Turning It Off

Rebecca Traister test-drives a novel piece of software:

Freedom [is] an application created by University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Ph.D. candidate Fred Stutzman, who made it available to the public for free -- though he asks for donations -- a little over a year ago. In an e-mail, Stutzman writes that he came up with the idea after talking with lots of people trying to find places to work without Wi-Fi; he doesn't know how many people have downloaded it, but estimates the number at about 10,000. He has received 50 donations, all of which he's used to pay for software.

Freedom will disable the networking, only on a Mac computer, for periods of anywhere from one minute to eight hours. No Web sites, no e-mail, no instant messaging, no online shopping, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Jezebel, no iTunes store, no streaming anything. Once it is turned on, as it hilariously claims, "Freedom enforces freedom"; you cannot turn it off without rebooting your computer.