Saturday, March 27, 2004

Blogspot Blogs Unblocked (Updated)

I think it's official now; Blogspot blogs have been unblocked by China. At first I didn't think it was true because people in certain areas still could not access the blogs, but it is true. I've already had two visitors from China, something I thought would never happen. Ever since I learned about the blockage, I didn't think the Chinese government would change its mind. How do they decide these things? Does a group of officials just sit in a board room and say, "Oh, let's loosen up our restrictions on this blog host, people can still get to the blogs anyways." If that's the case, then why block internet sites at all? Maybe it's just a way to let people know that their government doesn't want them to access certain content, and if they get into trouble because of those sites, the government can just say, "See, we told you so."

I'm stretching this because I can't fathom why the government even bothers to block major hosting services. I understand that there are things the government doesn't want people to know about, but filtering the internet is extremely difficult. As soon as Typepad was blocked people were already finding ways to get around the firewalls and spreading that information. If China continues to block millions of websites (mainly blogs), then everybody is going to know how to get around the firewalls. So much for "protecting" citizens.

What complicates the issue more is why Blogcn and Blogbus were shut down and then reopened in less than two weeks. The point of doing that was... Also, the points of blocking Typepad and unblocking Blogspot remain a mystery. I hope this means that Typepad will be unblocked too.

However, Topku made a comment on Glutter that's pretty relevant. Topku says that people in foreign countries are making so huge a deal out of the blocking, that it's sending a clear message to the Chinese government about how important the blogging medium is. Topku says that the international attention is making thing worse, not better. The government can exert its power in the 21st century by taking away people's blogs.

Some areas in China cannot access blogspot. Don't ask me why, but you can consult the Chinese government instead.

Update II
More people from China (9 so far) have been accessing this site without using a work around. If you're from China and came to this site without doing anything special please leave a comment and let me know if you can access any blogspot site. Peking Duck briefly outlines the blocking/unblocking of blogspot. Another site claims that China's firewall has become more sophisticated and is only blocking certain sites.
However, some reports suggest that although most of the site is now accessible in China, some pages remain blocked. The pages still blocked are understood to carry content considered undesirable by the Chinese authorities. For instance explaining to surfers how to circumvent Internet filters and blocks.

I don't think I've outlined how to do that here, it just doesn't explain how some can access this site from China and some can't. I don't think anybody else can explain it now, so I'll continue to monitor the situation.


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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Typepad Blocked in China

Typepad blogs have been blocked in China. In the last few weeks the Chinese government has been cracking down on sites that host weblogs. Both Blogbus and Blogcn were shut down, but then unblocked. Glutter has been covering the blockage and has a list of blogs doing the same thing.

What may upset people most about this blockage, is that Typepad is not a free service. Imagine paying for an internet host, uploading your website on it, and then the government blocking your access from that site. People get really angry about these things, so I don't know how long it'll last. People (including myself) become so attached to the internet that they become disoriented, lost, and confused when it is taken away from them. When we were having problems with our internet access, we were upset and disgusted that we couldn't use a service that we paid for, and that we couldn't tap into another part of our lives. These feelings are probably the same, if not worse, for being banned from your own site and the sites of thousands of others.

I hope that the Chinese government realizes this grave mistake and unblocks Typepad blogs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

They Didn't Update Their Image?

Why is a Chinese translating site using this image on their English page? It's not our current president, it's not even our last president, it's the president before the last. George Bush senior, the current president's father, is featured on that White House button, not George W. Bush the current president. This button probably was not even created when Bush senior was president, so why are they using it? Maybe for the Chinese, like Americans, one George Bush is plenty.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Canned Beef

Beef in a can. Weird.

WMD in October

The US should find weapons of mass destruction some time around October. That's one month before the presidential election, sealing a victory for Bush. Technically, they were found much earlier, but these reports cannot be released until the administration determines when Americans will forget the fastest that there's a choice in the election.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Blogcn and BlogBus Ousted

Blogcn and Blogbus have been shut down by the Chinese government. Apparently, some people using the service were criticizing the government. China also has blogspot blogs blocked, but I've heard rumors that in some locations people are able to access them. The one blog that ruined it for all of us DynaWeb. It gives information on how to get around China's firewalls. From Reporters Without Borders and allow Chinese Internet-users the chance to keep up a personal page without any technical knowledge. The sites are very popular, alone hosting more than 15,000 blogs that have now been made inaccessible.

