Time Out Reviews

Simple, great in the free mode, many more features if you pay.

about Time Out · ·

Like many people, sometimes i will just work on the computer without looking up. Then i notice that the whole day is gone! This program will bring you back to health.

I use it on my Mac. The free version works pretty much perfectly out of the box (be aware of the xattr problem if you've got a new Mac). There are "micro" breaks, defaulting to 10 seconds every 10 minutes, and "regular" breaks of 1 minute every hour. You can force yourself to stop altogether, or have the option to postpone the break, or skip it altogether. Beware of addictively skipping breaks!

When a break happens i look away from the screen, preferably focusing long distance, and i, at least, stand up for a second. It would be better if i really walked away, but old habits are hard to break. I believe my health is better because of this program. The blood is flowing in my body again :), and my eyes don't feel as much of the strain.

The paid version has a lot more features: your own graphics; messages you can leave on your screen; sounds; all kinds of good looking stuff. I prefer Free and/or Open Source, but if you want some of the nifty features, it doesn't seem outrageously priced.

Now look around and stand up, at least for a second. :)

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Save your eyes! Rest your eyes and get up and move from time to time

about Time Out and f.lux, SelfControl, RescueTime · ·

I use this app in conjunction with f.lux to keep me healthy when using the computer. Otherwise it's all too easy to forget to blink, or to change my focus (my eyes would blue after hours of staring at the screen.

By default the program makes you take a 15 second micro break every 10 minutes to look away from your computer, close them, look out the window and admire the weather and scenery.

Then there's the bigger breaks which happen every hour where you get 10 minutes where you are encouraged to get up and move, get a cup of coffee and say hi to your neighbor/roommate/ partner what have you, or hey, you could go step outside, play on your yoga ball or just lie down, whatever suits you.

I looked for awhile and tried a bunch of other software solutions such as RescueTime and SelfControl before finding this one, and I'm just floored. The app is fairly simple, but it is well organized and the preferences are painless and easy to adjust. A white list to disable the breaks when specific programs are in focus like say media players VLC or webcam software like Facetime, Skype, etc proved helpful.

It even has a tab for launching applications, set status to away, shell scripts and more at the beginning or and at the end of breaks which I have not taken advantage of yet, but it's neat that it's there. (See some premade scripts on the developer' website.

Yes, it's annoying to force yourself to take breaks, but it is so worth it. My eyes are doing much better now, and I've been wanting to invite more opportunities to bump myself off the computer to socialize and go do stuff in the world outside of computers.

[Edited by adamlogan, October 14]

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