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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

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Jun 04, 2006 | 17:46:06
Google Blocked in China
By marcwan

Living in China for the last few months has been surprisingly hassle-free Internet-wise. In the living room here I’ve got a 768k DSL connection, and the government blocking of sites has not been too big of a deal, given that I often don’t do much more than read or check email.

The lack of the BBC has been a bit annoying, but I can get the New York Times (by changing DNS servers) and The Economist which compensate quite nicely.

This changed last Thursday when, suddenly, Google disappeared. It had worked pretty much flawlessly before that, and Google Mail was never an issue.

There have been periodic outages of sites and things before, but this has been going on for four days now and, more ominously, works perfectly fine. Perhaps weirdest is that it does work if you keep trying to get to the site. Having to reload the page 20 times each time you want to check mail is a bit annoying, but better than nothing.

Suddenly promoted to the top of the “To do” list? Setting up a VPN via SSH.

Hotmail blocked in China

Related to this is that Hotmail is also proving problematic here in China because of blocking of various stages of Microsoft’s Microsoft Live.

A simple workaround for this is to use the mobile phone version of hotmail, which will at least let you check mail. I just visit the URL:

Gaaaaaaaamee oooooon!
Posted By: marcwan Jun 10, 2006 03:29:29
Well, it looks as though Google has been un-blocked, and it was just a temporary thing that was in place around the rather important anniversary earlier this month.

To get things like the BBC or Wikipedia, I'm going to have to get the VPN going on the server, but it looks as though that's a bit more challenging than first though. PPTP looks pretty good, but I have to figure out if FreeBSD can work with it via NAT, while OpenVPN is all user-land and compelling, but not as well integrated on OS X clients.

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