Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit | page 2 login
I Add 3-25 Seconds of Latency to Every Site I Visit (howonlee.github.io)
1563 points by curuinor 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 434 comments

This is actually a brilliant idea, but I want to ask about something slightly off-topic, hope others can chime in as well:

> Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for

I've never heard of such forums. Does anyone have any examples of these? In particular ones that you pay for, but I'm interested in free ones too.

The SomethingAwful forums [0] used to cost $10 to join [1] in the early 2000s. A more recent example is the Farnam Street community, which costs money to join [2].

[0] https://forums.somethingawful.com/

[1] https://secure.somethingawful.com/products/register.php

[2] https://fs.blog/membership/

Does anyone here use FS? Do you find it helpful (we’ll leave aside questions of cost), or is it like ... productivity porn?

The Something Awful forums is the obvious candidate here. It costs a flat 10$ to create an account. This generally makes trolling, spamming and scamming a losing proposition and broadly helps with the signal to noise ratio.

It’s unclear to me what that -is-. Is it just a paid forum?

Yes, mainly, but it used to offer a bit more than that, not sure of the current status.


I'm partial to Sufficient Velocity[1], which is focused on SF and Creative Works.

It's a niche space, but it's a niche space I enjoy, for all of its faults.

[1]: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com

I've been thinking of these types of quotes for a while now "Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%." (from this first link in the post)

And kind of thought that no one believes in that anymore, that it was a 90s thing - at least when considering the absolute mad UX that is prevalent today. Some sites must deliberately pretend to process your decision for close to a second just to annoy you.

100ms latency is bad but privacy banners with stupidly obvious dark UI patterns (where they are even deliberately breaking the law) are worth it? In what universe does that make sense? There is something seriously ill with the web today.

Maybe this article is a cure. Not one I imagined but I'm intrigued.

Not only that but latency is introduced artificially to make users feel more confident about changes they've made.



If the app or site isn't trying to sell me something then I don't see the draw. I understand the research around the marketing aspect but if I've already paid for something using a sleep() doesn't seem like it would make me trust something. I think I would rather ask why something is so slow (and doubly-so for anything on-prem which should be fast!).

If research shows users aren't sure if something happened then fix the UI to give some feedback to the user that their action was registered. This will likely involve a small delay even if it's just in the user's perception of the feedback but less than presented in the articles.

It's been much too long since I've run or participated in a UX study so maybe it's a good time to get back into it.

> Some sites must deliberately pretend to process your decision for close to a second just to annoy you.

Not just to deliberately annoy you, but also to try and sell to you.

If you go do your taxes on a very popular tax site, you will eventually get to pages that say things like "finding all your deductions!" or similar with progress bars. Well that's not really happening because that was done in milliseconds, instead that page is trying to upsell you to the Premium or Platinum or Uranium version.

Here in my country (a developing country in Africa) internet speed is so bad you don't have to add any latency filter - just thinking out loud.

I moved to a rural area in Europe with poor internet. Those GIFs take their time to load!

Hmm. Are there any VPN providers there? :-)

How is a VPN supposed to increase speed?

If all of my procrastination passed through a slow VPN, it would increase the speed of my real work greatly. :-)

Which country is that?

Profile says Nigeria. Kano specifically.

I wrote an extension for this since I couldn't find a good one for Firefox. Feature and pull requests welcome


Just what I was looking for! Thanks for this add on. For me youtube.com would still be extremely important. I set the blue window with the text to white and deleted the text, it's too embarrassing to have the big blue text on my screen.

I'll add youtube to the list! Hm, I hadn't thought of that angle, maybe a white background and small text is a better default

Could we customize the splash screen colours and text?

Yes it's in the settings! I could add support for arbitrary CSS as well if you'd like :)

This is fascinating.

My laptop died during this one month of travel I’m doing, and I’m stuck doing everything on mobile. (No apple licensees where I am.)

I bought a keyboard for my iPad, it’s still painful AF. So I began avoiding and canceling unimportant tasks because of their inconvenience.

And then I realized: how much of this mindless garbage do I accept on my plate just because I am trying to „optimize my productivity“?

(Typed with two thumbs. Perhaps hypocritically?)

A couple of years ago I was pretty addicted to Facebook and would compulsively open a new tab and start typing "f..." in the address bar. Even if I had another tab with Facebook open.

I tried blocking it for lapses of time but it didn't reduce my addiction. What did work was logging out of Facebook. The annoyance of having to log in and stop my flow was enough for me to stop using Facebook. Now I use it less than once a month when I want to contact some company that only has a Facebook page.

