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Sunday 27 March 2005

Panera Block List Still Silly

The last time I wrote about Panera Bread’s counterproductive filtering of web content on their ‘free’ wireless network, I assembled a list of URLs and wrote some software to test those lists against Panera’s filter.

I was at Panera again recently, and I ran the test again. Some of the sites that were blocked when I did my original test in January are now unblocked.

Specifically, Daily Pundit, formerly blocked for ‘weapons’, is now accessible, as are Forvideo and Kalyr.com. Gut Rumbles and Jane’s Net Sex Guide are also, inexplicably, both now okay.

However, some new sites have been added in the last couple of months. I used the same list both in January and this weekend, so these are websites that were positively not blocked then, but are now:

  • http://imao.us/
  • Anti-idiotarian rantblog, ranked 37th in the Blogosphere Ecosystem.
  • http://www.abionline.org/
  • The American Beverage Institute. This is a website that advocates abstention from drinking and driving. BANNED! by Panera. The WCTU website is also streng verboten at Panera: a theme is developing.
  • http://www.catotheyoungest.com/
  • At the moment it’s just showing an Ensim login page (and has been since at least Friday morning, according to the Google cache). Forbidden nevertheless. You can see here the Blogspot incarnation of this warblog.
  • http://www.chriscmooney.com/
  • Chris C. Mooney is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. (his bio page says), and a senior correspondent for the American Prospect magazine. There doesn’t appear to be anything objectionable about his website.
  • http://www.coolpick.com/
  • A cool-site-of-the-day kind of thing. The only justification for blocking this would be that it’s a tired concept.
  • http://www.retrospice.com/
  • Another site experiencing technical difficulties. Right now from home, I see a bare directory index showing no content The Google cache indicates that it was this way at least as early as 9:00 a.m. yesterday, though, so it’s blocked even though there’s no there there. When there was a there, there were ‘hot babes of yesteryear’ there, so maybe blocking it at least makes a little bit of sense — but remember, it wasn’t blocked in January.
  • http://www2.thelinuxshow.com/
  • I’m not sure how this ‘www2’ address got into the list; there’s nothing here but an Apache test page. Nevertheless, it was available to Panera customers in January but isn’t today. At http://www.thelinuxshow.com/ we can see that this is the home of the ‘oldest, longest running and without question most listened to webcast focused on Open Technology in the known universe’.

    Unfortunately, I did not record why these sites were blocked. To be honest, I forgot the test script was running, and I didn’t check the results before I left. I will be modifying the tests to automatically record this in the future.

    Posted by tino at 20:46 27.03.05
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