Monday, July 17, 2006

For Security Reasons

July 8, 2006; Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Backdated for reasons which will become obvious ...


Other background: I was in China for RSI (just like the one typically held at MIT, but in Shanghai, with Shanghainese students, instead), teaching useful science communcation skills, also known as LaTeX and how to give a presentation ...

Well, I'm stuck in the computer lab tonight until 10p.m. (it is currently half past three, but I'm expected to start answering more questions around five), so I figured I'd try to actually write up a blog post. Of course, there are all sorts of problems with this idea. First of all blogger.com and blogspot.com are blocked in China. So... yeah. Other various problems I have mostly circumvented by giving in and bring my laptop, wisteria, into the lab today. Now let me explain this lab. Dell, being one of the corporate sponsors for RSI-Fudan, gave us 35 "state of the art" computers for the kids to do their projects on. Please ignore the fact that anything with a cathode ray tube quit being state-of-the-art around the turn of the century. On the other hand, the Dell guy who came to opening convocation brought with him a bag full of fifty 256Mb USB sticks, which has turned out to save our asses quite a bit as far as giving the kids a place to store their work. And, hey, I get one too! The other immensely interesting thing about this particular lab is that it is configured to only access websites that originate within China. In case you were wondering, there aren't many particularly useful English-language sites originating in China. So, after a lot of hoo-haa, we got a proxy server set up. But lots of sites are still blocked from this room. It's not a site, but ssh is also blocked, which is more than just mildly annoying. AIM is blocked, but jabber is not. Some sites are blocked only every now and then. Examples include such things as google.com and gmail.com. Not that anyone would want to use those anyhow. Besides, if it's not working now, just keep trying, and it might work again in a little bit.

There are about ten computers in the RSI office which don't have these issues. The only things blocked on them are the things that are blocked throughout China, e.g., wikipedia.com. (Interestingly enough, answers.com is not blocked, and contains much of the same information as wikipedia... and googling ofte brings up a wikipedia result, but I'm just now allowed to actually view it. Or the cached page.) On the other hand, ... they all have viruses, which have already claimed at least one staff member's pictures from five weeks in India. That, and I'm stuck here, not there.

UPDATE: ooooh yeeeeah

2 comments:

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