Category Archives: Web Tool

2B-Alert Web 2.0 Better Predicts When to Take Caffeine

coffee

(See my other Coffee related posts) – I made the following post about 11 months ago on July 28, 2018. I am reposting it now becasue the website had been update. It is now 2B-Alert Web 2.0.

Many of us brew coffee first thing in the morning and begin our daily consumption. The U.S. Army researched the consumption of coffee and found that there is an algorithm we can follow to achieve optimum alertness. The results of the study indicate that people’s performance on an attention task can be improved by up to 64 percent. When the algorithm is followed, caffeine consumption can be reduced by up to 65% while still maintaining elevated levels of performance.

As a result of the research, a web-based tool 2B‐Alert Web has been developed to help predict a person’s alertness based on their sleep time and caffeine consumption.

The study “Caffeine dosing strategies to optimize alertness during sleep loss” was published in the Journal of Sleep Research on May 28, 2018.

I don’t drink coffee intending to enhance my alertness these days. I drink it because I simply like the taste. However, if you are in a position where alertness is essential to your job, this may be something to look into.

The 2B-Alert Web 2.0 web tool per their website will:

This software tool predicts the alertness of an “average” individual as a function of sleep/wake schedule, caffeine consumption, and time of day. Optionally, it also provides optimal caffeine schedules for user-provided periods of desired peak alertness. Specifically, it allows users to manually enter a sleep/wake/peak alertness schedule, as well as caffeine dosing and timing, and displays the corresponding predictions for three different statistics of alertness on the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT). If the user provides the desired period of peak alertness, the system will output the estimated optimal caffeine schedules. The tool predicts alertness for the duration of the given schedule and 48 hours of subsequent total sleep deprivation.

This tool can be used to:

  1. Assess the effect of different sleep/wake schedules and caffeine consumption
  2. Design sleep/wake and caffeine schedules to optimize alertness
  3. Generate hypotheses that can be experimentally tested
  4. Optimize the benefits of caffeine use

Do you need to optimize your coffeine consuption?

Hurricane Season 2019 has Begun

Well, Hurricane Season (nominally defined as June 1 to November 30) is back. The first major storm of the season will be named Andrea. If you live in the US, particularly the eastern portion of the country or are traveling there or have family there, you will want to keep up with hurricanes.

A while back I published reviews on three good websites for keeping track of hurricanes. I thought it was a good time to bring them back to peoples attention. These are:


You may be interested in my other Web Tool recommendations


Weather at Your Terminal Command Line

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Web Tools – There are lots of way of getting the weather on your computer. Most of those will open in your browser with lots of content, animations, and probably advertisements. But wttr.in is different. It is text only. What is wttr.in? From their website:

wttr.in is a console-oriented weather forecast service that supports various information representation methods like terminal-oriented ANSI-sequences for console HTTP clients (curl, httpie, or wget), HTML for web browsers, or PNG for graphical viewers

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I used curl wttr.in from the terminal command line to get the image shown at the top of this page. This should work on any Linux or macOS system. When I enter http://wttr.in into my Safari browser I get similar output as shown in the image immediately above.

This site provides many options to choose from in their weather report. While it takes your current location as the default, other locations around the world can be specified. Queries from the US appear in USCS units, while most of the rest of the world get values in the Metric System. Optionally you can specify the units.

Reports can be returned in ANSI for the terminal, HTML for the browser, or as a .PNG image. All of the options are explained on their GitHub site.

I like this minimalist weather report and have added the URL to my Safari Favorites.

Have You Heard of Longreads?

Reading – I came across the Longreads website today. It is the first I had heard of them. What is Longreads? Per their website:

Longreads, founded in 2009, is dedicated to helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world. We feature and produce in-depth investigative pieces, profiles, interviews, commentary, book reviews, audio stories, and personal essays.

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The articles cover a wide range of topics. That said, I didn’t find too many there I wanted to read other than “We’re Not Ready for Mars“, but then I have rather narrow interests. If you enjoy reading the popular magazines, you may find this site of interest.

You can, and I have, subscribed to their RSS feed (https://longreads.com/feed/). Vienna is the RSS reader of choice on my Mac.

This may be a site you want to visit, subscribe to or follow.

Product Review – Sony Crackle TV

Product ReviewWeb Tools – I categorized this as a ‘web tool’ as it has a web component, but it is really more than simply that. I have known about Crackle TV for a while, but I was reminded of it at the July CapMac meeting where it was mentioned in the presentation on “Streaming TV” services. Many people are ‘cutting the cord’ and doing away with cable services and choosing a streaming option. Crackle TV is one of those options.

