Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Import your Anki decks into MemShot

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Excellent news!

If you have existing decks in Anki and would like to try them in MemShot, you can now import your Anki decks into MemShot.

Import Anki decks into MemShot

What’s MemShot?

A free web-based learning system built on Flashcards and Spaced Repetition to make learning things like a new language fun and efficient. More about MemShot.

How to import your Anki decks into MemShot:

  1. Start up Anki. You need to be using at least version 2 of Anki;
  2. Choose File->Export. You can either export all decks or choose a specific one. Note that when you import into MemShot it will be imported as a single learning set;
  3. Visit MemShot Importer and login if required;
  4. Choose a set name for the imported deck along with any other required options;
  5. Next to the Import from Anki option, select your exported Anki file. This file should have the .apkg extension;
  6. Click Add Items; and
  7. You’re done! Start learning with MemShot!

Public Anki decks

Anki has many publicly available learning sets that can now easily be imported and used in MemShot.

Why MemShot?

There are a number of Spaced Repetition Flashcard based learning systems available.

MemShot is free, fun and easy to use. It is actively being developed with new features regularly added. In fact, if you’d like to see a feature, suggest it!

Limitations

The Anki import feature currently has some limitations:

  • Images and sounds are currently not imported. Support for media files is in progress.
  • Special formatting of text e.g. colours, fonts is currently not supported.

We hope you try out your Anki decks with MemShot. If you do, let us know how it goes!

Introducing MemShot – a Flashcard Spaced Repetition memorization system

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Supernifty is pleased to announce MemShot, a free, simple, web-based memorization system based on spaced repetition.

Memory masters like Dominic O’Brien use spaced repetition to memorize incredible amounts of information efficiently – now you can too.

Create your own set of flashcards, then MemShot tracks your progress and ensures that you work only on items that most need practice – much more efficient than traditional learning systems.

To get started, go to MemShot and start adding facts. Then click “Practice” to start learning.

Memory practice

The software includes many features to help you on your path to mastery; for instance:

Progress Reports! MemShot keeps track of your progress so you can see how well you are learning – are you progressing well or do you need to up the ante?

Memorization progress

Trouble Spots! MemShot keeps detailed records of your progress on every fact and you can easily see which items are causing you the most trouble.

Individual item status

Reminders! MemShot can keep your motivation ticking over by reminding you when it is time to practice.

Sharing! Although experts suggest that creating your own sets helps with the learning process, you can also share learning sets. If you create a set that may interest others, click the “share” button.

With just a few minutes each day with MemShot, you can look forward to memorizing an impressive amount of information.

Did you know – Jeopardy winner Roger Craig used Spaced Repetition as part of his training?

Feedback is welcome. We have many ideas for improving MemShot. If you have one, let us know.

What now?

Mastering a new skill and becoming an expert

Monday, August 20th, 2012

mastery comic

An oft-cited paper indicates that becoming the world’s greatest [insert dream skill here] is not strongly correlated with talent, lung capacity, IQ or any other innate trait.

Their study suggests that by far the most important factor in acquiring a skill is the time spent deliberately practicing the desired skill.

“Deliberate practice” simply means “no goofing around”.

The authors of the paper studied a bunch of different domains such as music, chess and the scientific endeavour. They found that roughly 10000 hours of deliberate practice is required to become the expert.

This is a lot of hours. For instance, at 20 hours a week this will take 10 years.

However, the great thing about this is that you are master of your own destiny. If you put your mind to it and put in the effort, the world is your oyster. Pursue your passion!

To help calculate your path to mastery, Supernifty has included a tool to figure out when you will be the next chess grandmaster or tennis world number one. Simply fill in the fields below:

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If you are serious about mastering a skill, consider trying the Hourly Time Tracker to see how you are really spending your time. A “mastery” column predicts which activities you are becoming an expert at.

hourly tracker with mastery column

You might be a little sad to discover that you are rapidly becoming an expert at “work” or “TV”. Think about the incredible human body that you have been blessed with. Is this truly what you want to spend your life getting good at?

How to track your daily goals and form new habits

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

For some time I have been trying to develop useful daily habits in a quest for self-improvement.

Things like:

  • exercising daily,
  • learning a new language and
  • finishing my masterpiece.