It helps that Facebook is pretty annoying when logged out, not sure it would translate well to Reddit (or HN). Maybe I should insert adds, banners, etc, on purpose in my tabs?

It would not help much on HN for me but if I was forced to use new Reddit I would stop using it. AFAIK you can't opt out unless you are logged in.

Bingo. I did quit facebook by changing my password to a long random string that I had noted down on paper but not ever saved in the pass manager, together with auto deleting the cookies every day at 12AM.

The sheer annoyance to re-log-in made me quit FB in about a week.

You can also just unsubscribe from everyone.

Another from me: blacklist the recommended questions from other stackexchange sites! I always get distracted by some juicy story on workplace.se or interpersonal skills or academia or worldbuilding or politics. My monkey brain will read those questions and think about the answer, then I have to click and see what others say. But Stackoverflow remains productive if I block this box.

I wonder if, in the near future, we might not need blinkers¹ for internet, like we put on horses to keep them focused on the road, or conversely not distracted or scared by things around.

Basically ad/js blockers elevated to content selectors, somewhere halway between full functionality and reader mode of the core content of a page.

I see a literal tsunami of tiny projects like that on HN and various other places, and I suspect it's quickly gaining the characteristics of a product category — how much would you pay, or give away, to reclaim a distraction-free highly-focused web experience? Not sure about individuals (most mainstream users), but in businesses, offices, on the clock? That makes a stupid amount of sense. ("stupid" because, heh, it's seeking a solution for a problem we created in the first place, businesses deploring the consequences of things whose causes they cherish, should we say champion in modern lingo.)

[1]: not that kind! https://www.pictorem.com/collection/900_Pawel-Kuczynski_blin...

For those interested, I use these Ad-block (uBlock Origin) filters on Stackoverlow Network sites:

  ! Block the hot network questions for focus
  ! Get rid of the distracting "Blog" area
  superuser.com,stackoverflow.com,stackexchange.com###sidebar > div:has-text(Blog)
  ! This banner reappears for me
  ! Block the left sidebar that takes up space

StackOverflow even has a setting in your profile to block those. You have to be logged in, of course.

You don't need a fancy solution to randomly add latency -- just do what I did and sign up for Cox Internet.

I've heard the latency can be as bad as 3 days depending on how strong the wind blows.

This is the trap that so many fell into when they ditched DSL for CPL (Carrier Pigeon Line). The price was right; the bandwidth was _incredible_ (1TB packet sizes!); and the latency, bad as it was, was something you expected and prepared for. What's easily missed, as you pointed out, is the variability of that latency. If the wind is in your favor you'll have the latest copy of the internet downloaded in one or two days, unlike those plebs on fiber who have to spend weeks downloading the thing. But one strong headwind later and you'll be spending your time reading the x86 reference manual* for the hundredth time while you wait.

* Fun side fact (as if this comment was enough of a tangent already), you used to be able to request a _free_ physical copy of the x86 reference manuals. Not sure if that's still the case, but younger me was _thrilled_ when I found out and received that small library in the mail.

You haven't been able to do so for at least a decade. I requested one from Intel a decade ago and they recommended asking a print shop to print and bind the PDF.

Low-latency isn't the only problem, I think. The small-enought latency seems to be worst: you click somehing and wait for the reward just few ms later. Incresing this wait to seconds prevents this effect.

Well I am on a not so fast connection a lot and what is even worse: click on something and get absolutely no clue the click event was registered.

Click again to see if you did something wrong and, yes, youe action was registered 2 times causing all kinds of trouble.

To all SPA developers around the word: show me if I interacted and show me if something is loading.

I ensure my loading graphic shows for a minimum of 333ms to make sure my users see that something was happening, just incase the operation completes too fast for the user to realize it happened.

Depends on how big of an addict. And also you could just disable the extension as well like you do for your failed site blocking extension of preference.

What if we just open our filter bubbles so that not every click has that effect?

We self select into our bubbles anyway. Especially amidst an almost subconscious addictive trawl across the internet. There's a stereotype of computer addiction that shows the user as this active, hyper alert entity absorbing everything they possibly can. The reality is that you sit there, numb to everything, barely attentive, clicking over and over again.

The trope of someone closing reddit, only to open reddit again, is a microcosm of that. If you were actively participating in the decision making and thinking clearly, you would never make that mistake. Something else is driving your trawl.

> Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for and HN

What are the names of these early 2000's style forums? I would like to join them too.

