The Neverending Story

Flickr is blocked.

I feel like Atreyu in The Neverending Story. I work for the gov't, and they have pretty serious filters on what you can view from the web. Until recently, flickr wasn't blocked... this was handy, because one could, say, go grab some CC-b photos for use in documentation or what-not, to spice things up. ...Well, no longer.

But worse, it's now interrupting my RSS-reading. I subscribe to several flickr feeds... and now the photos don't show up (and if I try to view them in another window, of course, I get the full error message). This is seriously disruptive to my feed-reading! I would say that about 1/3rd of the posts I see are pictures. I spend about 10 seconds looking at each. The other 2/3rds of my feeds are programming: c#, ajax, ruby, patterns, refactoring... and Seth Godin, whom I consider "work-related" in the sense that he's semi-motivational. ; ) I consider it part of my job to stay on top of these things.

I thought engagement--involvement--at work was a good thing. The fact that most of the feeds I'm on are work-related indicates that I'm dedicated to my job.

But now I feel like it's not worthwhile to do RSS! Sure, there was the occasional post that I couldn't open from work before... but now it's a full third of my stuff. I can't just click through them, either--I want to see these photos (which is why I subscribed), so I would have to mark each of them "unread" every time.

I'm ranting.

The point is simple: employees should be encouraged to engage fully in work. This implies integrating their work life and their home life. Blocking websites inhibits this ability.

Of course I can hear the argument: "VA resources are for official use only; private use is a violation of blah blah blah."

Tighten the screws, big brother... the more you twist, the more we hate you.

Pisses me off.

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