Wherever the Road Leads

Genesis 1:3

Let there be Pandora

 

And God said, Let there be Pandora Internet Radio: and there was Pandora Internet Radio. And God saw Pandora, that it was good: and God divided Pandora from the darkness. And God called Pandora, ‘Day’, and the darkness he called ‘Canada’.

 

I’ve been quiet for a bit. Not that my life here in Canada has been uneventful – it has been – and not in favorable ways. But I decided that I didn’t want this to turn into a Canada-bashing Blog. I’m getting that set up on a different site where you can choose to read it, or not.

Details to follow. With nominal computer skills, anyone can throw together a web site in a half-hour… well, maybe a couple of hours the first time. A few days, max. Or so. But to get it looking the way I find acceptable takes a lot longer. Especially for me because I don’t learn too quickly.
prayersSo, I’m going to try to go easy on the Canada-bashing here, and make the above adapted Bible quote my last Canadian jab, eh? I hope, also, that the good Lord has a sense of humor because I’ve asked him for something really big, and I wouldn’t want Him irked.

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I’m sure that everyone knows that your computer connects to the Internet with a number unique in the world to identify your particular computer. That “IP” address also identifies your geographic location.

So when in Canada you log onto a site like yahoo.com, you are automatically re-directed to the Canadian version, yahoo.ca. When you log onto Netflix.com, you are redirected to the Canadian version of Netflix. The difference? I’m told the Canadian Netflix has around 9,000 titles less.

I tried logging onto Pandora Internet Radio (try it if you are in Canada, opens in a new window – www.pandora.com). I got the equivalent of the B.S.O.D. – Blue Screen of Death – in Microsoft Winnders, “We’re sorry, our content is not available in your area.” Now, I have seen that before when I tried to watch something on BBC.com. Maybe, maybe I can understand being blocked from watching something a continent away, contributing to the bandwidth costs of the BBC. But Pandora?

Come on!! You mean if I live in Niagara Falls New York, it’s legal, but if I come across the Rainbow Bridge, it’s not?? I’ve ranted about the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission before, and with my new stance on not doing Canada-bashing, I won’t repeat it here. However, it’s censorship. Some might argue censorship with a noble cause, but it’s censorship none the less.

Libertarian

I used to think I was a Republican – a Conservative in Canada – but I’m not. I’ve decided I’m a Libertarian. I believe the Government should keep me safe – police, fire, armed forces – then stay out of my life. I used to think that the government should be responsible for building and paving roads, but that can be contracted out as well, cheaper, quicker and more efficiently. Sell the Post Office to UPS, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) to Fox, and Air Canada to SouthWest. (Ooops… I’ve been corrected and Air Canada has already been privatized back in 1987. In fairness, they couldn’t hold a candle to NorthWest for having the most ignerrt employees.) But I digress.

The trick, then, is to mask my IP address; make Yahoo, Netflix and Pandora think that I’m logging on from a US computer. Doing a web search quickly reveals that there are many services who cater to doing just that, hiding your true IP address. Basically, you log on to their server in the US, then their server (with a US IP address) logs on to Pandora for you. It’s referred to as a Virtual Private Network, a “VPN”.

You need a membership to these VPN’s, who charge around $6.00 per month. Maybe I should have described myself above as a Scottish Libertarian. There has to be a way cheaper than that. I looked into getting VPN/proxy software and uploading it to the web server that this Blog is hosted on, but I would be shut down in a heartbeat if they found out. There is a way to do it, but I would require a different – read more expensive – account. About $120/mo.

I considered doing that, then set up a website to recruit others to join my service at $6.00 per month, but it seemed like far too much work for something I’m not terribly interested in doing/maintaining.

Persistance for us Scottish Libertarians always pays off. Free for now, at least, I discovered Unlocator.com, a service located in The Netherlands, is currently offering free service while they are in their “beta” mode. I guess at some point, I’ll have to shell out the $5/mo that they will be looking for. But for now, life is a chowl of berries.

I went through their easy-to-follow set up guide and within minutes, I was connected to Pandora. The irony?? Of the first four songs, two were Canadian – “These Eyes” by The Guess Who, and Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind”.

For some reason not all Canadian ISP’s do, but Bell(eh?)Canada’s Internet service blocks AnnCoulter.com, an American, ultra-conservative former lawyer and television pundit who has her own web site with a weekly column. Not blocked now!! And now Netflix US is available and I can resume watching television.

netflix

I realized that I have joined Canada’s Multi-Cultural Community. “Multi-Cultural”, it was explained to me, means that people come here from foreign lands but don’t become part of the “Melting Pot” idea of a single Canadian Culture, they import their native culture to areas of Canada – especially here in Toronto.

Well, I’ve imported a little piece of the USA with me.

Unlocator“… check it out if you’re in Canada. Or South Africa, as I just looked and it unlocks BBC’s iPlayer as well.

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