City-data.com and metafilter.com comes to mind.

The Something Awful forums would fit this bill for me.

I just use a VPN connecting to a far away server so that the latency does go up and at the same time confuses the sites I’m visiting.

You know, it never occurred to me to treat the latency of TOR as a feature rather than a bug.

The only reason why I wasn’t using TOR for all of my browsing is because of the latency. I guess I might just use it now.

Nice! I recently launched a similar Chrome extension (free, open source, no tracking or ads) that also includes a greyscale option to make the websites less interesting / addicting once they load https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/get-your-focus-bac...

Thanks for reminding me to reset my iPhone to black and white!

This is a great idea. I know various types of addiction have a negative impact on the prefrontal cortex, which handles your ability to focus and manage time. I would like to see research investigating the relationship between internet addiction and one's attention span - I feel like my ability to read difficult literature and focus on creative hobbies like music is worse today than it was when I was in middle school.

Any recommendations for a Firefox alternative to Crackbook Revival?

You can configure Leechblock (1) to do this. You have to configure it to show the 'Delaying page'.

(1) - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/leechblock-ng...

I tried that, but only works for the first visit of a domain? Once I've waited those seconds for the page to load I can mindlessly wander around for hours if I don't close the tab.

there's a checkbox `Block only first accessed page of site when delaying page is used`. Uncheck it.

You could try DelayWebpage(1) which I made since I couldn't find a good alternative on Firefox. It's pretty basic so if there's any feature missing, feel free to request it, send a PR or fork the repo(2)

1. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/delaywebpage/ 2. https://github.com/OskarDamkjaer/FirefoxDelayWebpage

One out of the box option is Dev Tools > Network and there's a Throttling dropdown on the right. Set it to something like GPRS and watch the added latency.

This applies for all sites though, whereas you want it for specific ones like reddit

Sure. Still a good place to start if you are looking to trial the idea.

Continuing to think "inside the box" of built-in Firefox tools you could pair it with different windows in different profiles, train yourself to open the "addictive" sites only in the throttled profile. I don't have the Containers add-in installed, but I wonder if you can throttle Containers separately (and if not, might be an interesting feature request).

Not simulating slow connection but delaying page display via JS/Tempermonkey.


Something I've found beneficial is to self-enforce a "search-only" usage of social media (youtube, twitter, etc). Essentially, don't allow yourself to mindlessly consume feeds, but if you'd like to search for something specific, go ahead.

It might be worth writing some sort of extension or wrapper website to enforce this.

Another suggestion: Limit your browser use to only one tab at a time. Or, allow yourself multiple windows but only one tab each.

If it takes 8 seconds to load a website I could see someone just opening a bunch of tabs and coming back to them later. This suggestion avoids that (among other accomplishments).

Good suggestion. I do feel that any self-imposed rule or limitation will be vulnerable to you simply deciding to ignore or bypass it though.

I had this exact thought. I often use the middle click button to open a bunch of tabs from the reddit front page and get back to them later.

So I'm trying the Crackbook Revival extension and it's actually a bit devious. You can set it to increase the delay every time you try to open a site on your list. And if you switch away from the tab, it resets the timer so you can't just wait it out while looking at other links. It also doesn't seem to tick down if you open it in another window.

LeechBlock NG (the browser extension) has a "delay" mode of blocking. Make sure you enable "count only active tab" or it will waste much RAM and CPU.

With full blocking I used to cheat by disabling the block, and then "forgot" to enable it again.

With delay-based blocking I'm also cheating: instead of waiting for the delay I get up and do some minor chore. I used to feel smug about how clever I was, sabotaging my own block. Until I realized what a positive change this was.

PS: I've waited 40s to submit this comment. You'll need another plugin to recover the text if you submit and then hit the delay page. Or submit before the timer runs out.

It doesn't work on reddit.com though. It keeps reloading the page and the delay page gets triggered in a loop.

Please tell me how you configured LeechBlock NG. I tried the delaying mode, but only works for the first visit of a domain? Once I've waited those seconds for the page to load I can mindlessly wander around for hours if I don't close the tab.

You could try DelayWebpage, it seems to fit you better. It's open source so any feedback is appreciated

Link to the extension which in turn links to the git repo: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/delaywebpage/

I think that is the point. It doesn't block the website entirely lest you go and disable the extension. It's designed to frustrate you slightly.

I see. Not very functional for those who have tabs for these sites permanently open.

