Saturday, March 1, 2014

Brain Training Apps - playing a different game each day - hack

Brain training apps like lumosity have been gaining momentum. I did a small personal study a while ago and found that the only thing I improved was my game scores for just those apps. It also turns out my biggest improvement happens in the first few sessions, till I get a grasp for the new game rules.

Other things seemed to have a bigger impact. I don't think playing the same game improves overall thinking. Maybe just the speed and accuracy in just those game dynamics. Prolonged exposure to the same game, eventual returns no gains and just wastes time.

Changing the dynamics and "playing a different game each day" with no repetition might just push the right cognitive buttons to improve on other mental abilities. App stores FREE GAME sections are growing exponentially with tons of variety. Why not give this new approach a try. I'd love to hear about your personal experience with this approach.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tagcloud of my -Saved for Later- Feedly's exported to evernote via IFTTT hack

How I did It
  1. Hook up Feedly to Evernote via IFTT
  2. Use Evernote's copy "Note Link" feature
  3. Paste into a new evernote note
  4. remove formating
  5. Paste into

created at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What not to keep in evernote?

I've got a love-hate relationship with Evernote.  Tried throwing everything inside it  for a while and it seemed to work when I first started a few years ago. Now I found "search" has become less useful. It just returns too many results.  Finding things is difficult when you have so many notebook's, notes and tags.

Reminds me of favourite book "Everything-Is-Miscellaneous-Digital-Disorder".  You can't fit everything into a Taxonomy, eventually things "misc" will overwhelm.

Saved Searches, Notebook Stacks & Shortcuts were a nice stop-gap feature but now even they are numerous and hard to navigate. Evernote boasts a "powerful search language" but this is more fluff than reality.  Not like Google or Facebook Graph. Not flexible, nor scaleable.

Evernote has a user segmentation problem. Early Adopters, new users, casual, average users, premium users, and power users. Usually have all different needs.

Evernote caters too much for new users. Tries not to scare them away and remove any friction from using the tool. In the beginning Notebooks and Tags are good enough, but they don't scale.

Eventually if you buy into the belief that "Evernote will be your second Brain" you'll end up with a navigation problem.

My latest stop-gap is to move things out of Evernote to other services like Remember The Milk, Amazon Wish Lists, Foursquare,,

Evernote is for anything generated by me, or at best pointers to things I could refer too. Not a picture album. Not for copies of ebooks, user manuals etc.  


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is Meige syndrome Caffeine related?

I've been experimenting with alternating between Caffeine and decaffeinated or Caffeine free products over days, weeks and months. Similar to a lent or fasting.    

I noticed that when I was Caffeine free  for a few days, I had less blepharospasm symptoms.  I've never been diagnosed professionally with  Meige syndrome but have similar symptoms. Wondering if Meige syndrome is Caffeine induced?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

At the edge of caffeine withdraw - Part 2

Since my original post, I'm still experimenting with modulating between using regular coffee and caffeine free alternatives to optimize my levels of alertness and sleep.   My newest ritual is being caffeine free  starting Thursday  and ending Saturday.  I find this gives me a good balance of sleep during the weekend.

Daily tweaking replaced with a broader weekly strategy. Good catchup sleep for the weekend.

The days I am caffeine free, I generally drink decaf coffee, warm milk, or hot chocolate. I need some forethought to not break my many rituals, and make sure I don't substitute with something that would tug me in the opposite direction of health. Not saying  "warm milk, or hot chocolate" is healthy, just a healthier choice over other snacks I might be tempted with at the heat of the moment.

Titrating pain rethought

A couple of years ago. I had chronic neck and shoulder pain. A few things seemed to work in terms of instant pain management but overall I was stuck with serve pain.  The pain lasted over two years.  Now the pain is gone but I still feel discomfort. More than less drugs were ineffective to say the least. Over the counter Alleve seemed to barely work, but I thought that was better than nothing. I decided not to take medication in general.

Month to  month, I noticed a ultra-slow progression of getting better, but would hit a plateau.  When I hit this plateau  I would then pull out all my tricks and kick in a program of Alleve, Hot baths, A535 rub and anything else in terms of tips and tricks I would find on the net. When I broke the plateau, continuing this ritual day to day, didn't seem to work.  I would stop this treatment and just wait it out. Month to  month, I noticed a ultra-slow progression of getting better, and the cycle would continue to now. The pain is gone but  but I still feel discomfort. Slowly the discomfort is getting better. I'm using a similar strategy and hope it will have similar effects.

Bruce Lee once said "if you want to kick harder, kick harder"
His quote gave me the idea of breaking the hurdle with a little help. Titration generally works by increasing the pain meds over time, as the dosage becomes ineffective. I found this method of  using MEDS only to breakthrough levels of pain worked best.  Off the MEDS most oft the time. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2 years of chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain, 1 year later just discomfort

3 years ago I developed a pain in my shoulder blade. I seeked medical help  but nothing was found with respect to the cause.

I worked out regularly, did  pull-ups and chin-ups religiously, among other suspended body weight exercises. Maybe I pulled or damaged something?

Maybe it was sitting behind a desk all day, or personal and stress related. I had a new mortgage, a new baby, and a death of a parent in law.

I started having regular messages, incorporated ergonomics, saw a chiropractor and also tried  physiotherapy.  Pain relief was temporary and only usually lasted a few hours. I stopped this kind of therapy after the first year.

Over time the pain would move around form shoulder to neck, and even flip sides. I also experienced headaches, blurred vision, eye fatigue.

Personally I found sleeping on my side, alternating hot and cold compresses, hot bath's, Alleve and RUBA535 Extra-Strength Arthritis Roll-On Lotion helped me manage and cope. I also found periodic neck and shoulder stretching in all directions seemed to help. Weekly exercise also helped.

Eventually I saw an eye care professional and got glasses. They helped with the headaches,  blurred vision, and eye fatigue.

Talking to others seemed to help.

I wasn't going to let the pain, prevent me from living my life. Wasn't going to leave it capture my thoughts.

One day about two years in, my uncle asked for some help installing flooring. I thought I would be able to push through the pain. I was also looking forward to spending time with my uncle, even tough my body wasn't. Over the next two day of this kind of labour, my pain got remarkably better.

Somehow I new, things would get better. Slowly. Very slowly.

Today, 37 years of age, 3 years later the pain is gone. Replaced with a stiffness and discomfort.