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For instance, how would you block google.com/news, without blocking google.com or any other subdirectories? I've already tried using the /etc/hosts file, to no avail.

This is for me. I need to shut out web distractions on my work computer, without limiting my ability to get stuff done. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Try Parental Controls

one caveat, the account you want to control cannot be a administrator of the machine in order for this to work.

  • open System Preferences > Parental Controls
  • Unlock it using the lock at the bottom left of the dialog. and entering an admin password.
  • Enable Parantal Controls
  • Choose an Account to be controlled by clicking Enable parental contorols in System Preferences > Accounts for the user that needs control.
  • Next click Open Parental Controls...
  • Then select the Web tab and choose Try to limit access to adult websites automaticly then click Customize...
  • Add any sites you do not want access to such as http://google.com/news to the Never allow these websites section.

This should work with any browser in that account.

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If you want finer-grained controls (blocking different sites at different times of day, or allowing only a certain amount of time per site), you may want to go with a browser extension. Leechblock for Firefox and Chrome Nanny for Chrome both do the job well. If you don't trust yourself not to circumvent the protection, they also allow you to partly or completely lock yourself out of changing the preferences while a block is in place.

The disadvantage of this approach is that you need to set up blocking in each browser that you use, and also restrain yourself from getting around it by switching to Safari / Opera / Lynx / etc.

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