focus posts on CNET


Want to be better at math? Electric shocks could help

In a room at Oxford University in England, children between the ages of 8 and 10 are working on math problems on computers while being administered electric shocks by senior research fellow Roi Cohen Kadosh.

OK, they're not really getting shocked, but they are getting a steady stream of low-current electricity delivered to their brains.

The procedure they're undergoing is known as Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), and it's one of the most recent brain stimulation techniques to come about in a long history of electrical currents used to manipulate the brain. Unlike earlier electroshock treatment programs, which tended to placate people with mental disturbances, the goal of this work is to help people with learning disorders overcome their difficulties, and to help others learn better generally. … Read more

The Ford Fiesta ST: It's ok to believe the hype

In the UK, Ford is known on part for its great cars, but also for its ability to add serious performance to them and create legendary motors. Chaps of a certain age will tell you about how the Lotus Cortina was "the" car to have back in the day. Come a little further forward and you won't hear many bad words said about any Ford with a Cosworth badge on its arse.

More recently, fast Fords have been stamped with "ST." "ST" means more power, angrier styling, better handling and a big honeycombe … Read more

The Ford Focus ST does pretty much everything right

Hot hatches are great, aren't they? You get every bit of the practicality you get in a normal hatchback, but performance that'd humble a supercar...from the 1970s. Still, they're fast and fun, which is what most people want from a car when you think about it.

There's plenty of choice out there for the hot-hatch hunter, though there's one company that knows how to combine small and fast better than most. That company is Ford, a brand that's been tuning up its cars since it were a lad.

Take a look at its … Read more

Distracted? Giant MyFocus button blocks all your messages

Thanks to e-mail, phone calls, SMS, and the cat industrial complex on YouTube, there are are countless ways to ruin your focus when you're trying to work.

According to research from the University of California at Irvine, it takes 23 minutes to get back on track following an interruption. Meanwhile, distractions may also dull your cognitive performance.

So what we all need are giant desktop buttons that turn the world off so we can concentrate for a change. … Read more

Training software tracks your eyes to make sure you watch

Recently, smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 have come equipped with optical sensors that track users' eye movements, and scroll or pause text and images accordingly. Now, a similar approach is being employed on tablet-based training software.

Mindflash, which is marketing the online training solution, calls the new capability the "look-away feature." As the company puts it: FocusAssist monitors trainee attention and pauses a training course in the Mindflash application when trainees look away.

"Organizations concerned about trainee distraction and compliance during self-paced remote training can now have greater confidence that critical information is being reviewed and understood," Mindflash says. … Read more

Wake up your ears

This isn't just for audiophiles. I don't care what kind of speakers or headphones you have -- once you start listening, you'll hear more of what's going on in the music. The only "downside" to focused listening is that you might turn into an audiophile. Once you focus on sound, the more you'll hear, and the opposite is also true, and the music matters less and less. I usually stick to acoustic music when evaluating sound quality, but this time out I went for highly processed, totally unnatural, but beautiful sounding recordings.

"… Read more

Top apps when you're working from home (WFH)

Working from home is a privilege, and in some cases, unavoidable. Here, in our San Francisco office, many commuters were hit hard by the recent Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) strikes, forcing those reliant on the public transportation service to be stranded at home. Luckily, working from home doesn't mean you have to be any less productive.

Here are some of our recommended apps to make sure that you stay focused and productive so that you can get the most out of your work, no matter where you're at.


Time management is key; timers are a great … Read more

How to dim the Windows desktop except the active window

A cluttered computer desktop can be distracting and have a negative impact on productivity. You can take the time to close all the windows or maybe even use a program in full-screen mode, but that's not always practical or feasible. An alternative solution is dimming everything on your desktop, except for the window that you're working in. Le Dimmer, a small Windows program, can help you focus on the active window by creating a distraction-free environment. Here's how:

After you download Le Dimmer, extract the program to your hard drive. There are only two files in the … Read more

Focus Effect 1.0 Review

The large amount of photo editing software currently on the market makes this genre very competitive. Focus Effect, however, stands out among the crowd. It delivers just what it claims to deliver: high-quality images. Users will be amazed at the artistic photos that can be created with an easy-to-use mobile application.

At 6MB, Focus Effect is not an incredibly light application, but that is expected from image editing software of this caliber. Download times may be extended if the user is not connected to a Wi-Fi network, so a high-speed connection is recommended. The user interface is very clean and … Read more

Twitter launching music discovery app

CNET Update tweets to the beat:

Twitter is launching a new music service that will suggest songs to listen to based on accounts you follow or artists that are trending. As the world waits for the official launch, Ryan Seacrest seems to be enjoying it.

Android users can experience Chat Heads on the Facebook Messenger app, rather than download the Facebook Home interface.

Also in this tech roundup, I bring you the highlights from the DigitalFocus technology showcase, which includes the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, the Linkase Wi-Fi signal booster for smartphones, the new Duracell Powermat iPhone 5 wireless charging … Read more