Right, I always open news front pages from a bookmark for some reason, and stories as background tabs. Each tab has its own delay-block when activated, and at some point I usually close unread tabs instead of waiting for them.

But the block repeats every few hours, and I'm pretty sure that clicking on a link within the same tab repeats the block then (maybe depends on the page). So yes, the "dosage" of how many delays you get is not very well controlled for. Still, I'm using this setup for years and it definitely does something for me.

It seems like this kind of thing is much easier if one has a considered purpose and direction in life, that let one derive joy from making stepwise progress toward those: a vision, strategy, goals, tasks. We all have to choose what we love the most, and implement that in our daily decisions & acdtivities. Whether one is religious or not, I have written about this more, at a simple, I hope skimmable, site: http://lukecall.net/e-9223372036854588981.html .

Exception: If I’m researching technical topics I want the fastest computer, browser, and internet possible.

You want the fastest possible connection when doing real work. But slow when just playing around.

I get the sentiment, but I do not agree at all... similar to putting fences around all the coastlines of the world, I would rather just teach my children to swim.

I had to go back and make sure what was being said was actually the case which now makes me question what one does with all that latency time... just sit and breath and try not to totally freak out? I don't want to come off as too crass on this, but this type of self-regulation is just totally missing the mark (unless I'm missing something here).

A good quote I don't have a source on: you do not rise to the level of your ambitions, you fall to the level of your systems. Willpower is finite, but you can maximize it with systems like this.

Makes me think of the quote (paraphrased): "Your reach should always exceed your grasp." To me it feels like you are tamping down your maximum reach.

I tried that for a long time and didn't get anywhere. Building a safety net of systems/habits raises the floor for the inevitable slips back down.

I think there are a few parts to this.

Firstly, if you are addicted it's too late, your willpower is shot. Blocking a site to retrain yourself is a good idea.

Humans are creatures of habit. If putting up a temporary fence forces you to build the habit of swimming between the flags - when you take away the fence your monkey brain is hopefully stuck with the good habits.

It's also a single person, vs a billion dollar industry that is spending a shit tonne of money trying to get them addicted.

See also https://www.xkcd.com/862/ 's alt text

> After years of trying various methods, I broke this habit by pitting my impatience against my laziness. I decoupled the action and the neurological reward by setting up a simple 30-second delay I had to wait through, in which I couldn't do anything else, before any new page or chat client would load (and only allowed one to run at once). The urge to check all those sites magically vanished--and my 'productive' computer use was unaffected.

And: https://blog.xkcd.com/2011/02/18/distraction-affliction-corr...

>At various times, I thought of doing it with an X modification, Firefox extension, a Chrome add-on, an irssi script, etc—but none of them worked too well (or involved a lot of sustained undistracted effort, which was sort of a Catch-22). Then I hit on a much simpler solution:

>I made it a rule that as soon as I finished any task, or got bored with it, I had to power off my computer.

I'm always interested in the "one year later" follow-up to these suggestions. I love that someone found a cool hack that worked for them, but did it survive?

I found the shutting down solution to be quite useful actually

There's an analogue for consumerism in young single adults who haven't settled down: Next time you move, put everything you own in a box. You can only take something out of the box to use it. After 6 months (or a duration of your choosing), simply discard the box and everything still in it. The theory is that you won't miss anything you didn't actually need.

Network Link Conditioner is new to me. (I’m not a developer.) I find it strange that this exists, because as a mobile application consumer, it has been my experience that many apps don’t seem to consider network quality in their implementations. (Again, just based on my personal use; absolutely zero rigor in my method.)

I suppose this the result of a feature of the human being: be lazy as possible. Rather than write code for poor quality networks (which in my experience are prevalent in rural areas and in older parts of cities) simply declare “we need faster mobile networks for all!”

I suspect this will be a never-ending battle, and developers might consider caring at some point, to reach those eyeballs that will never have the cutting edge mobile networks.

Or, don’t, and said eyeballs will be slightly less likely to become addicted, if this article is to be believed.

Interesting. I'm surprised this actually works for people. For me it would it would just make me waste more time, and turn browsing into a stress multiplier instead of a stress reliever.

I favor extensions that give an alert or block the site after a certain time. More effective and less anger inducing for me personally.

I can understand where they’re coming from I think.

I browse HN or reddit a lot when I put something in motion that will take 4-30 seconds to complete. Because who can wait tens of seconds for something.

Then 15 minutes later...

But if I know that I’ll probably have to wait just as long for the site to load then perhaps I’d just sit and endure, maybe...

