Monday, April 18, 2005


I've been offline for the past two days because my magical Internet dial-up card finally ran out. It was supposed to only have RMB 30 of value on it, but I'm sure I used it for a lot more.

Sometimes my dad packs some books and snacks, and heads up to his parents' cabin for a weekend up in the mountains by Big Bear Lake. He says he goes up there to read, think, and write because it's a chance to get away from all the distractions of daily life "down here". For all we know, he could be sleeping in and playing skeeball all weekend.

But for me, weekends without the internet are like that: refreshing times of thinking problems through without dashing them off in an e-mail, forgetting or even possibly aggravating them.

So it was sorta a blessing when I had a very frustrating time getting back online. Last night I threw on another t-shirt and grabbed a book, intending to light-rail it down to Zhongshan Park for dinner and a new internet dial-up card. When I ran past the little kiosk on the corner that sells gum, drinks, and tea eggs, I noticed that one of their signs advertised 上网卡, "internet cards". I picked one up, and then re-routed to Nanjing Road to buy the Swiss Army knife I've had my eye on.

After dinner at Daniang dumplings, I caught the metro back and tried to hop online. After a frustrating two hours of tweaking wvdial.conf, wading through a mess of authorization failures and pppd error codes (I love Linux. No, really.), I finally got online, only to discover that I could only access sites within China. Pinging foreign sites gave a Packet filtered message, new to me. There were some exceptions: Google, Yahoo Korea, and were all accessible. I spent another futile, teeth-grinding half-hour flipping settings before finally calling it a night, hanging some laundry, and preparing for bed.

As I walked back to my room, I had a hunch. I looked on the back of the card, recalling seeing something like "Chinanet" mentioned there. Sure enough, the card is limited to 中国互联网, and a glance at my older spent card showed that it gives the user access to the 国际互联网.

Hooray for the Chinanet.

So people who were expecting an e-mail, it's coming.


At Apr 19, 2005, 5:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Have you tried using one of those domestic proxies set up for these situations? If you tack on "" to the end of any address, it will filter it through a domestic proxy, allowing access to international sites on one of those cheap, domestic cards. I don't know if I'd trust it enough to send passwords through, though.

Also, I've posted an answer to a query (not yours) at the LiveJournal Zhongwen Community, but the question has scrolled of the page. Just FYI, if you're still interested in the answer.

At Apr 19, 2005, 11:19:00 PM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

Thanks for the tips. The domestic cards are only a little cheaper, certainly not worth dealing with the hassle of going through proxies you can't trust.


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