pulling the plug

July 26, 2003
So, I've taken a boldish step at work: all of our web access is through a proxy server, and I've taken the step of disconnecting from that server during the work day, disabling my ability to get to the web. I put it back during my lunch hour and at the end of the day, and if I have a legitimate need to look something up online for my project, but besides that, nuthin'.

It's a radical step, and I've only been doing it for a few days, but I've found myself having trouble focusing on the tasks that I'm paid (and pretty well!) to do. When I'm on a "cool" project, I have little trouble applying typical geek focus and working like a maniac, but when the project is more grueling, when I'm not learning anything new tech-wise, when parts are difficult, but in a "there's no way to do this quite right" rather than a "challenging, let me think about this and find a great solution" kind of way, I can get a little... intimidated, frankly... and I start craving distraction. It's kind of a form of occasional writer's block, and being able to browse the web is just dangerous at those times.

I've learned a couple of things that make this switch-off more palatable. One is, most things on the web will be there in a couple of hours when I get home. Two is, I don't get that much important e-mail during the day (and thanks to my antispam whitelist, I can postpone deleting the spam without the good stuff getting buried.) Three is I should stop being less dependent on CNN.com anyway; ever since 9-11 I was craving any information about possible terrorist activity (and a few years before then, it was information about what Y2K was going to look like...I'm a bit neurotic) but knowing about any event 15 minutes before word gets around the office isn't going to help me that much. Finally, I want to be trustworthy. Someone in a professional position should be able to be counted on to stay on target. It's cheesy, but I printed "TRUST" in a big font on a sheet of paper and put it on the old cube wall: corny, but it helps.

So, especially if anyone from my company is reading this, I don't want to give the impression that prior to this I've just been a giant click monkey day in and day out, but there was room for improvement of focus.

Office Observation of the Moment
On a related note, I've made Kirk's Early Exit Observation: if anyone leaves the office before five PM, no matter how blatantly obvious it is that they're going home (bags carried, coats worn, car keys jangled, etc,) they won't say good night to anyone. They feel guilty! Or maybe they think no one will notice. I do the same thing.

Games of the Moment
I already posted this over a year ago, but Orisinal has added even more great games with a beautiful sense of whimsy and motion. (This preview trailer is cool too.)

TV Quote of the Moment
Hey, uh, is it horny in here or is it just me?