So, I’ve discovered a rather brilliant new program thanks to Chris, a fellow teacher over a Future 3. The program? Tor.
Actually Tor is two programs: Tor and Privoxy. The two programs work together to basically confuse all the computers out there that take note of where you’re going and what you’re doing. This is effective for two things; surfing in anonymity, and breaking through The Great Firewall of China.
For anyone that doesn’t know, the Chinese government ‘controls’ the flow of information that can be accessed via the Internet in the PRC. This causes a number of Web sites to be blocked, justly or unjustly, to protect the sensitive minds of the masses from the horrors of the outside world. Some of the many sites that are blocked are most Chinese language newspapers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, sites hosted at Blogspot (the ban was off for a while, but seems to be back on again), and also Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia that is linked to above.
So… by installing Tor, you can effectively weasel through this sensorship and view whatever the hell you want. It’s great, with one downside, it’s a bit slow. Because it essentially bounces the packets of data (read: the web pages you are loading) through an intricate maze of servers and systems, it takes a little longer to access everything.
If you scrap the rather crap IE and get yourself a copy of Mozilla Firefox with the SwitchProxy plugin (as suggested, and explained, in the install instructions included in the download package above/below), it makes switching between surfing exposed and surfing covertly a breeze.
So.. there ya go. Download it here if you want it.
PS: Go read this, and don’t tell anyone in the PRC I told you about it 😉