Archives for posts with tag: tech

It seems like Gmail is broken.   I’ve used it for over 5 years and this is a first.  Can’t imagine what people who use it for work are doing right now.



If you’re up on the PC gaming world (not admitting anything here), you’ll know that the latest expansion to World of Warcraft (WoW) was announced this past weekend.  The game – which has 12 million gamers in the US, Europe, and Asia – charges users a monthly fee ($15 in the US) to kill monsters and save the world from the comfort of your computer screen.  The original was announced in 2001 and released in 2004.  The expansions, “The Burning Crusade” and “Wrath of the Lich King” released in 2007 and 2008, respectively, while  “Cataclysm” will likely be released in late 2010.  All you need to know about that is “worgen.”  Awesome.

Anyway, what’s more interesting is the worldwide impact of this wildly popular game with an exceptionally long shelf life.  Specifically, I’m interested in the relationship, noted in this Yahoo! News article, between China’s version of WoW and the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling regarding Chinese monopolies on entertainment property.  This relationship could have serious implications for future software, movies, and music released in China.

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In an especially bold move, the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has decided to research and deploy a new technology that will permit Chinese internet users to bypass their own government’s internet firewalls.  As it stands today, a large number of pornographic and politically contentious websites are blocked in China.  Any searches related to Chinese protests, Tibetan or Taiwanese independence, or democracy return a “This page is not found.” screen.

The weird thing about this is that the BBG claims this testing is secret.  (Read article from Internet News here).  However, this was the headline yesterday on ChinaDaily:

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Read it here.

The gist of the story (since I just found out it costs $700 to repost the article on a website) is that the Green Dam software program has been axed in China.  Green Dam was allegedly an anti-pornographic program that the government decided must be installed on every computer in China.  Chinese techies quickly exposed security vulnerabilities and found that its pornographic filtering features would automatically block any photo with too much of the color yellow in it (no joke!).  The obvious problem with the software was that it didn’t work as intended, but also that it was a cover for a censorship/monitoring scheme.  Though the Chinese government would never admit it, it’s almost assured that the software would keep very detailed user information and forward it to the proper authorities if users are visiting websites they “shouldn’t.”

The software will be required on public computers at the library and such, but at least private users won’t be forced into this.  A great victory for the Chinese public over unpopular government policies.  It might help if you ask the people before you start imposing rules, yes?