Lately I've simply been keeping the slow activity visible on screen, it's been enough that the flicker of motion when it finishes can pull me away from the distractions.

This is basically an application of CBT, so it's not surprising that it works.

Make room for yourself to notice you're doing something you don't want to do aka mindfulness and that space allows you to change your behavior.

I’m still surprised that this type of findings hasn’t had more of an impact on commercial design. It is not uncommon to find Fortune 500 sites with load times over 20 seconds. I get it that it is hard to write and maintain clean code, still, repeated studies have shown the value proposition is there.

Here is a little proof of concept I did awhile back to see how tight I could make a responsive page with a good amount of graphics. The whole page is two server calls (one is for the fav icon). It loads in about 400 ms total from github or in less than 200 from Godaddy shared hosting: https://pbskidd.github.io/cockenoe

I was recently looking at getting new hardware to improve Chrome loading times. (This is a somewhat theoretical affair for me since my desktop is already pretty fast.) But, now I wonder if I should downgrade.

Maybe it's good not to upgrade to the latest iPhone?

You can use a somewhat similar method easily on your phone, using iOS’ Screen Time to “block” certain apps. Then it’ll pop up and tell you you’ve “reached your limit” and gives you enough time to think about what app (or web/Safari) you’re about to use in order to interrupt any default undesirable patterns (also related maybe to the psychological concept of Delay Discounting). I’ve found it very helpful to reduce my app usage - https://www.nexle.dk/5-simple-steps-to-improving-your-mobile...

I dropped my phone a while back and the screen now has issues. It gets "streaks" all across the entire screen. It's harder to see content, but you can get by. My first inclination was to get it fixed, but I've now had it this way for several months. I find I use my phone a lot less and now sort of consider the streaks a "feature".

I've investigated going to a true dumb phone, but that's not nearly as feasible now as I would prefer. The Nokia 3310 is the only reasonably priced option I can find; and all the boutique, low volume dumb phones are absurdly expensive.

Overall, the not-smartphone thing is great! I wasn't particularly hooked on my (basic) smartphone, but definitely feel a bit more present without it. The urge to look at the rectangle in my pocket after being idle for 5 seconds is gone.

I switched to a Nokia 8110 a couple months ago, and really want to like it, but the basics are too poorly done. On the 8110 in particular, the keys are quite small, and their debouncing is terrible. I worry the debounce might be the same for other phones in that family, which all seem to have the same guts. A single keypress is very often interpreted as a double-press, which makes T9 frustrating and the predictive mode practically impossible.

There's no way to switch the ringer off, without opening the cover and navigating two layers of menu. The music player is borderline useless, a shame considering it has a microSD slot.

At least on my network (Vodafone NZ), MMS messages don't work in either direction - basically you have to ring someone back when they try to send you one.

The idea of having maps is nice. But, in practice, I've just reverted to noting directions in a notebook that I carry anyway. So, while maps was one of the main reasons I tried a Nokia KaiOS phone, it's not a requirement for the next one.

> Android is the hardest to do this in.

The Firefox addon LeechBlock NG can delay access to sites. Of course, that can't stop you from opening Chrome - which as far as I can tell, you can't uninstall from Android.

I use wondershaper:


And limit my speed to 256KB/s which sounds like a lot and 15 years ago that was really fast, but it's enough to stop me from gorging on YouTube videos, which interestingly are less addicting when viewed at a maximum of 480p.

Adding latency is not necessarily the best route, because some apps (looking at you, gmail) send tens of requests in sequence just to load the main page.

A monkey that occupy the screen for 5 seconds on each new frame load with quotes might neatly solve that problem.

Source code for the Chrome extension mentioned is here: https://github.com/Ishmaeel/CrackbookRevival

Is there any Free software alternative to the proprietary Charles Proxy?

After trying to find something similar myself, originally I found some "methods" online to bypass the trial time, but I eventually just gave in and bought a license - and IMO it does exactly what it says on the tin, and is still updated and is cross platform so I think it's worth it.

But if anyone knows of any nice GUI tools that are similar do share!

EDIT: Just thought I'd mention how I use it. Basically I use it like the chrome network tools, but I intercept POST requests to the server and try to much with the data that's sent to make sure the backend isn't blindly trusting the client, or to see if there's weird ways I can break the code with special input, etc.

mitmproxy, depending on what you're doing

This happens naturally for me. The worse a website is, the more javascript it uses. This is a pretty solid correlation. So I use a browser that is meant to browsing websites instead of one that's meant to run javascript applications.

