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Comment of the Fortnight
15 January 1998
Internet Site Blocking Software

I went to the East Side Union High School District board meeting tonight and told them their site blocking software is horribly inconsistent.

First, it blocks Jeffrey Zeldman's faboo site for the reason of "criminal activity." Why? One page of his graphics, which he encourages others to use, is entitled "Steal These Graphics."

It also blocks this very site that you're reading because of "sexual/lifestyle." I suspect that what set it off was the fact that I refer to my membership in High Tech Gays and Digital Queers. The funny part is that I tried to go to both of those sites, and they weren't blocked at all!

Just for fun, I went to the site of that hate-filled loonie, RevWhite. I got through to it -- misspellings, broken links, missing graphics, and all -- with no trouble whatsoever.

I don't want any of these sites blocked at all, not even RevWhite's. (If the school district ever teaches an abnormal psychology course it will be a textbook case.)

By the way, please understand that I'm not mad at the district. They agree that my trigonometry tutorial should not be blocked, and they'll unblock it if a district staff or faculty member requests it.

The moral of the story: Blocking software usually is too restrictive in some cases and far too loose in others. Is a capricious blocker any better than no blocks at all?

Briefly Noted

Happy New Year!

Hope you had a good, but not too good, celebration.

Microsoft ®©™1 vs. Justice Department

My goodness, the judge certainly doesn't seem to be buying the line of argument from the folks in Redmond.

I couldn't be happier.

Continuing Education

I just started a Korean course at Foothill College. Look for more additions to my Introduction to Korean section in the coming months.

1The copyright, trademark, and registered trademark symbols are there so that I don't get a tort in the mail from Redmond for "abuse of the sacred name."

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