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TinotopiaLog → Panera Proxy (21 Oct 2004)
Thursday 21 October 2004

Panera Proxy

As I have mentioned before, Panera Bread’s free wireless network blocks Tinotopia on the grounds that it is an ‘adult’ website. If you enter the URL here, you can see that in addition to being ‘adult/mature content’ and ‘society and lifestyle’ — I assume this group exists in the list for people who like to micro-manage, and who are afraid tha their employees might be doing something non-work-related during working hours — Tinotopia is also listed as ‘Usenet News Groups’. I have no idea what the hell this is supposed to mean in this context. It does help to confirm that these lists are put together more or less at random, though.

Tinotopia isn’t meant for children, and I try to keep the fart jokes to a minimum. In that, I suppose that the content here is relatively ‘adult’ and ‘mature’. I believe that the block-list people are using those terms as euphemisms for pornography, though. (Or maybe not; they also have a ‘pornography’ category!)

So you might say that, in some senses of the terms, Tinotopia is an ‘adult’ and ‘mature’ site, even though there are no skin pics here. It’s certainly a ‘society and lifestyle’ website, as the whole point of it is to allow you, the reader, to experience a bit of the Tino lifestyle, and to imagine what it might be for you to live in such high society yourself.

But Usenet newsgroups is just wrong, no matter how you look at it.

Anyway, earlier this week I set up a proxy server on tinotopia.com that I figured would allow me to do whatever I wanted, independent of the block list — the Sonicwall blocker only acts on http traffic, so you can still get to other things on Tinotopia. I figured out all of Panera’s networks (they have a whole raft of /29s) and told that proxy to accept connections from them, and tested the lot from home.

Today when I got here — I’m at Panera as I write this — I tried things out, and was astonished to see that, despite the fact that my requests were indeed going through the proxy (I was watching the proxy activity log), I was still being blocked! The Panera firewall was actually looking at what was being transferred and not just at the host it was being transferred from!

I quickly established an SSH tunnel back to Tinotopia and started encrypting the traffic — something I suppose I should be doing on a public wireless network anyway — and it all started working.

Posted by tino at 17:25 21.10.04
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