This makes going to web app sites (the bad sites) fairly slow. Especially when I have to serially temp-whitelist 4 domains each requiring a reload of the page every time I visit.

But normal web sites that don't suck pop in instant and fast.

What about making it so that the amount of latency added is dynamic? It could be set up so that frequency of visitation leads to greater and greater latency. Something like exponential growth of 1.5x every time the site is visited with an exponential decay function applied since the last time visited. This would encourage slowing down, and would most heavily penalize the most heavily used sites which seems coherent with the goal.

There are ISPs that do this to customers who sign up for low price unlimited bandwidth deals and then hammer them for torrents. Traffic shaping them down to 1Mbit/sec or lower means they're likely to move onto another ISP within a few months.

Legally dubious, but no other way of managing the 1% of users who are using 95% of the bandwidth in a way you'd not provisioned for (because then your economic model is broken).

Non peak bandwidth should be effectively free for ISP’s. Limiting their bandwidth during those peaks should be sufficient without losing a customer.

The author's description of this as 'watering down' the Internet, as if some élan vital is absent, I think is potentially misleading. As the author makes clear, this is working to minimise the addictive aspects of browsing, not to block the content. All the content is still there, just organised in a way that forces you to acknowledge that you can't and shouldn't deal with it all at once, or non-stop.

I was really hoping this was more of an attack on the site, a way to get back at sites that don't work well due to too many ads/tracking. We should all really slow play the connections and data rates from advertisers/trackers - make them pay in latency. We need a tool to slow-play ads/trackers that happens in the background, where the user experience is blocking them anyway.

I have been using a chrome extension called waitblock [1] which does something similar and it did wonders for reducing my addiction.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/waitblock/kcnjfepp...

Linus Sebastian says that making his phone slower to open made him enjoy it more[1]. One easy way to make your phone slower to unlock is to give it a long password, this has the additional benefit of making your phone more secure.

[1] https://youtu.be/WGZh-xP-q7A?t=305

The article mentions that he has "Withdrawn mostly from Reddit in favor of early 2000’s style forums".

Which good ones are still around that are not specific to a certain topic? I am interested in this.

Since he said "that I pay money for", I'm assuming somethingawful maybe? Are there any others that are still good and active?

I'm also curious about this. I frequently find myself wishing for a Reddit alternative but haven't been able to find something worth switching to.

Does anyone know any free/open-source alternatives to Charles? The closest I could find was this [0] but it doesn't look like it can throttle connections for specific hosts

[0] - https://github.com/sitespeedio/throttle

I'm wondering what are those "early 2000’s style forums that I pay money for". A few months ago I stumbled into such a website mostly for programmers and the style is completely different from HN or Reddit or whatever sites I'm on. Sadly I lost the website during a laptop breakdown :(

"You get the web from 2 basic kinds of nightmare rectangle: laptops and desktops, where you control a material portion of the computing environment, or mobile and tablets, where you control less."

Gonna start using "nightmare rectangle" instead of "computer" from now on ...

This might be a good alternative to tools like Leechblock. Instead of blocking sites, give the "bad"/timewaste sites a bunch of random latency. It might discourage but not stop usage, which is useful when you need to use reddit or something to do research but not get distracted.

And it could be an escalating latency, so it gives you a bit of fast experience, but the more you use it, the slower it gets. I've used Leechblock, but I also find myself trying to game Leechblock sometimes. Being totally cut off from something can make me motivated in ways that just being annoyed by the experience wouldn't.

Another good way to reduce time spent on social media is to reduce the number of connections on each platform to less than 100 people/brands. All platforms struggle to find new crap to feed you with once you go below this threshold (except YouTube)

This post has some pretty good suggestions. But I always get frustrated with this issue and honestly there will never be a great solution to it.

The underlying problem is that addicting people is core to the business model of facebook, twitter, and many other sites. With the web coupled to the profit motive there will always be infinitely more resources put towards making sites addictive than making them user-friendly, ie, encouraging healthy user habits. If the web was treated as a shared, public utility with no-strings-attached funding for developing shared tools like social media as well as supporting user-written clients for everything, effective tools for this that anyone can easily use would proliferate and web addictiveness and these clunky solutions would be nearly a non issue.

This is basically the dream of socialism. Utility set free from the malignant requirements of profit. I think it's much closer to people's original dreams for what the internet could be before venture capital crept in and came to rule everything.

