Wasting time online? A New York software developer has created a nifty app called “Self Control” that lets you police your social networking when it gets out of hand.
Like me. I hoped to post this article sooner, but the Internet got the better of me. What was supposed to be a few clicks to quickly check to see who pinged me on Facebook, find out if anyone expressed interest in my Craigslist listing, read up on Carradine’s death, check a stock on CNNmoney.com and watch the latest “cat jumping on the back of a bonobo” video on YouTube turned into a mind-numbing droning through cyberspace. Time wasted. Not much knowledge gained. Except for this little nugget: Thanks to the developer, Steve Lambert out of the Eyebeam Art & Tech Center in New York, there’s something I can do about it.
Yes, you need to take it upon yourself to download this free program, but it’s quite easy to use. It allows you to blacklist the websites that waste your time the most and set a duration, anywhere from 1 minute to 12 hours. “Self Control” will block your access to those websites for that set amount of time.
Be careful what you ask for. If you set the timer to block Facebook for two hours, let’s say, two hours, you’re committed. You can try to “uninstall” the program, but it will still block access until time’s up. (We tried.) Lambert tells me thousands of people have already downloaded his app. Not surprisingly, this is a problem at the workplace. Salary.com found that employees visiting non-work related websites was the most biggest timewaster last year. So, what are you doing here reading this? Get back to work! Actually, don’t … please.
Bob Redell is a reporter for NBC Bay Area who likes to waste time on the company's dime.