Lumo Lift, a digital reminder to stop slouching

LAS VEGAS -- The Lumo Lift is a bit like a doting mom. It really just wants what's best for you, and it's not afraid to let you know when you're slumping. Unlike a mom, it only works when you want it to and it's pretty subtle about how it tells you to pay attention to your posture.

Lumo Bodytech is showing off prototypes of its new Lift gadget at CES. It's worn anywhere around your chest area. The device clips on magnetically, so you can choose whether or not to show it off to the world or tuck it away under a shirt. It communicates with an app that keeps track of your upper body position. It knows when you're slouching and when you're standing tall, and can be set to vibrate as a reminder to get your act together.… Read more

5 apps to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions

Lose weight, stop smoking, save for a new house, organize your life: Your resolutions are set, and you have every intention of keeping them -- at least until life gets in the way. Don't give up on your goals before February, instead download a few apps that can nudge you in the right direction and coach you to stay on track.

I've rounded up five apps that can help you keep your resolutions, from quitting smoking to whipping your budget or body into shape. Share your favorite goal-oriented apps in the comments below.

Mint (Free) For managing your … Read more

This Shark takes a bite out of the competition

The $199 Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away vacuum cleaner really had a lot to prove at the outset of this review. It claims to "clean carpets better than the Dyson DC41" on the box. So I tested it against the $649 DC41 (and the $499 DC50 for good measure). To diversify a bit more, I also compared it to the $399 Oreck Touch and the $309 Electrolux Precision Brushroll Clean.

The $200 Shark is the least expensive of the five models and makes pretty lofty performance claims. So, is it really better than a Dyson? Well, yes and no. … Read more

Smart spoon helps stabilize Parkinson's tremors

For many people living with Parkinson's disease, the mere act of chewing and swallowing can be a challenge. One way to deal with this is to blend foods up to minimize the need to chew. But what if it's difficult merely bringing the spoon to one's mouth without spilling its contents?

Enter the Liftware Spoon by Lift Labs in San Francisco -- poised to hit the market in September -- whose patented spoon technology actually helps stabilize tremors in people with Parkinson's, essential tremor, and related disorders.… Read more

Twitter co-founders partner with new startup, Branch

Twitter's co-founders, who now head an incubator site called the Obvious Corporation, announced their involvement in a second project today--Branch. This new Web site will be focused on creating a discussion platform that will "turn the Internet's monologues into dialogues."

"The prototype, called Branch (formerly Roundtable), enables a smart new brand of high quality public discourse," Twitter and Obvious Corporation co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post today. "Curated groups of people are invited to engage around issues in which they are knowledgeable."

The Branch project is a partnership between … Read more

Twitter founders reveal incubator's first project

Biz Stone, the Twitter co-founder who left his daily duties at the microblogging site to restart Obvious Corporation, the company that gave life to Twitter, revealed details of the incubator's first project today.

The company's first project is Lift, an "application for unlocking human potential through positive reinforcement," Stone wrote in a blog post today titled "Unlocking Potential."

"It's important never to delude ourselves into thinking that technology changes the world," Stone wrote. "People are responsible for change--technology just helps out."

Stone said little else about the app but … Read more

More rumblings point to free MobileMe in April

Once again there are reports that the long-rumored free version of MobileMe will arrive in April, some three years after the paid service became generally available and months ahead of initial estimates for when Apple planned to revamp its Web suite.

In a story this morning, blog iLounge cited a person it called a trusted source at a major educational institution as saying that the institution was unable to buy MobileMe subscriptions. Additionally, the source said Apple was planning to release a revamped version of the service as soon as next month. In the interim, Apple is said to be … Read more

Elevator Hacks

Elevators are creepy confining spaces. I want to spend as little time in them as possible. So Here are a few elevator hacks to speed up the ride.

First off, a warning. We cannot advocate that you actually do any of these hacks as they may break the elevators you're in or raise the ire of other passengers enough that they'll want to break you.

Let's start with a classic. The My Floor express. This one has been all over the Internet. Allegedly, you hold down the close door button when you press your desired floor and … Read more

LIFT09: The future in permanent beta

I've been conference-hopping through Europe for the past two weeks. In Berlin, I discussed new "quality of life" concepts for Germany, and in Geneva I listened to speakers who held Utopian visions from an earlier era accountable for what could have been but wasn't. My own personal well-being was more mundane. I schlepped two big suitcases with me and saw the sun shine only twice. When you travel so much, you start to feel like Tyler Brule: quality of life is defined by the quality of the airports you pass through, the quality of the Wi-Fi … Read more


Location matters. Black Swan-author Nassim Nicholas Taleb finds "living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters – you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity." That's particularly true for romance. People move to big cities not to advance their careers, party, escape, disappear, be a star, and so on. The chick-flick fan that I am, I remember very well that candid line from Sex and the City (the movie): "I came to New York City to fall in love." Exactly. "Anyone who's predicting the decline of big cities has … Read more