Monday, May 23, 2011

Understanding Girls/ Women -- How to analyze their body language and talks

By Reed Tucker for our content partner: Men's Life Today -- Handpicked for you by our team

The Girl Decoder

Ever think, "It's like women speak some other language!" Well, they sort of do. Here are some tips for understanding why women communicate the way they do and how to handle it.

God has played some cruel tricks on us men. He has made manly foods far too fattening and handed over Megan Fox to Brian Austin Green. But in perhaps His most diabolical move yet, He’s seen fit to make sure men will never, ever be able to understand what the hell women are saying.

Sure, that communication gap has fueled lame comedy routines and sitcoms for eons, but there’s definitely more than a nugget of truth behind it. So why do men and women have such a problem figuring each other out?
For one thing, women are just plain different. And we’re not talking about their propensity to wear bikinis. They actually communicate differently. Here’s why, and what to do about it:

Why They Talk … and Talk and Talk While men tend to bond by exchanging information, women bond simply by opening their gobs; what she’s saying isn’t nearly as important as the fact that she’s saying it. “This is something guys don’t understand,” says Stephen Simpson, author of What Women Wish You Knew about Dating: A Single Guy's Guide to Romantic Relationships. “Just sharing any information is bonding to women.”

Why They Don’t Come out and Say It Women are also generally less direct and more polite -- not including Nancy Pelosi. “Women speak from the heart,” says Lissa Coffey, relationship expert and Web mistress of the site Coffey Talk. “We’re aware of the emotion that is involved, we’re sensitive and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. When we are direct, it comes across as a demand, an argument or nagging. So we say in girl speak: ‘When you have a minute, would you mind please taking out the trash?’ and of course, the man hears this, interprets it as not a priority and a minute later promptly forgets. What we really meant in man speak was ‘Trash. Out. Now.’ But that just sounds mean, and we prefer to be more lady-like.”

Why They Say “Maybe” When They Mean “No” When you ask out a woman, she may say “Let me check my schedule” as opposed to what she’s actually thinking: “You’ll see Rush Limbaugh running the ACLU before you see me naked.” Simply, the female preference for politeness is to blame.

Why They Use Body LanguageScience has shown it, and we know you’re not going to try and argue with science: Women won’t just come out and say they are interested. Instead, she’ll let you know she’s hot for you by making eye contact, touching your arm and rubbing her own neck. It’s true. What can be most maddening for men is that women are even less direct when they feel like they’re being pursued by a guy. “She’s immediately going to become a lot vaguer and use more nonverbal cues,” Simpson says. In other words, don’t expect her to come right out and invite you for a cozy weekend at her beach house.

Why They Want You to ArgueMost guys will agree with anything a hot woman says. When you don’t, she’ll know you’re being honest. Simpson says women are so jaded that, early on in relationships, they actually count on men deceiving them. “They expect any guy who’s interested to exaggerate and hide something,” Simpson says. Often, women are less direct because they’re more cautious. (If you’d been hit on by as many losers as most chicks have, wouldn’t you be cautious too?) One of the ways to show her you’re not like all those other lying Neanderthals is to disagree with her.

How to Deal So, yeah. Seems that bad comedian at the Ha Ha Hut was right. Men and women: different. She’ll continue to say vague, indirect things that you won’t understand, and the problems will persist. Solution: It’s time to put yourself in her place, gentlemen. “So often men don’t understand women because they look at the situation from their own, male point of view,” Coffey says. “Look at the situation instead through her eyes. Psychically try to put on her high-heeled pumps and feel what she’s feeling, just for a moment, even if it might seem to be illogical to you.”

And if that seems like more empathy than you can muster, try repeating back in your own words things women are saying to see if you’ve got it right. Sure, playing the parrot is a pain. But it’s not nearly as bad as swinging from your perch alone, night after night.

