Holy grail, holy hell
March 15, 2012 12:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I fill my downtime at work? My new job is short bursts of high-pressure activity and long stretches of downtime and I'd like some ideas for productive activity - almost anything goes (Details inside).

I have a work PC with IE 8 and no other browsers, and filtered internet access. I don't have WiFi and I have an iPhone with 3G.

I have to stay in the office. There is no problem with me listening to music, knitting, writing, dancing, playing games, drawing ... anything short of nudity or offensive behaviour is A-OK.

I've been looking at CodeCademy, and one of my recent projects has been working through those exercises. Does anyone know of any similar sites?

I'm mainly interested in programming and computer science, history, crafts and literature. Thanks!
posted by NoiselessPenguin to Work & Money (12 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest doing Code Year!

Also, I just signed up for Stanfords free Cryptology course via Coursera (there are a bunch of other free techy courses to choose from).
posted by littlesq at 12:43 AM on March 15, 2012

Learn a (human) language!
posted by Harald74 at 12:52 AM on March 15, 2012

There's Code Jam and TopCoder.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 AM on March 15, 2012

You could knit hats for chemo patients and/or blankets for Project Linus, an organization that distributes home-made blankets to displaced or injured children.

Give yourself a quota to fill and factory out some good into the world.
posted by myselfasme at 1:42 AM on March 15, 2012

Learn jQuery in 30 Days.

There is tons of stuff in iTunes U that could keep you busy.


Could you do something like Mechanical Turk?
posted by backwards guitar at 5:48 AM on March 15, 2012

Bone up on your math?

Khan Academy
posted by spinifex23 at 6:08 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Be a proofreader for Project Gutenberg!
posted by gubenuj at 7:22 AM on March 15, 2012

Marathon Kegel sessions!
posted by SugarFreeGum at 7:28 AM on March 15, 2012

Did you see the various Mefi threads about online education??

Right now there is a Metatalk thread about forming study groups for courses that Mefites are doing. (Heavy skew towards programming and Comp Sci.)

The videos for most of these courses come in approx 10-minute slices, so can be easily slotted into gaps in your day. And you can work on the assignments or take quizzes whenever it suits you.
posted by philipy at 8:01 AM on March 15, 2012

I had a similar issue on how to spend copious amounts of free time at work without making it completely obvious that I am not doing work.
posted by forkisbetter at 10:27 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all great suggestions. Thanks to everyone.

Gubenuj, this is close to my work and it would be good practice - thanks for the idea! And SugarFreeGum, that's a very well-timed pointer.

Especially thought provoking is the idea to knit for charity. I could use my time for a good cause, which I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't considered.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 1:06 PM on March 15, 2012

I prefer Learn Code the Hard Way to Codecademy. Zed Shaw wrote the original in Python but he now has translations available in several languages.

For learning human languages, this isn't fully available yet, but you should consider signing up for invites from Duolingo, especially if you want a refresher rather than language lessons from scratch. It's created by the inventor of the captcha (those difficult-to-read distorted letters where you prove you're a human, not a bot) and a bunch of his grad students.
posted by tantivy at 5:04 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

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