Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lumosity: It's Not a Game, It's Exercise for Your Brain!


via Web Worker Daily by Mike Gunderloy on Aug 01, 2007

Lumosity logoWay back in the dark days of computing, I used to conduct training classes for people who were seeing Windows and using a mouse for the very first time. In those classes, we insisted that solitaire wasn't a game: it was a training device to help people learn how to click and drag things.

I was reminded of this experience when I test-drove Lumosity, a "brain fitness program" that gives you access to a series of Flash-based exercises that bear a suspicious resemblance to some of today's casual games. Along with improving our physical fitness, web workers certainly need to keep their mental fitness tip-top, so I gave it a test drive.

The idea behind Lumosity is simple. They say that an NIH-funded study has demonstrated the proper training can improve memory, attention, and processing speed, and their exercises are designed to administer this training (while admittedly also letting you have a little fun). Click your camera on the birds, match the shapes, or help the farmer get past the monsters to water the flowers, and you'll be training your brain in short easy sessions, almost without knowing it.

Along with the exercises, Lumosity tracks your history and charts it to demonstrate how your brain is improving, and calculates a "brain performance index" for you. You can even sign up to participate in their ongoing research. Does it work? Darned if I know; you can read about the science at their site, or sign up for a two-week free trial to test it for yourself. After that it's $9.95 per month to keep using the service. And remember, if your boss catches you matching the colorful shapes, you're only trying to improve your performance on those boring work-related tasks.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Google Presentation

As anticipated, Google has announced their new presentation tool, to be launched later this year. Both, TechCrunch and GigaOm have reports of this. It would be interesting to see how Google leverages its suite of office products. Users would definitely be attracted to the free offerings.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hello World

For all you programmers out there, check this out!

Hello World Programs

Friday, November 10, 2006

Digital Lives

Have you ever noticed how 'digital' our lives have become? Utilities, TV, radio, newspaper, food products, transportation, education, entertainment and more: they all have been digitized or digitally controlled. It isn't just the products that we use, our lifestyles have become digitized too. Our means of communicating with family, friends and coworkers have all become digitized. Face-to-face meetings are dwindling. We talk about telecommuting, virtual offices, virtual families, on-line avatars and on-line communities as the way-to-go. I see us all being drawn into the depths of a digital world where individuals are nothing but screen names and feelings are simply icons. Relations are built and destroyed by keystrokes and mouse clicks.

On top of this, business models designed to benefit from such 'digital' worlds are becoming very popular and successful. A combination of successful 'digital' economies and 'digital' people will give rise to large digital societies. Is this all part of evolution, from prehistoric to digital?

For now, we worry about the how fast-food is making children obese, while the same children are laughing, crying, playing, running and living life, all without moving a muscle.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Evolution of Search

I seem to spend most of my Internet time searching for information. Whether it is news, pictures, music or videos, I'm always searching for something. Considering that the Internet is huge pile of information, it constantly needs to be organized to make that information accessible and meaningful. And most popular websites today, provide ways to organize and access a variety of information. All this got me thinking about 'search' itself. Where did it all start?

Search has existed for as long as there has been life on Earth. Search began as a means of survival for animals and humans. All living things searched for the basic needs of water, food and shelter. Different search techniques evolved in the process, like tracking the footprints of an animal would lead to food.

Once the basic needs are satisfied, new needs evolve. We are always seeking something. People seek friends, jobs, knowledge and wealth. Companies seek customers, suppliers and other resources. If a need exists, then we need a means to satisfy that need. And we seek the best way to do that. Therefore, we are always in a 'search' mode.

Over the years, as technology evolved, so have our needs. New search tools were born in the process. Books gave rise to indexes and tables of contents. The telephone gave rise to telephone directories. Every new technology generates new information and hence a need for a tool to manage that information.

With the volume of information that has been generated since the advent of the Internet, it is no surprise that we all seek efficient search tools. And companies that provide such tools are successful. Rest assured that when the next big technology comes, we will still be searching.

Man is a 'search' animal and the search will go on!