Benny's Adventures

Noise Generators for a Better Life

I’ve recently been trying several things to try and calm me down. I’ve been dealing with a lot of motivational issues and part of the problem was being unable to focus. In theory white noise is supposed to help calm the mind whether it is to go to sleep or focus on an assignment or just be distraction free. I’ve found three sources of soothing noise that are useful, so check them out! They’ve been pretty effective so far in drowning out distractions such as footsteps outside my room and the occasional vibrational whine from the air vent above me.

 

1. RainyMood.com

This is a simple website. If you like the sound of rain, go to the website and you will hear the soothing sound of rain. There are occasional quiet thunders too. Rainy Mood is straightforward in that all it has is a big button to pause the sound and then to play it again.

2. White Noise (by Speech Privacy Systems)

This noise generator offers several features for the basic user. There is a premium option available but I find the free features sufficient. In this tool the Main Volume and Main Balance options are straightforward. The next option is the Volume Variation – this creates an amplitude of variation for the volume. The frequency cannot be changed as far as I can tell.

Now for the main feature – the noises! This site offers waterfall, wind, static, rainfall, and beach. You can adjust the volume of all of these independently to create a pleasing sound for you. You can also save what you get as a preset, though I can’t vouch for the permanency of it.

This is a more featured white noise generator if you don’t particularly like rain or need something a bit more.

3. Simply Noise

Simply Noise is different from RainyMood and the previous White Noise site because it deals in abstracts. You can choose from white noise, pink noise, and brown noise which all have a definition that you can look up on Wikipedia. These are not as intuitive in that “pink noise” does not evoke something from nature or experience. However these abstract noises can be soothing and Simply Noise claims to be useful for applications like a sleep aid, making tinnitus, and pacifying children and pets.

 

These are three aids I’ve found to help calm the brain down so that I can focus. If they help you out as well, let me know! And you can also let me know if you have other noise generators that are helpful to you.

For another tool that can help your productivity, take a look at my review of StayFocusd.

29 March 2011 Posted by | Internet, productivity | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syncing Saved Games With Windows Live Mesh

live mesh game sync 1

Windows Live Mesh offers a service much like Dropbox and in fact I use both. Steam Cloud also offers a service like this for game saves. HOWEVER there are games (including a lot of Steam games!) that do not sync. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but I recently had the unfortunate situation of being away from my gaming desktop. To be specific, I took the free time afforded to me by spring break to play Dark Messiah of Might and Magic on my laptop. Now that I’m back in my room I’d like to play it on my desktop but I realized I don’t have the save files!

This is where Windows Live Mesh comes into play. I’m sure I could have used Dropbox as well but for this particular case Windows Live Mesh worked out easier for me. Now my game saves have been transferred and now I can pick up where I left off at home on break on my desktop! I’m really happy for that.

For those of you interested, here’s how to do it:

1) On the first computer, open Windows Live Mesh and select “Sync a folder”

live mesh game sync 2

2) Navigate to your folder with the save files and select it. When asked for which devices to sync the folder to, DO NOT SELECT ANYTHING!

3) Now fire up Windows Live Mesh on the computer you want to sync the files to. Here you should see the folder that you added to Windows Live Mesh on the first computer. Select “Sync this folder” and navigate to where the game files would be saved. Select it, hit sync, and you’re good to go! In a few moments it should be synced and ready to go.

live mesh game sync 3

This incredibly useful for any gamer out there who plays on multiple computers and I applaud Microsoft for having such a useful tool. It’s such a shame that this is not more publicized!

 

If you try this, let me know how it goes! And if you find any other cool applications of Windows Live Mesh, I’d be more than happy to hear about it!

9 March 2011 Posted by | Gaming | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 Cool Things to do with NotePad

notepad.exe_I0002_0409Windows comes with Notepad which initially seems pretty useless but there are a lot of little things you can do with it that are really entertaining are useful. Here’s a website that lists 5 of them:

5 Groovy Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Notepad.exe

I think my favorite is #3. When combined with ways to hide sensitive files I see the potential for a easy journal to keep in a world where computers are ubiquitous.

Check it out! Maybe you’ll find a cool use for Notepad you never knew before! If you do find one, share them here so the world can benefit!

8 March 2011 Posted by | Computing, Technology | , , | 3 Comments

StayFocusd Review

StayFocusd 2StayFocusd from Transfusion Media is a free browser extension that claims to improve productivity by limiting your allowed time on websites of your choosing. The extension for Google Chrome is excellent at what it does and anyone whose primary distractions come from browsing the web should take a look at it.

I’ve used it for a little over a week now and my time on Reddit and StumbleUpon have decreased drastically. To that extent StayFocusd does its job very well. The settings are a little bit on the stiff side when it comes to time allowed per day but the other StayFocusd options are excellent. The user can choose which days the extension is active (I’ve used this to disable StayFocusd on Friday and Saturday when I generally have time to goof off), set what hours during the day which StayFocusd is active, and more. Should you get desperate there’s also the “Nuclear Option” which can block everything or everything but your allowed sites for a specified number of hours.

StayFocusd 3

One nifty features is the ability to require a challenge to change any settings. The challenge is a typing activity that you must get EXACTLY right to change StayFocusd settings – typos and backspacing is not allowed. This does precisely what the setting description claims it does- it makes it inconvenient to change settings. I’ve never had to use it but I can see how this would come in handy.

Transfusion Media has provided a great extension for Chrome with StayFocusd that can serve as a useful tool in maintaining productivity. The extension is wonderful but ultimately the discipline must come from the user. My experience with StayFocusd has been positive but the important thing to remember is that if you let a lack of discipline manifest in other ways then StayFocusd can’t really be much use. That being said, StayFocusd is a good tool to have.

1 March 2011 Posted by | Internet, productivity | , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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