Unintended Consequences of Technology

I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of days. I discovered a
rather unintended and quite unexpected consequence of using a piece of
software. At work I use Workrave to enforce
breaks from the computer. For those that have never used it, workrave is
a little gnome applet that monitors your keyboard and mouse usage and
after about an hour of work locks your screen and gives you a 10 minute
break with a few exercises to reduce RSI. It also gives you microbreaks
of 20 seconds every 3 minutes of work, so you can look away from the
screen, stretch, whatever.. I should point out that it isn’t 20 seconds
every 3 wallclock minutes, but 3 minutes of using the mouse/keyboard and
isn’t quite as intrusive as it sounds.

I get to rest my eyes, prevent RSI annd take breaks. This sounds like
exactly the thing Workrave was written for. So what is unintended? It
turns out that the 20 seconds micro-break is just the right amount of
time to have a drink of water or get up and fill my glass if it’s empty.
Before I would forget to fill my glass up, but now I have time where I
can’t do anything on the computer. In the 30 minutes since I got in to
the office and started writing this entry I’ve had two micro-breaks and
drunk a pint of water. Workrave has managed to increase my water intake
during the day and as a result the number of toilet breaks. 🙂

I notice LiveJournal have
enforced http://<username>.livejournal.com/ url scheme now to
prevent cross-site scripting attacks where people were stealling session
cookies and gaining access to accounts. Not sure what the exact problem
was, but I know of several attacks over the last week by one group of
scriptkiddies.

Update: Appears the problem was in firefox. Explaination
here.

Update: Nope, they pulled it. Basically mozilla allows you to execute
javascript via CSS stylesheets. I’ll update with any further URLs as
they become available.

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