Distractions abound everywhere you look on the Internet. Whether it’s your favorite websites or social networks (or possibly both), having instant access to these time-wasters can be crippling to one’s productivity. Have you ever wished for a way you could extricate yourself from those distractions without having to fully disconnect your computer from the Internet?
If you answered “yes”, Anti-Social – the Mac OS X Social Networking Block Software – might be just what you need. Anti-Social (which retails for $15) blocks you from your worst digital distractions, like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s how it works:
- Launch Anti-Social.
- Supply a list of websites to block in Anti-Social’s dialogue box.
- Specify the interval of time to block those sites in 1 minute increments, all the way up to 8 hours.
- Authenticate to confirm your settings.
- Bask in the glow of your new found productivity.
Optionally, you can choose to block or allow email access during your Anti-Social session. To keep temptation at bay, every time you attempt to access a site on your blocked list, you get a DNS error. Your sites are blocked across all browsers and clients.
There are two ways to regain access to the blocked sites you’ve set:
- Wait for the alotted time interval to expire.
- Reboot your Mac.
You can always customize the sites you want to block when your next Anti-Social session begins. After your session is over, a dialog box appears to let you know how long you’ve been anti-social. On a bit of an ironic note, the app lets you Tweet a note to let the world know how long you’ve been “anti-social” after your session expires.
Having used the app for about a week now, I can easily vouch for Anti-Social’s effectiveness. I typically set the app to block sites for two hour increments. Knowing that I can’t easily access my favorite time-wasting sites (Amazon.com, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) really makes it easier for me to focus on the task at hand.
The best part of Anti-Social is that it’s not an all or nothing approach; I can still access the Internet for productive purposes in order to get my work done. If you’re looking for an “all or nothing” approach, you may want to check out Freedom – also made by the same developer.
$15 may seem a little steep for this one-trick pony – but, in my experience, the regained productivity easily justifies the expense. The trial version of Anti-Social is fully functional, and allows you up to five uses. It’s a good way to see if the app is really right for you.
Furthermore, Anti-Social comes with a 90 day money back guarantee option. If you don’t like the extra productivity you gain from using the app, you can get your money back within that window of time.
As of this writing, Anti-Social is only available for the Mac platform. But the developer promises that a Windows version is being worked on and will be released soon.
To summarize, Anti-Social may not be for everyone, but if you value a distraction-free desktop environment as much as I do, it’s indispensable. In my own use case, Anti-Social does what it does in a simple and effective manner. For that reason, Anti-Social earns a 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.