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Monday, October 20, 2008

"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught." - Sir Winston Churchill


An email exchange with Starhub Maxonline on their transparent proxy:

Me: For the last 1-2 days I've been getting this message from Yahoo Groups:

"Sorry, Unable to process request at this time -- error 999. Unfortunately we are unable to process your request at this time. This error is usually temporary. Please try again later.

If you continue to experience this error, it may be caused by one of the following:

* You may want to scan your system for spyware and viruses, as they may interfere with your ability to connect to Yahoo!. For detailed information on spyware and virus protection, please visit the Yahoo! Security Center.
* This problem may be due to unusual network activity coming from your Internet Service Provider. We recommend that you report this problem to them."

I have no spyware and viruses, so it's probably the Maxonline network.

Also, Google periodically gives me a 403 Forbidden message:

"We're sorry... ... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software."

Both these problems are likely due to Starhub's transparent proxy system. Please resolve this.

Starhub: We wish to clarify that the use of a proxy server is mandatory in Singapore in accordance to the regulations set by the relevant authorities. This error originates from Yahoo and since we have no control over it, you may wish to contact Yahoo with regard to the error.

Me: I believe the error orginates from your having an insufficient number of proxy servers. Multiple users accessing the same web resource are rerouted through one IP, so the server thinks that the IP is spamming it.

This is the same reason why I *always* get a "Your IP address XXX is already downloading a file. Please wait until the download is completed." error from Rapidshare.

Your using more proxy servers, or spreading traffic so it appears to come from more IPs will likely solve (or at least reduce) the problem.

Starhub: We wish to share that we do have multiple proxy servers. What we
cannot control is how the external site administrators want to implement their detection system and also their decision whether to deny or allow the connection since it is ultimate at their discretion.

With regard to the RapidShare issue, you may wish to know that we are not the only ISP that is facing this issue as all ISPs in Singapore are required to provide a Proxy server for HTTP traffic from their customers. Nevertheless, we will share your feedback with our engineers.


Oh well, this is what you get in a land without proper Internet.
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