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11 Ingenious Ways to Exercise Your Brain When You're Stuck Inside

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As the winter keeps going, it’s easy to find yourself spending more and more of your evenings in the comfort of your home. Just because you aren’t willing to brave the cold, however, doesn’t mean you don’t have plenty of options to keep your brain on its toes. Here are a handful of fun ways to exercise your mind without ever leaving your living room.

1. BRAIN FITNESS PROGRAMS

If you’re interested in honing your mental acumen, it might be best to start with an activity designed specifically for the measurement thereof. There are a number of computer programs, notably the website and app Lumosity, that offer assessments of how well their users fare in certain areas of “brain fitness,” as well as exercises to boost these measurements, including memory, mental speed, and attention to detail.

2. TESTS AND QUIZZES

While Lumosity offers a forthright assessment of mental progress, there are other, potentially more engaging ways to test your memory, as well as your general knowledge. No matter which subject intrigues or challenges you the most—be it geography, science, math, literature, or more—you’ll find a quiz on the Internet, or in app form, devoted to testing your relevant knowledge or comprehension.

3. GUESSING GAMES

If you’re holed up indoors with some company, there are plenty of ways to turn this option into a group activity. The popular app Heads Up and its non-digital forerunners offer a variety of subjects in which to try your hand at either giving or receiving clues. Games of this nature are believed to exercise both cognitive and communication skills.

4. PUZZLES

Be it via pencil and paper or in app form, your standard crossword or Sudoku puzzle is a revered means of stretching your cognitive muscles. The Alzheimer’s Association has endorsed Sudoku as a potential tool for staving off the disease.

5. WORD GAMES

Likewise, word-building games like Words with Friends carry a shining reputation in the world of Alzheimer’s research. Distinguishing valid words from invalid ones among a collection of random letters is believed to tap into each of the chief components of linguistics: word structure, spelling, sound, and semantics.

6. LEARNING A LANGUAGE

If you’re interested in a longer-term project, learning a new language goes a long way to improving your mental fitness. Though picking up a new tongue can be a daunting task, programs like Rosetta Stone help to make the goal worlds more feasible, and to a particularly valuable end. Bilingualism is connected to denser gray matter in the brain, which aids in cognitive function, multitasking, and analytic skills, not to mention the fact that a second language can really help you out when you travel.

7. VIDEO GAMES

Video games are a surprisingly worthwhile pursuit when it comes to intellectual growth. The specific benefits vary from game to game based on the nature of the challenges with which the player is tasked, but many time-honored favorites—Super Mario, Starcraft, and Call of Duty among them—have been theorized to improve motor skills, spatial reasoning, problem solving abilities, eyesight, and even reading comprehension.

8. DRAWING

All you really need for a relaxing night spent drawing are a sheet of paper and a pencil, but many beginners won’t say no to a helpful tutorial on the side. Drawing is believed to boost your supply of positive brain chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, as well as to help construction of neuron synapses, which gives your conscious thought a readier accessibility to vivid memory.

9. BUILDING AND DESIGN

There are few things more satisfying or mentally stimulating than building something with your hands, be it from large blocks of wood, model airplane parts, or clay. If you don’t have the aforementioned materials at your disposal, you can try any number of apps devoted to the joys of model construction. This community ranges from Sketchup, tailored specifically to architectural design, to 3D character animators like K-3D and Anim8or.

10. TAI CHI

If you’re stuck indoors for long periods of time, you’ll want to exercise your body as well as your brain. Martial arts like tai chi kill two birds with one stone. The practice has been shown to improve the brain’s physical volume (a particular plus in warding off dementia) and memory function, and to reduce anxiety. Newcomers to the exercise can pick up some pointers from apps like Tai Chi Step-by-Step or Tai Chi Workout.

11. GET HAPPY

While the improvement of a brain’s cognition, memory, and motor skills are all tremendously important, boosting happiness levels is just as vital. The celebrated app Happify works towards the elevation of your mind’s positivity through games and quizzes; a happier brain thinks more clearly, tackles problems and challenges more efficiently, and is generally just more fun to spend these nights at home alone with!

Just as your brain needs constant exercise to stay sharp and nimble, Intel’s innovations continue to evolve in order to help you achieve your optimal performance. Learn more here.

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11 Things You Didn't Know You Needed to Measure
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A simple measurement—made even easier by photo measuring technology—will save you wasted time, energy, and effort in the following scenarios. It never hurts to arm yourself with as much information as possible, especially now that innovative technology has put accurate, easy measurements at your fingertips. 

1. Doorframes and Hallways in Your New Apartment Building 

Even if you don’t live in New York City, where cramped stairwells and impossibly small apartments are just part of the charm, you’ll want to know ahead of time which of your current furniture will actually make it into the new apartment. Sure you love your four-poster bed frame or oversized couch, but if it doesn’t even fit through the building’s front door, wouldn’t you rather know that before moving day? 

2. Every Room in Your House, For When You Spot the Perfect Addition 

Even if it’s not new, every house is a work in progress. Be prepared to pick up the perfect statement piece to complete the look with photos of each room that you can measure whenever you happen to spy a great work of art or end table when you’re out and about. 

3. How Much Your Nieces/Nephews/Grandkids Have Grown

Of course you’re going to take a picture of the kids whenever you see them, and now when you say, “My, you’ve grown so much since last time!” you’ll be able to check how much is so much.

4. Your Snowmen 

Tap into your competitive side next time there’s a substantial snowfall and challenge friends and family to a snowman-building contest. When they’re all complete, snap a photo and measure up—award points for both size and style. In fact, the competitors don’t even have to be in the same place for this contest to work. Build your respective snowmen and share the photos amongst yourselves. 

