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Researchers have developed a computational model that can predict video game players’ in-game performance and provide a corresponding challenge they can beat, leading to quicker mastery of new skills. The advance not only could help improve user experiences with video games but also applications beyond the gaming world.

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Soulskill

concealment sends this quote from the NY Times: "Today’s chips are made on large wafers that hold hundreds of fingernail-sized dies, each with the same electronic circuit. The wafers are cut into individual dies and packaged separately, only to be reassembled on printed circuit boards, which may each hold dozens or hundreds of chips. PARC researchers have a very different model in mind. ... they have designed a laser-printer-like machine that will precisely place tens or even hundreds of thousands of chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand, on a surface in exactly the right location and in the right orientation. The chiplets can be both microprocessors and computer memory as well as the other circuits needed to create complete computers. They can also be analog devices known as microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, that perform tasks like sensing heat, pressure or motion. The new manufacturing system the PARC researchers envision could be used to build custom computers one at a time, or as part of a 3-D printing system that makes smart objects with computing woven right into them."

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Lumo BodyTech, which makes a wearable waistband that tracks posture and movement and vibrates when the wearer slouches, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Madrona Venture Group.

LumobackThe Palo Alto, Calif.-based start-up doubled its goal in a Kickstarter campaign this summer, taking in $200,000 and more than 1,000 effective preorders for the Lumoback.

The Kickstarter backers now have their devices in hand, and Lumobacks will start shipping to the general public in January.

Lumo CEO Monisha Perkash described the Kickstarter campaign as a “de-risking” strategy, saying that it provided market validation and feedback that helped pave the way for the venture round.

Perkash said that Lumo eventually expects to move beyond posture into other devices that “give your body a voice.” Versus other wearable sensors, Lumo is particularly focused on real-time, accurate feedback — currently, in the form of a gentle buzz that gets wearers to stand up straight, or to walk around after an extended period of sitting.

 

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As technology invades our lives and covers every facet of working, playing, learning and more, we as a culture will need to adjust and find balance so as to not get so lost in the digital world that we lose ourselves. We hear frequently about parents desiring to get their kids to shut off the video-game systems and go outside and play. Go out in public to restaurants, coffee shops and malls, and you see people fixated on their screens. There is nothing wrong with that, however, I think we need to be aware of something important as a digital society. I fear that we may slowly lose the ability to be fully present in a moment or situation. I noticed this about myself a few years ago while I was on my computer checking e-mail and responding to “important” work stuff. As I was sitting there fully immersed in my screen, one of my daughters was trying to get my attention. I’m not sure how long it took, but I think she had to say, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” about four or five times. I recognized that it should not take me that long to respond, and, more importantly, my eyes were open to the reality that often I was not fully present in many important situations. We are allowing digital distractions to interfere with important moments. (MORE: Supertaskers: Why Some Can Do Two Things At Once) Since then, I have worked to retrain myself to be more fully present when engaging in conversations with my family, friends and colleagues. And I’m resisting the urge to constantly look at my phone to see if I have new e-mail, check Twitter or Facebook or do something that would send a signal to the person across from me that they don’t matter as much as something on my digital device. Perhaps this is not a problem everyone struggles with, but I am noticing it more and more with young people. I grew up with technology and have little or no recollection of life

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Asa Mathat / AllThingsD.com

Like any young start-up, the early days of Facebook were thin and scrappy. Its very first server back in 2004 cost $85 to rent. They didn’t spend more than they had in the bank. They were small, tight and still had everything to prove.

To do that, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, the company needed to test its mettle against its existing competitors. And back then, those weren’t MySpace or Friendster, but the existing social networks inside U.S. universities.

“We first went to schools that were hardest to succeed at,” Zuckerberg said on Saturday morning, kicking off the Y Combinator Startup School event in Palo Alto, California. “If we had a product that was better than others, it would be worth investing in.”

Zuckerberg spoke to a packed house in the Stanford Memorial Hall auditorium, with an audience mostly composed of twentysomethings, the veritable next wave of young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The conference is geared toward the young and idealistic, those who may build the Facebooks or Twitters of tomorrow. Hence, Zuckerberg focused on the challenges of turning a rough-and-tumble outfit into the 1-billion-user-strong social giant it is today.

So if you’ll hearken back to 2004, Facebook’s first days were limited to college students alone, those who had verified university email addresses. It was a play for an early conception of true online identity; unlike other existing networks, you were supposed to be yourself on Facebook.

After first growing Facebook inside of Harvard’s network, then, the plan was essentially to go hard or go home — to launch the network at universities like Columbia, Stanford and Yale. These were the schools, Zuckerberg said, that had the most integrated social networks campus-wide. If Facebook caught on here, it’d be safer to assume that scaling to less-integrated schools would be a downhill battle.

That’s exactly what happened. Facebook spread from school to school, moving slowly to cope with the early scaling issues that popular services often face (Twitter and the Fail Whale, anyone?).

Much of the other advice Zuckerberg offered to the young crowd was the usual platitudes — listen to your users, stay simple, be reliable.

But his most important point was clear: Punch above your weight class. If your product is better than anything out there, the users will let you know it.

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Having been witness to famine and catastrophe, Doug Menuez sought answers in a project that served a purpose and gave guidance, turning his camera on the tech boom occurring right in his Silicon Valley backyard.

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