers to see how it runs, or stumbles, or crawls. Therefore, it is likely there will be some messed up stuff going on across the Internet. Here is a good article on the subject. It is specific to Macs, but actually applies across all platforms:

Preparing OS X for World IPv6 Day on June 8

Some of the problems you may encounter during these tests

• Internet servers not responding
• intermittent connectivity after delays
• unresponsive browsers if you use a built-in search field
• slow loading and pauses in downloads, as well as incomplete downloads; and
• slow or incomplete actions for Internet-related activities that aren't Web browsing, such as syncing and e-mail.

Here are some Apple support articles on the subject:

About World IPv6 Day

IPv6 troubleshooting

What is IPv6?

Configuring IPv6 in Mac OS X v10.6.7 or later

You can find further related articles using this search link:
Here are some IPV6 pages to try out in order to see if you have an IPV6 configuration problem somewhere in your computer or your router:
1) The IPv6 test page:

2) The IPv6 ONLY (no IPv4) test page:
[NOTE: Thank you to Jason Fesler. He runs the site and has been extremely helpful sorting out my own test results. As I have revised this article it is primarily thanks to his help that it has become more accurate and useful.]
This is going to be the usual 'oops the geeks messed it up' routine whereby normal people are at the mercy of geeky people who themselves are at the mercy of those who invented all this stuff. IOW: Chaotic.
I am used to all this after 20 years in the industry. It's nothing new. I expect it. So hang in there if you have IPv6 problems. All of us have about a year to sort it all out before it's manditory. Talk to your router maker, your OS maker, etc. and find out how to get it all working, if it isn't already.
In particular, IPv6 is going to be a bit of a PITA for people with very old equipment and operating systems. There are likely ways to work it out, such as OS updates and router firmware updates.


With the help of Jason Fesler (noted above) and my own insights, I was able to get an IPv6 functionality score of 7/10. One of the points off suggested that I was unable to access IPv6 pages, which proved to be wrong. Therefore, I'd personally put the score at 8/10.

Do I consider this a total 'success'? OF COURSE NOT! I'm seeing lots of back patting articles about what a success IPv6 testing was on June 8th. Clearly it was NOT entirely a total success. Read on...

What I did:

1) As per the CNET article, I made certain that my Mac was properly setup to use IPv6.

2) I changed my router to use IPv6 Mode: Tunnel. I'm using Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station. Here is the setting:

The alternative settings you do NOT want are:
 'Link-local only' (which is strictly for use on LANs, not the internet), and "Host". The host setting is NOT for normal users. It is for those using their 'router' as only a server host to the Internet. If you connect to your router to get to the Internet, you do NOT want the Host setting. If you are using Mac OS X Server, check for details on hosting in its documentation.

After applying the 'Tunnel' setting to my AEBS I got THE YELLOW LIGHT on my router. Here is what it looks like in the settings:

The light indicates that your router has an 'IPv6 Relay Error'. If you click on THE YELLOW LIGHT icon, you get to the details pane:

Don't Panic! This isn't your fault and is one of the bugs still to sort itself out on the Internet. For now, you might as well ignore the problem by clicking on the check box next to 'IPv6 Relay Error', then go to the bottom right of the pane and click on the 'Update' button. The router will then turn OFF the yellow light so you don't have to deal with this particular error any more.

Note, once the entire Internet is forced to go IPv6, we'll have to start worrying about IPv6 Relay Errors. Therefore, expect to see this issue appear again within the next year. If we're lucky, our ISPs and the rest of the Internet will get it right and we can ignore these errors forever. Crossed-fingers.

3) Next up: Your DNS Servers. I've been using for my DNS servers. I'm not going to go into details about how you set up a 3rd party for your DNS servers. Just suffice it to say that you can, as opposed to the default DNS servers your ISP provides automatically in your settings.

I was very sad to find that is not IPv6 ready. I was pleased to read in their blog that they are testing an 'IPv6-compliant DNS sandbox'. You can read about it here:

I tested their DNS sanbox. It too failed. I got a 0/10 consistently when testing with it. I attempted to post a comment to them on their blog. They never posted it. Then never posted anyone's comments! To me that implies that everyone else failed as well. I haven't heard from them via eMail either. Disappointing. There is always the possibility that something was wonked at my end. However, my success when NOT using their IPv6 DNS sandbox suggests otherwise.

Instead, I bit the bullet and let my ISP set my DNS servers. I use Time Warner's RoadRunner. They've pulled severely dirty tricks on their customers in keeping with the Marketing Moron tradition. Therefore, I DON'T TRUST TIME WARNER. But for the sake of testing, I let their deceitfulness slide and used their DNS servers.

Success! This is when I got an 7/10 IPv6 test score. Time Warner's DNS servers are pretty much IPv6 ready. Kewlness.

If there had been enough time, I would have tested every other DNS server I could lay my hands on. Instead I had an evening of dining and romance. Sorry. No doubt there will be ongoing testing and reporting about every DNS server. At some point the hammer will meet the anvil and the lagging DNS servers will either die or be forced to get with IPv6. No doubt that will be fascinating to watch. Hopefully you will find it all just works. Imagine that.


As of this revision of the article, IPv6 Test Day is over and I have nothing more to add. If I discover further details regarding IPv6 and the Mac, I will provide further articles.

Share and Enjoy,


Monday, June 6, 2011

The Death Of MobileMe:
What's Being Lost

At today's WWDC keynote, Apple announced a new FREE service for Apple users called iCloud. It requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, arriving in July. It integrates three (only three) aspects of MobileMe and adds in six further services. What you essentially get is 5 GB for web space to use for syncing all your Apple devices, freeing you from having to use your computer as a digital hub, mostly. Now iCloud is your digital hub. You also get a free Apple eMail account with plenty of space, far more than I currently use. Read all about it here:

Apple iCloud

Apple also posted a notice today that all current MobileMe users can access all of its services through June 30, 2012. That's over a year! Very kewl. You can read the death notice and transition details here:

MobileMe Obituary

MobileMe Transition

But then what?

Here is what is being lost with the death of MobileMe:

1) Your Public folder. No more sharing with others of anything. :(

2) Your website. This includes the web page for your Public folder AND any website you may have running within your MobileMe space. :(

3) 15 GB of web space. iCloud only gives you 5 GB. Yes, you don’t have to waste your 5 GB on photos and iTunes. But how about VIDEO and your massive hard drive BACKUP and the backups of bookmarks etc. from other apps. Apparently there is no option to even buy further space. That means you’re kicked out the door, seek web space elsewhere. :(

4) Your iDisk. It could hold ANYTHING with full control of the directories. Entirely gone. :(

5) Your Gallery. No more pictures and videos to share with grandma, or the grandkids, or anyone else. This is besides the loss of your Public folder. :(

6) Your Groups. Not that I personally care, but so long to that option! :?

Thankfully, I’ve got my own dedicated 24/7 server running on the Internet using Mac OS X Server. I can make up for the loss of all of the above on my own at home. :cool:

But how many other people have their own Internet server? Isn’t this Apple CHASING AWAY customers? Aren’t they FORCING people to look elsewhere for these services?
IMHO: Bad move. 

Dear Apple,
Please take the next year to change your mind. Please provide an option to preserve ALL of the above, or at least direct users to comparable services.

In a future article, I'll provide my own list of alternatives. Stay tuned.