So what have I been spending my time doing instead of taking full advantage of my free trial? I've actually been listening to audiobooks again. I ran through Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for what must be the 4th time and I'm now making my way through the whole of The Dresden Files for the 5th or 6th. In the midst of listening to the audiobooks, I've been reading up on Weinergate with great amusement and still fiddling with Swagbucks, though with less intensity.
Speaking of Swagbucks, it's now a week until my 2 month anniversary on the site. In that time I've earned $115 in Amazon gift certificates, a pretty princely sum in my opinion given the effort. I know it probably sounds like chump change to most of you out there but you have to consider the relative difference in circumstances. While it might not be a millionaire's time to bend over to pick up a $5, it would probably make a bum's day, or maybe even week. In the end, the real key is that it's a way to turn what seems like endless free time into money, even if the exchange rate is not what some people would consider to be worthwhile. From my point of view, it's not a lot of time or effort invested and it's almost like free money.
I was also turned on to something called Mechanical Turk by Lola (aka Devi). It's a setup by amazon which I was amazed to discover is pretty much identical to the Tasks offered by Swagbucks. They actually share an identical platform. The basic idea is that you pay people pennies to accomplish some task like translating a sentence in spanish into english. The pay actually varies and can get up to $10 or so per job if the skills needed are specialized enough or if the job is a real pain in the ass. The vast majority of the tasks though fall into the tedious busywork category and pay a commensurate wage. It sounds like a good idea and I gave it a whirl but I have a very highly honed sense of boredom. While I like making a buck as much as the next person, I feel like I'm dying by inches getting 2 pennies every time I enter tags for a picture or similar exercise. After 5 minutes, I'm ready to beat myself to death with a claw hammer. I guess it's just as well I never had a job doing data entry or something along those lines since I would have had to kill myself before too long. I'm still hoping that one day some task will show up on the site that both pays fairly and is interesting to boot. Knock on wood, I guess.