I only just covered this bad boy in last week's Firefox Friday -- and now there's a Chrome version! RescueTime advertises itself as a 'Productivity Meter' but really it's just a cool way of seeing how you spend your time on the Internet.
All you have to do is install the extension and it'll do the rest. At any time you can click the menu button to see a quick breakdown of how distracted you are as well as how productive you are compared to other RescueTime users. If you visit sites like Facebook or Flickr, your distractedness rises; stick to work-related stuff and you're 'safe'. Talking of 'safe', no login is required to use this extension -- you are anonymous (for all intents and purposes)!
The proof is in the pudding, though: after a few hours or days, check out 'Detailed Stats'. Prepare to be shocked, awed, amazed and disgusted by the damning but beautiful graphs. The amount of data that the RescueTime team and its users have collated, and thus the accuracy of the reports, is quite stunning.
(Incidentally, if you're a manager of some kind, there's a 'pro' version which you could no doubt use to improve the efficiency of your team...)
I love these write-ups! :)
Yet another week has strolled by. If you're in Mozilla's age-old stronghold of Europe, you're probably enjoying some delicious bright sunshine right now -- and if you're lucky there'll be some great sunsets caused by the erupting volcanoes in Iceland! Americans, I guess you might've had your flights to Europe cancelled -- but other than that, I trust your Spring is coming along nicely?
Mozilla has been active this week! The fruition of its unabated development has come to fruition with a few important releases this week -- but I've also got some neat add-ons to show you too. Here we go:
1. Firefox 3.7 alpha 4 (Gecko 1.9.3a4) released; faster, improved shutdown time
Other than a slew of rendering fixes/changes, Windows users won't see much of a change in the new alpha. Firefox on Mac OS X now supports an out-of-process Adobe Flash, however! There's also mention of a 'Core Animation rendering model' for Mac OS X plugins, apparently speeding things up.
In non-Gecko-related updates, a simple change to the way bookmarks and history are handled has resulted in a 97% increase in shutdown time! A faster browser remains the primary focus of Mozilla and the Firefox team, and it sure looks like 3.7, when it reaches release later this year, will be seriously fast.Jetpack SDK 0.2 released: developers rejoice -- enthusiasts, why don't you write your first add-on?
You may have noticed that Lee and I are getting steadily more interested in add-ons and extensions. Every week Download Squad brings you the latest and greatest Chrome and Firefox mods -- but... how about writing one yourself? Believe it or not, writing an add-on is really easy -- I wrote my first one earlier this week! So how about it? Jetpack is the wave of the future, and while it might not polished enough for the eager end-user, you can definitely wade in and give it a go.
You need to install Python and the Jetpack SDK, but once that's done it's clean sailing! Just follow the guide -- and if you want to go further, check out the Jetpack SDK documentation.
This compilation, pointed out by the Firefox Extension Guru, is a real goldmine of excellent add-ons. Whether you're looking for a graphing calculator toolbar to help with math and science, or easy-access translation add-ons, this collection has just about everything you could ever want for teaching kids at home.
There's also a great section for Parental Controls and Computer Security with a lot of add-ons that we've previously covered on Download Squad!
4. Mozilla opens its doors for Labs Night; also reaches out for more collaboration with students, schools and universities
Open source, and by extension Mozilla and Firefox, has always been about collaboration. By sharing ideas and working together to create a better tool, the world as a whole gains. Mozilla, never one to shy away from engaging the community, has two great schemes in operation: first, Labs Nights, which is a bit like Google's Campfire One meets... only... foxier. If you're in the Mountain View region, why not go along and listen to some in-depth presentations of up-and-coming Mozilla projects?
On the next point -- student collaboration -- Firefox has always been an active exponent of 'laboratory' work in universities around the world. You've surely heard of Mozilla Labs' Design Challenges -- well, a lot of those are undertaken by universities all around the world. They want to step it up though, get more schools and colleges involved, increase the scope -- so, if you're a teacher, or a student, get in touch with Mozilla.
RescueTime, a Firefox Productivity Meter
Yes... we all do it. You write a sentence... and then you switch tabs. Sometimes it's just a few words before you reach for the mouse (or Wiimote). We know we shouldn't do it, but it's simply a sad fact of life: the Internet is without doubt the greatest procrastination device ever invented. If only there was something we could do about it...!!!
Of course there's something we can do about it! This is the Internet! The cause AND solution of all our problems! Now, I'm not going to highlight some kind of draconian add-on that stops you wasting time, but there IS a really neat, statistic-heavy add-on called RescueTime that might convince you -- via shock and awe -- to do more work.