A bad way to learn a new skill or form a new habit is to have a short-lived exuberance of enthusiasm before returning to the old you. This has been my usual strategy.

This boom-bust cycle is deflating and makes the next effort even harder.

The solution!

Doing a little each day and tracking progress appears to be quite successful at maintaining motivation.

Supernifty’s habit-forming tool can help out with this.

Daily goals

Set your goals, then click in the appropriate day when you complete a goal. Simple.

If you’re like me, or Jerry Seinfeld, then you are well on your way to cementing some valuable habits.

Stars and Streaks and Jerry Seinfeld

The story goes that Jerry Seinfeld needed a way to keep himself motivated when writing, so came up with the “Don’t break the chain” method. Each day he would draw a line on his calendar to indicate that he had done a little comedy writing that day.

After a short time, the motivation became to keep the chain going.
Soon after, Jerry Seinfeld had created one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.

Supernifty’s goal tracking tool shows a “streak” statistic to emulate this idea. Keep the streak going! Be like Jerry!

Long Term Progress

One motivating factor in the habit-forming game is to try to maintain or improve my performance compared to previous weeks.

Click on “All weeks” to see how your habit-forming is progressing. It’s also easy to filter on a specific habit.

Goals analysis

Finally…

If you’ve had trouble forming new habits in the past, then this goal tracking tool could be the ticket.

This same web page includes a tool to track how you spend your time – just hide this if you are only interested in the goal tracker.

Feedback is always welcome. If you have ideas or thoughts, or it has helped you out, let us know!

Book Review – Fitness for Geeks

Sunday, July 8th, 2012


Fitness for Geeks attempts to teach fitness principles via “real science, great nutrition and good health”.

The book includes sections on nutrition, eating habits, exercise, sleeping and other lifestyle decisions.

Many of the principles advocated in this book mirror those of the “paleo” movement, which is based on the diet and exercise patterns of humans from the paleolithic age. The theory is that the human body hasn’t had time to adapt to the modern life.

The author begins by describing why the human body is not well suited to the modern life. Sitting around all day eating a diet high in saturated fat is less than optimal. Makes sense.

The next section covers nutrition. This section of the book is informative and well written, first covering the “macronutrients” – carbohydrates, protein and fat, before moving onto vitamins and micronutrients. All very interesting and useful. Many useful resources are provided for analyzing what you eat and assessing your diet.

Next is a chapter promoting an idea not heard too often – the health benefits of fasting for significant periods. It’s an interesting idea – usual dietary advice is to have a good breakfast; this chapter advocates skipping breakfast.

The book progresses to exercise and the author recommends intense, short workouts – he cites the Tabata workout. Also recommended is variety in exercise regimes by using systems like crossfit.

The section on resistance training was good, however much of the fitness advice is simply the preference of the author and doesn’t seem to be based on any particular best practice.

This book reminded me of “The Four Hour Body“, which was primarily a book of ideas to investigate further, rather than advice provided by an expert in the field. Both books lack the scientific rigour to back up much of the supplied “wisdom”.

The connection to “geeks” was tenuous. For example in the section on sleep, there was, inexplicably, a page of source code to connect to the Zeo sleep monitor. A variety of gadgets for health tracking were reviewed in the book.

Overall, the sections on nutrition and resistance training were great, sometimes the rest felt a little patchy.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

The Biggest Loser – BMI data on your iPhone

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

If you watched the last Biggest Loser series, Biggest Loser Second Chances, you might be interested to know that you can now see each contestant’s before and after BMI position on the Celebrity BMI iPhone App.

Biggest Loser BMI data

Once you’ve fired up the app, simply click on “Download”, choose “Biggest Loser 2009” and voila, you have the Biggest Loser dataset available on Celebrity BMI. One thing that is immediately obvious is the spectacular amount of weight all contestants managed to lose, and how spectacularly unhealthy they were at the start of the show.

Whether you use this for your own inspiration, to compare to your own efforts or to marvel at what a motivated person is capable of, hopefully you’ll find this dataset useful. If there is sufficient interest, other Biggest Loser results will be added to the application.

Celebrity BMI on your iPhone

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

It’s true. Celebrity BMI is now available on the iPhone.

Celebrity BMI on the iPhone Celebrity BMI on the iPhone



Determine your BMI by sliding the chart around on screen, and see which weight category you fall into.

