CREATIVE WAYS TO SPEND TIME ON THE INTERNET IN UGANDA

I tend to have not so good self-control when using the internet. Probably because I’m a naturally curious person. I remember when I was in college, every time I would look up a Wikipedia article, I would end up reading 10 Wikipedia articles due to link hopping and for that reason, here is a guide on creative ways to spend time on the internet.

In view of spending your time more effectively, I suggest the following tips:

1. Off Social Media

Completely cut Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and any other social sites out of your life. If you are unable to do this, strictly regulate the total time spent on these sites to 30 minutes to an hour each day. You can download Chrome extensions to help you with this like StayFocusd. But, I cannot emphasise enough how much these sites will ruin your life.

Everyone always comes to the defense of social media with excuses like, “well, I use Facebook to keep in touch with my high school friends and relatives overseas,” or “Twitter is how I stay up-to-date with current events,” or “you can learn lots of great things with specialized subreddits,” and so on. Yet when you look at a distribution of how people actually allocate their time, nearly none of it is spent doing the very things that person’s point to when they justify their behaviour.

It’s always just mindless scrolling, animated gifs, cat videos, the first twenty seconds of a really neat lecture, and so on.What could be a more devastating rebuke of social media than the fact that nobody uses it for the reasons it was designed? This is, of course, auxiliary to the more important reality that research on Facebook consistently shows that it makes everyone sadder and less fulfilled with life on average.

2. To-do lists

There may be nothing more insanely effective than a to-do list. Write down what you have to do, prioritise the list by difficulty, and be excruciatingly detailed when you write down your objectives. Don’t get fancy, don’t use Evernote or a Chrome Extension, or some app, just use paper and pen. Remember: when you don’t plan your time, you fail to take advantage of opportunities that avail themselves, and you go for the path of least resistance.

Who Cares?

This is perhaps the most important point. Next time you are about to post something to Facebook, or watch a funny video, or read a blog post, or get involved in an internet argument, ask yourself: Who cares? If something isn’t helping you to become a better you, don’t waste your time.

Now step back, and think of all the countless hours spent in front of screens, convincing yourself that it’s just one more video, or just one more picture, just one more.. and then remember that this is your life. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. This is it, this is all we have; you are the aggregate of your experiences. Do you want the average of those experiences to be summarised by a few URLs, a couple of videos, and some half-hearted commitments to better yourself?

So be vigilant! When you find yourself immersed in mindless consumption, ask yourself: “Who cares?” If what you’re doing right isn’t helping you become a better you, do something else.

Here are some Creative Ways To Spend Time on the Internet

Learn, Self-help / Advice:

  1. DIY – Get skills. Be awesome.
  2. My First Job – Top-notch executives talk about what they learned from their first job.
  3. Sick Science! – Easy, hands-on science experiments you can do at home.
  4. The Billfold – Everything you wanted to learn about money but was too polite to ask.
  5. 7 Cups of Tea – Free, anonymous, and confidential conversations with trained active listeners. Please don’t spam the site, they offer a great service
  6. Thrive On – Not completely free, but aims to bring affordable online mental health programs to those who would otherwise go without. Starting next month
  7. Instructables — Through fun videos and simple instructions, you can learn how to make anything from a tennis ball launcher to a backyard fort. You can also submit your own creations and share what you make with the rest of the world. Still wanting to learn more? You can visit eHow and gain a wide range of skills, such as how to cook, decorate, fix, plan, garden, or even make a budget.
  8. Investopedia — Learn everything you need to know about the world of investing, markets, and personal finance.

 

Culture & Trends:

  1. Reddit – A website about everything. Powered by the community, democracy and you.
  2. The Inquisitr – The latest stories to hit the web in entertainment, tech, news and more.
  3. The Daily What – Trending Internet culture (Cheezburger).
  4. Videogum – TV, movies and viral videos.
  5. Artlog – Everything you need to know in culture this week.
  6. Modern Mechanix – Yesterday’s tomorrow, today. Classic stuff.