5. How Much Air You Got 

Whether you’re jumping off the diving board or leaping off the ice for a triple axel, have someone document your athletic endeavors and later you can find just how much air you got. If you’re serious about your sport, do this regularly and you can plot your progress. 

6. The Inside Of Your Stove 

Especially if you’re in one of those tiny city apartments. Don’t let yourself buy that giant baking sheet (think of all the cookies!) just to find out it can’t fit in your stove; same goes for oversized casserole dishes. Before you stock your kitchen, make sure you know the dimensions of the oven space itself so you don’t end up with a bunch of useless supplies. 

7. The Distance Between an Outlet and Whatever You’re Plugging In 

This is especially important if you’re talking about an outdoor outlet. Don’t get too carried away with your plans for the perfect poolside margarita maker setup (or other electronic) without first making sure the cord will reach. It’s an easy fix—all you need is an extension cord—but better to know that before your party is in full swing. 

8. Window Height For Curtains

Maybe you think—like many of us did—that curtains are a one-size-fits-most kind of product, but unless you want the lower half of your body exposed or the curtains dragging on the floor, make sure you measure the height of your windows before ordering a set. Skip the rickety stepladder and just take a picture of the windows to get an accurate, reliable measurement.   

9. A Homemade Bookshelf

The beauty of building something from scratch is that you can make it exactly the size you need. Which means you need to figure out exactly what that size is. Consider not just the space you’re going to fit it into but also what it will hold—like if you have any especially tall books you need to take into account or anything else you plan to store there. 

10. Things That Are Just the Right Size

Do your friends have a TV that is large enough to gather around but not overwhelming or a love seat that comfortably sits two but still might fit in your small living room? They might not remember the dimensions of whatever it is you’re coveting but armed with photo measuring technology you can find out in just a snap. 

11. A New Appliance 

Appliances are a big purchase—physically and financially. Make sure you’re plenty prepared by measuring all the different dimensions that might come into play before you head out to compare models. 

From making sure your appliances fit to tracking your family’s literal growth, it’s time to put your photographs to work for you. Intel® RealSense™ technology can turn any snapshot into a useful measuring stick. Learn more here.

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11 Ways a 2 in 1 Device Gets You the Best of Both Worlds
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Phones, tablets, and computers for work, laptops for gaming—we don’t have enough hands to carry all the devices we need to use on a daily basis! By exchanging your tablet and laptop for a 2 in 1 device you can streamline your computing and lighten your load—without having to make any sacrifices. Here are 11 ways using a 2 in 1 device can help you have it all. 

1. Use It at Work… 

2 in 1 devices inspired by Intel feature the Intel® Core™ M processor, which boasts processing speeds far greater those of its competitors. This means they pack enough power to take on a full day of meetings, presentations, assignments… 

2. … or at Play 

… and games. Your computer use doesn’t stop when you leave the office, and neither do the benefits of your 2 in 1. In addition to increased processing power, Intel-powered 2 in 1 devices feature graphics that are sharper and more vibrant than older models, so you can fully enjoy the visuals of your favorite game. Transform your laptop into a tablet with a flip, swivel, or by detaching the keyboard and you can use it to entertain yourself on your commute or on the couch.

3. It’s Practical… 

When used with its keyboard and mouse trackpad, your 2 in 1 feels as comfortable as your trusty old laptop (but with twice its battery life). It can run Windows, Office, and your favorite desktop apps and Internet browsers. 

4. … and Edgy 

And yet, it’s far from your ordinary laptop. With their razor-thin design, Intel-powered 2 in 1s are ultra sleek, modern, and sexy. 

5. Use it On the Go… 

But the slim design is about more than just looks: 2 in 1s are approximately half the weight of your older laptop and tablet combo, which makes them perfect for taking with you throughout the day. They also have a battery life that outlasts your older laptop or tablet (you can watch hours of HD videos on a single charge), so there’s no need for you to stay within a cord’s reach of an outlet. 

6. … or from the Comfort of Your Home 

2 in 1s offer something for the whole family: You’ll love that you can easily get work done remotely and on your own time, and your kids will love its gaming capabilities. The large screen means you can flip your 2 in 1 into tent mode and comfortably settle in for a family movie night.

7. Use it to Multitask… 

Switch seamlessly from your spreadsheet to your design project to your game with your 2 in 1 thanks to its powerful processor. The 5th generation Intel® Core™ processor family also powers new technologies like facial recognition and voice control, so you can easily switch between tasks—just say the word. 

8. … or Immerse Yourself 

Intel-powered 2 in 1s feature Ultra HD displays, which have up to four times the pixels of full HD. Pop on your headphones and get lost in your game or video—it’s never looked so good. 

9. It’s Reliable… 

The Intel Core M processor with Intel® vPro™ technology features built-in security features that help protect your data, user identities, and network access, so you never have to worry about taking your business home or on the road.

10. … and Flexible 

While your 2 in 1 may be dependable, it’s far from boring. Available in detachable or convertible models, you can switch your device from a laptop to a tablet at the drop of a hat. Spontaneity is the spice of life, and with a 2 in 1 device you can be prepared to go wherever the wind takes you. 

11. You Get More Value… for Less Money. 

In switching to a 2 in 1 device you are not only lightening your physical load—for which your briefcase or backpack will thank you—but are also going easier on your wallet. Intel-powered 2 in 1s, like the Pavilion 15 or 17, can be yours for less than $400. 

By pairing high performance power with a slim, mobile design, Intel-powered 2 in 1 devices give you the best of both worlds. Learn more here.

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