My internet addiction was at least 90% as bad even when I only had dial-up. Unfortunately, tabs make the latency thing an ineffective deterrent.

(In the dial-up days, before tabs, my workaround was to have 20 IE windows open.)

The Crackbook Revival chrome extension he mentions restarts its timer if you switch tabs, so at least it remains effective despite tabs

Interesting approach. I have gone one step further: I have simply blocked major sites I visit regularly. Every time I try to visit one of the sites I am reminded by the blocker that I should not.

(HN is one of them - but only on my mobile device)

This sounds a lot like what Apple slowly does to iOS to make you buy a new phone...

If you need this, consider just getting cheaper and slower Internet connection :)

>Android is the hardest to do this in.

I don't know a lot about Android development but could you use the Android VPN APIs to add latency to requests? I might use an open source app that adds this kind of functionality.

> Coerced old-style on Reddit without an infinite scroll

This is why I deleted the reddit apps and use the mobile site instead. Having only one page at a time really helps from sitting forever in an infinite scrolling list.

Does anyone know of a 2G/3G cell network in the US? Its would be cheaper and I know I avoid my phone a lot when it reverts to 3G when I run out of 4G data. I still want email, uber etc though.

>Deleted all variable pictures from YouTube with my adblock. The avatars of the people, the teaser images with people making obnoxious faces on them, the logo, etc.

invidio.us with "thin mode" on

I also deliberately slow down certain sites! It's wonderful.


I wonder if Apple would consider adding this to the Screen time feature? Otherwise I don't see how you can apply it on the iPhone for just certain websites or certain times of day.

They probably wouldn’t because it’s too specific. I’m in Germany and figured I’d just connect to one of the currently most used VPN Servers in New Zealand. Makes my connection slow when I can’t procrastinate or want to reduce screen time without actually blocking apps by enabling iOS Screen Time.

Lag is absolutely infuriating on a web browser.


Blocking comments from various sites is an amazing idea.

Are there any extensions anyone can recommend for doing this comprehensively across all the popular sites / 3rd party comment engines?

I often browse with umatrix blocking all third-party js, so I tend to whitelist some of those on a per—site basis. That might partially work for you.

My household has too many devices to setup individually. Anyone knows a good router to do this on? My router can blacklist ips and urls, but cannot just add latency to them.

My MikroTik router has traffic shaping fairly easily configurable. I have used it at times for the similar purpose. Though, if you know how to disable something, you eventually will.

If you want to know how it works in Linux:


Probably openwrt would be the way to go. It’s basically Linux. I don’t know offhand how to do this in Linux but I suspect there’s a solution easily available.

this is a fascinating idea but I had never heard of Charles Proxy

It's really great for a lot of network testing. It let's you intercept and modify requests/responses directly which is great for testing front end /backend input sanitization.

This is an excellent mental trick and I would love to be able to configure gradually increasing latencies as I sit on the internet for an extended duration

This is actually a really brilliant idea. Just make an addiction inconvenient instead of denying yourself. You could apply this to all kinds of stuff.

I took similarly extreme measures to end my video game addiction many years ago.

I played MMOs compulsively. They basically hijacked the reward center of my brain to the point where what happened outside of the game seemed completely irrelevant to me. I didn’t even see the point of showering.

During “moments of clarity” I understood perfectly well exactly what was happening to me, how the game was specifically designed to put me in that sort of state, how fake and toxic it all was.

So during these “moments of clarity”, I would take some of my life back by deliberately sabotaging myself inside the game so I wouldn’t want to play anymore.

I destroyed all my valuable items and deleted my characters.

When I came back, I told support it was an accident and they recovered the items and characters for me...

So then I gave all my valuable items to other players, thinking support couldn’t take those back from those people, because that would be creating free duplicates.

So I told support it was an accident, and they recovered the account and created duplicates of all of my lost items.

So I did that again, this time handing all the items to someone I knew.

Support again recovered the account and created duplicates of everything, but warned that they wouldn’t be able to do this a third time because of concerns about in-game markets being disrupted by duplicates.

So I did it again.

This time they recovered the account, and some of the items, but none of the most valuable ones.

Even then, I still wanted to play.

So this time I did the same, deleted all my items, deleted my characters, and created a new email account on yahoo.

I made that yahoo account’s username and password both something complicated I would never remember. I changed my game account’s email to that yahoo account, confirmed the email change, changed my game account’s password to something long I would never remember, changed all the game account’s personal and contact information to nonsense, logged out of the yahoo account, logged out of the game account, and closed the incognito tab.