This service originally went under the name of Grouper until it was changed to Crackle in January of 2018. Crackle is a free streaming service that has been around since 2006. At the time of this article, it is available in 21 countries and is available on Roku, Android, Xbox, Apple TV, PS3, and iPhone. You do have to sign up for a free account.

Content includes both TV programs and movies. When I checked as I was writing this article there were over 70 TV series and more than 90 movies available. Available programs are organized into 8 channels – Spotlight Channel, Sony Crackle Originals Channel, Fandom Channel, Action Channel, Comedy Channel, Drama Channel, Thriller Channel, and the Icon Channel. Some content is older, like “Walker, Texas Ranger” on the ‘Icon Channel’, while other like ‘The Oath’ on the Drama Channel is original programming. The programming available through Crackle TV is included in the listings within the Apple TV App in the US.

I do recommend this service/App – I have the App installed on my iPad and Apple TV. Since it is free, I think it is a good option to add.

Pros:

  1. Free
  2. Wide range of TV series and movies
  3. Available on many different platforms
  4. All on-demand content

Cons:

  1. Limited current content

Product Review – Pluto TV

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Product ReviewWeb Tools – I categorized this as a ‘web tool’ as it has a web component, but it is really more than simply that. I have known about Pluto TV for a while, but I was reminded of it at the July CapMac meeting where it was mentioned in the presentation on “Streaming TV” services. Many people are ‘cutting the cord’ and doing away with cable services and choosing a streaming option. Pluto TV is one of those options.

Pluto is a free streaming service that has been around since 2013. At the time of this article, it has more than 75 content partners, with over 100 free channels to choose from. Estimates are that more than 6 million use it every month. Pluto TV generates revenue through advertisements displayed to viewers.

A few of the current channels are shown in the image above. Channels are grouped into categories such as News, Sports, Movies, Entertainment, Comedy, Chill Out, Life + Style, and Geek + Gaming. There are also several internet radio stations offered. Some, mostly movie, on-demand content is available in addition to the scheduled programs. You can check out what is currently playing here.  The programming available through Pluto TV is included in the listings within the Apple TV App in the US.

You can view programs from Pluto TV through your web browser, or by downloading the Pluto TV App to your Apple TV or iOS device. Pluto TV can also be viewed via several other devices: Roku, Visio, Samsung, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Playstation, and Chromecast.

I do recommend this service/App – I have the App installed on my iPad and Apple TV. Since it is free, I think it is a good option to add.

Pros:

  1. Free
  2. 100+ channels
  3. Available on many different platforms
  4. Has on-demand content

Cons:

  1. Limited current content
  2. Content partners are, for the most part, not mainstream

Hurricane Season 2018 Opens with Beryl

Well, Hurricane Season (nominally defined as June 1 to November 30) is back. The first major storm of the season is  Beryl. If you live in the US, particularly the eastern portion of the country or are traveling there or have family there, you will want to keep up with hurricanes.

A while back I published reviews on three good websites for keeping track of hurricanes. I thought it was a good time to bring them back to peoples attention. These are:


You may be interested in my other Web Tool recommendations


 

Web Tools – HomeKitty

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Web Tools – Are you one of the growing number of Apps users that are wanting to automate their home in some way with HomeKit? If you are you probably already know it is a bit of a problem finding all of the products that work with HomeKit.

Of course Apple does have their own official list of HomeKit compatible products. Now, though, there is another source, HomeKitty, that provides a crowd sourced list of homeKit compatible products. I prefer HomeKitty as it includes a photo of each item, its price and a link to further information.

If you are thinking about implementing some home automation with HomeKit, you may find this new tool useful.


See my other Web Tool articles


 

Web Tool – GasBuddy

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WebTools – We all (well almost all) of us need fuel for our autos. The web site GasBuddy lets you check out the latest fuel prices. Prices are kept up-to-date by users making adjustments when they go to fill up their tanks.

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As the result of hurricane Harvey, fuel is somewhat hard to find in Texas right now. GasBuddy is helping consumers with a separate Gasoline Availability Tracker map that shows which stations have fuel for sale. As you can see from the screen shot above, most stations in the Austin area are currently out of fuel.

Whether you are in desperate need of fuel this weekend somewhere in Texas, or just looking for where you can fill your tank for the lowest cost, GasBuddy may be your answer.


See my other Web Tool articles


 

Web Tool – National Weather Service

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Web Tools – While looking at Apps to track Hurricane Harvey, I found some very good on-line tracking through the National Weather Service. The screen shot of the home page above gives an overview of the entire US. Clicking on an area of the map gives you a more detailed view. In my case I am intersested in South Texas.

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While the screen shot is fixed, the actual site provides an animated view of what has been appearing on radar over the past hour or so. This is another great tool to add to your collection to keep appraised of weather events near you if you are in the US.


See my other Web Tool articles