CinemaDrape blacks out distractions so you can focus on the task at hand
CinemaDrape, for example, is a great way to turn off the "background noise" so you can focus on one particular app or area of your screen. You can download an installable version of CinemaDrape or grab the portable remix and run it from your USB flash drive.
If you install, you can invoke CinemaDrape by pressing ctrl + F12 (or re-map to your preferred key combination). The portable version has to be launched, since it's not hooked into your system files. The screen area around your active window will be instantly blacked out -- you can also hover over the side and bottom border to resize or the top border to move. To turn the effect off, just tap your escape key.
Right-clicking on the blackout will open the configuration menu, where you can set up to nine pre-defined areas, reset to default, and change the bacground color and opacity.
CinemaDrape is free for both personal and commercial use and it runs on Windows 7, Vista, and XP -- including x64 builds. The .Net 2.0 runtimes are required if you're using XP.