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5 Smart Ways to Make Even the Worst Christmas Movie Enjoyable

5 Smart Ways to Make Even the Worst Christmas Movie Enjoyable

This Christmas malarkey is pretty relentless. The older you get, the faster the 350-odd days before you dig out the Christmas decorations and put up the tree seem to go. Before you know it, what was 12-months of respite feels more like just a couple of months. There’s a week or two of summer, a tiny glimpse of autumn and just a fleeting whiff of spring, before, in your Radio Times television schedule, there it is again – Elf!

Christmas movies, whether you love them or loathe them, will probably always exist. For as long as this planet remains habitable there will be Home Alone; there will be Miracle on 34th Street; and God help us all, there will be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jingle all the Way.

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So, escape from Ground Hog Day, both literal and metaphorical, is clearly not possible; but at least you can watch Christmas movies in an entirely different way. Welcome everybody, to the smart house, and the gadgets that can transform even the offensively bad Santa with Muscles (starring Hulk Hogan) into a rollicking good time.

1. Summon up a nice warm drink

One of the simplest joys of Christmas, and in fact winter as a whole, has to be a hot, comforting drink after escaping the cold. The TopBrewer will brew your favourite coffee or hot chocolate with a touch of your smartphone. A finger touch keyboard can even be built into your table top to save you the ardour of reaching into your pocket and grabbing your phone, so there’ll be no arguing about who’s turn it is to make the drinks.

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2. Give me popcorn!

Ever wanted to make popcorn in your very own home simply by shouting “make me some damn popcorn”? Well now you can. Using Amazon Alexa and Echo, you can make popcorn with your voice alone, as long as you prep the popcorn machine first of course. And here’s how:

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3. Load up Netflix with the heft of your buttocks

The smart sofa (number 15 on this geek den guide) is not a dab hand at University Challenge kind of smart, but is smart in the way that, once you’ve sat down, you’ll be treated like a king. At this time it’s still very much in the concept stage, but once fully realised, this unassuming sofa will recognise the heft of your buttocks and load up your Netflix account for you. It’ll carry on playing from were you left off and even pause whatever you’re watching while you jump up to grab yourself some mulled wine. Jingle all the way!

4. Answer the door without moving

There are few things worse than settling down for a Christmas film, only for someone to have the audacity to knock on your front door. Thankfully, to spare you the ignominy of having to get up, this new smart lock has been designed that lets you see who is at the door, talk to the visitors through your smartphone, and remotely unlock the door without getting up.

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5. Set the mood with lighting and temperature control

Compared to these new fangled innovations, remote lighting and temperature control can almost be considered old hat. But no self respecting technophile could claim to live in a smart house without this absolute staple. For an added bonus at Christmas time you can also control all of your Christmas lights, so you can switch the Christmas tree light on too or have them all come on automatically when it gets dark and then switch off at bed time. So, dim the lights, nudge the temperature control up just a little, and enjoy that Christmas classic in complete comfort.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

1. Lumosity

This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

    2. Fit Brains Trainer

    This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

    Free.

    Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

      3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

      Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

      First four games free, then $13 a month.

      cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

        4. Brain Fitness Pro

        The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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        Buy for $3.99.

        5. Happify

        If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

        Free to use.

        Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

          6. Clockwork Brain

          You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

          Free.

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          Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            7. ReliefLink

            Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

            Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

              8. Eidetic

              Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

              Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                9. Braingle

                Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                Free.

                Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                  10. Not The Hole Story

                  If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                  Free.

                  Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    11. Personal Zen

                    This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                    Free.

                    personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                      Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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