Being somewhat content-challenged today, I offer this OOC rant:
No doubt I have complained about this before, if not here then in other forums, but it bears repeating: IT departments are staffed by geeks who seem to think that their job is making their lives easier. (Note: I have nothing against geeks; some say I'm one myself, and I wear the badge proudly.)
In an effort to control large-scale wastes of time, my employer has a not-unreasonable policy regarding personal use of resources: "small" amounts of time may be used, as long as it does not interfere with one's job or the running of the agency, and certain categories of Aetherweb sites are prohibited in any event. These include pr0nographic sites, gaming sites, and, presumably for security reasons, online storage sites. Furthermore, installing programs onto any of the networked computers is prohibited. All reasonable, given the level of incompetence among the staff who, left to their own devices, would happily load a cracked version of Grand Theft Auto 5: Virus and Trojan Edition and infect the entire network.
My big complaint is in the simple-minded way that the Net Nanny software the IT folk use is deployed. If the software caught only obvious sites that violated policy - http://www.tigersmistresses.com/, say, or http://www.losemoneygambling.net/ - that would be one thing. They could feel free to check other sites manually. In practice, however, the software casts a wide net. In addition to blocking download or installation of any SL client, it blocks the SL forums as a "gaming" site. Well, in one sense, sure, it's a gaming site, in the sense that it discusses a game. On the other hand, it doesn't allow one to actually play the game (which is both a bandwidth hog and creates potential security issues), it merely provides a forum for discussing the game, and thus is no different from reading a web page devoted to reviewing a game. Or buying a gaming magazine and reading it in the office. Or... well, you can all think of exciting ways to waste time.
In recent months, Mr. Hotspur O'Toole's excellent blog, Hibernia on the Skids has been blocked as a "gaming" site (doubtless after he published his word search), and I can no longer access Miss Zoe Connolly's blog, either. For a time, Miss Ordinal Malaprop was also unaccessable, and no doubt she would take offense at being considered offering opinions on "gaming." Every day provides a little drama: what sites may I open today? Will the Steamlander forums be next?
Now, I quite realize that others have it much worse than I do. I could have no access to the Aetherwebs at all, or I could have a job that takes me away from the keyboard most of the day, or, indeed, I could have no job at all. All true. But for goodness' sake, geeks! All I ask is a little common sense. If I am considered a professional, and am expected to read papers or write memoranda on the train or at home as needed; if I should periodically check my e-mail while on vacation; if I am trusted to use my time as needed to get the job done, then surely I can peruse the Aetheric Journals of my choosing.
During the television coverage of Mr. Michael Jackson's funeral, so many employees at the U.S. Small Business Administration streamed the coverage onto their work computers that it created a noticeable slowdown in network performance, and the episode made its way into the Washington Post. Oops. If I agree not to degrade network performance and/or create bad publicity, may I have my SL community back?