I’ve often thought of how much easier it must have been to write novels with quill pens, back before the internet and infinite distraction was only one click away. Hmmm… I wonder what the best way is to outrun a charging bull? As I detailed in this earlier post, I had this all worked out. That is until two weeks ago when my dedicated (and geriatric) writing computer crashed. Note to self: back ups really are important. I didn’t lose too much work… though strangely I did kind of mourn that machine’s passing.
I’m now writing on my laptop (previously my play computer). I made it feel less internet prone by plugging in a monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse, but still something about all that temptation just one click away ground my productivity to a halt. Then I found Temptation Blocker, created by Hugh Brackett. This guy deserves the Nobel! It doesn’t directly block my internet connection, but does block my browsers. I like this because it lets other things connect and do what they need to in the background while I scribble. Temptation Blocker can also block any other applications, like all the games that came pre-installed that I normally end up deleting once I get so disgusted with myself for spending two hours playing SpiderSolitaire rather than writing.
The user interface is pretty simple, just set up what you want to block (you only do this once), enter a time, click the slave-driver button:
If you later decide that you need access to something before time’s up, you can either reboot the machine or enter a 32-digit code. The tool generates a new code each time you bring it up. And cut and paste isn’t possible. Yes, you need to type it, which works like a charm. Once you get though digit 12 or thereabouts, the shame sets in and you get back to work.
As far as I know, Temptation Blocker is only available for Windows. I’m running it on Windows 7 and it works just dandy. Another similar product called Freedom was originally available only for Mac, but now also has a Windows version. I haven’t tried it, opted for Temptation Blocker as I really need to curb my Solitaire addiction to get any writing done. Freedom asks for a nominal $10 donation. I’d gladly pay that to Mr. Brackett if he was accepting donations. There’s a pretty page out there offering Temptation Blocker when you give your e-mail address and sign up for a TrialPay offer, but I used the above link on Sourceforge.net with no strings. I did have to click through to initiate the download on the second page (it didn’t start automatically) but I never gave an e-mail address.
Neither of these tools lets you set a specific time each day when it will activate. This would be a great added feature. I write in the mornings, so I’d love to have it just automatically block me each morning.