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Joel Spolsky writes articles on and regularly links to them from Whenever I try to read those articles from work (for example, this one), I see a blank page and the following in the title bar:

why-circuit-city-failed-and-why-bh-thrives.html (GIF image, 1x1 pixels)


1) It doesn't matter which browser I use
2) I am able to read the articles from home.

Yes, I have brought this to the attention of the folks at and even provided a traceroute, but haven't gotten an answer yet.

Now I'm just curious: what could cause a page to be "seen" as a 1x1 GIF?


  • I checked with our network guy, and he says we don't filter any sites.
  • I had the same problem one day trying to load, from work, a Rails site I'd been building from home on a paid host site. (Right now it loads fine.)
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Do you have access to a Linux machine from which you can wget the article, to maybe assist in locating the issue? – Matt Simmons Jun 18 '09 at 15:28

Looks like your company is blocking the site. I'd suggest you ask your work sysadmins the reasoning behind this, doesn't look much to do with the domain itself.

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I guess that's possible, but in two years at work I've never encountered any other blocked site. – Nathan Long May 13 '09 at 0:36

When I see 1x1 GIF, I think 'tracking pixel'. These are 1x1, normally transparent, images that people embed in web pages in order to get your browser to send a request to someplace, usually a third party analytics site, for behavioral analysis purposes. Why your request would be replaced with one I don't know; possibly a brain-damaged implementation of a tracking pixel mechanism, possibly a confused way of doing a block.

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Probably a proxy server on your company that blocks images it regards as innapropriate or as ads?

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Perhaps you have a proxy blocking favicon.ico

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