Can't Load PDFs or PodCasts
I am in China. The podcasts and the PDFs will not load. Why? Is there a way around it?
chrisJuly 10, 2012, 01:35 PM
jsbst18, try logging out and then logging back into the site, particularly if you haven't done so for a long time. This solved the problem for me when i recently experienced the same thing. If that fails, an alternative solution is to use a vpn which can be purchased cheaply and for short or long periods depending on your requirements.
instantcalmerJuly 10, 2012, 02:19 PM
Yes I've had the same problem for a week or more. Glad I'm not on my pat malone (alone - translation for non-rhyming slang ren) I get around it by using a free VPN that works for a while until the popups and ads make it unusable (it's called vtunnel). In about 10 minutes I can download the pdf, dialog and the lesson.
The logout and login didn't work for me.
Now this happened once before (around last Xmas?) and then somehow Chinesepod came good. I remember Jenny saying they were blocked and some comment about China (spare the details!)
There is a web-site called www.blockedinchina.net and its says that chinesepod times out (rather than is blocked).
Is it a case of goodness gracious great walls of fire?
'Is it a case of goodness gracious great walls of fire?'
You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane
You broke my will, but what a thrill
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire
I don't think that our relationship with the great wall involves 'too much love'. :)
I haven't seen that comment about 'times out', but that is probably consistent with ChinesePod advice that they are slowed down.
This is really something that's at the auspice of the Chinese government. They slow down or block access to different sites at their whim. It's a shame that we have one of the most authoritarian web policies in the world in this day and age.
Using a VPN is quite common for foreigners in China, you won't be harassed, arrested and/or shot in the back of the head for it, trust me. You have to do something a little bit more out there to get that kind of special treatment.
This is China, as long as you are not damaging the regime or the public, even if it may be a technically illegal behavior, no one cares. But you are not supposed to say that out loud, so dont ask. Ive heard it said that It's neither legal nor illegal to use VPN in China. There is not any related laws about VPNs and other proxy tools. But the free VPN services in China will be deleted by the GFW once they were found or widely spread. If thats not clear, its not supposed to be. Search the web for answers to your question. You will find some clues on sites such as:
There is a difference between it being legal and no one caring. And yes, while this is China we don't generally go around breaking laws just because we think the law is stupid. If there is ever to be the rule of law here, we have to learn to abide by laws we don't like, no?
I don't believe VPNs have ever been formally declared illegal. Rule of law is quite another discussion. But not to detract from your main point below, I do happen to agree with you that cpod could take this more seriously. The problem for them, I suspect, is that most users are indeed outside the GFW. Perhaps cpod should offer up a discount of a few dollars a month to cover the cost of a VPN for mainland customers, which would likely cost them less than other options, technical or political. On the other hand, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
I regularly drive 5-10 miles above the speed limit, and I don't think this damages the rule of law in america.
Another example might be taxation of frequent flyer miles. If you travel for business, your company pays for the ticket, and you keep the frequent flyer miles, then under us income tax law you should report the value of these miles as income and pay tax. But noone does this, and some years back the irs released a statement saying something like 'well, it should be taxed, but noone is willing to file, so we give up, we promise not to enforce it'.
I think in any society (with possible exception of an extremely efficient police state) there will always be some complex interaction between enforcement and written law, and that's not a bad thing. And being a respectful visitor to a society probably means learning how this interaction works in that society, and doesnt nessecarily require a rigid adherence to written law.
The money is not an issue. It is the legality. I have lived throughout Asia, and I have never intentionally done some thing that I knew was illegal (or frowned upon). If the laws are enforced, or not, is not the issue.
I have never had a legal problem in 15 years of living abroad; Iraq, Oman, Indonesia, Korea, Cambodia -- and I hope to keep it that way. The best way to avoid any problem is to follow the letter of the law. Just my 2 cents.
On a brighter note, I AM able to access the site using CHROME. People may want to check to see if this works for them as well.
rootJuly 12, 2012, 01:12 PM
I have this problem, too, and I've always found it very odd that ChinesePod does not have a mirror within the GFW... I quite dislike using a VPN, not to mention the extra costs above and beyond the CP fee this would require just to be able to use the service as advertised.
I sincerely hope they figure out a way for us to enjoy VPN - free access. I really doubt users of EnglishPod中国 would be cool with using a VPN (they don't get immunity like us) . With zero files downloading they can get zero benefits of their service as it stands right now -- not a good business proposition if you ask me :(
root, when not using vpn I find the situation is variable. For example, at certain times of day using my home (SH) wifi everything is fine, yet at other times I can't download anything. Alternatively, sometimes I find that my wifi at home won't work, but I'll go for coffee at starbucks/blue frog/wherever and find it works fine! To be honest, I've given up trying to work out when it will and won't work and now just resort to vpn all the time.
I do take the valid points above regarding whether that is a good idea - but purely on the cost point, there are some very cheap options out there (i think mine works out at only 3 or 4 dollars a month which I appreciate might be a lot for some but is likely not a significant monthly outgoing for waiguoren that can afford to upsticks and relocate to China in the first place). Just my twopence worth :-)
I hear ya, Chris, and I agree, it's not a lot of money if thought of as 'China tax'. My issue for myself is with convenience -- it's just annoying. Considering the customer base is located in china ( I am imagining here), this issue could be treated more seriously.
A bigger issue I see is for the sister site -- EnglishPod中国, the yearly subscription fee at CNY588 is roughly the same as a VPN fee, and at least this week the site is completely unusable without VPN. I really want to be able to recommend CPod and EPodCN to my friends, but I really feel like a dick if I do and they can't use it without a giant hidden fee...
Like I said, I do wish the management here would treat this problem more seriously instead of saying 'this is China, what did you expect?'
I am just hoping for a technical solution -- again I imagine here, things like a host within the firewall, even in Shanghai perhaps? Seriously, there must be a hosting company here somewhere...