Is there a Mac app/Firefox plugin that will help me do focused reading online?
April 26, 2010 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Is there a Mac app/Firefox plugin that lets you set a period of time, say 10 minutes, during which the computer is locked down and the only thing you can do is read the one webpage that you specify? No switching programs, no clicking on links, nothing else.

I like to read articles online, but after reading a few things about the disadvantages of doing so when compared to reading print (see here and here), I want to try to recreate the focused nature of reading the printed word.

Ideally it would be a Firefox plugin for ease of use, but I don't think a plugin could stop you from switching to a different program on the computer?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by ben5757 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Note exactly what you are looking for, but there is a program called Freedom that prevents internet access for a specified amount of time. It's great!

If you change your mind about how long you want to be offline, you have to reboot.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:36 PM on April 26, 2010

You can try LeechBlock for Firefox. It won't be able to stop you from switching to a different program or anything like that but it would fit your other needs.
posted by Funky Claude at 7:41 PM on April 26, 2010

I certainly hope there's no such capability! If there is, and unscrupulous advertisers find out about it, it would be a very bad thing! (Man, you think pop-behinds were bad...)

Even locking up the browser would be bad enough. Locking up the entire GUI isn't supposed to be within the capability of any application. Apps aren't supposed to be able to force-monopolize focus that way.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:28 PM on April 26, 2010

Perhaps you could grab the text and drop it into Word? I do this often with chord charts. The formatting usually gets all weird, but you might get good lining things up quickly after a few articles.

Or you could bite down on a leather strap like I do when reading 6 page NYT articles.
posted by palacewalls at 11:39 PM on April 26, 2010

oh, readability might interest you too. It tidies up th e text of a web page and makes it nice and easy to read.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:05 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Couple a program like Freedom with Instapaper and you're almost there.
posted by rockstar at 5:37 AM on April 27, 2010

You could unplug your mouse.
posted by Robot Johnny at 6:34 AM on April 27, 2010

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