I’m in America, my PC’s in China

Strangest thing. I noticed that although I am back in the land of the free, my Mac will not allow me to go to any blogspot or wordpress sites. It also won’t let me get to the NY Times. It automatically changes the url from nytimes.com to global.nytimes.com, and then it says it can’t find the server. China Digital Times opens just fine. This only happens on Safari. It’s okay using Firefox. How is that possible?

The Discussion: 25 Comments

Might be the Mac OS virus known as GFW.

First know instance outside CH.

Report problem to your anti-virus provider.


August 1, 2009 @ 12:34 am | Comment

Heh. I’ll call Steve Jobs right away.

August 1, 2009 @ 12:39 am | Comment

Er, weird! Have you tried dumping the cache?

August 1, 2009 @ 1:14 am | Comment

That sounds like a good idea – I used to do that with my PC but never with the Mac. I’ll just have to figure out how, since usually with the Mac you don’t have to bother.

August 1, 2009 @ 1:46 am | Comment

Oh, and I just noticed i can’t get onto Wikipedia either. And I thought that had been unblocked in China.

August 1, 2009 @ 1:47 am | Comment

Click on ‘Safari’, pull down to ‘Empty cache’. Should do wonders for you.

August 1, 2009 @ 2:42 am | Comment

You should also try to flush the DNS cache. You can do a search or use this:


August 1, 2009 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Emptying the cache didn’t do it, but maybe it’s okay, it lets me think I’m still in Beijing.

Joshua, I’ve still got Tiger, not Leopard – pinned down the Tiger command and entered it in the terminal but no change; I am deeply IT-averse and have a force-field around me that causes nearly all electronic devices within range to malfunction.

August 1, 2009 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Make sure you don’t have any weird proxy settings for your machine. Look in sys prefs / network / advanced … Although I think that would affect Firefox too. You cannot set proxies for Safari directly, although you can for Firefox. You could compare the computer’s proxy setting with Firefox’s. For Firefox look in pref / advanced / network / connection. Good luck.

August 1, 2009 @ 8:47 am | Comment

Richard, Danwei just posted about DNS hijacking – sounds like this may be an issue?

August 1, 2009 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

Lisa, that’s amazing (it’s on Micah Sittig,not Danwei unless I’m missing something – I just commented there). I’ve taken the Net Nanny home. There is no escaping China.

August 1, 2009 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

You may just need to reinstall your browser. Or restore it to the original settings. I am guessing but that might work.

August 1, 2009 @ 1:26 pm | Comment

The net nanny love you….

August 1, 2009 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

That is very strange. I had no such issues coming home from China with either of my computers (both Macs, one is Leopard but the other is way older than yours). The NY Times global site is a bit buggy, at least with Safari — I sometimes get error messages too — but I haven’t had the same issues with any other sites. Maybe try reinstalling Safari? Or just switching to Firefox while you’re in the States?

August 2, 2009 @ 12:31 am | Comment

C., I have switched to Firefox, and may try to reload Safari. It’s just so absurd, and nothing seems to work. Suddenly the NYT worked again, but it still always defers to the global edition, as if I were still outside the country. Even if I type in http://www.nytimes.com it does this; on Firefox it’s fine. But wordpress, blogspot, Wikipedia – all still inaccessible on Safari. Facebook and twitter load fine.

August 2, 2009 @ 12:51 am | Comment

Have you checked the DNS servers settings being used by Safari?

I am not a Mac Expert, but in Windows environment Firefox has its own settings, while IExplorer used the settings provided by the OS.

Something similar may happen.

I suppose that if you are using a DNS located inside the GFW you will be still subject to its blocking/vagaries, even outside CH.

August 2, 2009 @ 9:21 am | Comment

In my limited experience with it, Safari has a myriad of small niggling bugs. It’s possible that you’ve just run into one of them.

August 2, 2009 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

Newest version of Safari much better IMO.

August 3, 2009 @ 5:10 am | Comment

I had a problem like this when I came back from China in 2005. My problem stemmed from my computer’s being configured for internet access by somebody from the university at which I was working and living. If anybody ever came into your apartment to configure your computer for internet access, this may be what is causing your problem. All I had to do to fix the problem on my computer at the time was to go into my internet connection settings and change the setting to “Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically”. Whoever had set up my connection in China had inputted specific server addresses which, when in the US, resulted in all my web surfing being trafficked through Chinese servers (I guess)… Maybe you’ve got something similar?

August 3, 2009 @ 6:59 am | Comment

Welcome home. It’s not a cache issue. NYT global edition and other auto-located websites are as a result of specific cookies in your system that you set up in China. You could go through and erase individual cookies related to sites that are messing up or in Safari you could go to Safari/Reset Safari…. and check off the items you want to reset. Not sure if that’s how it was in Tiger…..good luck.

August 3, 2009 @ 10:09 am | Comment

Richard, a few things:
-Make sure you don’t have any stray proxy server settings. Firefox disregards the OS-wide proxy settings, while Safari uses them. Easiest way to check is to go into Safari->Preferences…->Advanced and click the proxy settings button
-As Not_a_Sinophile pointed out, your cookies might also be at fault here. To clear out just them and not all your other settings, bookmarks, passwords, etc, go into Safari->Preferences…->Security->Show Cookies->Delete All.

Good luck!

August 3, 2009 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

Deleted all cookies. Problem persists. No hope

August 4, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Comment


I suspect you are locked onto a permanent DNS. Go to your System Preferences>Network and check the DNS setting.

August 4, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Comment


IT problems are like this. Don’t give up! 🙂 Did you ever try my or lensovet’s suggestion?

August 4, 2009 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

No time at the moment. Firefox is saving me for now.

August 4, 2009 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

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