Within the settings the Advanced Vibration Control enables you to change the buzz intensity and timing with the Bad Posture Threshold helping to manage its fussiness with options ranging from barely slouched to extremely slouched.If you need some help regarding exercise, the app features short animated videos from iRehab – although I'd assumed the Cervical AROM Retraction routine wasn't a guy thing, it actually refers to the cervical vertebrae in the neck.As you accumulate data whilst wearing the LUMOback, the app starts to look more interesting. It creates a Posture Score with neat graphics that outline the amount of Straight and Slouch time you’ve spent over the days, weeks and months. The Steps section shows running and walking as well as distance and calories, so it doubles as a proper activity monitor and can share data by synchronising this with the free MyFitnessPal app.Currently, there isn’t a separate LumoBack web login to view your data online which the likes of FitBit or Withings provide. MyFitnessPal does have an online portal but what it receives from the LUMOback app is just the calorie burn information, so there’s room for improvement here and I'm told a web app is in the works for launch this summer.
Lumo Body Tech is also keen to hear from developers, but its website doesn’t offer any other information in this respect, only an email contact, but I'm told 2014 will see a Cloud API published that gives developers access to individual historical posture and activity data. A sensor SDK is coming too, delivering real-time access to individual posture and activity data from the sensor – user consent notwithstanding.There's quite a bit of data to play with too that can allow for more in-depth studies for those with critical problems. Sit time, posture, movement and sleep data can assist in physical therapy, chiropractic care and mobility assessments, pre- and post-treatment.Having worn the LUMOback for a while now, I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about it, but this might have more to do with the chairs I sit on than the device itself. When I paid proper attention to the sensor I did avoid the usual aches I’d expect after hours of typing sitting on a less than perfect chair. However, I did find I had different aches that were more of a muscular variety. Evidently, there’s a bit of effort involved in sitting up straight .Yet with extended use, there comes a point where you tune out from the prompts it buzzes at you. Sit back for a moment, bzzt, in conversation at a restaurant, bzzt, on the loo, bzzt, oh please… and on it goes. So is there any ongoing benefit in enduring this spine tingler? To find that out, I visited my osteopath, Dennis Picknett, a cracking fellow who’s put me straight on many an occasion.
I’d not seen him since late last year, so apart from his opinion on whether this device was doing any good, I was curious to see if his expertise would help with the calibration. Occasionally, the Lumoback gets super-fussy and it seems that there are two ways around this: charge it up or recalibrate. If the latter doesn’t work, then there’s a chance you were never sitting correctly in the first place.With some fine-tuning from Mr Picknett, once I was in the posture he considered to be correct, I hit calibrate. Since then, the Lumoback seems to be fairly content and as you can track your position in realtime, it seems to be spot on now. It was never that far off previously, but I think Lumo Body Tech would be wise to place a heavier emphasis on the posture set-up procedure, as it’s quite easy to skip through it quickly and there have been a few moans online about erratic readings.
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As for the professional view, my osteopath could see how the Lumoback was endeavouring to heighten the user's long term and real-time postural awareness – something that physical therapy such as osteopathy, Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais method and Pilates all aspire to. Adding that osteopaths can achieve good results by physically adjusting the bones and muscles of the body but to maintain this change inner awareness has to take over. So maybe a vibrating strap-on can help.If you’ve a serious back problem then you’d need a serious opinion on how useful the LumoBack will be to you. At £129 it's cheaper than two or three osteo sessions and might keep you out of trouble from time to time, but won't work magic.Although it has activity sensors that can broaden its scope considerably regarding overall fitness, I’d be be more inclined to wear it as a preventative measure during lengthy writing sessions to set me straight, rather than experience the daily ritual of getting a tingle out of this spinal strap-on every time I bend over.
Feature The countdown continues as we step through the 10 most important events that have shaped the evolution of the Apple Macintosh over the past 30 years.In this episode: the return of the prodigal son, the attack of the clones, the invasion of Chipzilla, and how an old enemy came to the rescue of an ailing rival...Gather ’round, you millennials, and listen to your ol’ Reg hack as he recounts a tale from an age when the world was topsy-turvy, a time when Apple was on the ropes with its share price mired at five bucks and change, and Microsoft’s stock was rocketing upward to its eventual high point of nearly $60 per share in December 1999.This week, by comparison, Apple’s shares are selling at around $550, down from their peak of just over $700 in September 2012, and Microsoft is going for around thirty-five bucks. Things change.
It was mid-1997. Apple CEO Gil Amelio had just been given his walking papers in what The New York Times termed an “abrupt ouster” and “the latest unsettling development for a company whose recent history has often resembled a corporate soap opera”. Steve Jobs was back in charge and, as reported in BusinessWeek, he was not a happy camper.The Power Macintosh 4400 was not sexy? Steve, Steve, Steve – where’s your sense of geek style? While you might fault Jobs’ people skills, you can’t argue with his analysis. This was the time of the last gasps of Apple’s all-over-the-map Performa series, the lamentable Power Macintosh 4400 (arguably Apple’s worst), and the embarrassment that was the woefully underpowered Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, which at announcement in January of that year was said to retail for around $9,000, was released in March for $7,499, and then had its price slashed to $1,995 the following year.
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And 1997 was also the year when Michael Dell famously said, when asked what he would do if he ran Apple, “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”That was the environment surrounding Apple and its Macs when Steve Jobs took at stage for his keynote presentation at Macworld Boston in August 1997. But before we relate what he announced at that event, one last bit of ancient Apple lore: at that time, Microsoft was the sworn enemy of every right-thinking Apple fanboi, and its then-CEO William Henry Gates III was The Great Satan himself.The news that Jobs brought to the assembled Mac addicts was that Beelzebub was coming to the aid of their revered company with a purchase of $150m in non-voting Apple stock that it would not sell it for at least three years, and – more importantly – promised to release Microsoft Office for the Mac for five years, thus legitimising the Mac as a business machine for half a decade, at minimum.
In addition, Jobs announced that Microsoft and Apple had resolved their long-running patent dispute through a cross-licensing agreement for all existing patents as well as patents that would be filed during the next five years, that Apple would collaborate with Microsoft on Java virtual-machine compatibility, and that Internet Explorer would be the Mac’s default browser – an announcement that elicited far more boos than applause from the assembled faithful.After the announcements, Bill Gates appeared via satellite feed on a screen behind Jobs, to both applause and more than a smattering of boos. After Gates’ comments, Jobs lectured his followers. “We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose,” he said. “We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us, that’s great, because we need all the help we can get. And if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault. It’s our fault.”