Red curtains

A smart life means never wasting a second, because while you have access to ever-improving electronics, your time is the ultimate finite resource. Every hour you sit surfing aimlessly is a battle against waste that you just lost, and every moment you learn anything about Lady GaGa is proof that your life is going downhill. Towards a septic tank.

We’re not saying you have to work 24/7, but that you should entertain yourself properly — play isn’t the absence of work, it’s what the work is for. Even in the middle of the day, the office, or on your iPhone stuck on the bus, there are limitless libraries of professionally produced entertainment just waiting for the smart — or the screwing-around — to use them.

1. Maggwire

The humble magazine rack: classic savior of those stuck waiting, and now you need not be at the mercy of the dentist’s secretary. Maggwire presents a browseable library of online magazine content, conveniently sectioned by subject and date. It doesn’t host the material, or offer full magazines, but links to the magazine’s own online articles. It’s the intelligent organization that makes the site worthwhile — and with the near infinite amount of material online, such sorting systems are increasingly important for living a Smartlife.

Maggwire

Maggwire

Whether you want the latest Edge announcements in gaming, or Cosmopolitan’s tips and tricks for doing exactly what they tell you, Maggwire is an easy-access starting point.

2. Project Gutenberg

At the opposite end of the literary spectrum is Project Gutenberg: an awesome collection of classics. Instead of being the latest, it is — by definition — old material. Project Gutenberg works to collect all expired-copyright material in one fast and free reference source, and some seriously impressive texts are available for anyone to read. Dracula, Pride and Prejudice, The Iliad, Metamorphosis — all the books you ever meant to read, or said: “Someday I’ll seriously read that masterpiece of literature.” Now you can do it instead of cursing under your breath at the bus stop.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is one of the worst sufferers from “Oh yeah I know about that” syndrome — people appreciating that it exists, but not making the tiny effort that’d hook them forever. iPhone apps like Stanza allow instant access to this and many other free or paid libraries, meaning you’ll never waste time while waiting for anything ever again. Anywhere. Ever.

Stanza

Stanza

3. Hulu

Going to the opposite end again doesn’t bring us back where we started, as instead we move from the true classic texts to the latest in TV. Hulu famously allows access to an array of entertainment, especially addictive ongoing series. This is one you either already use or are about to lose a week of your life experimenting with. Unless you’ve already downloaded or DVD’ed all your favorite series, of course*.

*Oh-so-smart “actually I don’t have a TV” sorts are exempted from this, of course, as they’re exempt from most large social groups.

Hulu

Hulu

For those sighing, “Darn, ANOTHER site that thinks the U.S. is the only country in the world” — not so! We are, after all, Smartlife and solving problems is what we’re all about. For example: the problem that you shouldn’t suffer because the network’s information legislation is approximately 40 years behind technology, and the idea of banning certain websites in certain geographical reasons is beyond stupid and into parody.

On an unrelated note, programs like Hotspot Shield allow you to use an anonymous connection — preventing your IP from revealing you to be a filthy freedom-hating foreigner who doesn’t deserve streaming video connection to popular sites. Not that we’d ever recommend such a thing, or even be able to see how that would be relevant to this issue. We’d note it’s best only to turn on such tools when you need them as they can otherwise lead to slowdown.

Image credit: i-bob / iStockphoto

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