Somebody was having a little fun with the wikipedia introductory write up on proxies...
I'm going to have to use this when tech-supporting.
---- UPDATE ----
Somebody must have got emabrrassed about the write up and took it off... but I scarfed it up from google's cached stuff. To whomever wrote this, it was great!
A proxy server is a computer that offers a computer network service to allow clients to make indirect network connections to other network services. A client connects to the proxy server, then requests a connection, file, or other resource available on a different server. The proxy provides the resource either by connecting to the specified server or by serving it from a cache. In some cases, the proxy may alter the client's request or the server's response for various purposes.
A more basic layman's explanation and example: A proxy server is a network machine or computer that you connect through to speak with another person(machine). For example: suppose you, George, wanted to speak through your office front door to Kate on the sidewalk. If Kate would normally refuse to hear you, you could instead speak to Patty on the sidewalk and she could talk to Kate. Kate would reply to Patty and Patty would then speak with you. Kate might never know she was really speaking with George. In this way Patty might be acting as an anonymizing proxy (Proxy Patty).
Very often sometimes your office manager doesn't want you speaking to certain computers on the internet so at the office internet "door" a guard, Frank "filter", intercepts all your communication and checks to see if you are trying to talk with wicked or timewasting Wanda on the sidewalk. If you are trying to speak to WickedWaster Wanda, the filter Frank shuts the door (stops your web browser). To get around this filter Guard Frank once again, you speak with Proxy Patty as a proxy. The Guard doesn't filter your words to Proxy Patty because Patty isn't on the bad list. Proxy Patty talks to WickedWaster Wanda for you and then you hear back from WickedWaster Wanda through Proxy Patty and the guard never knows you got connected to WickedWaster Wanda. In this case, filter Frank was a proxy your company made you speak through to communicate with the outside world. However, you used Proxy Patty to defeat Filter Frank.
Obviously proxies can do many things, for example Proxy Patty could translate the language for you to French and back. Proxy Patty could shrink the size of Kate's response so it fits on your mobile phone webscreen. Proxy Patty could filter nasty language or subjects from WickedWaster Wanda's responses to you so if you were a child you wouldn't be exposed to bad things. Patty could do many other clever things as a proxy (some of which might get you in trouble with the law!).
In all of these cases Proxy Patty is acting as a proxy server because you speak THROUGH her to communicate with the person or machine you really want to communicate with. And of course proxies aren't named Patty.
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