Keep your resolutions -- Use these tech applications to help you

By Tim Jarvis for our content Partner: Style + Tech For Men -- Handpicked for you by our team

Tech Solutions to Track Your Resolutions
It used to be that new year’s resolutions were as easy to stick to as Bayou beach rocks after the BP oil spill. But technology has finally caught up with your absolute lack of resolve.

Every year, losing weight and saving money top the new year’s resolution hit -- and miss -- list. The great news is that you can stick to these resolutions with an array of gadgets that amounts to a pile of high-tech superglue. The better news? Most of them are cheap -- or free -- thanks to your phone.

“We’re moving into an app-dominated world,” says Eric Schlissel, the owner and CEO of the IT tech support company, based in Los Angeles. “Gadgets are integrated into what you already carry around, so why spend a lot of money on something your phone can do for the price of a $5 app?”

Here are five resolutions with apps to track ’em:

1. Bring Balance to Your Life

Photo courtesy of

You can balance your checkbook in a way that won’t result in prosecution and make sure to keep that appointment with your defense attorney by adding a task- and time-management app to your smartphone. Schlissel recommends Remember the Milk, a free, feature-packed app that efficiently sorts, prioritizes and color-codes your to-do lists -- and keeps you focused on your goals via IM, email or SMS reminders. Upgrade to a Pro account for $25, and you’ll get priority support and more features.
Platforms: iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Android
2. Get a Little Help From Your Friends

Photo courtesy of

Now that you’ve got your scheduling sorted, it wouldn’t hurt to have a supportive community to help you keep your resolution. “43Things is a great online goal-setting and networking app (accessible through Facebook) with millions of users,” says Schlissel. You can itemize your goals, browse through other people’s to get ideas, post questions and even track your progress as others cheer you on to the finish line … or root for you to trip over your beer muscle.

Platforms: iPhone

3. Move More

Photo courtesy of

It’s a novel concept if you want to lose weight: Eat less … and move more! According to Schlissel, one of the most robust and accurate GPS tracking apps for athletes is RunKeeper. Ironically, the app works just as well for cyclists, hikers, skiers, etc. It analyzes your workout and tracks your distance, time and pace. One of its strengths is its interactive website on which you can sign up for the Street Team feature and connect with other users to trade progress reports, motivate each other and even participate in online fitness classes.

Platforms: iPhone and Android

4. Burn-notice Machine

Photo courtesy of

CardioTrainer gets equally high marks from Schlissel. It also utilizes your phone’s GPS to track your workouts and automatically uploads the results to its website. The app is easy to set up and boasts an array of features that includes an integrated calorie-calculator, auto-pause and real-time feedback. Basic CardioTrainer (free) can be upgraded with two premium features: Weight Loss Trainer ($2.99), which lets you set up and track a weight-loss plan, and Race Against Yourself ($2.99), which records your results and sets up competition against your best times.

Platforms: Android

5. Stay Above the Bottom Line

Photo courtesy of

If you’re looking to avoid writing checks from the prison library this year, it’s time to look into a good financial app. “I think is the best financial application out there,” concludes Schlissel. “It tracks your accounts, automatically updates transactions and is easy to use. It’s incredibly useful.” Mint pulls all your financial information into one place, allowing you to see all your balances and transactions together, on the Web or your phone. Even better? Neither the app nor access to their website will cost you a dime.

Platforms: iPhone and Android platforms

Tim Jarvis Tim Jarvis is a freelance health, technology and entertainment writer who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine and the men’s grooming and lifestyle site Men’s Life Today. He is also currently working on a book about the mysteries of quantum mechanics.

How to share safely on Social Networks such as Facebook

From the Editors of our content partner: Every Day Connected

The days when social networks were just for teens are long over: Adults now take up social networking for fun and business alike. One entrepreneur, Sheilah Etheridge of Anchorage, Alaska, uses social networks to turn up business leads for her home-based accounting and consulting firm. But Etheridge is selective with what she shares and where. “Everything we post on the Web is obviously out there for all the world to see, and it’s out there for eternity,” she says.

To get the most out of your favorite social networks, it’s important to be aware of how to protect your online privacy. Here’s how to share safely:

Tip No. 1: Don’t fork over too much personal info.
You don’t always know who is viewing even tidbits of your profiles, so think twice before you post sensitive -- or potentially embarrassing -- information, videos or photos on social networks. It could fall into the hands of identity thieves, prospective employers, college recruiters or even potential mates.
“People should assume the content they put online is going to be public,” says blogger Jeremiah Owyang, a former senior analyst for Forrester Research.

Tip No. 1: Review privacy policies before you post.
Some networks, such as LinkedIn, have adopted privacy policies that vouch they’ll never share your information with other users without your consent. Other sites, like Facebook and Twitter, offer online privacy settings that allow you to control who can view certain information and who gets notification when you add friends or Web applications.
But be mindful about the details: On Facebook, for example, your profile and photo privacy settings are separate. Just because you block non-friends from seeing your profile doesn’t bar them from seeing your photos. Make sure your review all your preferences under Account and Privacy Settings.

Tip No. 2: Don’t reveal every step you take.
It’s a freaky thought, but stalkers, jealous spouses and suspicious employers can use social networks to keep an eye on your every move. Many photos and posts are time-stamped, so the date and time you post it is recorded and shared with your network of friends or connections. This means your boss may be able to find out how much time you spend on Facebook while at work.

Facebook also allows you to “Check In” where you are, revealing your geographic location. On Twitter, you can note your location in your tweets and in your profile. If you want to keep your moves and location on the down-low, avoid checking in altogether and tweak your online privacy settings.

Tip No. 4: Be smart with apps.

Most social networking sites are for-profit companies, and advertising keeps membership free. Any time you sign up for a free app or contest on a social network, your private data might be used to target you with online advertising based on your activities.
“The purpose behind social networking sites is supposed to be to enable you to connect with friends and colleagues and do these networking activities,” says John Verdi, senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) , a nonprofit privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “What they don’t say is that ‘our real purpose is to mine your data and sell it to the highest bidder.’”
So even if you’ve read Facebook’s online privacy policy, you still need to read the privacy policies of application-makers who promote their apps on Facebook. “They are third-party applications,” says Verdi. “The social networks don’t vouch for any of them.”

Tip No. 5: Don’t expect to be able to delete it once you post it.
It’s happened to the best of us: being haunted by your old social network posts that never die. There is an assumption that you “own” your profiles. But that’s not the case.
In the past, Facebook users were not able to completely delete their profiles. Facebook claimed it wanted to store the information in case users wanted to revive their profile, but it has now caved in under pressure from users to allow for easier deleting. MySpace and LinkedIn allow users to delete their profiles too.
But when it comes to posts you leave on others’ profiles -- or content that friends copied off your profile or blog -- it can remain online for eternity. “There are going to be remnants or ghosts,” says Owyang. “Assume that everything you put online is forever.”
The single best thing you can do before you put yourself out there on a social network? “Speak to other users you know and trust before joining some sites,” says Etheridge. In other words, network a bit before you sign up for a network so you can learn more about how the site protects your info -- or doesn’t.

The Go-to Gaming Device -- A trusty Laptop

By Matt Ployhar for our content partner: Digital Innovation Gazette

My Go-to Gaming Device: A Trusty Laptop
Over the past couple of decades, I’ve done a ton of gaming on PCs (including laptops and desktops), consoles, handhelds (e.g., PSP), and smartphones. When I first got my start working in the industry in a professional capacity back in 1997, I was working for Microsoft in the SideWinder gaming devices group. In the past 14 years, I’ve seen a lot of interfaces and devices come and go for various reasons, and I continue to see more on the horizon that are interesting -- but are unlikely to stick. The same holds true for gaming platforms.

Laptops for the past decade have been my No. 1 go-to gaming device. But it wasn’t always this way. (My earliest PC gaming experiences date back to the Apple IIe in 1983 that my Dad purchased.) This doesn’t mean I dislike PC desktops. I still own one, but I do find myself booting it up less frequently. One of the limitations desktops share with consoles is that they’re stationary devices. I would say I now live in a mobile, dynamic, wirelessly connected, digital content world.

I’m going to include some devices that I took some pictures of recently for one of my projects.

What you can see by looking at Picture No. 1 is that only the devices closest to you in the photo are actually standalone and self-contained devices. You don’t need a separate keyboard, display, etc. My hunch is that the 8th generation of consoles might head in the standalone direction and become more mobile. To that end, I believe they’re going to be playing a huge game of catch-up to the already well-entrenched and existing laptop/iPad/Slate/smartphone/iPhone markets. (Good luck!)

They also start running a greater risk of being construed as proprietary entertainment PCs, which might be sticky to navigate for console makers that partner with computer makers. Another option would be to integrate themselves into TVs, but I think in that scenario, their proprietary nature becomes an Achilles’ heel. Finally, and what I would do if I were them, is to go the route of a proprietary Slate-like entertainment platform. However, while they’re sort of cool and sexy now, they have more limitations than a laptop and the proprietary path limits the options. Not very smart in this era, in my personal opinion.

The next point comes into play in Picture No. 2. From a gaming perspective, what game platform provides the least amount of compromise? What devices are best suited to carry around? What can you use from the comfort of anywhere in your home? When you’re traveling at an Internet cafe, or on a plane, what makes the most sense? Which of these is the most self-contained?

Answer: Laptops!

Laptops have really closed the gap in terms of performance from where they used to be. About 10 years ago, gaming on them was sort of painful. However, today they’re incredible devices. With modern-day OS’s, they simply plug into and play on practically any HDTV. HDMI cables work great. There are also several wireless gaming controllers that one can use to play console-like games from your laptop in the living room (e.g., BioShock).

Furthermore, the experience just keeps getting better. Laptop graphics are better and more stable. Solid state drives are becoming cheaper. Wireless display technologies are right around the corner, and everything is shrinking and becoming lighter -- and with better battery life. When you start adding all of these benefits together, I believe they far outweigh the few negatives. You end up with a very amazing and compelling gaming platform in a very portable package.

Matt Ployhar focuses on graphics, multimedia and gaming in Intel’s visual computing software division [disclosure: Intel is the sponsor of this website]. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft for more than 12 years. His passions are graphics and gaming. And when he can get away from his computer, he also enjoys the great outdoors and reading.

Visual Computing -- What is the next challenge?

By Orion R. Granatir for our content partner: Digital Innovation Gazette

Finding the Next Challenge in Visual Computing
Five years ago, a new wave of consoles brought the inception of high-definition (HD) content to the video game industry. Some companies excelled in this era, others did not. Nevertheless, the industry is now HD.

As evidenced by console manufacturers developing new input controls to extend the life of this generation of consoles, the industry is looking for the next challenge. With the release of DirectX 11, the increasing capabilities of processor graphics, and a new surge of mobile devices, there certainly is plenty to explore.

Some think programming for multicore is a punishment reserved for the eighth ring of hell. (I recently beat EA’s Dante’s Inferno, so it’s on my mind.) But you don’t need to fight your way through purgatory to reach multicore heaven. If you keep two concepts in mind, things get easier:

1. Use data decomposition: A game can’t scale just by dividing subsystems onto separate threads (sometimes referred to as “functional decomposition”). It has to divide data intelligently to run across multiple cores. The ever-insightful Mike Acton has a great article on this very subject over at Insomniac Games’ R&D page

2. Use tasks, not threads directly: To scale on an arbitrary number of cores and be truly cross-platform, work should be divided into tasks. A task is a unit of work (for example, a function pointer and data) that can run without (or with very limited) synchronization. These units of work are processed by a thread pool, which is scaled appropriately to the available parallelism in the hardware.