I tried, but I never figured out a way to recover that account.

So I created a new account. Several times, but always repeatedly sabotaged myself during moments of clarity. Eventually, after a few weeks, I completely lost interest in trying and could finally do other things with my life.

I’ve used this same tactic with every game since. Total gameplay hours over the last 10 years have been maybe 50 hours or so for Fallout 3, and that’s it.

I don’t play anything anymore. Life has turned out unreasonably good since then, too. Career in software exploded.

Maybe because of redirected compulsivity.

Now I’m having a similar problem with workaholism.

I guess the real-world implementation of my prior solution would be to give all my money away, burn all my bridges, and go meditate in a forest somewhere. That doesn’t seem like such a great idea, though, especially with people depending on me. I’ll have to figure out a different solution for this one..

What you're looking for is probably "semester". Depending on where you live, your employer can't deny you two weeks off. Then you go somewhere where you wont have access to a computer. And treat yourself well. You should do that at least once or twice a year. You can also set "working hours" and just don't do any work outside those hours. Having a healthy work/life balance will make you even more productive at work.

> Used an extension to remove all the comments from Youtube

it's enough to block all cookies on YouTube and comments stop loading

I've been using this since this morning and can already feel the benefits. It's a great idea/extension.

The artisanal "slow internet" movement. It's like slow food movement, but for your data consumption.

Would a 25-minute latency be a good way to incorporate this tactic and Francesco Cirillo's Pomodoro Technique?

This is a great article to explain the dopamine fueled feedback loop. It's a simple way to fight it and win.

I add 1 second of latency when a Chrome user visits my website.

And I already convinced my boss to switch to Firefox.

reminds me of The Disconnect, the web-based magazine that you can only read when you're offline: https://thedisconnect.co/one/

that's hillarious, but if you reconnect, you lose your scroll position. i normally read things over days, weeks, months

Amazons underlying revenue comes from you paying for faster servers...

i'd like to do this on a home router for certain domains like reddit, facebook, instagram - are small devices capable of such selective buffering for long periods of time?

It's a common practice to put title in URL to boost SEO, but the URL seems to convert all space (%20) to 20 and I doubt it would still be useful...


It's not, it's just how my blogging thing works, I don't care much about SEO

It makes the URL less readable though

hello Howon! Hope you're doing well. :-)

️ from Vinay (an old friend)

For anyone who wondered why large tech companies pay Software Engineers so much, this is the reason. Software quality and performance translate into quantifiable dollar amount, and that amount is quite high.

So how do you calculate the expected added latency?

I've had similar addiction, 22 hours of AoE out of 24. But if you're addicted to just regular web, maybe you should go see a therapist. You might be trying to suppress something.

2007: Breakthrough Internet Communicator

2011: Black Mirror

2020: Nightmare Rectangle

"Nightmare Rectangle" is a brilliant phrase

Alternate solution: downgrade to a dial-up ISP.

speed isn't latency. i want to get my OS updates in a timely manner. but i don't want hackernews to be so enjoyable

this is why I still use old iphones. They're slow and I have javascript turned off so the web is WAAY less addictive.

why this application suggested on Blog read the Browser History.

> Reddit with 150ms latency feels like cocaine: Reddit with 8000ms latency feels like coffee.

Reddit with Spectrum internet latency feels like water.

So you’re intentionally wasting power and time. Cool. Maybe just go outside.

I also use Comcast.

Here's an app that simulates bad networks named Comcast:



What if you use your Comcast connection to test, the universe might implode.

Or, move to Australia to curb internet addiction.

This rules.

In remembrance of the dial-up time where, during load, you'd decide if you liked the content you thus far saw. Or, where you'd load some websites and disconnect internet to read offline.

The only time I want latency is when I have diarrhea.

You might find freedom.to useful. You can block websites for certain times of the day and it works with all devices.

I've found that if you can break the habit of reaching to some site when you're bored the addiction falls off pretty quick.

Programming has a lot downtime sometimes - waiting for a build or a long test run - and there's sometimes a steep context switch to working on something else. (At least for me if I start something new I'll forget what I was working on before) It's those times when I found myself on Twitter or Reddit.

One thing I've been trying to do instead is read an actual book - non-fiction does ok, I can usually follow the argument reading a few paragraphs at a time. And Kindle makes it easy to read in your browser and pick up where you left off on an e-reader.

One tricky thing though: I blocked YouTube only to be reminded that Google's login still goes through a YouTube domain, so I inadvertently made it harder to login :(.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact