Is Your Website Rated X–And You Don’t Know It? Look Up Your Rating And Prepare To Take Action

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it."--Justice Potter Stewart

When the company my wife works for got new computers, I decided to see how my website ( looked on a T-1 line Internet connection, but couldn't. A dialog box appeared stating the site was blocked because it was "pornographic." Before you start looking for the nudity and explicit sex you expect to find on a site labeled "pornographic," let me assure you that's not what you will find but that's exactly what SonicWALL ( decided. Since libraries use this service, effectively blocking some Shutterbug readers' access to my site, I asked a SonicWALL representative why they considered my site pornographic. Her response was that it was a "programming failure" and she submitted a "re-rating request" that ultimately resulted in that rating being removed.

Go to the "Rate a URL" section of the Content Security Manager page ( and look up your rating in the Content Filtering Service database. If you don't like what you see, SonicWALL told me "...when you try to access your site, you see a screen letting you know that it has been blocked and are offered an option to let the system know that the site has been erroneously categorized--you just click through that." In order to unblock your site, you must have SonicWALL's software installed so you can ask them to unblock you. A perfect Catch 22.

The censors working on SonicWALL's blocking software concluded that my website was "pornographic." They might not like yours either...

My website has lots of photographs, none of which include nudity or sexually-explicit material, yet SonicWALL software had labeled it as "pornographic" until I raised a fuss and made them change it.
© 2005, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Picture Perfect
Gordon Kilgore's website ( showcases photographs made at some of his favorite locations around the world and he has traveled to all 50 states, all seven continents, and 147 countries! The collections in the Photo Gallery are so varied and individual that I'll just hit some of the highlights, but all of them are worth a visit. I thought my geographic knowledge was pretty good, but Kilgore surprised me with his images made in Benin ( This is a long narrow country in West Africa that happens to be voodoo's birthplace, but his sensitive photograph of a colorfully dressed woman with a sleeping baby on her back--while she paddles a canoe--is anything but scary. Still off the beaten track but next door to Benin, Kilgore takes us to Burkina Faso, whose architectural images look like something Luke Skywalker could have shot at Mos Eisley ( before the Hutts took over. Switching continents, his clear, documentary photographs of snowy Antarctica provide a dramatic contrast to those he made in African veldt. Kilgore says, "Photography gives me an excuse to travel." I can only add, thanks for taking us along.

Gordon Kilgore says, "Photography gives me an excuse to travel. I photograph the subjects that I like and for me only." I can only say thanks for taking us along on your journeys as shown on his wonderful travel website.
© 2005, Gordon Kilgore, All Rights Reserved

Scott Hirko's ( images of open wheel racing combine the drama of this dangerous sport with its color, pageantry, and action. His photographs of the 2004 Long Beach Grand Prix are more than documents of the event and hit artistic levels with Hirko's use of color and design. Images are arranged in a tiny thumbnail grid on the right that when clicked display a large image on the left. There are more than cars here. His candid portraits of the racers show the intense focus these brave drivers bring to their profession. From the streets of Long Beach to the track at Laguna Seca, you find the thumbnails flip to the other side and closed cars, including Dodge Vipers, make their appearance.

Back to Long Beach, 2005, and Hirko is clearly in his element with spectacular high angle shots of cars in action to wide angle shots of them in tight corners. His photographs offer the impression of speed with a healthy dose of artistic intent. Some of his motorcycle images are of bikes in action but others are treated as sculpture with Hirko's lenses embracing the swoopy forms with light and color. There's some nice wallpaper to download in his Promo Download section that sure beats the "Grassy Hill" that Microsoft provided.

Scott Hirko's motorsports photography combines the drama of this dangerous sport with its color, pageantry, and action.
© 2005, Scott Hirko, All Rights Reserved