By utilizing tasking and data decomposition together, it is possible to take advantage of multicore for all subsystems. Prior to DX11, rendering was still the locked gateway to heaven. With DX11, it’s now possible to divide the work of rendering into multiple tasks using deferred contexts.

It’s interesting to note that DX11’s multithreaded goodness can run on DX10 hardware. DX11 supports “feature level,” which allows the latest API to be used on a wide range of hardware (provided the application is running on Vista/Win7) by emulating any missing behavior in software.

There is a growing uptake of task-based architectures in game engine design. Mark Randel’s implementation of physics and AI in Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine is nothing short of amazing. The fellows over at BitSquid are building a new game engine written with solid support for multicore. Furthermore, the Civilization V team at Firaxis is getting great performance out of a task-based approach. (Check out their GDC 2010 presentation: “Firaxis’ Civilization V: A Case Study in Scalable Game Performance.”)

Orion R. Granatir is a senior
engineer with Intel’s Visual Computing Software Division [disclosure: Intel is
a sponsor of this website]. Prior to that, Orion worked on several PlayStation
3 titles as a senior programmer with Insomniac Games. His most recent published
titles are
Resistance: Fall of Man and Ratchet and Clank
Future: Tools of Destruction.

Advice on how you can find the best deals online

Handpicked for you by our team...From the Editors of our content partner: Every Day Connected
When a birthday or the holidays roll around at the Scharer household in Athens, Ohio, 39-year-old Greg Scharer has no need to make a shopping list and check it twice. Instead, he turns to his favorite online shopping destination, Woot , for daily deals. This year, he was able to buy shock-resistant cameras for his three children at $12 apiece (approximately one-third of the price at Toys“R”Us).

“It’s incredibly convenient -- as you’re waiting at a dentist appointment or traveling, you can be on your phone looking at different things you need,” says Scharer, who uses the mobile app WootWatch. WootWatch scrolls all of Woot’s various offshoots -- like Kids Woot -- to aggregate its daily deal offerings. “Along with saving time, I find it typically saves me between 30 to 70 percent off retail prices.”

Scharer’s not alone in his shopping habits. Many busy parents are embracing the ease of online shopping in the cloud -- using websites, online services or mobile apps to bargain-hunt versus trudging to the nearest brick-and-mortar store. So how can one navigate the Web to find the best deals and steals? Here are the five best ways to discount-hunt in the cloud:

No. 1: Start your spree by comparison-shopping.

“Your first line of research should be price comparison sites, which are very powerful for getting a quick idea of what the item you want costs,” says Brad Wilson, editor in chief of Brad’s Deals . PriceGrabber is’s top pick , while NexTag and Shopzilla are other popular options.

No. 2: Snag both offline and online deals with coupon-based sites.
Whether shopping online or off, coupon codes can be a bargain hunter’s best friend. Coupon aggregators like Brad’s Deals and RetailMeNot offer both printable and online coupons, which can be redeemed for everything from free shipping to can’t-pass-up prices. “People don’t realize just how many coupons there are and how easy they are to get,” says Wilson, whose site currently shares 4,500 active coupons for 1,500 retailers.

No. 3: Use social networking.

Let other savvy shoppers do the work for you! One mom, Stephanie Moisio, has filled her Twitter feed with family shopping bloggers (like @babygoodbuys, @dealseekingmom and @freebies4mom), who post deals they find online. "It's nice to do all your deal-seeking in one convenient place," says Moisio. When shopping on her Android, she follows their tips to make smart purchases, often using the Ebates mobile app in tandem to earn cash back at participating stores.

No. 4: Get your daily deal fix delivered to your inbox or phone.
You may have heard of the popular Groupon, but there are other deals to be had. Subscribing to free daily sale sites like Woot, Zulily and Yugster gives you access to limited-time discounts available only to members. For a more local flavor and deals on meals and more, get the best of the rest with an aggregator like DealMap .

