2020Memory Software

Published on Thursday, September 28, 2006 in , ,

2020 Memory SoftwareOne of the most classic memory feats is the one in which you remember a long list of items generated by the audience, usually in and out of order.

Once you have practiced the basics of memory technique, it's not a difficult feat to perform. To be able to perform it reliably, of course, the best solution is constant practice! But how do you generate a random list for practice? Computers can be a great help, of course. My own Train Your Brain and Entertain (TYBE) software can help you learn the 20-item memory feat, as well as all the required techniques.

This week, Iron Tree Software has released 2020Memory, a program specifically designed to help you practice the 20-item memory feat. There is no instruction, as the program assumes you are familiar with the techniques.

2020Memory actually comes as two different files. The main program, which offers more flexibility, is an executable Windows file. The second is an Excel file, which will run on any spreadsheet program that reads the .XLS format. This second verstion is an excellent choice for Mac OS X users, who can load it up in programs like Office, Appleworks or NeoOffice.

The 2020Memory are free to download, but are password protected, with a clue given on the description page. The Windows version will run for 10 times, so you can get an idea of the program. After that, a registration key must be purchased for continued use of the program. There are no restrictions on the Excel version of 2020Memory. As an added bonus, several lists of words are included, and can be used to customized the lists in various ways, such as localizing the available words to your language.

I also recommend that an eye should be kept on the Iron Tree Software site, as they are already promising such interesting upcoming releases as Cal-cue-late, Sign Works and Fore-date, all of which should be of great interest to the Brain Gang.


Hunkin's Experiments

Published on Sunday, September 24, 2006 in , ,

Hunkin's ExperimentsOver at Hunkin's Experiments, there are a number of fascinating things to try.

The Brain Gang will be especially interested in the Mathematical Experiments section. This includes fun items such as how to prove 1=2 and 2=3, Moebius Bands (including one approach to them I've never seen before) and the classic method for making an extra square appear. The method by which this last one works has been used in many mathematical effects, including this nice version from WoodenCigars.com, which includes an amazing video demonstration.

There are also experiments which show surprising applications of mathematical theory, including how to push a cube through the middle of a cube the same size, and surprising methods for trisecting an angle and making a right angle with string. For surprising math tricks, check out what Hunkin calls Russian multiplication, which allows you to multiply any two numbers from 6 to 10, using only your fingers! Usually, when mathematicians mention the phrase "Russian multiplication" or "Russian peasant multiplication", they're usually referring to this method for multiplying two large numbers together.

Take your time, and look through the other experiments, too. You'll even find some classic magic tricks, such as mind reading with coins, telephones, hands and names.


Visual Catalog Feed

Published on Thursday, September 21, 2006 in , , , , ,

Grey Matters StylefeedTo help give a better idea of the items available in the Grey Matters Online Store, I've added a new feature! If you look to your right in the middle column, you'll see the new visual catalog feed directly under the Grey Matters Web Store description.

This isn't just a static visual catalog either. If you mouseover any of the items shown, the image will enlarge and show their titles. When you click on them, you'll be taken to a feed which includes a simple description of that item. Clicking on the title at that point will take you directly to the corresponding page in the Grey Matters Online Store.

This visual catalog feed is made possible by Stylefeeder, and requires the Flash plug-in to work.


Mind Hack Archive

Published on Sunday, September 17, 2006 in , , , ,

LifehackerOver on Lifehacker, I've just discovered a fascinating section of their site that is perfect for the Brain Gang (my name for Grey Matters readers).

As their site name implies, they're known for all sorts of hacks, so why not a few Lifehacker mind hacks? These are all sorts of tips and tricks to help make various mental tasks simpler. Among my favorites are the Quickly convert from the 24 hour clock and their surefire way to Never forget your lock combination again!

If you enjoyed the book Mind Performance Hacks, I think you'll enjoy Lifehacker's mind hacks!


Jimmy Ruska's Speed Math

Published on Thursday, September 14, 2006 in , , ,

Jimmy RuskaToday, I am introducing a new feature into the Grey Matters Mental Gym! The new feature is called Speed Math (Flash 8 or better required), and is provided by the generosity of Jimmy Ruska.

Speed Math is a program designed to increase your speed at mental addition and multiplication. While the program itself is largely self-explanatory, Mr. Ruska has also provided a video tutorial which explains the features of the program in detail. To help you learn the techniques themselves, he has also created videos teaching rapid addition technique and rapid multiplication technique. Arthur Benjamin's Mathemagics videos may also help with the techniques, especially part 1, part 2, part 4 and part 5.

I've included the above links and more on the Speed Math page itself. Try it out, and amaze yourself as you develop your mental math skills!


Day For Any Date Calendar Updated

Published on Sunday, September 10, 2006 in , , , , , , ,

2007 Day For Any Date CalendarBack in March of this year, I introduced the 2006 Day For Any Date Calendar, which is specially designed to allow you to recall the day of the week for any date given in 2006, while making this feat much easier to do than the pure-memory version.

Since it's time to start thinking about 2007, however, I'm now introducing the 2007 Day For Any Date Calendar! The instruction booklet and the design have both been updated to work for next year. The binding has also changed. While the 2006 calendar was saddle-stitched, the 2007 is wire-bound, which actually improves the working of the routine.

There are 3 different presentations taught in the instructions. The first two deal with varied conditions you'll encounter when the spectator is looking at the month, and the third is a challenge presentation, in which the spectator is armed with the calendar itself, and you're armed only with your mind, and you race to see who can get the day of the week for a date given by a third person.

If you've ever wanted to perform this classic feat, but didn't want to put in all the mental work required in the classic version, check out the new 2007 Day For Any Date Calendar!


Magic Squares Blog

Published on Thursday, September 07, 2006 in ,

wordpress logoWith the help of Technorati.com, I've just discovered a brand new blog of interest to Grey Matter readers.

The blog is called Magic Squares, and focuses on exactly that topic. There's only one post so far, but it is very thorough. Check it out!


Tinkertoy Tic-Tac-Toe

Published on Sunday, September 03, 2006 in ,

Computer RecreationsWhen people think of computers, they think of high-tech chips, and high-speed processors. However, the basic ideas of computers don't necessarily require these technologies to function, as the Computer Science Unplugged series demonstrates.

One of the most unique and fascinating examples of using non-standard technologies is this Tic-Tac-Toe computer built from Tinkertoys! This 4-page article is a reprint from Scientific American, and describes how the computer was designed and built.

It's a great example of how computational thinking can be applied “outside the box”, and used in unexpected new ways.

Despite the sad ending noted in the article, where they mention that the Tinkertoy computer is sitting in a box in some museum's back room, you'll be glad to know that it is currently assembled, functioning and on display at the Boston Museum of Science.