TEN THOUSAND HOURS TO PERFECTION

10000 hoursTheDanPlan.com: Dan McLaughlin had never played golf when he decided to see if 10,000 hours of practice would turn him into a pro. That’s the theory of Anders Ericsson, popularized in the book “Outliers,” by Malcolm Gladwell. That theory maintains it’s the number of hours that makes you a musician, an artist, or even a golfer. Dan quit his job, hired a golf coach, and worked on this full time. His handicap went down to 3.1 last November after around 4,200 hours, but it’s back up to 5.5 in April, his most recent tally.

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CHINESE INVENTIONS

4 chinese inventionsTimeline for Chinese Inventions” has lists of time-lines put together by Columbia University for many nations and cultures. The Chinese wove silk in 1300 B.C., for example. They invented the folding umbrella in 300 B.C., though it wasn’t received in the West until the 1600s. Gunpowder came along around 750 AD in China and 1330 in the West. The Chinese had moveable type in the year 1040, the West 400 years later.

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CHECKING FACEBOOK IN THE SHOWER

stop procastinatingAccording to a survey of over 2000 people, compulsive Facebook users are prone to update their posts even in the shower, while driving, at funerals and in the ocean. Many others admit to having lied so they could leave a social engagement to check Facebook. There are now 1.49 billion Facebook users. More info on this can be found at StopProcrastinatingApp.com/how-to-block-facebook.

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RAISING MONEY FROM STRANGERS

jolla tabletRaising money from strangers is all the rage these days. It happens online.

Kickstarter is the most well known “crowd-funder” and Indiegogo (pronounced Indi-go-go) isn’t far behind. Do the strangers get their money back if the product doesn’t succeed? Good question, for which the answer is: sometimes and mostly no. The answer is blowing in the crowd. Here’s our experience.

We were wowed by a new tablet called “Jolla,” with a brand new operating system called “Sailfish.” It raised over $2.5 million on Indiegogo eight months ago. It was one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns. We were one of the early bird investors who paid $209 for a fancy-schmancy Sailfish tablet to be delivered in June. It’s nearing September and we’re still waiting. The latest update says we’ll get our tablet by mid-September. The factories in China are still working things out, they say. If for some reason, we don’t get the tablet, Indiegogo’s rules say we should contact Jolla, not Indiegogo. In other words, they throw up their digital hands and say “not us; we didn’t do it.”

These so-called “crowd-funding” methods have been a great deal for companies trying to introduce new products. On Indiegogo, for example, companies get to keep whatever they raised after paying a nine percent fee, even if they don’t reach their funding goal. (If they do reach their goal, the fee is only four percent.) Read more »

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THE BEST FREE ANDROID APPS

The August issue of PC Magazine reviewed the 100 best Android apps of 2015. Besides the usual suspects, we saw some we’d never heard of. Such as…

circle-of-6– “Circle of 6″ helps you get help in a dangerous situation. It sends a request to be picked up, along with your GPS location or asks your friends to contact you. You might ask friends to contact you because you’re talking to a boring person and you need the interruption.

— “Plume for Twitter” gives you more power over your Twitter messages. This free app gives you a menu under each tweet. Mark it a favorite, share it, call it spam, reply to it, read the replies to it, or mute it.

— “RedPhone” lets you make encrypted calls to users of the free app “TextSecure,” which secures your text messages.

— “Sleep Bot Sleep Cycle Alarm” will track your sleep movements, if you take your phone to bed with you, and really, who doesn’t? (We don’t, actually. We can hardly remember to take it with us when we go out.) The alarm will only wake you when you’re in the lightest sleep cycle. (But what if it’s an emergency, like a buddy telling you what he saw on TV last night?)

— “Transit” gives you schedules for buses, trains and ferries in 87 American and European cities.

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COLORBLIND MAN SEES PURPLE FOR THE FIRST TIME


Colorblind man sees purple for the first time” is a remarkable YouTube video you can find if you search on those words. A friend surprised him with a special pair of sunglasses that correct for colorblindness. He weeps with joy at all the colors he’s seeing for the first time, shouting to a friend, “Your car is pretty.” The sunglasses start at $350 from EnChroma.com.

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CITY FULL OF DRIVERLESS CARS

Fake City for Driverless CarsSmithsonianmag.com has an article about a 32-acre test track being used for driverless cars. “MCity” at the University of Michigan has fake obstacles, railroad tracks, shops, gravel roads, paved roads, roundabouts, signals and even a robot pedestrian named Sebastian who never looks both ways. He has yet to be run over.

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CURIOSITY STREAM

curiosity streamCuriosityStream.com claims to have the world’s best documentaries from the BBC and other channels around the world, plus original programming. The first month is free, then it’s $3 a month if you want to continue. But you have to give them a credit card for the free trial — and we never like that.

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15 ANIMALS WANT TO BE MAN’S BEST FRIEND

cow gets good scratch15 Animals that want to be Man’s Best Friend.” Google those words for some amazing video clips. We saw an otter playing dead on command, an armadillo playing with a squeeze toy, a baby elephant playing soccer, and a cat playing fetch and panting like a dog.

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THE WINDOWS 10 CALENDAR

windows 10We love Google’s calendar app for Android and iPhone, which keeps us up to date on our phone when we’re away from our computer. Windows 8 and the new Windows 10 also have calendar apps.

Set up the calendar app in these systems by clicking the start button, “all apps,” and then “calendar.” When we did this we immediately saw all the dates we’d entered into our Google calendar, so we didn’t have to re-enter anything. Unlike the Google calendar, the Windows calendar puts all your Facebook friends’ birthdays right on the calendar. This can be amusing, if like us, you have Facebook “friends” you hardly know. We even saw birthdays for friends who aren’t on Facebook, whose birthdays were unknown to us. We suppose they were drawn from information in their Google accounts, but we’re not sure. Very mysterioso.

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