Turn off the internet!
September 19, 2007 10:24 AM   Subscribe

We need to turn off the internet! What is the best program for temporarily disabling our access? We need one solution for a Mac and one for Windows. Ideally we'd like something with a timer (where the internet is turned off for x number of hours) or something that requires a difficult process to unlock it.

We can't simply remove all internet functionality from our computers, but we would like to make it more difficult to "check this one thing" while writing or check our inboxes to "send this one quick email." Just turning off the WiFi detectors helps for a while, but we need something more drastic.

Sure, the best thing would be to reform practices. But right now we need a bit more of a taskmaster. Extra bonus for free programs, but I'd consider paying for extra functionality. This is mostly about WiFi because we're often out in public or at school, so hiding the plug isn't the way to go here.

Any ideas?
posted by barnone to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: LeechBlock firefox extension works for me to limit surfing.
posted by sharkfu at 10:33 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Windows only: Temptation Blocker
posted by splendid animal at 10:43 AM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: Similar question, which contains some other previous/similar questions.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:43 AM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: Sure, the best thing would be to reform practices. And this is exactly what you need to do, because you are going to wind up circumventing it one way or the other. Some program is not suddenly give you self control. If you really want something to discourage you to use the internet, lifehacker has written tons about this silly idea.

My suggestion, if you want to use some technical solution to help change your habits, is turn off the wifi on your computer [connections, right click on connection, disable] and set your home page to something like "Get Back to Work."
posted by bigmusic at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2007

Your wifi router likely has that functionality available. Mine allows me to block Inet access for individual computers by time of day. My router is a $50 Buffalo Wifi router, so I imagine most of the others should have similar functionality.

To block access away from home, simply turn off the auto connection service so that your laptop does not connect to whatever open networks it finds.
posted by COD at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2007

One difference here is that you're not trying to cut off specific sites or apps . You want the whole thing turned off which is a lot easier. Why not just a timer on the AC plug that powers the router?
posted by originalname37 at 11:11 AM on September 19, 2007

Seconding that you take a look at your router. I think the dd-wrt firmware replacement can do this sort of blackout too.
posted by jquinby at 11:16 AM on September 19, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry I missed that other thread - I did do a search but the tags on that one aren't that useful.

As for the router suggestions -- this is often in public or at school, so those aren't going to work.

Developing practices take time, and sometimes you need a method to give yourself some wiggle room to develop new strategies and restraints. Some antidepressants and antianxiety medications work this way -- they give you enough of a break to learn new habits. That's what I'm going for right now.
posted by barnone at 11:32 AM on September 19, 2007

When I consulted for IT stuff, at a client we had a lamptimer on the router so the guys in the warehouse couldn't stay late and look at porn.
posted by thilmony at 12:53 PM on September 19, 2007

If you shoot up heroin or methadone, your usage goes down while you are on the nod. In other words, I second bigmusic.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:54 PM on September 19, 2007

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