Basically, via some kind of heuristic analysis of the browsing habits of a 'worldwide user base', RescueTime assigns a 'productivity score' to tens of millions of websites. When you Ctrl-Tab and spend time on a 'bad' site such as Facebook, the add-on records this as 'distracted browsing'. You can even see in real time if you're more or less distracted than other users of the add-on.
The best thing though -- other than its awesome, anonymous, no-login-required nature -- is the detailed, graphed analysis of your time-wasting. You've been warned: it's pretty scary.
I know, I realize you really just want to get the most bang for your buck. And I don't blame you for wondering what's coming next; Apple is notoriously good at keeping things secret and letting people hype all kinds of crazy magical possibilities. But really you should ask yourself, "Why am I really getting this device?"
If the reason you're considering a new Apple device is that your current hardware doesn't suit your needs or is generally causing you pain: Are you upgrading from an existing piece of Apple hardware? Is it 3+ years old, or broken, or otherwise actually underserving your needs (and not by just being not-as-cool)? Or are you a first-time buyer or switching from another brand/type of device? Then go ahead and buy now. Whatever revision coming next isn't going to be a big enough deal to seem significant over what you have now. Seriously - I've been through enough Apple hardware cycles to know that every time I skip one or two generations it's really not a huge deal. The reason why will become clear in a second.
If the reason you're considering a new Apple device is because OMUGUH EVRUHONE ELSE HASS HWON, or I MUST HAVE THE LATEST THING. Then yes, you should wait until the next revision and stand in line to make sure you have one on the day it's released. Then you have a good month or so of being able to show off the new styled device and its subset of new things it can do to everyone else that has the old version. There's seriously something to be said for the amount of smugness you can display for the few months of time when everyone else hasn't caught up to your novelty.
Typically, the features you're getting with the version that's out now are really solid and reasonably current. I mean seriously, they refresh these things every year or less anyway so you're getting the state of the art in most respects. Apple wants you to want the next thing they're putting out, no matter what it costs. And they want you to look at what you have now and think, "Man, if I only had the latest version it would be better." It makes them a lot of money this way. And it makes you unhappy. Modern psych studies show that material things (aside from food/clothing/shelter) are terrible at making you substantially happier and jumping on the treadmill of Apple upgrades from the start is just going to be a bummer later. Believe me, I know.
One final note: If you're waiting for the next revision because of financial reasons, It is true that they have substantially discounted older model versions in the past. The iPhone 3G dropped to $99 when the 3GS came out. I can't argue with that point, as long as it's close enough to the date where there's really going to be a refresh. But then again, how do you know? And does the amount of time lost or stress involved in coping with the hardware you currently have make up for the amount of time you'll have to wait for the refresh (especially hard to calculate when they don't announce anything solid anyway)?
So now I've said my peace on this. As a recovering Apple Camper myself, I'm happier now that I make my buying decisions based on whether there'll be a substantive improvement in my quality of work or life because of them. Ever since I've avoided the treadmill of waiting for the next version and being unhappy when it arrives, I've been a slightly happier person. Your mileage may vary. Some restrictions apply.
So when does the next iPhone come out again? Summer? *looks at current iPhone 3GS* I wonder if it'll have a higher resolution... hmmm... :)
Here's what I've been working on for the past few weeks. If you're not a RescueTime user and you just want to see how much time you waste in Firefox, try it out! No account needed, so it's private. A Chrome version is coming next. (Note: If you already use RescueTime this won't do anything so as to avoid conflicts).
I just moved my main site over to posterous. It was HORRIBLY outdated and I haven't really posted anything blog related (other than usual Facebook, Twitter shorts) in over a year now. Mark my words, that's all going to change! Mark them.
Here's a clue about something I've been working on recently:
Here's a look at my top 5 applications from 2008 and how much time I spent in them by week.
(from an alpha version of an upcoming version of RescueTime)
TextMate is the app I use to do all my coding. It was a rough summer for writing code, it seems...
Our next president has a blog.
The entire website makes me giddy. If this is what we can expect from our new administration when it comes to information access and interaction, I'm going to feel so at home.
From the page source:
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js'
They use google analytics.
This is a really interesting page. I love that they essentially have a feedback/submit ideas form.
Based on this and the barackobama.com site (on which I made a profile in Feb 2007, btw ha), you can tell the people in charge are on top of the latest in internet application development best practices. Their entire site is pretty state of the art. I can't wait to see where they're going to take this.
Government 2.0 is coming.
Edit: I forgot he also twitters: http://twitter.com/barackobama
- Current Mood: cheerful