Press-Republican

Columns

August 21, 2011

New products promote efficient lifestyle

This week a colleague sent me a subtle note about a productivity software program that is rapidly growing in popularity. I'm trying not to take it personally.

The software, called Freedom, doesn't actually add anything to your computer's speed, power or functionality. What it does — what you pay for — is turn off your Internet connection, for up to eight hours.

Why? Studies show that massive amounts of work time are lost by people who compulsively Tweet, constantly check their email and post Facebook updates around the clock. They don't necessarily mean to be unproductive; they just can't fight their addiction.

Huh. I just spent an hour-and-a-half after that last sentence shopping online for a deep fryer, instant messaging with a friend and checking my investments in Scandinavian textiles. The flesh is weak.

The software program — for $10 — essentially does what any user can do for free with a couple of mouse clicks. Its makers, however, are betting that citizens of the 21st century don't have the intestinal fortitude or willpower to turn off the temptation all by themselves.

Their product doesn't provide the same service your employer does — blocking websites, tracking your mouse clicks, secretly reading your emails, hiding tiny cameras in places you would never think to look. Instead, you tell it how long you want to remain undistracted, and you can easily disable it by restarting your computer.

Doing that, however, is the equivalent of washing down your small salad, no dressing, with a pair of gravy-topped jelly donuts. Shame on you.

The interest in Freedom, and several other software programs with similar features, has sparked a number of upstart companies with complementary ventures. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

"Fone Foe LLC" realizes that the cell phone suction-cupped to the ears of many Americans causes countless millions of hours of lost productivity. For a nominal fee, it will send a burly professional wrestler to your home to confiscate your phone and flush it down the toilet.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time