 

Technology:

  1. Pocket-lint – Gadget news and reviews.
  2. TechHive – Products you’ll love and how to get the most out of them.
  3. Techdirt – Insight and analysis on technology, government policy, legal issues and more.
  4. GeekWire – Dispatches from the digital frontier.
  5. Gadget Review – Lifestyle gadget site.
  6. BGR (Boy Genius Report) – Mobile and tech news, reviews, opinions, insights.
  7. AnandTech – A deeper dive into tech down to the component level.
  8. OSNews – Exploring the future of computing.
  9. LifehackerOn this highly useful site, you’ll find an assortment of tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.

 

Entertainment:

  1. Project Gutenberg – Free books
  2. OpenLibrary – download out-of-copyright books, borrow in-copyright books.
  3. LibriVox – Free audio books
  4. Podiobooks.com – free audiobooks mostly from self-published authors.
  5. Documentary Heaven – Free documentaries
  6. Last.fm – Keeps track of your listening habits
  7. Songza – Playlists for whatever mood you’re in.
  8. Soundozer – it’s kind of like Pandora, but you can listen to any song you search for and you can create a station based on that song. You don’t have to register either.
  9. Grooveshark – free music, online radio, streaming.
  10. Jango – Free music – internet radio that plays what you want, great for those who can’t access Pandora.

 

Courses and tutorials:

  1. Class Central – Discover free online classes (MOOCs) from top universities like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc.
  2. FutureLearn – Learning for life, provided by UK and international universities.
  3. iTunes U – iTunes University offers many free open courses from leading university.
  4. Harvard Open Courseware
  5. MIT Open Courseware
  6. Yale Open Courseware – actual video lectures for the class so you can get the in-class experience. Lots of classes over lots of subjects.
  7. Stanford Open Courseware
  8. Khan Academy — Not only will you learn a wide variety of subjects through immensely helpful videos, but you’ll get a chance to practice them and keep track of your learning statistics, too. It’s a great way to further your understanding of subjects you’ve already taken or to learn something new. Other great learning sites include Udacity, Coursera, AcademicEarth, Memrise, Chesscademy, and edX.
  9. StackOverflow — It’s a question and answer site for programmers — basically a coder’s best friend. Other great sources to learn code are Learn X in Y Minutes, Codecademy, and W3Schools.
  10. PatrickJMT – making FREE and hopefully useful math videos for the world!
  11. Duolingo and FSI Language Courses– Free language learning
  12. Memrise – Learn vocabulary, languages, history, science, trivia and just about anything else easily using flashcard techniques.
  13. Anki – Similar to Memrise. Anki is a program which makes remembering things easily. Intelligent flashcards
  14. Mathway – Awesome math problem solver.
  15. Mendeley – The best free way to manage your research. Organise, share, discover. Great for when writing a paper, it manages all your referencing/bibliography in many different available notations
  16. Digital Photography SchoolRead through this goldmine of articles to improve your photography skills;  they’re helpful even if you’re a complete beginner. There’s also an active forum where you can find a community of other photographers to connect with.

 

Software/Add-ons:

