Dealing with Time Wasters

Reading draws me in.  While this has done me much good in my life, it also means that I can easily get sucked into reading a news site, and waste too much time.  It took me a long time to figure out how to effectively block sites that I want to browse occasionally.

To start with, I realized that I could block a site by putting an entry into /etc/hosts.  For example, If I want to block, I have:

This prevents the browser from opening the page, due to it not being found in DNS.

However, I do periodically want to catch up with friends and family, so I would edit that file, and comment out the line:


However, from there on, I could browse it again, and I was wasting time.

A simple script removes the comment characters:

$ cat ~/bin/disable_hosts


cat /etc/hosts | sed 's!^#127!127!' > $TEMP 
sudo mv $TEMP /etc/hosts
sudo chmod a+r /etc/hosts

But I had to remember to run that. And via sudo.  I wanted it automated.  The solution was cron.

$ sudo crontab -l
0 * * * * /home/ayoung/bin/disable_hosts

Runs it hourly, at the top of the hour. After that, my timewasters are blocked again.


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