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Wanted: Forced Bedime software


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#1
beethoven

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I'm looking for some sort of software that would force me to go to bed at specified times by completely locking the computer. I'm a college student, and I have discovered that I really need a way to be forced to sleep. A reminder isn't going to do the trick. I need something that will physically lock me out of my computer at a given time. I'd be working with my parents (nearby) in case of emergencies (a paper due or all night studying). I've done a lot of Googling, but I can't quite find what I'm looking for. All those shareware sites and private companies that show up are highly annoying.

What I need:
1. Free. We're broke. Maybe up to $10, but I'd *really* prefer for it to be freeware.

2. Switch user/Locking. In other words, not something that shuts down the computer or logs me off. My computer is slow (probably need to be visiting other subforums here, but it's not spyware), and it just takes too long to reboot the computer all the time. The preferred solution would be a window that pops up over everything else and requires the time to change or a password to go away. Alt+Tab proof. Taking me to the welcome screen would work too as long as my password won't work before, say, 6AM.

3. Ability to have different times depending on weekday.

4. Password override. In case of emergency I would be able to override it by getting the password from my parents.

5. Somewhat invasive. If zero AV/spyware detection programs have a problem with it, it's probably not powerful enough. I'm enough of a geek that it needs to be Alt+Tab proof, Ctrl+Alt+Delete proof, disabled startup proof, restart proof, etc. In other words - a lot of behaviors that could be flagged as spyware.


It's really frustrating trying to search for programs on Google. Most things that come up are huge shareware repositories or compilations of parental control software. The same programs keep showing up, and they're way overpriced. If anyone knows of anything cheap and powerful, my body would really appreciate it. Thanks.
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#2
Neil Jones

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No program will force you to go to bed and realistically this is an issue that's more about you and your routines than anything else.
With all due respect if you do find yourself in a situation where you have to stay up all night to finish a paper, that would show poor planning on the basis that you'd had all evening to do it so why are you doing it now?

Realistically if you consider yourself a "geek", a far better solution would be to get somebody else to physically take the system away because otherwise you'll spend all your time trying to override the system you've put in. You'd do far better to change your routine, your habits and find other ways of passing the time. This is something a piece of software cannot do.

If you really want to crack your obsession with computers, get a job in a shop that fixes, repairs and upgrades them. After eight hours playing with somebody else's computer and getting paid for it, the last thing you'll want to do is use your own. It worked for me. Now I only use mine on average about 5hrs a week, before I could easily manage 7 hours a night.
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#3
beethoven

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Thanks for the advice, but it's really not too helpful. Being in college I simply have to have access to the computer all the time. It'd be too much of a pain removing/replacing it all the time. I realize that ultimately the problem is my habits, but those are unlikely to change in the short run. It's a high difficulty school I'm at as well, so not being done with a paper (or studying if you'd prefer that) isn't necessarily my fault. Could be, but could also just be finals week or any number of things. Point being, I need more flexibility than removing the machine completely, while also being seriously, if not impossibly, hindered from using it except in such cases.

Nothing can ultimately force me to be in bed; that would require robotic tech we don't have working yet. But I don't think it's that far out there for someone to have designed a program that would, say, disable the mouse and all requests from the keyboard (unless it's the override password) during a set interval. At the moment I can't think of any way around something like that. If it was run as a service or something. I'm not quite sure how it would work logistically, but I'm sure it's possible. There are a lot of Parental Control type programs out there that do similar things. The weakness, as I pointed out, is that they usually force a logoff/shutdown, are expensive (because they often do all kinds of other things as well), and/or aren't likely to work on teenagers with some clue on how to get around the computer. For example, as an administrator, it'd be easy to create a new account to use before I ran out of time. But most ten year old kids wouldn't think of that, are more directly supervised, and don't have administrative computer access.

I'm not so far addicted that I would "spend all [my] time trying to override the system [I've] put in". Ultimately I need workarounds, like calling a sleeping parent for a password, but if they're as easy as the one I mentioned it obviously wouldn't work. No, a piece of software can't change me, but it can lock my machine for a few hours. I'm just wondering if anybody knows of a simple utility to do so without buying a full suite of junk.
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#4
beethoven

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Thanks for the advice, but it's really not too helpful. Being in college I simply have to have access to the computer all the time. It'd be too much of a pain removing/replacing it all the time. I realize that ultimately the problem is my habits, but those are unlikely to change in the short run. It's a high difficulty school I'm at as well, so not being done with a paper (or studying if you'd prefer that) isn't necessarily my fault. Could be, but could also just be finals week or any number of things. Point being, I need more flexibility than removing the machine completely, while also being seriously, if not impossibly, hindered from using it except in such cases.

