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Jonathan Foote, Security Dad

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Stowing distracting MacOS apps (personal edition)

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Brain Throttle


I’ve been failing pretty spectacularly at unplugging since I started a new job about a month ago.

Unplug data from last week

On the upside, I wrote an oddly effective utility for preventing myself from skimming content on my first trip back from our office in San Francisco. The idea is pretty simple: when the program is running and you scroll too much, the screen progressively fades to black. A few seconds later (assuming you stop scrolling), the brightness is restored.

Crappy cell phone video demo

Crappy cell phone video demo

I have been thinking about ways to deal with the volume increasingly relevant information that I have access to on a daily (and nightly) basis. I want to know all the things! In other cases I find myself haphazardly searching the net to understand a single facet of some esoteric technology to complete an otherwise straightfoward task. In these cases, I generally have not budgeted time for deep reading on a subject, but that is what the situation calls for nonetheless.

brainthrottle came to me after talking about this the day after an evening of heavy thinking with my new co-workers. It isn’t mean to be a complete solution, just an idea I coded up on the flight home. However it does seem to work oddly well.

While having brainthrottle run in the background is an annoyance now and then, by and large when it kicks it I benefit from it – I stop for a moment, remember what I had intended to be doing, then go back to my tabs/PDFs/files with renewed focus. A good use of 5 seconds.

Thanks for reading! My side projects are moving slow at the moment, but I am doing some cool stuff at work that I hope to share soon. Recently I’ve been having some success applying AFL’s new persistence feature and hope to write up (or codify) some of the tricks I’ve been doing with it here or on the fastly blog.