Blogger Interface Change

I think Blogger changed it's Create New Post interface for all operating systems and browsers. I miss the old interface, this one has less features. I can't see my old posts and new post in the same window or republish my blog. I hope Blogger creates a new interface soon.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Site Feed

I finally posted my site feed on here. I didn't do it for awhile because I use NetNewsWire and the latest full version did not support Atom site feeds. However, the latest beta version does support Atom feeds, so I downloaded that and have decided to post the feed. I don't know of a good newsreader for Windows though, any recommendations?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The United States: A Rogue Nation

Bush often mentions that rogue nations are terrorizing the world. He identifies these rogue nations as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and anybody else who doesn't agree with us. But now there's another nation that can join the club. The United States is official a rogue nation and evil empire. All peoples of the world can celebrate by eating at a McDonald's, Starbucks, watching MTV, or purchasing something from Nike (maybe they give people discounts for working in the factories).

What Ever Happened to this Guy

It's been awhile since I've heard of the Iraqi Information Minister. Has he been captured by coalition forces too? Or did he flee to Syria or Jordan?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

The campaign ads of George W. Bush suggest that Democratic front runner John Kerry is a 'rich liberal elitist'. See, if Kerry was a rich conservative elitist like Bush, it would be okay. What's wrong with Kerry? How could he be so out of touch with American citizens.
In the style of a popular MasterCard advertising campaign, the ad lists the Massachusetts senator's expenses -- including a "42-foot luxury yacht" and beachfront estates worth "over $30 million" -- before calling his alleged claim that he is one of the people "priceless."
. Bush is probably overwhelmed by hearing about such wealth and luxury. He knows nothing about living on vast estates, going to elite schools (just for being an elite person), having millions of dollars, etc. Bush is a down to earth man who understands the value of hard work, or any work for that matter, regardless of who his friends are. That is why all of America sympathizes with Bush and is willing to give him money for his campaign.
At two campaign stops Monday in his home state of Texas, Bush will add another $3 million to his already unprecedented war chest, the Bush-Cheney campaign said.

As of January 31 -- the last date that figures were available -- Bush had $104 million in his campaign's treasury. He raised millions more throughout February, and recently launched a $10 million TV advertising campaign.
America needs to support common people like Bush and his administration.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Chinese Amazon

Dangdang is China's Amazon. I don't read Chinese, but the BBC article says that American self-help books are popular, in addition to American TV shows. Now 80 million Chinese are online, still a small percentage of the population, but that's up from 50 million according to Dangdang's founder Peggy Yu says that there are places in China where people don't have heating, but they do have internet. I know plenty of people who would rather have internet (broadband) than heating, so this isn't so strange to me.

China's SMS Crazy

In China short messaging services have become really popular. So far, 260 million cell phone users have sent 220 billion SMS messages. Even Chinese political organizations are using SMS to communicate with the public.

Here in the U.S. SMS is barely scratching the surface of mainstream communication. Nobody in my family uses it because it's not in our plan, and if it's not in your plan then you have to pay extra. It's about 10 to 20 cents per message, so it's not worth it. Hopefully SMS will be cheaper in the U.S. in the future.

Friday, March 05, 2004

600 dpi

If anyone needs high quality pictures of Bill Gates, don't worry, he's got you covered. Even Steve Jobs has a high quality photo online. Why do these people have high quality photos of themselves? Who wants to see them?

What Happened?

The Mozilla Blogger interface for the Mac looks completely different now. It looks like Safari's interface, which has less features. It may have something to do with updating to Mozilla 1.6. Don't update Mozilla if you're on a Mac and you use Blogger. Very disappointing. Now there's no Mac browser with 100% of Blogger's features :-(.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

New Nickels

In the U.S. we're getting new nickels for the first time in 60 odd years. They're still going to have Thomas Jefferson on one side, but instead of Monticello (his home) there's going to be something commemorating Lewis and Clark, and another one about alliances/peace with Indian tribes (the U.S. broke every single peace treaty it had with the Indians). They won't be minting these coins for long though, the Monticello people want their free advertising back. I have a feeling they won't suffer too much while the new coins are in circulation.

I think that if they're going to redesign a coin, the Mint should redo the penny. The penny is the most boring coin because it's so little and dark. It's gets dirty and forgotten real easily. I don't even think the Mint likes the way the penny looks. But they probably don't regard the penny as an important unit, so they ignore it. The quarter is the most prestigious coin for the mint. It's getting 50 new designs, a design for each state, so the Mint is very proud of the quarter. Too bad the penny can't get that kind of attention. If so it would look a whole lot better.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Too Stupid to be President

One of my favorite flash movie and political sites is Too Stupid to be President. Most of the movies are creative and funny and teach you a lot about what's going on in the Bush administration. It's clearly biased, meant to make fun of the president, but I don't think they have to do a lot of work to accomplish that task. Also, if you're not a political person you can learn about Bush and party politics from them. I didn't know that Enron was Bush's largest campaign contributor, and it's CEO Ken Lay did not get prosecuted by the SEC.

My favorite movies are How the Bush Stole the Election, Chickenhawks, Get Stupid, Rumsfeld, The Quest for the Oily Grail, Cheerleader of the Free World, and It's a Wonderfully Privileged Life.