How do I block the websites that kill all my time?
May 23, 2006 7:17 PM   Subscribe

For the sake of my productivity and my sanity, I need to block certain websites that eat up waaaaay too much of my time. I use Firefox (specifically, Deer Park) on a Mac. How can I do this? Oh, and there's a twist inside...

I poked around the Extensions listing at the Mozilla site, but it's strangely impossible to find anything there (I searched the AskMefi archives about this, but couldn't find AdBlock, one of the original suggestions, on the Moz site... all they seemed to have was "AdBlock Plus," which didn't have a "Block Website" option that I could find).

But really, it'd be best to find some kind of program that would make me jump through a bunch of hoops if I ever wanted to unblock said sites again. Some programmer with dubious self-control must have invented this at some point -- maybe something that asked you multiple choice trivia questions or used an iSight to watch you do twenty jumping jacks or something? (These are slightly fanciful examples, but you get the gist...)
posted by logovisual to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about here, or here.
posted by kcm at 7:19 PM on May 23, 2006

Parental controls
posted by Mr. Six at 7:26 PM on May 23, 2006

What I did when I had the *same* problem was to set up a squid proxy on my home system so that I could create the necessary permissions there. I blocked "evil" sites between 8am and 12pm, then from 1-5pm just like at a corporate network.
Because this was on a separate system, I even configured my home firewall (Linux/iptables) to deny outbound HTTP from my laptop during those hours (meaning I HAD to go through the proxy to do ANY surfing at all).
It worked like a charm: do actually do some surfing I had to either go into squid to disable the policy OR change my ipfilter rules.
I eventually grew out of it (thanks David Allen & GTD, along with 43 Folders and Lifehacker!) but this was very useful for a while...
posted by fsmontenegro at 7:32 PM on May 23, 2006

Response by poster: Temptation Blocker sounds good, but I need something that blocks sites within a browser, not the browser itself -- and I need it to be non-trivial to disengage, so something like parental controls or a basic Greasemonkey script won't do the trick. If it's easy to just turn it off and relapse, I will...
posted by logovisual at 7:38 PM on May 23, 2006

Block their IPs in the firewall.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:47 PM on May 23, 2006

Well, why don't you get a friend to set the (Mozilla equivalent) supervisor password for your browser, and get them to disapprove certain sites. That way, it is non-trivial to disengage on a day-to-day basis but entirely reversible (if your friend is non-evil).
posted by jimmythefish at 8:20 PM on May 23, 2006

You can edit your /etc/hosts file to block individual sites (just add a line for each domain name you want to block, e.g.:

You can still disengage it by removing the line from /etc/hosts and waiting for the DNS to update itself, so it's not a lot of hoops to jump through, but it's a start.
posted by ook at 9:18 PM on May 23, 2006

I too use FF and luv all the exts but it is murder trying to locate anything through their site, you're right.

What I do: I don't blindly surf. I use Bloglines to give me daily updates from sites that I tell it I want to be kept up to speed on which is done on a daily basis (actually every few minutes most of the time) via each sites RSS feed (you may have seen the little orange buttons). There are other sites but BlogLines is the most popular and since it is a website, it can be accessed from any browser while online, unlike apps that you can download that do the same thing but then you have to be at home to read from your daily list (although you could obviously go to each site manually but then you are wasting time seeing whether or not there is anything new, why bother when you can just get an online version?)

With this setup, I never surf blindy (who has time for that?) and am getting only info from sites that I know (so 99% no malware).

From time to time, I actually go to their site (because normally you will just be reading everything thru the Bloglines website) and it is then that I see other site links that I may want to visit (for possibly subscribing to also).

FYI: I am subscribed to the FF site for new exts too so I see them as soon as they are added to their DB, no more searching for me! One more thing, you may want to go further and look into OPML where you can share your reading List with others, or at least search thru other people's OPMLs to get an already put together list (that you could of course tweak by subscribing to only some of the sdame links as what they did). There really is so much to go over, look thru my or folders and maybe that will help some more. G/L.
posted by BillyG at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2006

It's an idea, but it'll never work. If you want to stop one time-wasting behavior, you have to replace it with another, hopefully less wasteful, behavior.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:14 AM on May 27, 2006

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