MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2008 (#36)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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128 MacDirectory CLOSER LOOK ARE YOU TIRED, RUNDOWN, LISTLESS? > PUT SOME PZIZZ IN YOUR LIFE Do you suffer from insomnia? Do you find yourself running out of energy during the day, and using artificial stimulants like caffeine and sugar to try to pep yourself up? Are you too exhausted at the end of the workday to do little more than plop on the couch and stare at the television? When you finally do fall asleep, do you toss and turn, your mind still to much on the stresses of daily life to completely settle down? Then you need some Pzizz! Pzizz is the newest technological advance in relaxation techniques. A fully downloadable computer program, Pzizz has a two-fold mission. The first is to increase relaxation so that subjects suffering from insomnia or stress can get a full night's sleep. The second is to increase people's productivity during the workday using a popular technique called "power napping." Matthew Ashenden, the inventor of Pzizz, had been a part of the relaxation industry for over 15 years when he decided to work on a product that would take rest to the next level. He told MacDirectory, "There were a lot of great relaxation products out there, but what I noticed was that they all failed in certain areas." One of those areas had to do with users finding the time to do a full relaxation session, and the other was boredom. Ashenden explained, "Most products required you to use them for a certain period of time for them to work. I wanted people to be able to create whatever length of experience they wanted. If you had 15 minutes you could have a 15- minute nap, if you had 50 minutes you could have a 50-minute nap and no matter what you would always have a complete experience." He then went on to discuss the boredom issue, telling us that "the subconscious mind gets incredibly bored incredibly quickly." Therefore listening to the same soundtrack repeatedly – even though it still might work – simply would not provide "that deep relaxation that relieves stress and helps you get rid of all the stuff you deal with during the day." As for the power napping, Ashenden found that a little more complicated. Scientists have long maintained that power napping is a great way to increase productivity and keep decision-making abilities sharp. But how could that be translated into a relaxation tape that simultaneously relaxed and energized its users? The way this was ultimately handled, said Ashenden, "was by taking the existing structure of the relaxation process and breaking it down into very small segments of voice, music and sound effects to create an algorithm that could read these individual sections in a structured random manner." Once the design for Pzizz was completed, it was time to find test subjects. The first users were the individuals who designed it, followed by "everyone we knew." From there "we launched the software to the Mac community – so we were initially exposing this software to a bunch of computer geeks." Ashenden figured this demographic would take the product "with a grain of salt" but to his surprise, "they have been just loving it!" Since then Pzizz's market has broadened, with testimonials coming in from high- powered record producers, to business executives, to performers in Cirque de Soleil in Las Vegas. Users who would like to experience the power of Pzizz for themselves can go to to find out more about the product, read testimonials, and purchase it for download. The site takes payment via Paypal and credit card. As for those who would like to try before they buy, Pzizz was scheduled to exhibit at the 2008 MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. Guests would be welcome to stop by and take a sample nap. That is, according to Ashenden, except "when Steve Jobs is speaking; we'd like everyone to stay awake for that." WORDS BY JONE DEVLIN

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