After being in tech support for a year, I've learned a few useful things that I didn't know a year ago. Most of what I've learned is how to waste/spend time, 8 hours actually. An issue may arise once in a blue moon, which is good, cuz nobody likes to have problems. Most of the time I'm faced with the dilemna of what to do with all this time I have when there are no problems. Here what I do to waste 8 hours.
If i'm lucky, there will be something interesting articles or interesting user posts to respond to. Though lately I just read articles and don't post too many responses, usually there are a few interesting pieces to read.
I can usually waste from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
This site is a great portal for information security sites all over the web. I usually just check the security news on the left side of the page or the scrolling news ticker. They don't always update daily, but there are links to other sites like Security Focus, and I sometimes end up checking some random site to see what it's about
I waste 30 minutes to 1 hour here.
www.shortnews.com and/or www.astalavista.com
Short News has interesting news stories from around the world. Astalavista uses ShortNews's news ticker, and sometimes Astalavista has some interesting stuff goin on there. Astalavista's Box Network as a lot of links to interesting sites, but I haven't really been motivated to check them out that much yet. Maybe some other time.
Time wasted, 10 minutes.
I spend the majority of the rest of the day with the browser on Fark. Of course I keep multiple browsers open, one for Slashdot, Fark, and whatever random content that might be interesting at the time. Fark not only has a variety of interesting news stories, photoshop contests, and other diversions, they link to other websites that I can end up spending a good amount of time at as well, such as BBSpot, Ebaum's World, and HumorFeed. Fark is a good general purpose web portal, and a good place to waste time.
Time wasted: 2 hours - the end of the shift.
Those three sites are great web portals that lead to other interesting stuff around the Internet. It'd take too long and be too boring to list all the interesting sites they link to. But sometimes, I feel the need to use all this useful information and knowledge I've acquired for something semi-useful, if not as a mental exercise. After 4 years of college, with the last 2 years as almost nothing but programming and complex computer science-type stuff, I have a job that I could've gotten after high school. So I don't use hardly any of my programming for my job, so I come up with little projects to keep the sword sharpened. It's easy to forget stuff if you don't use it regularly. So I'll sometimes make up something, and come up with a program that will do it. For instance, after reading a Perl book for the past week, I decided to make a Hangman game. A good website for random programming practice is www.topcoder.com. In the TopCoder Arena, the practice rooms have all the previous topcoder challenge problems that you can do, just for practice. This is a good time-waster itself. Unfortunately I work 3rd shift and i'm sleep all afternoon, so I have yet to actually try a TopCoder competition. One of these days when I'm awake at that time, I'll have to see how I fare against everyone else. Back to wasting time though, projects are probably the best way to actually spend it doing something useful for yourself. I've written 2 games (a yugioh clone and a tetris clone), completed a Java certification, and expanded my knowledge base from reading books (mostly new programming languages or something else computer-related). In the end I end up wasting a little over half of the time on web stuff and the other half on project stuff, and at times i'll spend more time on one or the other. Of course I make my rounds on the job websites trying to find a better job, those websites being Kelly Services, Manpower, Monster, and CareerBuilder (occasionally Flipdog). Although it seems kinda useless, gotta keep tryin anyhow. Comic books and magazines also take up a few hours every now and then, when new issues come out.