Save your BMI so you can compare yourself to your friends, or keep track of your BMI.

Then download one of the BMI packs to see how you compare to:

  • Average BMI for adults in different age groups.
  • Average BMI for children (boys and girls) aged 0-20.
  • Your favourite celebrity! Download one of the celebrity packs and compare yourself to Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and many more.

It’s useful, interesting and fun. And only $0.99. Bargain!

Check it out online, or open iTunes for further details.

Anti Zen – Sage Advice #1

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Anti zen cream
For some time I’ve held an interest in Buddhism and Zen, and have read a number of books on the subject. I’m also a reader of Zen Habits, by Leo Duchovny, David Duchovny’s younger brother.

I would argue that Leo’s blog has very little relationship to Zen (*cough* false advertising *cough*), and in fact I would suggest that a more appropriate title would be “Nice guy habits”. But that doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Zen isn’t really about being nice, or being organised, getting things done, being productive, or any of that hoo-ha. Why do people even care so much about these stupid things? Being productive? Woohoo, way to go, mark that down as your headstone quote.

Zen, without the Buddhism, is simply about living in the present moment, and meditating a lot to get good at that.

So, with that out of the way, Supernifty will now, as is the fashion in blogs, preach with a list of ways to be awesome.

1. Be nice
No.

Ever hear the saying, “nice guys finish last”? Well, it’s true. This means that being nice results in a double whammy of suckfullness. First, you have to be nice. Second, you come last.

Being grumpy, and bad, is the alternative personality to aim for. Grumpiness is fun, and helps you live longer. Also, grumpy people are pretty funny. John McEnroe for instance. His grumpiness gives him an ongoing income stream: every time someone says “you cannot be serious” on commercial television, he gets a dollar.

Girls love bad. You just have to watch TV to know this. There’s even scientific evidence indicating as such.

Unfortunately, if you are too bad, you might end up in jail. Supernifty life tip: avoid jail. This means aiming to be in the smart bad end of town, the guys that don’t get caught. If you think you might be in the stupid bad category, maybe you should just be good instead.

2. Patience is a virtue
No.

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting around for stuff and generally, it’s a waste of time. Time is the one thing you can never get more of in your life so don’t spend it being patient. Seize the day, and don’t wait another moment to go fix yourself a big sugary treat.

3. Only the good die young
Actually no, it’s mainly the bad guys dying young by killing each other, and themselves. Drinking, smoking or shagging themselves to death. Not taking care of themselves, driving too fast, taking stupid risks. All that stuff is the domain of the baddies.

But doesn’t it sound like fun? You only live once, do you want that one life to be the boring, long, life of the nice guy?

4. Live in the moment
Zen tells us the only moment is now.

So forget the past, and forget the future (i.e. consequences of your actions). Do whatever the hell you want, and do it right now.

* Please don’t take all aspects of this article seriously. I actually quite like Leo’s blog.

Paralympics 2008 – where do our paralympians come from?

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

paralympic medal map

How great are our paralympic athletes? Their efforts at the Beijing Paralympics have been incredible. Their stories, hardships and sacrifices have been at times heartbreaking, but more often inspirational.

In short, it’s been very good.

Further to Supernifty’s map of Olympics medallists, Supernifty is proud to announce a similar deal for the Paralympics medallists.

Using this map, you can see where all our local heroes hail from. If you’re considering setting up a tickertape parade, rock concert or air-force flyover in their honour, this is a chance to check that you are in the right town.

OK, so that last paragraph was sheer silliness.

But you should check out where our Beijing Paralympics medallists come from.

The map will be updated daily as more medals are won, until the conclusion of the games, so feel free to check it frequently.

Meet your local Olympic Champion!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Olympic Roots
Well, the 2008 Beijing Olympics are over. However, there’s still so much scope for distraction with this new Google Mashup from Supernifty.

The page shows where in the world all the medal winners come from. See which athletes are from your home town.

This will help you know who to look out for down at your local shopping centre.

It’s also an opportunity to learn more about your favorite athlete, where they got started, and how they got to be at the top of their game.

And of course it’s an opportunity to stick it to your neighbouring state/city/county by checking to see who won the most medals.

Check out the Supernifty Olympic Medallist Google Maps Mashup today!