Thursday, January 12, 2012

January is a Month for Exams

And papers. I'm 6,000 words deep, between the two that are due. If I can get them both done for tomorrow I'll have the weekend to study for my first exam, which is slated for Monday morning. It's as though the month of January is solely intended to remind you why some writer originally replaced a generic word connoting movement through time with "grinding." Grinding is an apt word to describe the sort of conveyance that it's gonna take to make it to February.

Anyway, during the past week I found out about two apps that I think are worth sharing. The first is called "Flux." Apparently your monitor produces light that mimics that of the sun, and it doesn't let up after the real sun sets, so your eyes don't get the rest they deserve while you're nocturnally devouring the internet. This app (thankfully free) corrects this problem by automatically raising the "color temperature" of your display at around the time the sun sets in your part of the world. It's pretty neat. To be honest, I have no idea if it's actually helpful or if I've just been duped by a lot of hype into thinking that it is, but in any case, here's the site where you can download it, or investigate it, or both. I figure it's worth trying. As a bonus, it works with OS X, Windows, and Linux! Hear that, nerd? Linux! Oh, and Apple's iOS... so you can get to sleep faster after finishing a game of Angry Birds between the sheets?*

the boss's kid messed up this cartoon yin-yang and the company logo was born

The second app requires a little more courage to plug, because to recommend it is to identify with the problem it is designed to mitigate. It's called "Freedom" and it lets you shut off your internet for a variable amount of time, anywhere between fifteen minutes and eight full hours. The interesting thing about Freedom is what it assumes about you, its user: namely, that you are incapable of working in a focused and disciplined way on your computer so long as your computer has a connection to the whooshing black hole that is the internet. Really, your willpower is so slight and your resolve so pathetic that you can't just unplug your ethernet cord or disable your wifi. You need something a little stronger—the firmness of a maternal authority, perhaps. You need Momma App to fly into a rage, pinch your ear and say "that's IT! NO MORE INTERNET for you! [...] umm, how long would you like me to keep you offline?"

It's an old-school sort of freedom they're talking about

And you know what? Yeah, I am that creature of pitiable resolve. Today, severed from the digital mothership as I was, I wrote some 2500 words in a six hour window. Yes, it was hard and tiresome and lonely and claustrophobic and dizzyingly scary just like every online junkie knows withdrawal will be, but at the end of the day, I'm thankful for how much crap I got done. I only wish Freedom wouldn't put you out for $10, but eh, someone else's discipline has to come at a price, I suppose. Here's the site. You can also download a free trial version with five uses, and the app is compatible with OS X and Windows Vista/XP/7/whatever.

I've written two longer pieces for this blog that I need to clear with other people before I put them up, but they're in the hopper at least. Not sure what else will go up here in the next few weeks, with all the tests and the papers and the endless sighing that dominate this month in my calendar, but who knows. Thanks for reading. As a bonus, here's a balloon sculpture commemorating a painting commemorating a couple that was well acquainted with old-school freedom and all its attendant zaniness:

"We don't play Angry Birds between the sheets!"*


*Could this be the euphemism for sex that this generation has been waiting for? Not the euphemism we want, but perhaps - the euphemism we deserve? 


  1. Because the font size is small, the close quotation mark looks like an asterisk after "How long would you like me to keep you offline?", so I assumed that was what you meant by "the euphemism we deserve."

    Congrats on the work you got done, dude. I'm in the same boat for finals studying, except that I'll be flying and then jetlagged while doing it. Still working on my ToK paper, and I've got to finish up my last grad school app tomorrow before I fly. We are hardy boys. And just think: THREE WEEKS after exams to do whatever we please.

    1. We are hardy boys indeed. Onwards to glory!