  1. Ninite – update/install all your programs at once
  2. PortableApps – load several apps on a thumb drive to run on any Windows PC.
  3. SlimDrivers – Cloud-based program that detects what drivers need to be updated. Incredible–especially after formatting an operating system. No need for CDs or trying to remember which model card, adapter…etc. you have.
  4. Copy – Online cloud storage. Start with 15gb free.
  5. BitTorrent Sync – Secure, unlimited file-syncing. No cloud required.
  6. SyncThing – open source alternative for bitsync. its recommended if you care about your privacy and security of your files
  7. Mega Desktop Sync(50GB) and Symform (Unlimited, but you must share back!) – both cloud storage services
  8. Calibre – Free ebook library management
  9. F.lux – Changes the colour of your screen as the day progresses
  10. GIMP – Free photo manipulation software
  11. Paint.NET – Windows application designed to be the much-needed upgrade to MS Paint.
  12. Pixlr – Online photo editor. web-based equivalent to an old version of Photoshop from 2005 or something. Very functional for occasional use manipulating images, and seeing as it’s web-based and doesn’t require an account it’s super easy to use from anywhere.
  13. Sumo Paint – Powerful graphics editor for your web browser and PC.
  14. Blender – Open source, cross-platform suite of tools for 3D creation.
  15. Prey Project – Multi-platform anti-theft software
  16. KeePass – free, open source, lightweight and easy-to-use password manager.
  17. LastPass – free (with a premium for multiple platforms), easy-to-use password manager.
  18. Dictionary Popup extension, double click on a word that you don’t know the meaning of and a dictionary definition pops up.
  19. ClipX – ClipX is a tiny clipboard history manager. It is sweet, it is free, use it. ClipCube alternative.
  20. LeechBlock (Firefox add-on) – simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day.
  21. StayFocused – Chrome alternative to LeechBlock.
  22. Audacity – free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.
  23. Notepad++ – Notepad++ is a free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.
  24. Sublime Text – a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. Note that it is a never-ending free trial, but you should consider paying for the service to support the developers.
  25. Sublime Text ColourCoder Plugin – this plugin for Sublime Text will highlight every variable in its own, consistent colour ( a feature known as semantic highlighting, variable-name highlighting, contextual highlighting) you name it.
  26. Atom Editor – A hackable text editor for the 21st Century.
  27. Komodo Edit IDE – Powerful free editor for Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Tcl, Javascript and other major web languages.
  28. Celtx – Free scriptwriting and all-in-one production studio.
  29. Rainmeter – Windows desktop customisation. Similar to Conky for Linux.
  30. Handbrake – open source video transcoder, recommended by
  31. YouTube Video Converter – converts YouTube videos to MP3, AAC, MP4… Recorder, Converter and Downloader. recommended by
  32. Pocket – a great site for saving articles, recipes or whole pages for later offline viewing, and cloud syncs with all your devices. recommended by
  33. Feedly – Read more, know more. RSS feed. They also have an awesome app
  34. OpenOffice – Free office software
  35. LibreOffice – offers much more up-to-date software than OpenOffice. recommended by many people while I was sleeping
  36. TeraCopy – TeraCopy is designed to copy and move files at the maximum possible speed. It skips bad files during the copying process and then displays them at the end of the transfer so that you can see which ones need attention.
  37. MyNoise – Custom-shaped Online Noise Machines. recommended by
  38. Privacy Badger – developed by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and is a browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that helps lower your internet footprint and stop third party trackers from following your movement around the web.
  39. DistroWatch – Put the fun back in computing. Use Linux, BSD. This site gives detailed information on each Linux distribution and provides links to their respective communities.
  40. Spoon – Use your software and files from any desktop. free virtualization startup that lets users launch full desktop apps from any browser without having any of them installed on my computers.

 

Just cool:

  1. Outgrow.me – The marketplace for successfully crowdfunded products.
  2. You Had One Job! – Gathering all the careless mistakes in one place (photos).
  3. Betabrand – You want, they make. Prototypes are turned into fashionable products.
  4. Funofart – Lots of fun photography broken down into many categories.
  5. Coffitivity – Sounds that increase your creativity.
  6. Adventure Journal – Online magazine dedicated to outdoor adventure in all its forms.
  7. Collectors Weekly – Best of antiques, vintage, collecting.
  8. TED-EdThis  is a new initiative launched by TED with the idea of “lessons worth  sharing.” It is meant to spark the curiosity of learners around the world by creating a library of award-winning, animated lessons created by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators. You can create your own customised lesson to distribute around the world by adding questions, discussion topics, and other supplementary materials to any educational video on YouTube.

Sum up…

Honestly, there are so may other resources out there. I have only listed a few here that I have used and some recommended by friends and in forums. Hope this list of ways to spend your time on the internet will in some way be helpful to you. If you think I missed out on something, share with me in the comment box below.


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