Half a Month without Slashdot or Engadget

I posed a challenge at the end of last month on my other website (CreativityGames.net) that you give up your regular news sites for a month and use the time saved to ponder things and increase your creative potential. Of course,  if I was going to pose the challenge,  then I was bound to take it up myself.  I am now half way through the month and here are my observations,  revelations and wanderings.

For me it was Slashdot and Engadget that I gave up.  Now I realised after taking up the challenge that this was potentially bad timing given the impending release of iOS 4.2 and how much my iPad desires it but it was too late,  the challenge was laid down and accepted.  (Besides,  I figured that when it was released I’d hear about it by other means.)

How much time have I saved?  I reckon a good half an hour to an hour each day depending on how interesting the news was.

The first few days were tough.  My normal routine in a morning was to log onto the now banned sites and get a quick update on what’s happening in the industry.  Not anymore.  I was lost,  what would I do.  I soon found a project to keep me going,  Mastermind.  I like projects,  they open up many opportunities to learn and be creative.  I was soon engrossed in this and the two weeks have really flown by.

I spent my time pondering various aspects.  What would the best interface be?  I decided that smart boards and tablets could benefit from an interface taking them into account.  What is the best algorithm for critiquing each attempt?  I have a method that works but am convinced there is a more elegant solution out there.  What is the ideal ratio of peg colours to pegs in the code to attempts you get to crack the code?  I thought about leaving it up to the player to decide and making them all tweakable but eventually decided that too much choice can be bad and it would detract from the experience.

Mastermind is up and running now and I’m currently working on version two of the website.  In a few weeks more time it’s going to have some funky new features.

So,  what are my thoughts on the challenge thus far?  I think I’ve just about weened myself off Slashdot and Engadget and the extra time is definitely being put to productive use.  I don’t know,  at the end of the month I may start looking for other time sinks I can shave out of my life.

Check back in at the end of the month for the second installment.

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