Thursday, April 15, 2010


"Freedom from something is not enough. It should also be freedom for something. Freedom is not safety but opportunity." -- Zechariah Chaffee, Jr.
You powered up your computer with a singular task in mind. Perhaps you wanted to compose a letter to a relative, work on that novel you’ve been trying to write for years, or catalogue your bookshelf. But as soon as you got started, you saw the icon. You know the one.

Internet Explorer, Firefox, Camino, Safari, Opera, or your internet browser of choice. “I’ll just quickly check my email,” you said to yourself. “And then I’ll get right back to this.” Well, you checked your email, then you logged onto Facebook, and then you had to check Google News.  And before you knew it, an hour or two had passed, and you hadn’t returned to that singular task you had sat down to do.  And now you're reading my blog post!

If the above sounds familiar, you might want to investigate Freedom.

A software applicaton with a very narrow mission.  You enter the number of minutes of freedom you desire (from 10 minutes to 8 hours) and it disables your internet access for that length of time.  If you have the urge to cheat, you have to completely reboot the computer.  This may be just enough of an inconvenience to keep you focused on your task.

There's a freeware version for the Mac, which gently reminds you that it's the freeware version.  There's a $10 non-nagging version for both the Mac and PC.  What price freedom?  $10 seems low.

It seems the application has been around for two years, but I'm just now discovering it.  I'm glad I did.

Disclaimer: No one paid me anything to write this blog post.  (And I wrote most of it in Microsoft Word, while Freedom was running.)

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