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Old 10-25-2011, 04:51 PM
Jbone Jbone is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Somewhere, Out There
Posts: 229
Need Something Else to Browse Online

At work I often have some down time, which is different from slacking off. I have chunks of time where I can literally sit and stare at my screen. I would gladly work if I had something to work on, so I try to fill this time up by searching anything that has pops into my head at the moment. I browse through a lot of the SD archives, and tour around the forums here and other sites. They're great because the sites don't have a lot of graphics or flashy ads. At the end of the day I often found little satisfaction after looking back at what I did with that time.

I'm trying to find something that might give me some sort of new skill, or anything might have some value. I tried signing up for a site to learn Spanish, but it draws to much attention to itself to people walking past. Basically I'm trying to find someplace that will teach me something useful and doesn't look like I'm foolin' around.

Mostly text is good, but a few pictures here and their won't hurt. I can resize my browser window to crop out most ads that might appear on either side.

Any of you guys have any suggestions? Thanks!
Old 10-25-2011, 05:32 PM
Scathach Scathach is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 778
Learn some scripting maybe? If you do anything that involves lots of text manipulation Perl could come in handy?

Lots of tutorials online which would be text based.
Old 10-25-2011, 06:34 PM
Jbone Jbone is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Somewhere, Out There
Posts: 229
Originally Posted by Scathach View Post
Learn some scripting maybe? If you do anything that involves lots of text manipulation Perl could come in handy?

Lots of tutorials online which would be text based.
I tried programming languages several times in my life, and it never went well. Something about it that I just can't wrap my head around. I can look at a script and have a fairly good idea of what it does, but I can't create something like it from scratch.

I tried learning it again earlier this year, but still something in my head doesn't "work" that way.
Old 10-25-2011, 08:39 PM
Dave Hartwick Dave Hartwick is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,902
If you can, install AdBlock, it'll cut out the ads. Versions available for Chrome and Firefox.

Can't really help with the main question, though, as I don't know enough about your interests.

There are plenty of resources for learning more about, say, Microsoft Office. If you work with Excel, you can do some programming by recording macros without having to write much in the way of code. I personally found Access to be a pain to learn on my own and it may not be worth the trouble as most businesses avoid it if they can use something else. But Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, Visio, are possibly worth learning more about.

If you can wear headphones, you could get mp3 versions of lectures or non-fiction books and listen while the macro you recorded in Excel busily generates random numbers, sorts them, pastes them to a new tab, deletes them, and repeats. Move the mouse now and again and push some buttons so the screen saver doesn't kick in and if anybody asks you say "oh, I'm just trying to fix a problem I have with this spreadsheet". Not that I've ever done anything like that myself.
Old 10-25-2011, 09:29 PM
Number Number is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,245
You could fix minor flaws on Wikipedia. There are several projects such as the Typo Team and Disambiguation pages with links which can benefit from little bouts of random, disjointed labor from a lot of people.

It's a bit addictive, as once you start fixing one set of problems, you stumble across others that aren't that much trouble to fix, and before you know it your Preferences page is telling you that you've made thousands of edits.
Old 10-25-2011, 11:27 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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I like Arts & Letters Daily.
Old 10-26-2011, 03:50 AM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
I highly recommend . It is the be-all and end-all of Justin groping his girlfriend's boobs and what not.

Also they have an informative page titled "Where is Justin Bieber Right Now?" Which is obviously VERY VERY important news.

(Sorry. I'm VERY near the #OccupyOakland madness right now and am attempting some levity at the moment.)
Old 10-26-2011, 04:49 AM
DragonAsh DragonAsh is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,293
Hmm - an idea of interests/hobbies would help, but:

World development & Econ:

Just about every university has distance learning courses - some for certificates, some for degrees and such. Even better, materials for dozens, if not hundreds, of MIT courses are available online for free here:

How about listening to podcats? / Radio Lab / This American Life / NPR Planet Money / More or Less: Behind the Stats / The History of Rome / Freakonomics Radio / History of the World in 100 Objects / A Brief History of Mathematics / London School of Economics: Public Lectures & Events

That should get you started <g>
Old 10-26-2011, 01:01 PM
Jbone Jbone is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Somewhere, Out There
Posts: 229
Thanks for all the responses!
I'm not looking for any subject in particular. I guess I'm just looking for some change of pace from my normal routine of browsing a forum here, checking a news article there, rinse/repeat.
I think I'll give a shot at the podcasts first, that might be something I can listen to on and off throughout the day.
Old 10-26-2011, 06:22 PM
Sri Theo Sri Theo is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 392
The forums are the biggest time wasters on the internet, followed closely by the front page is basically full of email forwards but the /science /politics and /til will always kill an hour or so.
Old 10-26-2011, 07:07 PM
picker picker is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Auburn, CA
Posts: 2,583
If you're using Chrome, check out the apps store. There are tons of great games, projects, newsfeeders etc with available apps for free.

Also, if you're into perusing the web for interesting things, I can't recommend tumblr enough. Flipping through random tumblr pages is delightfully weird. There's so much odd and wonderful stuff out there, pretty much anything somebody thought was worth putting on the web.
Old 10-27-2011, 12:25 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,492 has links to things of just about any subject you can imagine. A lot of the stuff you'll hit is "meh" but you will run into gems that you really want to explore further.
Old 10-27-2011, 01:29 PM
even sven even sven is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
Long Reads is good for meatier, more substantial reading than your average website.

At my last boring job, I streamed the BBC World Service and had a good rotation of podcasts. They can really help pass the time.

Download the Kindle reader, and buy actual books. For languages and the like, this can be a very good option.

And set up a good daily reading list with Google Reader. I use Feedly to read from- it's much nicer looking than standard Google Reader.


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