Android Free App of the Day

Google recently launched a new service where it gave for free a new app every day on the Google Play store.



Download the free App of the Day icon to be notified of the newly available app daily. Most of the apps offered are paid versions offered for free. Each offer only lasts for 24 hours.



Important Social Skills

Have you taken the public transport lately?


What have you observed? People staring at their mobile phones.

We seem to have lost the art of socializing these days. Gone were the days when people mingled with those around them face to face and not through a small screen.

So here’s a refresher course on some basic social skills:

  1. Smile – this is an instant ice breaker (when someone doesn’t smile at you, it doesn’t mean their mean or grumpy. People will low self-confidence never make the first attempt to smile.)
  2. Be humble.
  3. Shake hands with confidence. This step is important to counter balance step number 2 because power players may think of your humbleness as a sign of weakness.
  4. Ask questions. A wise, fat man once said that everyone is only interested in themselves. Thus the one that asks questions is the one who controls the conversations.
  5. Never interrupt the speaker. I have seen people who can’t wait for the speaker to finish speaking before they can say something. This puts you in a very bad light. Always take a second or two after the speaker has finished speaking to provide your reply. This shows that you’re thinking about your reply before replying.
  6. Empathize with the person you’re speaking with. Understand what’s important to them.
  7. Maintain eye contact. Don’t look over them, around them or at their chest. Look at them. People tend to note your eyes to see if you’re interested in what they’re saying.
  8. Maintain interest.

A long time, Dale Carnegie wrote an excellent but simple book, “How to win Friends and Influence People“. The book became a best seller and was translated into many languages. It’s still one of the best and simplest book you’ll ever find on this subject. This book was originally published in 1937 but it’s still one of the best sellers on Amazon. It was recently updated in 1998.

Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”

But most importantly, people like to be valued. No one likes to be attacked, especially in public. And it’s always easier to convince someone of your ideas by speaking to them gently than either berating them or humiliating them.

Get Outside For Improved Health and Memory


Go outside: It helps improve your focus—even when it’s cold out.

University of Michigan psychology research in the December issue of Psychological Science explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention.

U-M psychology researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.

Researchers believe the findings could have broader impact on helping people who may be suffering from mental fatigue.

“Interacting with nature can have similar effects as meditating,” Berman said. “People don’t have to enjoy the walk to get the benefits. We found the same benefits when it was 80 degrees and sunny over the summer as when the temperatures dropped to 25 degrees in January. The only difference was that participants enjoyed the walks more in the spring and summer than in the dead of winter.”

Kaplan and his wife, Rachel Kaplan, a researcher in psychology and the School of Natural Resources and Environment, argue that people are far more likely to be satisfied with their lives when their environment supports three basic needs: the ability to understand and explore; to feel they make a difference; and to feel competent and effective.

Berman decided to test that theory by sending study participants on walking routes around Ann Arbor. Participants walked on an urban route down main streets and also on a route in U-M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, taking in nature. When participants walked in the Arboretum, they improved their short-term memory by 20 percent, but showed no improvements after walking down city streets.

The researchers also tested the same theory by having subjects sit inside and look at pictures of either downtown scenes or nature scenes and again the results were the same: when looking at photos of nature, memory and attention scores improved by about 20 percent, but not when viewing the urban pictures.

Source: UMich

How Does Your Brain (Mental Ability) Compare With Your Peers?

Have you ever wondered how quick your brain functions compared to your colleagues?

Have you ever wondered which mental skills you excel in most?

Then maybe you should give Lumosity a go.

Lumosity is a brain training tool involving games. It’s based on extensive research in the field of neuroplasticity. There are many published results on the benefits on Lumosity.




You’re given a set of games each day which focuses on specific brain functions like memory, speed, attention and so forth. A sample of games are shown below:

This is one of my favourite games, guiding multiple trains into stations.


The game on the left tests your speed while the one on the right tests your memory (this is a hard one).



The observation tower building is an interesting memory game where you have to remember a sequence of numbers.


This is my hardest game. I am very bad in remembering names but I am improving:

Familiar Faces


After each session of 5 games, you’re shown your brain performance chart, indicating your scores for 5 aspects of your brain.


Lumosity also compares your performance with those in your age bracket:



Lastly Lumosity has data showing the skills different industries require of their people.

lumo-media lumo-millitary lumo-finance lumo-management

Constantly training your brain helps delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Dont you think that’s worth playing a few games daily?