Nothing can ultimately force me to be in bed; that would require robotic tech we don't have working yet. But I don't think it's that far out there for someone to have designed a program that would, say, disable the mouse and all requests from the keyboard (unless it's the override password) during a set interval. At the moment I can't think of any way around something like that. If it was run as a service or something. I'm not quite sure how it would work logistically, but I'm sure it's possible. There are a lot of Parental Control type programs out there that do similar things. The weakness, as I pointed out, is that they usually force a logoff/shutdown, are expensive (because they often do all kinds of other things as well), and/or aren't likely to work on teenagers with some clue on how to get around the computer. For example, as an administrator, it'd be easy to create a new account to use before I ran out of time. But most ten year old kids wouldn't think of that, are more directly supervised, and don't have administrative computer access.

I'm not so far addicted that I would "spend all [my] time trying to override the system [I've] put in". Ultimately I need workarounds, like calling a sleeping parent for a password, but if they're as easy as the one I mentioned it obviously wouldn't work. No, a piece of software can't change me, but it can lock my machine for a few hours. I'm just wondering if anybody knows of a simple utility to do so without buying a full suite of junk.
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#5
Neil Jones

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Your wants and needs are contradicting with each other.
With all due respect once again, first you say you want something to kick you off the PC and to completely lock the PC between 11pm and 7am for example. Then you want an override functionality. How do you propose that works if the system's totally locked? :)

Parental Control software is more about blocking access to those websites that aren't suitable for children and teenagers rather than locking out a system totally. For that you're looking at more sophisticated setups such as those you find in corporate setups that lock the entire computer if you look at it in a funny way.

If you have Linux or are prepared to try Linux, this might be of interest to you:
http://thomer.com/lockout/
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#6
Jonesey

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I agree with Neil.

No piece of software will be able to do what you want, and there is the deeper issue here of your own self-discipline (or lack of) .

You shouldn't be in a position where you're having to work through the night - and if a paper is due in the morning then surely you haven't managed your time effectively with regards to your studying or assignments.

You say "I've done a lot of Googling, but I can't quite find what I'm looking for. All those shareware sites and private companies that show up are highly annoying." Seems to me, and I might be wrong so don't be offended - but your time would be better spent actually studying and doing your course work than spending hours on the interent in a vain attempt to find "help" for your problem. A self-induced problem.

You do also realise that working through the night is totally counter-productive - you won't be in a fit state to do anything the following day - believe me I know, I've done this in an actual working environment and will never do it again.

The solution must come from within, from yourself. YOU must find the mental strength to stop working on your computer preferably at a fixed time every day.
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#7
**Brian**

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I agree with everyone here - Forcing yourself off your computer is something that only YOU can do!!

I was in college myself, and sometimes had to pull all-nighters to get that paper or report done - It was not the best idea, but when you have a class that is 4 credits and you have to complete your assignments, sometimes you have to do it. I didn't really want to stay up all night, but if you have to get it done, that's what you have to do sometimes.

Ideally, you should be planning your research and study time better so that you don't end up having to stay up all night. Doing this will insure that you are tired when you finish out the day, and then you can be fully rested. Getting 2-4 hours of sleep at night will eventually come back to haunt you, because your brain does NOT have the ability to "shut off" - You will be thinking of your next day's activities, about the assignments that are due, or something else that will make it hard to sleep.

The way I would do it was to determine what classes I had for the day, and what was due. I would space it out so I was doing research for projects, or papers, and start doing them well ahead of the due date, so that by the night before an assignment was due, all I had to do was to edit and proofread my work, and then do my bibliography or cover pages.

The idea here, is that YOU have to be the one who says what is more important - Using the computer all night, and finishing all your work, or getting some sleep. If you plan your schedule acordingly, you should be able to do all your work, AND get the required sleep. The only thing you would have to do after this is to say "No Internet tonight" and stick with it - that is the only way that you will be able to "force yourself" - No piece of software is gonna do that.

Good Luck!!

Brian
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