The two-minute home page was a Twitter hit over the weekend. It's very simple, you just go to the site at http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/ and do what it says in the URL: nothing. Well, nothing except relax and listen to the waves....
I like to think of this as the "two-minute home page" because it comes from PopJam's Alex Tew, who became famous for the Million Dollar Homepage. This was another simple idea: Tew sold a million pixels at $1 per pixel. The page has indeed become a part of internet history, and has outlasted many of the companies who bought its advertising space.
The two-minute home page is different because it's not about making money: "I did this project just for fun," he said.
Tew told the TechCrunch blog:
"I had been thinking how we spend every waking minute of the day with access to an unlimited supply of information, to the point of information overload. i also read somewhere that there is evidence that our brains are being re-wired by the internet, because we get a little dopamine kick every time we check our e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and there's a new update. So we're all developing a bit of ADD. which is probably not great in terms of being productive."
That's good, as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. If you're going to take a screen break, it should be longer (five minutes is good) and you should use it to get some exercise, even if it's just by taking a walk to the water cooler/kitchen. The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wisely notes that "Breaks must also allow users to vary their posture. Exercise routines which include blinking, stretching and focusing eyes on distant objects can be helpful and could be covered in training programmes." It adds, among other things, that:
* short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks: e.g., a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes continuous screen and/or keyboard work is likely to be better than a 15 minute break every 2 hours; * if possible, breaks should be taken away from the screen;
The worst case for computer users is that they could develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots more commonly associated with airline scare stories. The first recorded victim, a New Zealander, spent up to 18 hours a day using his computer, according to a BBC report in 2003.
Rather than use a two-minute home page, it would better to have a five-minute screensaver that encouraged you to get out of your chair and do something else. When your time is up, it should simply say YOU WIN. But if you can just spend two minutes relaxing and listening to the waves, you won't have lost.