No. 5: Be smart about sharing personal information.
When shopping online, always make sure your site of choice is encrypted for safety; you can tell by whether it has “https:” in its URL. Also, use a credit card with built-in benefits like extended product warranties, identity theft protection or customer-friendly dispute options. But try not to stress too much. Says Wilson: “If you apply a dose of common sense to the process, you’ll be perfectly fine.”

The guide to the six best music applications for your phone and computer

Handpicked for you by our team...From the Editors of our content partner: Every Day Connected

Just a few years ago, the ability to listen to digital music on an MP3 player seemed revolutionary. Today, you can use handheld devices, like your smartphone, to create your own stations or even your own music -- without ever having to touch a real instrument.

“There are tons of great apps for music creation on the iPad and iPhone, and there are new ones emerging every day,” says Greg Thomas, a musician in El Cerrito, Calif. “There are apps that let you simulate playing keyboards, synths, guitars, drums, drum machines and other instruments.”

That’s only the beginning. Here are six don’t-miss music apps that will help you bring a little more music into your life.

Music App No. 1: Pandora
Lets you … Discover new music and share music picks with friends

Pandora is a unique app that aims to expose you to artists you haven’t discovered yet but are bound to love based on your current music preferences. Just type in the name of one of your favorite songs or artists, and Pandora will create a “radio station” that streams music with a similar sound composition to your device. Give each song that is streamed a thumbs up or down, and Pandora will further optimize the station for you. You can create up to 100 stations, which you can also share with friends -- creating a grassroots following for your new favorite artists.

“My favorite thing about the service is definitely the ability to discover new music,” says Bethany Miller of Scranton, Penn. “By far, my favorite artist that Pandora helped me discover is Gregory Alan Isakov. I’ve been playing his album That Sea, The Gambler more or less on repeat since I first heard ‘The Stable Song’ on my Pandora station and immediately went and bought it.”

Available on: Web, Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile.

Music App No. 2: Shazam

Lets you … Identify that great song you’re hearing at the store

Shazam recognizes and identifies music that you hear offline, such as in a clothing store, at a party or on the radio. It uses your device’s microphone to listen to whatever song you’re hearing, and then it tells you the title and artist. Shazam even links you to a place where you can buy a track and share info about it with your social networks. The app does a pretty good job of identifying music through ambient noise, such as people talking in the background.

Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Nokia and Windows Mobile

Music App No. 3: JamPad
Lets you … Experiment with music composition

Touchscreen devices are ideal for music-making, and you don’t even have to be a professional. Try JamPad : It features a keyboard, drum beats, electric guitar and guitar strum patterns -- and you can play all four at once. You can’t record your musical creations, but this app is just for jamming anyway. Looking to record on your iPhone? Try NanoStudio .

Available on: iPhone and iPad

Music App No. 4: SoundCloud
Lets you … Share your original tunes

If you’ve made your own music on your device or computer, you can upload it to SoundCloud and share it with friends to get feedback. They can even attach their comments to specific spots in your track to tell you a part they love or a part that needs more work. Then you can get on the SoundCloud site to explore and comment on the thousands of tracks that others have uploaded and categorized according to genre.

Available on: Web, Android, iPhone and iPad

Music App No. 5: Djay

Lets you … Spin at your own events

Just as the name suggests, djay turns you into a DJ. Use the app to record your own mixes or to mix on the fly. If you’re a beginner and need some help, the auto-mix mode will turn a playlist into a mix for you. Plus, it integrates with iTunes, so you have your whole music collection to work with. The iPad version is especially cool because you can scratch the records just like you would on a real turntable.

Available on: Mac and iPad

Music App No. 6: mSpot

Lets you … Listen to your collection across devices

With mSpot , you can upload your entire music collection to the cloud and listen to it anywhere, from any device. The app also keeps your collection synced, so when you purchase new music -- say, through iTunes -- it will automatically upload your new tracks to your music library in the cloud.

Available on: Web, Android and iPhone