Anecdote: Not Following The Usual Path


A jobless man applied for the position of ‘office boy’ at a very big company.

The employer interviewed him, then a test: clean the floor.

“You are hired.” – the employer said. ”Give me your email address, and I’ll send you the application to fill, as well as when you will start.”

The man replied, “I don’t have a computer, neither an email.”

“I’m sorry,” said the employer, “if you don’t have an email , you cannot have the job.”

The man left with no hope. He didn’t know what to do, with only $10 USD in his pocket.

He then decided to go to the supermarket, bought a 10 kg tomato crate, then sold the tomatoes door to door. In less than two hours, he succeeded and doubled his capital. He repeated the operation 3 times and returned home with $60 USD. The man realized that he could survive by this way, and started to go everyday earlier, and returned late. Thus, his money doubled or tripled everyday. Shortly later, he bought a cart, then a truck, and then he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.

Five years later, the man’s company was one of the biggest food retailers. He started to plan his family’s future, and decided to have a life insurance. He called an insurance broker and chose a protection plan. When the conversation was concluded, the broker asked him his email. The man replied: “I don’t have an email.”

The broker replied curiously, “You don’t have an email, and yet have succeeded to build an empire. Do you imagine what position you could have if you had an email?”

The man paused for a while, and replied: “An office boy!”

Moral of the Story
Don’t be discouraged if something is not in your favor today. You dont know what the future holds for you. Dont be afraid to take the path less trodden.

The Meeting Before the Meeting

This is a management tip from David De Ford.

If you constantly find yourself from being opposed by certain parties or even an individual in meetings, try to hold a meeting with these person/parties before the actual meeting. Let them know what your views on the agenda of the upcoming meeting and seek their views. Try and come up with a compromise so that the actual meeting with everyone goes smoothly.

This mainly applies to large meetings like inter departmental or inter disciplinary meetings where everyone comes with their own vested interests. And when you setup a meeting before the actual meeting, you don’t have to meet everyone from that particular department. Just invite the decision maker or his delegate of authority. In this way, you both can quickly cut to the gist of the matter and when everyone attends the main meeting, they are familiar with the main points and will not bicker on the minor points. Only those points which were disagreed upon can be discussed.

This should help make meetings a little more efficient.


How Do You Find Your Missing Camera?

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of losing your camera, don’t fret. You can now use an online tool to locate your camera.


stolen-camera-finder helps locate your missing camera by using the serial number from the EXIF information of your picture (you have to upload an unmodified JPEG image) and searches the world wide web for a matching serial number. only works with JPEG and not RAW images (mainly due to the size of RAW files).

Then what happens?

There is no indication how fast you’ll get your camera but if finds a matching serial number on any picture posted online, it will attempt to gather as much information about the poster and send you the information. You can then forward the details to the local police.

Has this worked?

Let’s see what Kevin Hayes from Melbourne has to say about it.


And this is a map of cameras reported stolen and found.


Some of the best things in life are FREE ( I am referring to this site and not the stolen cameras 🙂  )

Left Ear or Right?

The next time you’re in a party where the music is loud and you cant hear the conversation you’re participating in, lean forward with your right ear. Studies conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles found that our ears are crossed with the two halves of our brains.

It’s a well known fact that the left brain processes speech and logic while the right brain is more musical and emotional.



Well, the right ear is connected to the left brain and therefore processes speech much better than the left ear which is more attuned to harmony (music).

So remember,

words == right ear

music == left ear


How To Get Things Done – Buffett Style


“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.”

~H. L. Hunt

This advise was given by Warren Buffett, one of the richest man in the world, to his pilot who has been flying him around the world for the past 10 years.



When the pilot asked Warren on how he manages to get things done, this was what Warren said:

  1. List down 25 things you would like to do.
  2. Circle the top 5 things that are most important to you.
  3. Break the list to two: one has your top 5 items, the other has the balance 20 items.
  4. Now make plans on how to achieve each item in your top 5 list. These plans should be concrete, step by step items.
  5. The other list with the balance 20 items becomes your AVOID AT ALL COST items. Dont touch them until you have reached your top 5 goals.

The secret in his method is not in choosing what to do. It’s choosing what not to do. This is where everyone errs. We try to juggle and dissipate our energy over so many things that we achieve average results in everything. High performance people focus on only a handful of items and excel in them.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how Warren Buffett achieves his goals in life, don’t you think it might work for you?