Monday, November 21, 2011
We recently had a web-blocking/censoring-thingy type of software put on all the computers in our office. The idea was that the partners of DA and the head of IT/Dungeon Master wanted to make sure that we capped access to anything potentially flammable (political sites and porn sites, but then I repeat myself), and they wanted to prevent streaming of data so that the internet had bandwidth available for when we needed to download something from an FTP site. Overall, it's not terrible, but it's pretty annoying. For starters, we were working on a job for a commercial client (a distillery), and we couldn't even access their website because it had to do with alcohol. Excuse me? We're architects--everything we do has to do with alcohol. We also are unable to access YouTube, which means I can't watch my sister's chicken and kitteh videos, but those in the office that use SketchUp can't access the tutorial videos that SketchUp posts on YouTube. So much for trying to learn something.
Because sites like Twitter and Facebook are also blocked, we on the front lines think it's not just about bandwidth but also about funwidth. It would seem that one of the goals of this is to stop access to websites where people might waste time, but apparently whoever installed this software has forgotten that people have been wasting time at work long before Facebook was invented. The internet screening software has a fancy name, but we in the trenches call it Funblocker.
Picture the scene: a Friday afternoon with Pixie, Intern Kimmy, and Ingrid, a fellow architect who also happens to be a lesbian (a fact that will be more meaningful in a moment).
Ingrid: Kimmy, when you build models in SketchUp, where do you get your site from?
Kimmy: Um...Google Earth is your best bet, but it might be blocked.
Ingrid: 'Kay. I wonder if Funblocker will...[mouse clicking] you gotta be kidding me!
Pixie: Seriously? Is Google Earth blocked?
Kimmy: Yeah, I've had that experience too. But you can click that button and file a request to have the site unblocked and they'll unblock it for you.
Pixie: What, are they worried you're gonna spend half your day on Google Earth or something?
Ingrid: The hell would I do on it? [clicking through various windows on Funblocker's appeal website]
Pixie: You could play a helluva game of Farmville, I guess.
Ingrid: Okay, it's asking me to label what the site's content pertains to...[scrolling] Accounting? Advertising? Alcohol? Oh, if only...wait, "Homosexuality?"
Kimmy: That's a category?!
Pixie: [looking over Ingrid's shoulder] Ooh, say that Google Earth can be categorized as "Homosexuality"!
Ingrid: Hell yeah! [pretends to type] "I want...the gayest mapping site...I can have. MapQuest isn't...gay...enough!"
Pixie and Kimmy: [doubled over laughing]
Ingrid: [still pretending to type] "I would...like to use...Google Queer...to import a site...into my model which...I am modeling in FlameUp."